The new shape of the Stan's Flow MK3 Wheelset is designed to be lighter and wider than its predecessor. Already a solid wheelset, this new version takes things to the next level and makes an already great wheel, that much better. In this review, our customer throws a set on his downhill bike along with some CushCore tire inserts. Check it out!
I purchased the Stans Flow MK3 for my downhill bike, after tacoing a Mavic EX729 in a crash last season. My hope was that since the Stans was tubeless ready, that it would help my front tire to be set up tubeless even though I'm running 2.7" wire bead Maxxis Minion DHFs - which are not tubeless ready in the 26" versions.
Before we get in too deep, here's a bit about me - I'm running a 2015 Kona Supreme Operator downhill bike, 26" wheels, and I ride hard and not smooth - I am known for my ability to destroy tires and tubes. I'm competitive in men's DH Cat 2 30+; not good enough for the guaranteed podium, but I'm usually in the running.
This wheel looks good, no doubt about it. The low profile design yields to a somewhat flat area where the spoke nipples go, which is a look I really like. I laced this up to a DT 350, then installed a CushCore and went to town. Now, this was also the first time that I had CushCores installed so it's difficult to compare how this wheel did compared to its predecessor, but I can say that it stayed true through a demanding few days of riding, holding up great to the abuse. The tire does hold air tubeless, but only for a few days. It surprisingly doesn't hold air as long as my badly dented Mavic EX 729 I have on the rear, which is a disappointing fact. A tubeless tire I'm sure would hold fine - but it's not quite a good enough lip to hold the non-tubeless ready wire bead minion.
As for the ride - the wheel is stiff and gives good support. It's wide - though I would not consider this a plus size rim at only 29mm internal rim width, more like a standard trail on up width wheel. For downhill, I feel that the 28-30mm range is ideal, so this rim fits right in there.
All in all, this is a good wheel for the price. I would not consider it a plus size rim, but it's a good option on an aggressive trail bike though to downhill bikes. It holds up to the abuse and has a good stiff ride quality for an aluminum rim. The tubeless lip isn't as much of a bite as I'd like to see, but the low profile internal rim design does help with setup. I would buy this wheel again, but it didn't reach the level that I'd swear by it.
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