At first glance, the new Syncros Silverton SL wheelset looks like something from the future. Or perhaps, something from the weird world of road biking. But it turns out this one-piece carbon wheelset is designed specifically for mountain bikers, especially those in a hurry to cross the finish line.

Essentially, the Silverton SL wheelset fuses a carbon rim with carbon spokes connected to a carbon hub shell. The one-piece design allows Syncros to do interesting things like having a single spoke run from rim to rim, and carbon fibers that are woven together where spokes cross. Each part of the design has been highly optimized, from the number of spokes (20) to the rim profile and even the shape of the spoke ends where they are bonded to the rim.

The upshot to all this engineering and design is the wheels are twice as torsionally stiff and 30% more laterally stiff than enve m50 and DT Swiss XRC 1200 wheels. Not only that, the entire wheelset (front and back wheels) weighs just 1250g. Stiffness, paired with light weight, should translate into excellent power transmission, improved acceleration, and better cornering and steering precision.  The maximum system weight (rider + bike) for the Silverton SL wheelset is capped at 130kg (about 286lbs.).

Make no mistake, this mountain bike wheelset is made for racing, XC racing to be precise. Syncros claims the Silverton SL is “simply the fastest XC wheelset in mountain biking” and with sponsored riders like Nino Schurter set to race on these wheels, it probably won’t be long before that claim is fully substantiated.

One of the product engineers explaining how the Silverton SL wheels were designed and constructed.

To make the Silverton SL wheelset a reality, Syncros had to design a mold and layup system unlike anything that has been seen before. The company finally settled on an 8-piece mold system, down from 20+ pieces.

Well, this is all well and good, but armchair engineers want to know: what about broken spokes? To the rider who asks this question, this is not the wheelset for you. If it’s any comfort, carbon offers added strength over traditional materials and is therefore less likely to fail. That’s not to say a stick through the spokes won’t cause damage this wheelset just like any other, but this is a race product after all, and is designed for athletes riding at the highest levels of our sport. Syncros does offer a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty, and a three-year crash replacement program on the Silverton SL wheels.

All this high tech design, engineering, and material doesn’t come cheap, with the wheelset priced at $3,499. The Silverton SL wheels should be available September 2018 and will be specced on high-end Scott Scale and Spark mountain bikes.

One-piece Handlebar and Stem Combo

The Syncros Hixon SL IC is a one-piece carbon handlebar and stem that weighs as little as 220g, down from 290g for the original Hixon IC. Like the Silverton SL wheels, continuous carbon fibers are woven together and molded into a single piece, cutting down on weight and adding strength and stiffness over a traditional bar plus stem combination.

The Hixon is offered in various effective stem lengths, and there is even a special edition Nino Schurter Hixon with a negative stem angle for those who like to get super aero. Pricing is set at $329 for the regular version, and $429 for the special edition Nino bars. A GPS mount adapter makes it possible to mount a GPS on the non-standard stem cap as shown above.

# Comments

  • vapidoscar562

    Regarding the wheels. It is interesting to me that they went with spokes. Is this so users will accept them or does it happen to be the optimal weight and strength design?

  • Jeff Barber

    You mean spokes as opposed to say a solid disc? I can’t answer this for sure, but based on the fact that they spent 30 minutes of the presentation talking about how every little detail was fully optimized in engineering, I suspect they went with spokes because they offer the best strength-to-weight ratio.

    That being said, Syncros did concede design played a role as well. For example, engineers pushed for simple, straight lines while the product designers asked to soften the look a bit.

  • vapidoscar562

    Not necessarily solid discs because you would have cross wind issues. I could imagine 3 to 6 mag wheels. Or something crazy like a grid. But I think those would be too far out for customers.

    I am not suggesting those are actually better designs but rather curious what factors lead to looking like every other wheel available.

    • Jeff Barber

      I had a somewhat similar question, and in fact asked the engineer if he thought the design would come out the same if artificial intelligence (AI) designed the wheel based on strength and weight characteristics alone. Basically he said no, the design would be different, and most likely even more optimized. However, humans are still needed to find a design that can actually be manufactured in a relatively straightforward way. But in 10 years, it’s entirely possible all the constraints (performance, materials, cost, manufacturing, etc.) can be loaded into software and then we’ll see some truly weird–but efficient–designs!

  • triton189

    Interesting concept, I’m going to guess that with 3D printing technologies today we may be seeing more of this type of wheel sets in the future at much lower cost.

  • record9

    Looks like a blatant copy of the now long in the tooth “Lightweight” wheels. Sure were light, sure did not last long….

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