New Shimano XTR Tubular Carbon Wheels

As I was checking out the latest and greatest bikes from Niner, I spotted something entirely new on one of their bikes:

Brand-new carbon XTR rims from Shimano!

A little digging around reveals that these are a brand-new tubular mountain bike wheel setup. The wheels I spotted were running a Schwalbe Racing Ralph tubular tire. Word on the street is that each rim weighs in at a scant 280 grams.

While tubular hasn’t been very big in the mountain bike scene up until now, with this high-end wheel support from Shimano, we might be seeing more dedicated XC racers running tubular setups in the near future. Never mind that tubular wheels can be a royal PITA to deal with, any possible weight savings and performance advantage can make a difference at the upper echelons of the race scene.