Grand Bois has re-designed their rims, so that they offer proper fit and support for tires. The new rims provide a great alternative for riders who don’t plan to run their tires tubeless, since they make tire installation easier and more foolproof.
When 650B tires became popular, we noticed that they often did not seat well on the rims. After some research, we realized that many 650B rims were poorly designed, with wells that were too deep to support the tire. The tires had to float (above), being held in place only by the hook on the rim sidewall. There are ways to mitigate this problem, but we stopped selling the Grand Bois rims when we realized that they were affected by this problem. Other companies continued to sell their rims with over-deep wells, and riders have been plagued with the problems of poor tire seating.
We are happy to announce that Grand Bois re-designed their rims to solve this issue. This required a new extrusion die, which is a considerable investment. The photo above shows the new (left) and the old rims. They look almost identical at first sight…
… but when you measure carefully (or draw a line in the photo), you see the difference: The new one (left) has a slightly shallower well than the old one (right). It doesn’t look like much, but it makes the difference between a tire that floats and one that is supported by the rim bed.
We have tested the new rims, and they fit the tires properly. In most cases, you simply install the tire, inflate it, and it runs round and true, without any further manipulation. With the flexible sidewalls of the tires we like so much, you sometimes have to push the bead in place, but it’s easy. This is how it should be.
The redesigned rims are in stock, both in 650B and 700C sizes, with 32 and 36 holes. They have a classic appearance with a rounded box profile that distributes the stress of the spoke tension well. The rims are polished to a high shine. The sidewalls are a little thicker than those of most modern rims, which means you will get a lot more miles out of them.
Unlike “tubeless-ready” rims, the Grand Bois rims have a curved bed, so the tire slides into position as it is inflated. (On “tubeless-ready” rims, the tire bead needs to clear a shoulder in the rim bed.) When the tire is deflated, it automatically moves to the center of the rim well, making it easy to remove. On the samples we tested, we easily could remove our Compass tires without tire levers. The Grand Bois rims are designed for use with cloth rim tape, so they have a little extra room for the thicker rim tape.
In other wheel news, we finally got hammered Grand Bois 650B fenders in stock. Honjo took a long time to make them, but it was worth the wait. Functionally and aesthetically, these fenders are close to perfect. They envelope the tire nicely, and their diameter is a perfect fit for 650B x 42 mm tires without further “adjustment.” The hammered dimples not only give the fender a nice-looking texture, but they also make dents and scratches almost invisible. Like all aluminum fenders, they are ultralight and the rolled edges keep the water inside.