Superstar Carbon Wheels | Fresh Produce

wheels

With most pairs of carbon wheels selling for not much less than two grand it’s no wonder that they’re not yet common place. Some people are even still undecided about whether or not carbon is a suitable material from which to make a rim, but if you’ve ever been lucky to use a pair you’ll know that they really are something special, and despite all our preconceptions they’ve held up better against the rocks than any aluminium rim. Still, no matter how massively strong and super light carbon rims are there are going to be very few people who can afford to shell out the kind of money that most companies are asking for these products.

That’s where Superstar Components come in. If you’ve been living in a cave then basically what these guys do is source, and often design, the best quality components that they can for a given price, and then sell them to us lot directly in order to cut out all those middlemen. The result of course is great products at great prices. Now because of the low prices some people have mistakenly thought that Superstar just sell low end products, but that’s not the case, they sell some proper high-end stuff, as is demonstrated by these new ultra flash carbon wheels.

rim

At just over six hundred quid for the pair these wheels are in a completely different price league to anything else which we’ve seen. And don’t think for one minute that because they’re cheap they’re not decent. I know that Superstar have been working on these wheels for a long time and have visited numerous different factories before settling on the best one which they could find. This factory also makes carbon rims for some of the biggest names in the business, and these ones are made to just the same exacting standards.

rim-quality

The quality of finish really is second to none, especially when you take a look inside the rim. Here you can see that it’s just as neatly finished as the outside, something which can’t be said for some other carbon rims that we’ve seen. We also reckon that Superstar have done a great job with the graphics on these wheels, classy and understated.

These particular rims are Superstar’s first carbon offering and are labelled ‘XC’ but in the very near future we’ll also be seeing an ‘AM’ version. To be honest though it doesn’t sound like it’s the strength you need to worry about, it’s more the fairly narrow 24mm (external) width. Superstar have sent a whole pile of rims to Bath University for testing, both theirs and their competition, and basically although these carry the XC tag they’ve proved to have more than enough strength and stiffness to see you through some serious riding. Rather than wanting to make the lightest possible rims, Superstar have chosen to try and match the weight of lightest aluminium alternative, and then build on strength instead. Sounds good to us.

tesla-hub

Of course a wheelset isn’t just about rims, it’s also about hubs, spokes, and build quality. Thankfully Superstar haven’t cut any corners here either. The hubs are Superstar’s top ‘Tesla’ offerings which are both lightweight and very high quality. All the bearing are top-spec from SKF and the freehub body offers 60 points of engagement for a rapid pick-up. They can also be run with all the usual axle sizes, you simply choose which one you want to start with and then if need be for a few quid you can easily change them to another axle size at a later date.

tesla-front

Again we reckon Superstar have done a good job with the graphics, and they couldn’t have chosen to use any better spokes either. The Sapim CX Ray spokes that are used in these wheels are quite simply incredible. They’re unbelievably light and incredibly strong. If I was building an ultimate set of wheels these are without question the spokes I would use. Why don’t we some more of them if they’re so good? Simply because you’re looking at around £80 per wheel just for spokes! Even though I know all the middlemen that Superstar are cutting out with their products I am still amazed that they can offer these kind of prices when they’re using such high quality components.

The final piece of the puzzle is build quality and we have to say that this is something that we have always been very impressed with when it comes to Superstar wheels, they know what they’re doing. The fact that they’re now offering a free lifetime truing warranty is testament to the fact that they’re confident about what they doing too. On top of that warranty, if you do somehow manage to trash your rims in a big crash it’s not the end of the world either because for £150 (half the retail price of the rim alone) they’ll completely rebuild your wheel with a new rim and spokes! That’s nothing short of an incredible deal.

So there you have it, the future of carbon wheels. We can’t wait to get hold of a pair of the forthcoming AM ones (which will even come tubeless ready), but in the mean time we reckon a load of riders are going to be seriously tempted to try out a set of these XC ones which come in both 26 and 29″ versions. With the incredible stiffness that they offer we reckon these will prove to be even more beneficial in the larger size.

Price: £629.10
Weights: Rims 350g (26″), 380g (29″), Wheelsets 1600g (26″), 1680g (29″)
www.superstarcomponents.com

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  1. Eoin

    From their site: XC rims are 350g, AM ones will be 430g with 24mm internal width. That is absolutely bang on. Saving up for a pair starting now.

    1. dirt dodger

      hell, even i am tempted :-)

  2. Cool Hand Luke

    Yip, thats more like it. never mind 2k wheelsets

  3. scant

    are they going to make a 650b version?

    1. Hancock

      Who knows, but they’re already doing two sets of 650 alloy wheels (one with Pacenti rims, the other with own brand), so there’s hope.

  4. Hermes

    With 1600g ist should be the AM version i think. Not an amazing weight.

  5. Jason

    That is over 1000 US dollars.

  6. Jus

    When’s the downhill set out?

  7. jimmyfids

    crossmax ST are the same sort of weight and price. I know which I’d be buying

    1. Eoin

      STs are brilliant, but if the AM version are a bit stiffer, wider and stronger then they would basically be equivalent to crossmax SXs at a lower weight than STs.

  8. Ed

    As I said in the post, Superstar haven’t aimed for the lowest possible weight, instead they’ve gone for ultimate strength. I mean they’ve even stuck with a decent number of spokes (32). I reckon these will take a hell of a lot more of a pasting that a set of ST’s, but only time will tell…in my eyes though the fact that you’ll be able to find a replacement spoke for these anywhere is a major plus point (ok, maybe not a CX Ray, but any standard spoke will fit).

  9. Tom KP

    I’ve been impressed with all Superstar products so far apart from their Kevlar (wore out in about 6 hours ridig) and sintered brake pads (noisiest thing I’ve ever heard) and I’ve bought several wheelsets from them and they e been bombproof.
    Can’t wait to try a set of the AM wheels later in the year

  10. terrid

    EVERYTHING I’ve bought from Superstar has broken. They’re not getting any more of my cash. Livid.

  11. Fruity

    I’ve spent a few quid with them in the past, and have never been let down. Yet another expensive component to consider for my 4x bike :)

  12. GeeTee

    Besides all the comments about weight, the biggest benefit of carbon rims I think is how stiff they are. If these aren’t being built to be the lightest then apart from being the strongest, they will also be the stiffest.

    Amazing what they’ve done. Little bit gutted that I dropped on a set off Enve AMs now only last month.

  13. Mr B

    Made in the same factory as other wheels but less tham half the price? Sounds too good to be true. Everyone I know who has had superstar wheels has had bearing problems. Once you upgrade the bearings to a set of quality ones you are fine but then your cost saving disapears. Are there any corners cut here? Surely one to watch though.

  14. Gogzee

    Once again goes to show that we are being shafted by the big boys. Superstar deserve our business on principle alone. I have had two wheel sets and have friends with Nanotech pedals and none of us have had any problems

    1. mrsmythe

      Its not that we are being shatfed by the big boys, it’s simply that Superstar have removed two layers of business, the distributors/importers and the shops, between us, the consumer, and them, the manufacturer. Its the same sales model that Canyon and YT Industries use, hence the much lower prices that others selling similar products.

      Given most of us these days buy our mountain bikes, parts, clothes, etc online, this sales model is likely to increase.

      Chain Reaction Cycles needs to implement a similar sales model for their Nukeproof brand. Whats the point in them, the biggest bike shop in the world, providing other shops with their bikes (certainly in the UK) when they could sell them direct from chainreactioncycles.com for an even lower price.

      1. mrB

        I’d guess that the point is that it helps to keep the industry alive by having shops that can help newcomers to the industry as local point of contact and advice when buying new bikes and kit. Where can I test-ride a YT? However as you say this does come at some level of cost to the consumer, also I don’t often use my LBS anymore because their staff don’t have the knowledge that they should.

  15. OSG

    I agree with Terrid, everything I’ve bought from SuperStar I’ve ended up replacing shortly after with the product I should have bought. Grips, pedals, brake discs, everything.

    I won’t be taking the risk on a pair of wheels.

  16. Snork

    Never had any issues with their stuff – Kevlar pads are still going strong, their stems are top notch and cost next to nothing and i’ve had a couple of sets of lock on grips which are quality.

    No reason to believe these rims won’t be anything less than top quality.

  17. Creagdhu

    Have to agree with others on the quality, i’ve never had any issues. I can only guess that the kevlar pads weren’t ‘tempered’ as superstar advise – I’ve used these extensively in Morzine and Fort Bill (every weekend in the summer) and had no issues with longevity – maybe brake less!!
    As for the wheels, have had two pairs which generally last 1 summer season of abuse at Fort Bill – more than the 1.5 days that the Sunn/Nukeproof wheelset did. Superstar have always backed up the price with excellent customer service.

  18. Eoin

    Personally have been happy with their brake pads, pedals and singlespeed kits. Had to deal with them once when spring snapped in my chain tensioner and they sent me 2 spares for free very fast. One negative was a pressfit BB, which literally exploded it’s bearings on the first ride. The cost of shipping it back was the same as getting a replacement somewhere else.

  19. PN

    Had pedals, stems, brake pads, rotors, brake adapters, grips and tools from Superstar over the last couple of years. All have been very good quality, lasted well and the price couldn’t be beaten.

    Very interested in a set of AM wheels at this price.

  20. Andy Nelson

    All the Superstar stuff I have got has worked brilliantly and lasted very well.

    My enduro race bike last season had their Flatland 780 bars, grips, hoses, brake pads, saddle, KS seatpost and wheels (Alex Rims Supra 30 on Switch hubs), as well as floating rotors.

    Everything worked perfectly all season despite some savage racing at SuperEnduro rounds and in the Alps. All I have done is pop in new hub bearings, but you are talking pence from a bearing supplier.

    Looking forward to getting a set of the AM versions of these for this season….

  21. robert paulson

    bike shops as a business model just as dead as HMV? Its nice to pop in for a chat and all that but for a 300% mark up? (yes i know that isn’t what you get when you sell a trek/giant/santa cruz). Surely everyone is going to be riding YT/superstar/canyon in a few years with these kind of savings

  22. panzer
  23. Gabe

    quality is second to none? Come on Dirt, thats just not true is it? Quality may be extremely good for the price, but these are not the best quality carbon rims money can buy. for one thing the spoke holes are drilled. Did they build in any reinforcment round the nipple hole before drilling i wonder? Im not saying these are crap in any way. but second to none? is this a genuine review or a paid for superstar advert?

    p.s. I work in a bike shop. I have fitted many superstar parts. In my honest opinion, they need better quality control. i have sent away more than one customer unhappy after pointing out a defect in a superstar part they brought in for fitting. In my eyes they are good, but no better than any other tiawanese catalogue brand out there. Thats the good thing about middle men. we want to sell you the right product for you not just the product we’ve just bought 10’000 of from some factory we’ve never even seen.and we will tell you if something isn’t up to the job.rather than try and hide it behind pretty anodizing and nice stickers. At least thats how it works in my shop….maybe if we only did web sales and didnt have to see the sad look of a customer whos just forked out their hard earned cash for some brightly coloured poorly made crap, then we wouldn’t care so much….

  24. Gabe

    p.p.s. just noticed in the close up that front hub is laced backwards…..

    1. Mr B

      Well spotted, and proof in my opinion that a good bike shop is worth paying that little extra for.

  25. Jan

    I’d rather have a pair of SX mavics over these any day of the week …. With the MP3 package costing 48 quid > against the 150quid these jokers are asking!!!! lol

  26. Dave

    All superstars products stink of what happened to DMR when Wellgo started ripping of the V8/V12 pedals back in the day… Bike companies who pay for the development of new parts need to start getting their work on lock down so companies like SuperPoop can’t pay them off far east factories to copy work for them – Make SuperPoop develop their own products rather than just picking the colours they want!

    1. Sid

      Actually, I think you’ll find wellgo made the original V12 for Dmr. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Dmr rules, as does superstar…

  27. Superstar Components Ltd

    Hello its Neil from Superstar here.

    Just to clear something up. The products which we originally sold were open models so anyone could buy them, the other brands just did the same as us and relabel a standard product. They didn’t develop them or put any IP into them, so there was nothing to copy from other brands. If they don’t like it then they need to design their own parts.

    Now we are much larger you will see a lot of our product is designed by us so is unique to Superstar, and often has better specs and quality than other brands. A good example is the Tesla hubs, we have a OE account with SKF Europe and send the bearings to Taiwan for them to fit in the hub which we designed the body for. Step number 2 is we are going to make more in the UK, we have just invested over £400,000 in new machinery so we can start making parts 30metres from my desk…

    On the carbon rim side of things, ive been to the factory in person and I know who else they make for. I could have knocked out cheapo carbon rims for less than half the price, but the quality was rubbish in comparison to these. We are about to release an independent report by Bath Uni Labs, where they have scientifically benchmarked them against the market leading alloy rim and a cheap Chinese rim. Ive got the draft copy and it makes some interesting reading, especially the cut through sections which we analysed the layup of the rims for quality differences.

    The spoke holes are drilled and you will see from the sections this is designed into the construction of the rims. In testing when we have completely broken the back of the rim, there is a specific layer (7 layers of carbon infact) which stops a failed rim breaking apart, so although the ENVE review on pinkbike was a bit stupid (who rides a product which is obviously damaged severely?) I doubt that kind of failure would happen to our rims.

    As for service, if you have a problem you need to contact us. We try our hardest to help. If you buy any of our wheelsets, (even the £130 ones) you get free truing for life and crash replacement prices on your rims. Try asking another brand or shop for that….

    Any questions fire them over, Neil

    1. Andy Nelson

      Can’t say fairer than that Neil!

      “Munro” – easy to be brave behind a keyboard my friend. I have met Neil in person on an uplift day and I think you might actually be confusing him with someone else. Top fella, good laugh and clearly knows his stuff.

      And before you throw any accusations, no I do not work for Superstar or get free bits. I’ve bought, paid for and ridden SS parts completely off my own back, and when I needed some tech support (very specific and quite geeky questions relating to a wheelbuild), he was exceptionally helpful.

      And remember – you are not “entitled” to a refund. Your statutory rights allow this only if the product or service has been proven to be at fault. Sadly the Watchdog generation think it’s ok to try and bully people. And your tirade of abuse on here rather lets you down my friend. Try being polite, pleasant and nice, and you will get better results in life. Sadly, it looks like your angry outbursts burnt this particular bridge for you…..

      Anyways, I’m off to order some more stuff! :-)

    2. Gabe

      Soon to be making your own products, in your own factory, in the uk? Im liking the sound of this. 400k on machinery won’t go too far tho… i take it u’ll be making small runs of super high end kit in uk, while maintaning the cheaper kit from taiwanese, modified open models? cant argue with that, sounds like the beginnings of what could be a uk company to be proud of :) i still reckon that wheels laced backwards tho…

      any room for a wheelbuilding geek over at superstar???i make good tea too…

    3. Mr B

      I commented earlier about problems with superstar bearings. If Superstar have gone from taiwanese catalogue to SKF then my concerns have vanished, I have experience of SKF bearings in previous jobs and can confirm they there quality is up there with the best.

  28. munro

    Neil,

    You are still the most despicable, lousy and unpleasant man I have EVER had the horror of dealing with in the entire bicycle industry. As a customer your entire business model seems to be “sell at all costs, balls to back up”. You have accused customers of being liars and refused to refund money.

    You are a disgrace to the industry, and not because of your business model.

    1. Sid

      HAHAHA, someone’s got a chip on their shoulder, haven’t they? Shame it just comes across as hateful shit talk though… and you don’t sound too pleasant yourself ‘munro’… what goes around comes around.

  29. dirt dodger

    munro – wow. strong words but if you want to be taken seriously i suggest that this is not the forum to announce your hatred – tried PB? I hear they take notice much more over there.

  30. Neil wilkinson

    Hello we are taking on staff at the moment and pay fair wages in comparison to the norm. Send in your CV if your local to Lincoln.

    The wheel is laced up F2 3x pattern as per the Standard way of doing builds. It would be laced on our holland mechanics ISL lacer by hand. Same machine hope uses, it is impossible to do it wrong on it. Some people talk about lacing direction making a difference but it’s a cantilever so it makes no difference if you ask an engineer.

    Munro I don’t know who you are or what the problem is?

    Any questions let me know Neil

  31. angus

    Hi Neil/Superstar, is there any talk of a DH carbon rim in the works?

  32. Neil wilkinson

    Am rim should be here for spring and it’s our own tooling so it exclusive to superstar. Think stans flow ex but 30% lighter.

    Dh specific rim is a little too niche at the moment along with 650b but we will see how things go. Tooling is £12,000 per size so we need to sell hundreds of rims to make niche parts work

    The uk machining will be for general production and also specials. It will be worth the wait and not much difference in cost to our current range.

    Neil Superstar

  33. Gabe

    I take it by f2 you mean the arrangment of the holes in the rim? that really does make no difference whatsoever. As for direction of lacing I always put the spokes that will be subjected to the most load on the outside of the flange. (e.g. leading spokes outside on a front disc wheel/trailing spokes outside on a trials rear wheel running rim brakes). Essentially my theory on this is that when you apply torque through the hub, the spokes transferring the load to the rim being on the outside of the hub makes the flanges appear to be a millimeter or so further apart during the load, whereas the loaded spokes being on the inside will make the flanges appear closer together. The differences are miniscule I admit but I believe they are there. Saying that “it’s a cantilever so it makes no difference if you ask an engineer” only really works when the hub is applying no torque to the rim (eg a front wheel running rim brakes). This is only my personal theory and I am quite willing to be corrected, but i think im right.

    Unfortunately I am not local to lincoln. I wish i was. I would love to move from selling parts to making parts.

  34. Neil wilkinson

    The point of load is in the centre of the spoke hole. How the spoke gets there is irrelevant. Otherwise things like ski lifts wouldn’t work. Plus spokes work under tension all at the same time, you cannot isolate individual spokes. F2 arrangement is the spoke hole format and dictates the direction of the spokes to keep the valve hole free.

    Neil superstar

    1. Gabe

      The point of load is not the center of the spoke hole. It is the first point of contact between the spoke and the hole. generally this is somewhere along the radius of the inside of the “elbow” which then pulls against the head of the spoke creating a sort of tangential force making the load appear to come from the center of the flange. For the sake of argument, imagine a radial laced wheel with flanges an inch thick. It would be very hard to argue that the lateral stiffness of the wheel would be unaffected by the spokes being laced inside or outside of the flanges. I know that in reality flanges are not an inch thick, but they are not 2 dimensional either. I agree that the route taken by the spoke between the rim and hub is irrelevant (given an infinitely stiff spoke) but the positioning of the various points of contact is not.

      Spokes under tension do work all at the same time when facing any load in a straight line. Not so much when under rotational loads. When braking with a disc brake, the leading spokes increase in tension, with a matching decrease in tension of the trailing spokes. the whole wheel still works as a unit, but more of the load is applied to the leading spokes.The points of contact between the spokes taking the most load and the hub should be as far apart as possible, for a slight improvment in lateral stiffness under braking.

      Gabe (wishes he could was a) superstar

  35. Dave

    At the end of the day- Superstar are still and will always be the Skoda of the bike world….You can’t shake the monkey! They might make the occasional ‘ok’ product… but in reality I wouldn’t want any of their parts on any of my bikes! :)

  36. Gabe

    could was? oops, meant “could be”

  37. gabe

    awww. i was enjoying that little discussion….

X

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