The Changing Landscape of Mountain Bike Wheel and Axle Standards
Been shopping for a new bike or wheels lately? If so, you may have been left feeling like you need a degree in wheel and axle terminology. Let’s take a look at these emerging standards in mountain bike so that you are well armed and prepared for your next shopping experience.
The mountain bike industry has been on a bigger is better trend … we addressed some of that in our “Is Wider Always Better?” article. Why? It basically is coming down to the physics of creating a bike that is light and nimble enough to climb all day, but also burly enough to descend like Bryceland. Good traction, good kinematics and great strength. The one-bike quiver.
What is Boost?
Boost is the latest and greatest axle platform which all performance mountain bike frame and fork manufacturers are adopting. Boost widens the rear axle by 6mm and the front axle by 10mm.
So what does Boost do for you?
A wider axle means that the spacing between your hub’s flanges can be increased. By increasing the width of the hub flanges you can improve the bracing angles of the spokes in the wheelbuild. Ultimately you can build a stronger, stiffer, and ultimately more efficient wheel.
By increasing the width of the bike frame’s chainstays the manufacturers have the ability to shorten the chainstays without sacrificing tire clearance. Optimally short chainstays allow your weight to be positioned closer to the rear axle which means the bike will generally feel far more nimble, be easier to manual, and climb more confidently. In addition some bike frames with the boost treatment will be capable of accommodating plus size tires.
What about the front end?
The advantages of a boosted front fork are isolated to achieving better wheel geometry and additional tire clearance. The use of the 15mm x 110mm Boost forks will be most prevalent on the new Plus bikes entering the marketplace. It has been said that a boosted 29” wheel can achieve the same stiffness as a non-boosted 27.5. We are going to run more tests on this and get back to you with the data.
ENVE’s take on the New Standard
We love it! Increased wheel stiffness at a tiny weight penalty is always great news for us. We think the boosted rear, standard front will become ubiquitous in all high-end bikes, as you have already seen in the new entrants from Yeti and Santa Cruz. Boost is here to stay… At least until the next standard is developed. If you’re in the market for a new bike today, make sure that the frame’s rear end is “boosted.” The front end only really needs boost if you want a higher level of front end stiffness, or plan on testing out plus size tires.
All of ENVE’s M Series mountain wheel offerings now come with Boost hub options. If you have any questions regarding mountain wheel configuration or want help configuring a new ENVE wheelset for your new bike, don’t hesitate to contact ENVE Customer Service at 1-866-358-2869 or Support@ENVE.com