Mid-Term Report – Pub Carbon Wheelset – 27.5 x 75mm

My fat bike is in the midst of an identity crisis

Uncle Gomez sent me a set of 27.5 carbon fat bike wheels recently. You can check out the “product spotlight” he wrote up but the basic stats of this wheelset are the following:

  • Exterior width: 75mm
  • Interior width: 69mm
  • Front weight: 1,053g (with tape and valve stem)
  • Rear weight: 1,164g (with tape and valve stem)
  • Total measured weight 2,217g (with tape and valve stem)
  • Claimed weight without tape and valve: 2,131 grams +/- 25 grams
  • 32 DT Competition spokes (14/15 butted) with brass nipples and nipple washers laced 3 cross
  • DT 350 hubs, 157×15 and 197×12, centerlock, XD driver and 18t ratchet (20 degree)
  • Hand built in the USA
  • Cost: $1,099.95
Centerlock adapter and normal 6 bolt rotor

They come in 8 different hub configurations. All of them are 157×12 thru axles for the front but the rear comes in 170 QR, 177 thru axle, 190 QR and 197 thru axle as well as an HG or XD cassette driver.

I am a big fan of DT Swiss hubs. They are a very reliable option that doesn’t cost a ton, performs well and are easy to work on. On top of that, they are very adaptable with a variety of different different end caps that can be easily swapped, different cassette drivers (“standard” HG, XD and Shimano’s new microspline) and even different ratchets that come in varying tooth counts to improve engagement if that is something that floats your boat.

The PUB carbon rims are a single wall design with ramped side channels and a hookless bead. There is a well defined beadlock channel and the center channel is low enough that tires go on without tire levers. The design is tubeless ready and I have tried mounting three pairs of tires so far with everyone of them popping super easily into place with my small air compressor. No bouncing, seating one side first, soapy water… no tricks needed! Once mounted up they have been rock solid at holding air from the get go.

The wheel build is what you would expect from a handbuilt wheelset even after a summer of riding by Gomez. Spoke tension is dead on at where it should be (110-120 Kgf) and the wheels are very true vertically and horizontally (about +/- 0.5mm) and dish is also right where it should be.

The bike I stuck them on has a 190mm quick release rear end and I got a thru axle rear wheel so I swapped on some QR end caps I had laying around. I also used some DT centerlock rotor adapters to mount up my 6 bolt brake rotors. In about 10 minutes everything was adapted to my setup and I was ready to roll.

Somewhat subtle rim graphics with this printed twice per rim

Ride Impressions

Light and stiff are the first impressions that jump out at you as soon as wheel off. No, they are not as light as a HED carbon rim with super light spokes and alloy nipples but they also feel more solid and are an “everyday ride” build instead of  a weight weenie race setup. I don’t feel any unwanted deflection no matter how stupid hard I rip around corners. If I stomp on the pedals like I was just goosed by Beelzebub, the wheels shoot forward instead of winding up. This is a wheelset I feel comfortable abusing because it just shrugs it off and asks for more.

The width of the rims is kind of a tweener size at 69-70mm (I measured 70mm, they list them at 69mm) internal width, being a bit bigger than a lot of people’s summer/hard conditions wheels (60ish mm wide) and the more common 80’ish mm rims on most people’s fat bikes. Many of the 1st generation 27.5″ tire options such as the Maxxis Minions and Terrene Cake Eaters were pretty narrow and low profile so this rim width is really well matched to that style of tire. Not so narrow that it makes an already skinny tire even more narrow but not so wide that it will flatten out the tread a ton and leave you with your cornering knobs way inboard. I have a pair of the new 3.8″ 45NRTH Van Helgas and also a pair of 4.5″ Cake Eaters to test and both of these tires are a bit bigger than the first generation of “4” inch 27.5 tires. I was stoked to see that they didn’t have too rounded of a profile on these rims.

I have ridden with three different tires on these wheels so far with all of them being tubeless ready tires. Even after blasting through rooty corners, casing jumps and just being a hooligan, I haven’t had any issues with burping or seepage around the beads of the tires.

What to Look for from Fat-Bike.com Down the Trail

I am going to be testing a variety of different tires on this wheelset over the winter so I should get an idea of how they hold up. I should also get a good idea of how this rim width works in a wide variety of conditions. Another factor I will be interested in is how well the tubeless setup works in a variety of temperatures. A few friends have been rocking the 26″ carbon PUB wheels and have had tubeless issues when temperatures vary greatly over a narrow period of time. We were never able to determine if it may be a design flaw in the wheelset or if it was something they did (too little sealant, burped a tire and didn’t realize it…) so I will be paying close attention to that aspect of these wheels.

You can check out more about the wheels at the Framed website.