Words by: Reamonn Ryan
Carbon mountain bike wheels can be found on any trail around the world. Although the topic is widely debated, many riders still choose to run carbon wheels for their stability, weight savings, and bling factor. As more and more companies have entered the carbon wheel market over the past few years, it became evident that more carbon rims were just outright expensive and carried a stigma of unreliability. This led to companies having to change up their marketing tactics and really set themselves apart from the competition. Race Face was one of the companies.
With the release of their Next R Carbon wheels, Race Face decided to present an offer few riders (with a hefty budget) could refuse. A 2-year, no questions asked guarantee on their wheels. This meant that if you cased a big jump, ran into a tree, or accidentally ran your bike over with your truck, Race Face would cover replacing the wheels for you.
Now, this could have been taken one of two ways. The first being that they knew the wheel would break eventually and they were willing to replace it, or the second, that they knew the wheel was bulletproof and anyone with the might to destroy such an object deserves to be supported. The truth of the matter is, most riders get caught up in the notion that carbon wheels will break and it’s just not worth the money. By offering a 2-year, no questions asked guarantee, Race Face adds comfort to your decision to spend a little more money on a component with the security to know that you are covered in case something happens. Alloy or carbon, sh*t happens so you might as well make people feel comfortable on their bikes!
Model: Race Face Next R31 Carbon
Size: 29” (used in test) or 27.5"
Weight: Set 1765 grams, front 835g, rear 930g
Rim Width: 31mm (internal), 34mm (external)
Rim Offset: 4.5mm
Hub Spacing: 12mm x 148mm (Boost), 15 x110mm (Boost)
Rotor Mount: 6-bolt
Driver Body: SRAM XD, also available in HG or MicroSpline
Warranty: 2-Year no questions asked
Hopping on the Next R31 Wheels, I had some confidence that they were going to perform well. I had ridden carbon wheels before and with proper tire pressure and line choice, I knew I shouldn’t run into any issues out on the trail. They were lightweight and super stiff. Something I love about carbon wheels. The engagement was fast and the loud purr of the Vault Hub made it easy for hikers to hear me coming down the trail.
After a few rides, I expected the need to true the wheels but to my surprise, they remained as straight as an arrow. The hub also remained to perform just as well as when the wheels were first installed as the bearing remained just as smooth and the hub engagement never lagged. See my initial review here.
Having now ridden the Next R31 Wheels for just under a year, I am still surprised to say they have held up tremendously. From laps on some local DH trails, Casing numerous jumps, overshooting so much more, and even flexing out after a few whips were never brought back, the wheels still performed as if I had just pulled them out of the box.
I have still yet to true the wheels and although a few rocks have managed to scratch the decals and leave a few marks in the rim, I cannot see any damage to the integrity of the wheel altogether. For a 29” carbon wheel with very thin spokes, I would have imagined this wheel to cave in on itself by now. I am happy to have these things rolling so smoothly after all this time.
“I have to say with an unbiased opinion on carbon wheels that the Race Face Next R31 Wheels are probably my favorite simply because of the lack of required maintenance with them. I have run multiple different sets of carbon wheels over the years and have come up on the year mark with these and I still haven’t had to true the hoops, adjust the tension or even maintain the hubs is incredible to me. Add on the high engagement and great look and you have a bike that looks good, rides good and you can trust completely with the reassurance that you are covered with their warranty in the event something does go wrong.” - Reamonn
This article was written / authored by Reamonn Ryan. Reamonn has worked in the bicycle industry for 6 years now and currently runs our Instagram account along with testing products, editing video content, and writing blogs like this one you just read. Reamonn was a die hard BMX kid for over 10 years and once he started at Worldwide Cyclery made the switch to mountain bikes where he can send stuff better than most guys at the shop. If you like any of our Instagram posts or have gotten any responses from your DM's it was most likely from Reamonn, so give him a thanks. As with all of our employees, Reamonn is a key part of making Worldwide Cyclery the "Best Damn Bike Shop in the World".