What Are The Benefits of Running a Wider MTB Rim? (Do You Need It?)

When our customers build up a bike, some of the more frequently asked questions are “What is the benefit of having wider rims?” and “What is the difference between wider rims and “normal” rims?” With wider rims on the rise and the bike industry really pushing towards plus size wheels, we figured we would give you a little rundown on what's so great about using a wide rim.

What Are The Benefits of Running a Wider MTB Rim

                       Derby wide carbon rim compared to the alloy Stan's Crest MK3 rim

There are a handful of advantages to riding a wider rim, such as better traction, ride quality, rolling resistance, stability, and in some cases weight. Most people overlook this but tires are another part of suspension. Your tire can give you an extra inch or two of suspension upon impact depending on what pressure you run. When running a wider rim, you are increasing the air volume which is resulting in a smoother ride since the base of the tire is now wider. This allows the rider to run their suspension a tad bit stiffer without losing that great ride feel while gaining more control. 

What Are The Benefits of a Wide MTB Rim

Derby wide carbon rim laced to Hope hub

As stated above, now that your tire has a wider base due to the increased rim width, it creates a much larger contact with the tire on the ground. When you take your same tire and mount it to a wider rim, instead of your tire being rounded, it is more squared off which results in more tread on the ground and setting your cornering knobs in a more consistent contact with the riding surface. Aside from the cornering traction, wider rims also have a huge benefit when climbing. Since there is a greater air volume in the tire you are able to run lower pressures resulting in much better traction on the climbs!

Are Wider MTB Rims Better

Custom build Yeti SB6c with Easton ARC 30 wide rims.

The last few benefits that wider rims offer are great stability and rolling resistance. With a narrower rim running a 2.35 or 2.4 tire, the sidewalls are much taller than when they are mounted on a wider rim. The downfall of having a skinnier rim and a taller sidewall is that when under heavy lateral force the tire has more of a tendency to fold and/or separate from the rim causing a sudden loss of air pressure, known as “burping” on a tubeless set-up wheel. Running a wider rim greatly decreases your chance of “burping” your tire by quite a large percentage. When it comes to rolling resistance, due to more air volume, you are able to have some play room. It is proven that you are able to run 3 psi lower while still keeping your same rolling resistance while gaining traction.  That being said, you are technically getting a better rolling resistance when running wider rims since you are able to run a lower tire pressure which in essence should cause more drag but since there is more air volume, you can maintain the same rolling speed.

While wide rims are what most people are interested in these days, normal rims still work fine and have worked great for as long as anyone can remember. As long as you are out there riding your bike and having fun, that’s all that matters because that’s what riding MTB is all about!

If you are interested in custom building a set of wide rims or would like more information on our bike rims for sale, we are can get you dialed in with everything. Shoot us a message at info@worldwidecyclery.com to inquire further!

Derby i9 Wide Carbon Rim
Custom built Derby carbon wide rims laced to Industry Nine Torch hubs

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May 19, 2016

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