The Syntace W-35 MX wheelset is the middle child in the lineup featuring a 28.5mm internal width and 35mm outer width. Also available is a W-30 and W-40 with 24.5mm and 33.5mm inner widths respectively.
Syntace set out to produce a set of wide aluminium rims which were light enough for cross country use but still durable enough for trail to all-mountain riding. In their words the wheels are "for everything but downhill". Their approach is all about function over form and it’s evident when looking at the wheels. That’s not to say they are bad looking, but just uncomplicated and understated. Branding is minimal and spokes are plenty. Why? Because they would rather have more spokes bearing the load in case of a breakage on the trail.
At the centre of these hoops are the Syntace HiTorque MX hubs. From a glance you get the impression that these are robust and Syntace’s product pages aren’t shy to say as much. The rims are made from a custom high strength alloy which is cold worked and heat treated.The beefy looking hubs feature reinforced flanges matching the spoke angle to reduce stress. On the rear a Spur gearing system runs in place of more commonly used pawls. Syntace reckon this provides a far more resilient freewheel mechanism requiring less maintenance and providing far better engagement.
- Weigh (Front)830 g (26"" ISO 559, 32 hole)
883 g (27.5"" ISO 584, 32 hole)
938 g (29"" ISO 622, 32 hole)
- Weight (Rear)875 g (26'' ISO 559, 32 hole)
923 g (27.5'' ISO 584, 32 hole)
969 g (29'' ISO 622, 32 hole)
- Rim width (outer)35mm
- Rim width (inner)28.5mm
- Disc standard6 hole
- Front HubHiTorque MX Front 15
- Rear HubHiTorque MX Rear
- Spokes32 pcs triple butted, black
- Max Weight120kg
- Wheelset PriceR17,500
- Rim PriceR2,500
From the Manufacturer
On the trail
On the bike the first thing noticeable is how much more beefy your tyres look thanks to the wide profile. The combination of the visually wider profile, added air volume and more stable rim-tyre interface create a very secure feeling.
Very often manufacturers claims seem a bit “fluffy, but here the increase in precision thanks to improved lateral stability of the tyre is remarkable. While confidence inspiring, the larger contact patch caused some concern regarding rolling resistance, but if anything it felt better than my usual “skinny” rims in both climbs and descents.
During initial testing I ran these at my usual 1.6 bar to get a feel for them. On hard packed dirt roads and trails they rolled well and felt assuredly grippy. On the bumpier stuff and loose rocky or rooted descents I dropped the pressure to about 1.4 bar. The softer ride combined with the wider profile ride provides a fatbikeesque feel in terms of ride quality, but without the oafish handling. At around 75kg, I found my sweet spot was in the 1.4-1.6 bar range.
At 1,907g for the 29" set they are on the heavier side of the aluminium cross country wheel spectrum, but about on par with more trail / all mountain oriented wheels. However, given the altered tyre profile Syntace believe the weight penalty can be offset by the reduced need for heavy, reinforced sidewall tyres.
If you’re a fan of loud hubs then you’ll love these. The spur gears are quite vocal. Let’s just say the need for a trail bell is no more, they do the talking for you, in a very German, mechanical sort of way.
These wheels are all about precision and function. Although our test was short we got the feeling these wheels would be ones to last and Syntace’s 10 year warranty backs this up. And a good thing that, as the price isn’t cheap. At R 17,500 for the set you’ll no doubt be comparing with carbon competitors, though at this width and weight there aren’t too many options. The price does seem on the steep side for an aluminium wheelset, but pick any top end hub set, add quality wide rims, spokes and some labour and you’ll be in a similar neighbourhood.
If you are in the market for some high-end super wide, but still reasonably light wheels give these a look. They’re not carbon, nor do they have flashy decals, but they are a solid set of top quality wheels with too many technical touches to cover here.