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Sea Otter: Syncros takes XC seriously with one-piece wheels

MONTEREY, California (VN) — Is XC making a comeback? Given how much cross-country tech lurking at Sea Otter this year, that may be the case. Syncros punctuates that XC resurgence with its ultralight carbon, one-piece Syncros Silverton SL wheels.

The rims, spokes, and hub flanges are all molded as one piece in an eight-section mold (early mold iterations had 34 pieces, indicative of the complexity required in creating such a wheel). The hub shell is then inserted between the flanges, but not before the flanges are pulled aside up to 2.5mm. This serves the dual purpose of pre-tensioning the spokes as well.

Syncros engineers aimed to make an incredibly light wheelset that also increased lateral stiffness and durability. It seems the company succeeded on all fronts: The Silverton SL wheels weigh a scant 1,250 grams, and according to head of engineering Benoit Grelier, the carbon spokes are 35 percent stronger than steel spokes.

The spokes cross, but not in a traditional sense. Instead, the carbon fibers of each spoke are woven together; you won’t see any thickness changes where the spokes overlap. And opposite spokes are continuously woven to further increase strength. At the junction with the rim, a large anchor design adds durability. And since the spokes cross from the hub flange to the opposite side of the rim, Syncros avoids any sharp bends and angles that could compromise the strength of the carbon construction.

Further, Syncros made a concerted effort to lighten the rim as much as possible to increase responsiveness. This essentially lowers the moment of inertia, which is the force you’ll need to overcome to get your wheels rolling. That’s coupled with DT Swiss 190 ceramic hub internals.

On the dirt, all those details should translate to more responsiveness, faster acceleration, and precision steering. To further that cause, the rims are a wide 26mm (31mm outer rim width) and 35 millimeters deep. The wheels are tubeless-ready and are Boost compatible. A hookless rim design further reduces weight.

These are, of course, race-specific wheels, so while they’re billed as exceptionally durable wheels, you probably won’t want these $3,500 beauties to be your daily drivers. The Silverton SL wheels will be on Scott’s Scale and Spark cross-country bikes at the RC and SL levels. They’ll be available in September.

Syncros also offers a more economical XC wheelset in the Silverton 1.0. These wheels don’t feature the same construction as the Silverton SL wheels; instead, a more traditional spoke and nipple design is used to help lower the price point to $1,700. Trail and enduro riders also get a new wheelset option in the Revelstoke 1.0 wheels, which will also cost $1,700 and feature a more traditional wheel design.

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