8150 Carbon Wheelset
Anew company by the name of “8150” in Vail, Colorado, are assembling wheels using an all-new method of spoke lacing theory for carbon rims that challenges modern convention. Implementing forward-thinking techniques in the construction of their wheels, former World Cup downhill racer and “wheel guru,” Jamas Stiber, calls the patented process “Force Specific Lacing.”
Why create a new way of building a wheel? The introduction of disc brakes on bicycles created new demands on the wheel, and 8150 feels wheel technology has yet to catch up. Now, the wheel requires its spokes to be tugged and pulled during braking, an issue traditional wheel-building techniques have not properly addressed. Many riders with experience on carbon wheelsets have developed an opinion about compliance wants versus stiffness needs. Diehard Vital readers will identify similar discussions in our Crankbrothers Synthesis wheel feature, and although there are similarities in both company's ideas, they are very different at the same time.
Whether you build wheels or not, you’re going to be intrigued by the nerdist’s rocket science behind this brand. We also tested the 8150 wheels against a “standard” carbon wheelset on the same bike to explore the differences to 8150’s “Truth Lacing” method – let’s dig in.
- Size: 27.5-inch and 29-inch
- Rim: Hookless profile, high modulus T700 carbon, UD finish, 32-hole, 3mm offset drilled to offset dish; Enduro front rim and DH rear rim for most advanced riders
- Rim Dimensions: 36mm internal width, 42mm external width, 23.5mm height
- Rim Weight: 460g (+/-20g)
- Hubs: DT Swiss 350 (Axle: Standard or BOOST)
- Spokes: DT Swiss Competition, Competition Race, and Alpine III
- Nipples: DT Swiss ProLock
- MSRP: $1,500 USD (Industry Nine hubs available with up-charge)
8150 Technology Overview
Power Management Efficiency (PME): Lacing spokes according to their respective forces (acceleration or braking). Decreasing lean angle on brake-pull spokes and selective flange placement is said to help decrease brake deflection.
Leverage Balance Dynamics (LBD): Mixing three different spoke sizes and types with a strategic blend of brass and aluminum nipples, depending on the spoke's placement. 8150 claims this creates a more balanced wheelset that lessens spoke-on-spoke friction and increases the woven wheels’ capacity for shock absorption.
Vertical Compliance: Possessing a stiff carbon rim with an ability to “egg” under massive forces and resist breakage.
8150 Technology Deep Dive
Stiber and 8150 began by dissecting every force applied to the wheel, measuring forces applied under braking, acceleration, and lateral inputs. They discovered that certain spokes receive greater forces under braking which applies more stress than the spokes that receive drive propulsion forces. Sounds simple enough, but what does this mean? It means that lacing an entire wheel with the same spokes may not be optimal. If a wheel has 32 spokes, then 16 are responsible for propelling the bike when pressure is applied to the cranks and the other 16 handle slowing the bike when the brakes are applied. Additionally, of the 16 spokes that help decelerate the bike, there are eight spokes occupying the driveside and the other eight are on the side of the rotor.
The unique 8150 wheel-build acknowledges these stress requirements and attempts to combat physical demands by utilizing differently sized spokes for acceleration and braking forces.
Furthermore, Stiber recognized that if the wheel is not symmetrical (dished to the side), then physics steps in to help the wheel center itself. Depending on the way you look at it, either the hub tries to center itself in the rim or the rim tries to center itself over the hub – this phenomenon creates what Stiber refers to as brake force deflection. Stiber’s method of solving this issue is to decrease the brake-pull spokes’ lean angle from the hub flange to the rim. The placement of the brake-pull spokes and the side (inside or outside) of the flange these J-pull spokes exit determine the amount of leverage exuded by the brake-pull spokes.
Another major component is referred to as Leverage Balance Dynamics, where 8150 uses bladed spokes and round spokes of a smaller size on the side with the greatest lean angle. As explained by Stiber, this is done to help create more balance in side-to-side tension.
Now to the rim ingredient of this unique wheelset. As a huge fan of ACS Z-Rims from old school BMX days, Stiber brings into service a soft rim with vertical compliance.
Stiber had a hunch that some carbon rim profiles were adversely affecting vertical compliance and making the rims too stiff. A softer, more flexible rim can allow a softer lace and a more compliant ride. Stiber’s assumption is that when the rim can flex and become more egg-shaped during heavy strikes, it stands a better chance of surviving longer.
8150's wheels also reduce the "light bulb" shape of a tire’s profile by using a wider 36mm internal width to accommodate today’s enduro and downhill standard 2.3- to 2.5-inch tire size. As a result, the tire is said to experience much less roll when leaned over in a turn, allowing lower air pressure and increased traction.
The 8150 wheels are visually different than other carbon offerings on the market. Beefy yet svelte, the bladed spokes up front are instantly noticed when mixed with varying sizes of spokes. The alternating aluminum and brass nipples are made apparent in different colors to help identify the physical demands in action. The raised square areas around where the spokes protrude from the rim are easily noticed, having a similar look to Santa Cruz carbon rims.
When physically feeling for spoke tension – like strumming a guitar with your fingers – we were intrigued that overall tension was much lower than usual. Stiber claims that’s a big part of the ride characteristics, allowing the wheel to flex yet remain firm where needed. Coincidentally, this is the simplest way to explain how these wheels felt in reality.
On the trail, the 8150 wheels are more compliant overall than other carbon sets we’ve tested but still provide the desired stiffness and speed. When slamming into large rocks, we found the wheels give rather than deflect, which helped riders hold their line at high speeds. The width of the rims created a solid tire profile that resisted roll under sharp direction changes and provided a large footprint to assist traction.
During rapid deceleration, we experienced less deflection compared to a carbon wheel of typical construction. Chatter in braking bumps seemed to decrease as well. The front also felt more compliant when pushing hard into corners.
The rear felt more reliable in gnarly terrain, chunder, and technical areas than a carbon wheelset with standard construction – something Stiber attributes to the compliance within the lacing technology. It’s a reassuring feeling to have enough stiffness in place without allowing the wheel to get too chaotic as many ultra-stiff carbon rims can be in the rougher sections of trail.
Things That Could Be Improved
We had zero complaints about these wheels, minus being able to explain all of their design features and benefits quickly and concisely to fellow trail users. Although not necessarily a possible improvement, having to carry three replacement spokes as a backup if a spoke breaks should be seen as a minor downside.
What's The Bottom Line?
The 8150 wheelset is handbuilt to be stiff where they need to be, yet give where necessary. As far as dependability is concerned, we’ve had no issues with the wheels thus far and have only needed to make minor tension adjustments over the several hundred miles they’ve endured.
The real question: Do these radical theories work? We can say, “100-percent, yes.” The 8150 wheelset is different than any we’ve reviewed. They proved stiff where it mattered and supple for traction in corners. The most noticeable difference between other carbon wheelsets is the 8150’s lack of deflection and ability to hold a straight line through the rockiest zones. If you are a rider of discerning taste and a finite feel, 8150 has the ability to tailor a wheelset to your exact preferences and demands with a unique, handbuilt product.
Visit www.8150wheels.com for more details.
About The Tester
Matt Swenson - Age: 35 // Years Riding: 28 // Height: 5'11" (1.80m) // Weight: 160 pounds (72.57kg)
I’m a ColoRADo native who’s been shredding bikes since the age of two and my life revolves around two wheels. I currently own a bike and outdoor shop, as well as run logistics, timing and operations for multiple race series across the country — previous employment includes work in orthopedic surgery, as well as time associated with Winter Park Resort. I have also spent several years building and judging slopestyle events like the GoPro (previously Teva) Games, Colorado Freeride Festival, and Crankworx among others. I grew up in bike shops working as a mechanic, so I’ve always been a nerd when it comes to bike components and technologies. I’m a former downhill and motocross racer who cut his teeth riding BMX and pioneering sketchy wood features as a child. These days I enjoy the bike park, trail riding, skatepark and dirt jump sessions with my wife and pup Enzo. I'm can typically be found shredding Trestle Bike Park in the summer during my off-time, so hit me up for a lap! "Hold the throttle wide open ‘til you see God...then brake."
Photos by Seth Beckton and Carl Frey