Cycling News

Race Face digs into lateral complinace with new Era wheels

Race Face digs into lateral complinace with new Era wheels

As our understanding of what we can do with carbon fibre continues to evolve, so does how we design mountain bike rims. After successfully making rims strong enough (for the most part), brands are now looking at how they can make rims feel better and help us ride faster. With that in mind, Race Face is adding lateral compliance to the conversation with its new Era wheels.

The new Era wheels expand on Race Face’s new line. The new era of Race Face Era components started with a lightweight, protected carbon fibre crankset. Our test set of cranks is still going strong, which is hopefully a good indicator for the new wheelset, too.

An Era of lateral compliance: Race Face evolves carbon fibre wheels

The new Era wheelset replaces the Next R hoops in the Race Face wheel range. The carbon fibre wheelset is aimed primarily at trail and enduro riding. That leaves the Next SL to handle XC duties.

With Era, the brand shaves around 15 grams off the Next R’s weight, bringing them to a very light 1750 grams for a set. But the big changes are in design. Race Face is focusing on lateral compliance and, with the “Anvil Edge,” flat protection.

A deeper rear rim (left) versus a more compliant front rim (right). Image: Race Face

Since the front and rear wheel are subjected to very different forces while riding, Race Face uses completely different rim shapes for each wheel. The front Era rim uses a shallower, 18.6mm rim profile to minimize weight and improve compliance and comfort. The back wheel uses a deeper, 22.6mm rim section and, while still compliant vertically and horizontally, aims to be tough enough that you can still drop your heels and plow through any rock garden without worrying about your rim.

The main change from Next R to Era, though, is the focus on lateral compliance. That means allowing the rim freedom to respond to side impacts (rocks, roots on an angle) the same way the rim would absorb impacts directly in line with the rim. Why? Some later impact absorption improves comfort, reduces fatigue and gives the rider better control on the bike. The wheel deflects off line less and you feel less of an impact through the handlebars. So you can ride faster for longer.

Compliant shouldn’t mean the wheels feel like a wet noodle, though. Instead of weak or soft, Race Face claims the Era wheels should feel “snappy.” That is, they’ll soften impacts but still give you the support you need to hold a line and the energy out of a corner you’d expect…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…