We’re not interested in bringing out yearly product releases with some minor visual changes. We’re also not interested in yelling about new products and calling them “game changers” or any such nonsense. Let’s be clear: This is a carbon bicycle wheel – it’s not going to “change” any game however it is designed to have two very clear purposes: To improve how your bike rides, and to withstand any and all use and abuse which it’s subjected to.
The Version 3 Flite rim is an iteration on our already great Version 2 rim design and continues to have the lifetime warranty, 24 hour warranty turn-around, and personalized decals which we’ve become known for, plus adds a few improvements to an already great rim.
Improvements from the Version 2 Rim
Improved ride feel
The Version 3 rim features a slightly shallower profile and different carbon lay-up to provide an increase in vertical compliance from the Version 2 rim. Our Flite rims have always been regarded as one of the smoothest carbon wheels on the market and Version 3 pushes this even further.
A new surface finish is better at shrugging off the scratches of shuttle-rash and chain slap. Version 3 rims will look better for longer.
How we Design and Make Rims
Flite rims are built to our specifications using designs, carbons, and resins specified by us. They’re made by a super high quality company with offices and factories in both China and Taiwan who produce rims for a spectrum of brands ranging from smallish companies like ours to some of the industry big-players. We license and borrow some of their tech such as the tubeless bead-seat area because it would be stupid for us to try and re-invent that section of the rim, and we design other aspects of the rim to give us the weight, durability, and ride characteristics that we want. This works really well: We can design how we want our wheels to feel and to ride, and we can leverage the decades of composites experience of our manufacturer.
We demand the highest possible quality from the factory. We have had only one single rim fail our internal pre-wheelbuilding quality-control checks from many thousands of rims – to put that failure rate into perspective we were returning one-third of carbon rims from a famous American brand because they weren’t fit to be built into wheels.
This complete control over materials, process and quality is what made us pursue our own rims rather than rely on other brands. A nice side-effect is that when things go wrong we’re not waiting for approval from head-office for a warranty – we are able to quickly make those decisions our-self so our customers are not waiting weeks or months for decisions and replacement rims. For more on our lifetime warranty and turn-around please see below.
Two Rim Widths in Both Rim Sizes
We’re using the same rim profile across both the 27.5″ and 29″ rim shapes. When we introduced the Version 2 rims most rowdy bikes / tyres were designed for 27.5″ wheels and most 29ers used 2.3″ tyres. At that time we decided that 29″ rims should be 32mm wide (internal) to match that type of bike use but as 29ers got more and more capable and 29” tyres got wider and grippier we found ourselves wanting a wider rim. For the Version 3 rims we have the same 30mm and 35mm (internal) widths offered in both wheel sizes.
30mm rims are designed for Down-Country and Trail riding on bikes like the Specialized Epic EVO or Yeti SB100 through to a Stumpjumper or SB130. The 30mm internal width pairs well with any tyre from 2.1″ up to around 2.4″. You can certainly mount bigger tyres for a day in the bike park or a trip to the North Shore, but if the majority of your riding is on 2.1″ – 2.4″ tyres then the 30mm internal will work best.
The 35mm internal rim pairs best with 2.4″ and upward tyres. If you’re on a bike with more than 130mm of travel or your go-to tyres are wide, grippy rubbers like the Minion then the 35mm rim will enable those tyres to give their maximum grip and control.
You can fit a pair of 2.1” tyres for the occasional XC race or a Pioneer attempt, but if the bulk of your riding is with big burly tyres then the 35mm rim is for you.
Lifetime Warranty with no bullshit
If you break a Flite Carbon rim we’ll replace it. It doesn’t matter if it’s impact damage or JRA – we’ll cover it. No fineprint.
The best warranty is the one you never need: in 2018 we had a grand total of 5 broken Version 2 rims and with the Version 3 we expect that number to decrease even more. This incredibly low failure rate is the reason we can offer a lifetime warranty, and why you can trust our wheels.
As with the Version 2 rims even if a Version 3 rim is cracked it will continue to hold tubeless and be rideable. Tom Bradshaw put this to the test by doing over 3000 vertical meters of descending when he cracked a Version 2 rear wheel preparing for the Mammoth Enduro.
24 hour Warranty turn-around
We prioritise any warranty work and make it the most important job in the shop. We aim to have all warranties dealt with within 24 hours because we know how much it sucks to not ride your bike.
We don’t need to wait for approval from an overseas head-office or wait for special ‘warranty stock’ to be sent out – we just fix your wheel. Fast.
No problem using the Version 3 Enduro rims on your ebike, and there no change to our lifetime warranty.
Tyres inserts like Cush Core can be used with the Version 3 but are not required and won’t effect your warranty.
We don’t find that inserts make any difference to impact protection on the Version 3 but to be honest we see so few failures that it’s hard to correlate. What we do find is that that inserts act as a volume spacer and will change the way the tyre behaves. Checkout Tristan’s Desk of Honesty to learn more.
No Rider Weight Limit
There is no rider weight limit on the Flite Version 3.
After Sale Support
Our commitment to you doesn’t end once we’ve got your money: If you have any questions maintaining or servicing your wheelset we’re here to help. Just get in touch.
Each wheel we build is engraved with a unique number and we keep detailed records dating back over 13 years tracking not just who built your wheels but minute details like spoke length, pre-stress procedure, and even what type of grease was used between the spoke and nipple.
Flite vs Apex
Both models use the same carbon rim, have the same lifetime warranty, and are individually handbuilt just for you.
Flite: This is our top of the line build using DT Swiss Aerolite spokes. These spoke save 150 grams and give the wheelset a more lively, responsive feel but cost more money: A simple weight vs cost tradeoff. Your choice of hubs, colours, axle types, and wheel size.
Apex: We use round-section DT Swiss Competition spokes and a slightly simpler colourway to bring the price down while keeping the same complete choice of hubs and axle types as the Flite build.
Both rims are 28mm deep and have a hookless bead to shrug off impact damage.
Tubeless allows lower tyre pressure, more grip, and less punctures. It’s a no-brainer.
Tubeless rim-tape and a pair of light weight CNC aluminium tubeless valves are already fitted when you pull your new wheels out of the box. Our attention to detail extends to the tubeless valves: serrated lockrings makes them easy to fit or remove and integrated wrench-flats are provided for super-tight valves. The valve cores are removable for easy cleaning or for assistance while installing difficult tubeless tyres. The inner section of the valve is optimised for our rims ensuring an easy air-tight fit.