Last December, I started testing a new set of wheels on my Aluminum Fatback named Otis. I wrote a piece called Otis Gets Pimped (Part 1) that covered some upgrades that we would be testing. This is the second installment, where we’ll check in with how the new pimp’n parts have performed over the last six months. This particular article is going to primarily focus on the new wheel-set that has anchored the #otisgetspimped project. We’ll also publish additional stories about the other parts that we hung on Otis!
We started with Hed’s 100mm single wall carbon fiber BFD rims and laced those to a pair of Onyx Racing hubs in purple anno, with the fat-bike dot com logo, laser etched into the rear hub (like a pimp!) Our friends at HED built the wheels using Sapim CX ray Spokes and Purple anno alloy nips. Then to raise the bar to new levels of pimpage, we scored a set of the best skewers that I’ve ever used from our amigo Paul at Paul Components.
HED BFD 100’s – Six months of Snow, Sand and Trail under my rather heavy load with no problems at all! I ran the wheels tubeless from the start and have tested quite a few tire combinations. Tubeless set-up was easy and leak free. Hed supplies a good set of instructions along with a couple of pairs of rubber bands that help guide the bead into place with a resounding snap! I’ve used both Orange and Stan’s sealant and some day, I hope to use Julio’s ho-made sealant. With all of the tire testing that we do, I go through lots of sealant. These wheels dropped my 5″ aluminum Fatback below the 30 lb mark. My fat-bike currently weighs less than my plus bike.
Onyx Racing Hubs – After six months of abuse, my pimp’n purple hubs are still silent and running smooth. The Onyx hubs use a proprietary mechanism that employ something they call sprags that provide instant engagement and are totally silent. I just checked them for any side to side play or wear and they seem to be as good as the day they were installed. Eventually they will need service and when they do, I know that they are totally re-build-able. We’ll check back at the one year point and let you know how they’re holding up. So Far…..zero maintenance and running great!
Paul Component Q/R Skewers – Form and function, living in perfect harmony. The orange anno working against the purple anno of the hubs balanced with the smooth mechanism activated by the long and ergonomic lever make these skewers the best that I’ve ever used. If you try these skewers, you’ll never buy another brand of Q/R’s. They literally put Salsa’s skewers to shame. Paul makes equally beautiful thru axle skewers as well.
The thing that I thought I would notice the most about these pimp’n new wheels, was the silence of the hubs, but since I play music during my rides, I really didn’t notice the lack of noise when I coast. These wheels appear to be light, durable and expensive ($2,535 – Full Retail) but with a real tangible payoff in the way they perform. You all had to know that pimp’n ain’t cheap. There is a very slight spoke noise that occurs in the rear wheel when I’m grinding up steep climbs in very low gears. I get that on non-carbon wheels as well. I think you can file that under full disclosure and a bit of nit-picking. The wheels are solid, true and working wonderfully. At the six month mark, I give these wheels a perfect 5 out of 5 gnomes. We’ll be sure to check in at their first birthday and let you know if we find any chinks in their armor.