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Review: Dark Horse 29er MTB Wheels

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A true wheel hero!

Locally owned, made internationally, Dark Horse Wheels does South African mountain bikers everywhere proud.


The carbon fibre industry; not exactly a walk in the park, especially for getting your own working formula to create carbon rims. Yet, Dark Horse Wheels exceed expectations and rival some of the biggest names out there.


Carbon rims deluxe…

The main reason I’d buy these rims is for the weight factor. The wheels, complete with tyres and hubs, weigh in at 1.6 kg for the front and 1.75 kg for the back. Of-course this also depends on how much sludge you have in the tyres and weight of the tyres themselves. On our set there was more sludge than usual inside, but we’d rather have a puncture free ride than settle for less sludge. What this weight does, is more than just lessen your total bike weight, but improve handling.

A big factor for carbon fibre is the rate at which it flexes. Some carbon rims end up flexing a little too much on the trail, making you feel less confident on the bike. However, we found the DH 29ers surprisingly stiff. Which in turn upped our confidence on the bike.


Rim Design:

We absolutely loved the design of the rim itself. It forms a perfectly smoothed over upside down V-shape. They’re reasonably narrower than other MTB rims we’ve tested, but this probably only affects balance by a small percentage.

We definitely felt stable with this design, as it can be helpful so that you’re tyre walls don’t give-in on turns.

The racing edge…

With a light weight and original design; we took a look at how the DH 29er performed on a xc bike. In particular, the Cube AMS 100. (In order to test top notch rims, you need a top notch bike!)

Firstly, the colours match any bike. Secondly, it pushes the total aspect of handling up. Thirdly, it lessens overall bike weight.

We could not miss the fact of how these rims make the bike easier to weave and squirm. Seriously, on single track, we shredded, felt confident over every root and rock, and were more stable on berms.

Now, the drag factor on climbs is rapidly reduced thanks to the weight. However, it does cause a somewhat imbalance in the front, since the bike sometimes want to loop up on steep sections. Other than that, superb performance all-track round.

Ours rims were laced to Bitex MTF 15 (front) and MTR 12 (rear) hubs. They really compliment the rim performance and design with immediate strength and durability.


Carbon vs Aluminium…

Inevitably, carbon is and feels stronger than aluminium. We were a bit sceptical on the first ride for strength, but soon realised Dark Horse have it going for themselves in that area.

On the handling side, you feel more confident in turns, therefore maximising speed and saving energy.

The only set-back you have with carbon wheels is the heavy price. The DH 29 Tubeless ready package comes in at R17 499.00. Sure steep price, but with the benefit of hind’s sight, the rims will probably last forever if not involved in a serious accident or something. These Dark Horse Wheels will deliver the best every time! – Guaranteed.


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Bike guide

Built for: Dual Suspension Trail
Year launched: 2022