The Art of Staying Light and Fat – Whisky No.9 76W rims
Written by Adam Blake, Photos by Gomez
If you’ve read some of my recent gear reviews, you know that I am very much into carbon rims on basically every bike I ride. I like that they add liveliness and responsiveness to my steeds that I just can’t get from alloy rims…at least not at a similar weight.
I’m currently on the 27.5×3.8/4” platform and there just weren’t a ton of major producers who had gotten into the 27.5” fat carbon rim game. Enter Whisky Components and their redesigned No.9 76W rim. Immediately I saw that the graphic layout had become larger, but I liked that the graphics stayed fairly stealthy and that the overall rim shape changed tremendously from the first generation Whisky rims I was used to seeing. Contrary to the triangular rims coming from Cantu, Nextie, and Enve, Whisky opts for a more “bubbly” shape to their rim, and while admittedly I thought it looked a little clunky when bare, once I got a tire on I thought that the overall shape was really nice to look at. I think that they made my Beargrease look as tough as my lime and purple bike can look. I think that they’d make any bike look a little extra bad-ass!
Speaking of getting a tire on… holy cow! Ok, so… forget what you know about tubeless tire installation if you pick up these rims. HEAR ME NOW: I DO NOT RECOMMEND USING A COMPRESSOR TO INFLATE. Yeah, I know, that sounds dumb, but listen: I used a floor pump (a Bontrager on HV setting), seated the first bead at about 5psi, and the second bead popped in so loudly and aggressively at about 7 that I worry that if I had used a compressor I wouldn’t have the touch to gradually add air. Now, I’m not complaining at all. In fact, I really love this, because it seated so easily that I would be willing to change tires DURING A TRIP if I felt like the snow conditions had changed dramatically. Truly, after installing a couple of sets of tires on these rims, I would be confident if you put me in the middle of a field with a floor pump. A small caveat to this is that my rims came taped edge to edge, but I was informed that in addition to included nipple washers and valves, Whisky supplies a 45mm tape (vs the 80 in mine). That should give just a bit of wiggle for tire removal, because of course that better it pops on usually means the harder it is to get off. I think a lot about the ability to remove a fat tire in the cold as a safety consideration. So pack a couple nice plastic tire levers just in case!
The ride of these rims is really nice. I got to spend basically all my time on the rims in 2-8” snow, so while I didn’t rip these wheels on dirt, I was able to push other aspects of the rims like tire/air retention. In snow, the platform functioned exactly as I expected. I will say that my Van Helga profile does seem a bit flatter mounted on these than my other rims, and I attribute that to the additional few millimeters they added internally, getting up to 76 wide vs others at 70-74. I do believe this will reduce some wear on the sidewalls of my tires by letting them flatten vs fold or crimp. It should also allow the tire to protect the rims a little more during a full compression setting aka the dreaded bottom out. I think in snow specifically I like that slightly flatter tire, and a better base for the tire, as I ran pressures as low as 2psi on rides…and I weigh 225lbs.
My rims were built onto DT Swiss 350 hubs- one of the absolute best all-around hubs, with DT Swiss spokes, which falls right in line with products I would personally build these rims with. These are a double wall rim, so while the claimed weight of 660 grams isn’t the lightest, I find confidence and solace in the extra material protection my carbon rim investment. With a set of Berd Spokes, and some lighter weight hubs I am sure you could get sub 2000 grams for the overall wheelset which is still super competitive, and would be an all-season wheelset. Also, while I just used 4” tires, if you were on a bike with enough clearance, this rim would support the 4.5” tires very well too.
The No. 9 76W rims should be coming into stock just after this article is published and I would personally snag a set asap. I would be happy, confident, comfortable, and rowdy riding these rims on every single ride. Whisky is only offering the rims ala cart, and they retail for $550 each, which is in line with most other rims. Support your local bike shop and have them build a set of wheels that’ll be sure to be a kick in the pants and put a smile on your face every time that you ride! They are offered in 32h, 27.5”, have a “300 lb” rider limit, plus a 5-year warranty!
For more information visit – whiskyparts.com