Atomlab Superlite SL 26 Wheelset

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They sing like cicadas

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Sweet engagement, stiff and light.

The Bad:

Takes you places you maybe shouldn't go

Overall Review:

I had been hearing about these wheels from the local shop guys for months. I'd heard the talk of mutiple pawls, the lightweight, stiff build, increased contact points, added bearings, and the song of those pawls ratcheting as they blazed down the trail behind me, goading me to ride faster to escape the buzz, like a group of cicadas shaking off their skins. So when I got an offer to demo them for myself, I jumped at the chance.

I decided to head out to a series of local trails with lots of technical climbing that would present the perfect tests. I started on Barrel Roll, a steady 2-mile climb. I didn't notice much difference here except the slightly louder noise of the rear hub whenever I quit pedaling.

Next came the Sidewinder trail, 2 miles of boulder-strewn, technical climbing. Here is

Overall Review:

I had been hearing about these wheels from the local shop guys for months. I'd heard the talk of mutiple pawls, the lightweight, stiff build, increased contact points, added bearings, and the song of those pawls ratcheting as they blazed down the trail behind me, goading me to ride faster to escape the buzz, like a group of cicadas shaking off their skins. So when I got an offer to demo them for myself, I jumped at the chance.

I decided to head out to a series of local trails with lots of technical climbing that would present the perfect tests. I started on Barrel Roll, a steady 2-mile climb. I didn't notice much difference here except the slightly louder noise of the rear hub whenever I quit pedaling.

Next came the Sidewinder trail, 2 miles of boulder-strewn, technical climbing. Here is where the differences became apparent. The first thing I noticed was that my back wheel kept breaking free as I powered through short, tricky sections. It seemed that the instant engagement of the free wheel was too much for my tire to handle, and it would break free. I lowered my pressure from my usual 25 psi to 23 psi, and this problem was solved. Now each time I pedaled, power was instantly transferred to the back wheel, my tire gripped, and over the ledges and boulders I went. I really enjoyed this instant engagement as I had to pull and wheelie though multiple rock gardens and up stair-step climb after climb.

The last section of this trail series would be the true test: the Suicidal Tendency trail. Aptly named for its tight, technical and exposed switch backs. I have heard many riders say that this section is unridable but I knew this not to be the case as I had seen a few courageous and skilled riders clean this section. In fact I myself, at one time or another, had ridden every turn, but never been able to string those successes together in one ride. Would today be the day? Was it skill that made it possible? Would this new wheelset make the difference? With each successful switchback my confidence grew, but the turns also got tighter, looser and steeper as I went. The final turn is so tight that it requires hop turning like Hans Rey, followed by a massive burst of power to climb a 30-foot slab of trail so steep it is nearly a wall, all the while pulling as hard as you can on your handle bars to keep traction on your rear wheel. The Atomlab did not disappoint. As soon as I hopped my bike around to face the wall, and mashed the pedals, I was on the move. My legs and lungs screamed out in pain with the work I was asking of them. As I crested the top of the climb I could not contain the joy from my success, and screamed out myself, at the accomplishment that was years in the making.

Once I turned and headed down hill, the smooth rolling and stiff wheels made the descent a dream. All the way back to the car, I relished the sweet song of the cicadas singing out victory at having cleaned Suicidal's switchbacks. When it comes time to upgrade your oem wheels or building your dream sled from the ground up, these wheels are one sweet ride.

Quick Engagement, Fast Wheelset

Rating:
The Good:

Super Light, Fast, Strong, and Quick Engagement.

The Bad:

Apparently attracts K-9's...

Overall Review:

I decided to ride a local trail called Zen to test out my new Atomlab Superlite SL wheels. I had much anticipation with the 102 Rear hub. I upgraded my own personal bike a few years back and went from 15 degrees of engagement on the free hub to 7.5 degrees cutting it in half.. So needless to say when upon learning about the Atomlab 102 Rear hub offered 3.5 degrees I was intrigued and had to have a pair.

Upon arrival of my new wheel set I proceeded to install my tires and set them up tubeless which was very easy...no complications and the Kenda Nevegal tires seated up without fail... The Atomlab wheels are light but don't sacrifice strength. The Zen trail starts out with about a mile long hill with switch backs. Being out of shape with the winter I was glad to have a lighter wheel set to

Overall Review:

I decided to ride a local trail called Zen to test out my new Atomlab Superlite SL wheels. I had much anticipation with the 102 Rear hub. I upgraded my own personal bike a few years back and went from 15 degrees of engagement on the free hub to 7.5 degrees cutting it in half.. So needless to say when upon learning about the Atomlab 102 Rear hub offered 3.5 degrees I was intrigued and had to have a pair.

Upon arrival of my new wheel set I proceeded to install my tires and set them up tubeless which was very easy...no complications and the Kenda Nevegal tires seated up without fail... The Atomlab wheels are light but don't sacrifice strength. The Zen trail starts out with about a mile long hill with switch backs. Being out of shape with the winter I was glad to have a lighter wheel set to conquer the climb. I quickly adjusted to them and was surprised in there ability to maneuver around obstacles. I chose to ride the Zen trail because it offer's a wide variety of various terrain from single track to technical and a bit of down hill. It was in the technical sections I really appreciated the quick engagement. I was able to pop my front wheel up with ninja like speed and get over obstacles easier. I also had to use my brakes more often on the downhill sections to shed speed since the wheels felt faster than my previous wheels...All in all I really like what Atomlabs wheels offer... Light, Stiff, Fast, and quick engagement... I checked the straightness of the wheels after my ride and they where spot on... I was a little surprised reading Vitals review of the bigger brother to my wheels and their complaint about the proprietary nipples Atomlab uses. I welcomed the bigger nipple since my 17 years of experience in the industry I have seen many nipples fail. If that is their only complaint - I wouldn't worry. Looking at the industry as  a whole most wheel manufactures have a proprietary part in there design whether it be the nipples or spokes... And from my experience you aren't going to have to true the wheels very often if at all anyways.... If you are looking for a wheel set that is priced right, light, fast, and durable you need to check out what Atomlab offers, I am recommending them to my customers.

The bad was being bit by a dog at the end of my ride.  So, spray them with dog repellent and you should be good to go!

Specifications

Product Atomlab Superlite SL 26 Wheelset
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail, Other
Wheel Size 26"
Rim Material Aluminum
Rim Atomlab Superlite SL
Inner Rim Width
Hole Count 32
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Rear Hub Atomlab Pimplite 12x135mm
Rear Axle 12mm x 135mm
Front Hub Atomlab Pimplite 15mm
Front Axle
Disc Mount Type
Spokes Double Butted
Nipples Atomlab Torque
Colors Black
Weight 3 lb 12.3 oz (1,710 g)
Miscellaneous
Price $689.95
More Info

 www.atomlab.com

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