Archived General DB Blogs
Tested - Crank Brothers Cobalt Wheelset
Posted: Oct 03 2008
We managed to get our excited hands on a still-rare set of Crank Brothers Cobalt XC wheels to try out.
Not only were they a great match for the blue and white Rocky Element test bike, but the Cobalts are one of the much anticipated new technlogy releases from Crank Brothers, and we wanted to see how they lived up to the hype.
- rims are tubeless-ready with an innovative “no spoke holes” design, where the spokes are attached to the rim by a raised flange
- spokes are straight pull, and are all the same (short-ish) length, with essentially what are long alloy nipples tensioned using a regular spoke wrench.
- front hub has 2 sealed bearings, rear hub 4 sealed bearings
- freewheel is a simple and effective Crank Brothers design with 6 pawls that engage quickly with little free play.
- the freewheel is also easy to disassemble and service as needed – no tools required!
- build quality is top-notch with plenty of attention to detail. From packaging to appearance and slick, functional design, Crank Brothers is becoming the “Apple” of the bike industry.
- included are the new “split design” quick release levers that are also available separately in a range of colours. These consist of two lever pieces that allow for a much higher tension to be applied to the hub in two stages than what would be possible with conventional QR’s. They look cool too!
- weight of wheelset is 1540 grams, comparable to other high-end XC wheelsets like the Mavic Crossmax SLR.
- our set of Cobalt wheels have been ridden on lots of local North Shore trails, plus they raced the Transrockies and the Crank the Shield stage races this season.
- the wheels are stiff and light. No noticeable deflection or flex under hard cornering or drops.
- Through 10 hard days of racing they are still perfectly true and round, no spoke tension adjustments have been needed.
- Two days at the crank the shield race had numerous long and muddy wet sections that included multiple rides through water well over the hubs. Performance was fine through the race and it was a 10 minute job with no tools to open up the freehub, clean and relube. Bearings are still as smooth as new.
- we have run both tubeless and tube type set-ups with the wheels with no issues.
- overall, the wheels work as advertised – light, quick engagement, stiff and solid, easy maintenance and they look great to boot!
You can learn lots more about the design of these new wheels, and see plenty of pretty images on the Crank Brothers website
Suggested retail pricing for a set, including QR’s, will be around $1495 in Canada, and somewhat less in the US. (See the Different Bikes US Price Matching Policy )
Availability here is still scarce, but we are told that more will be reaching Canada soon. Contact any of our stores to reserve a pair of Cobalts or their soon to be released all-mountain brothers the Iodine.
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