Review by Matt Thompson
photos/video by Kevin Shiramizu


I’m not what one would consider a flag-waving, “U-S-A”-chanting American. Typically I don’t get too fired up about patriotic causes and such. I’d be a damned liar, though, if said I didn’t get a small swell of pride when I recently took possession of a set of Elite hubs made by Profile Racing. Anodized a deep red and oozing style, these beauties are synonymous with what American manufacturing used to be known for – quality. Profile is surely still carrying that torch. I truly couldn’t wait to mount these babies on my steed and show them off. The hubs I received were a 20mm thru-axle front, and a 135mm bolt-on rear with innumerable (204 to be exact) pickups. These 32-hole, blood-red demons were mounted up to Sun-Ringle MTX 29 rims via Wheelsmith spokes. While I have plenty of experience with the high quality of MTX 29s, I had never had the opportunity to run anything made by Profile and was looking forward to it. On the Dirt Jumper
Being as Profile started out in the BMX world, I thought it only just that I mounted these wheels up to the dirt jumper for a few weeks to see how they fared.  If you read my prior review on another wheelset, you’ll remember I’m neither smooth, nor light on the bike. Dirt jumping yields no exception. Sometimes this results in the odd case, sidewards landing, or mid-air ditch. Nothing too unusual from what happens at any good set of trails, I reckon.
     Impressions here are simple. The hubs run so smoothly, it’s ridiculous. They obviously contain a very high quality set of bearings there-in. I often found myself giving a little brake check into certain turns as my pace was higher than expected. We had a set of runners. After a month of thrashing about, casing stuff, and several crashes, there was no sign of wear or fatigue anywhere. No surprise that the MTXs held up either. Didn’t even need a true. Time for some all-mountaining.

On the Trail Bike
After a few weeks on the dirt jumper, I mounted the Elites up to my Santa Cruz Nomad to see how they’d perform. Full disclosure, I started smashing shit and treating these wheels as badly as possible. I wanted to see if I could hurt them. This is also about the time I started leaving my bike outside all day to see how stuff held up in the sun. It’s always been like a goathead in my chamois when I get awesome anodized parts to put on my bike and they quickly fade in the sun. There’s nothing worse than watching your dope red stuff turn pink after a few hours left outside. Most assuredly, this was not the case with the Profile Elite hubs as they are still just as red as when I received them. Quality, indeed.
     I started taking my Nomad on all the black tracks at the SolVista Bike Park and rode as if I were on a full-blown dh rig. Rocks, big-ass jumps, dust, mud, drops, you name it, these wheels got the treatment and they performed with aplomb. Despite repeatedly slamming my bike into deep, near-vertical berms, I could not get the rear wheel to slip in the dropout and really appreciated the added stiffness of the bolt-thru. Big, 10mm bolts look burly too. I like that. No worries and no problems after a month of downhilling.

In the Start Gate
Recently, I signed up for a 4X race to test what I knew would be the shining moment for the rear hub. Immediately upon getting in the gate, I understood the importance of the engagement of the hub. It was easy to get my pedals in the perfect spot to maximize my start. This had been a major complaint of other hubs I’d used in the past. Starts were awesome with these hubs. I experienced an immediate transfer of power that I hadn’t felt since riding my kx450f (alright, it wasn’t THAT immediate). If I was a seasoned 4x racer, this would have to be the hub I used on my race bike. It was magic. All was not golden though, I did have a couple issues. Initially, the rear hub came with an incorrect end cap on the drive-side that prevented a proper mounting of a cassette. A quick call to Profile and the next day saw the correct part delivered to my door. Also, both wheels came built out of dish. Though this surely didn’t affect the performance of the hubs, I found it odd. Lastly, while bringing the front wheel into dish, I had a nipple split in half on me. First time for me with that one. None of these issues should reflect on the performance of the hubs at all.
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Conclusion
The Profile Elite hubset I tested was, in one word, stupendous. I have yet to find fault in any aspect of the performance of this ultra-high quality, American made product. Forced to nitpick, I would mention that there are those occasionally annoyed by the somewhat obnoxious whir caused by the freehub. At the trails, I quickly earned the nickname, the Rattlesnake. No bother to me at all. Likely purchasers of this product are those seeking the best products money can buy, aficionados of all things bling, or serious racers wanting a palpable performance advantage. Doesn’t that just about describe every one of you?

Profile Racing Elite Front Hubs are convertible between 10mm QR/bolt, 15mm and 20mm thru axle, 32 (tested) or 36 hole. $206.95

Profile Racing Elite Rear Hubs are only available in 10x135 QR, 10x135 bolt-on (tested), 12x142 and 12x150 rear axle configurations. 9 and 10-speed compatible, 32 (tested) or 36 hole. $449.95

For more information on Profile Elite MTB Hubs, visit www.profileracing.com
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