Strong and affordable. When it comes to finding a wheelset for your bike, for most of us, these two qualities are high on the list. The same can be said for our customer Andrew who liked his first set of Stan's NoTubes Flow S1 wheels so much that he purchased a second! Check out his review to learn why.
The good, the bad, and the ugly. I've had a range of experiences with these wheels. It seems that wheels are often overlooked when it comes to upgrades on a bike. I was looking for a strong, economical wheelset that wouldn't break the bank after having multiple rear hub issues with my previous Sun Ringle wheelset. I landed on the Stan's NoTubes Flow S1 wheelset and was immediately impressed when I got them mounted up to my Chromag Rootdown BA hardtail.
The 10 degrees of engagement on the rear hub worked well and was completely sufficient for my riding until I tried the instant engagement of Onyx rear hubs (more on that later). The rims are strong and have held up well. A 29mm internal width seems just right for the 2.3-2.6 tires I've run on the wheels. I've changed the tires several times and never noticed any significant dents or issues with the rims. There have been no issues setting up tubeless tires on the rims and I've tried 4-5 different brands, all with great results. Also, the subtle decals and branding on the wheels look good! I was getting along so well with the wheels that I bought a second set as an upgrade for my Specialized Enduro 29er.
There isn't a lot to write about here. The whole wheelset is on the heavier side, but I knew I'd have to sacrifice somewhere to stay around $500.
After about 120 miles on the Rootdown, I started to hear a popping or light grinding sound from the rear hub. It would only happen once or twice a ride, but after 3 or so rides with the same sound I took it into the shop. My initial thought was that it was coming from the bottom bracket, but after a new bottom bracket didn't fix it, the shop pulled apart the rear hub. Sure enough the internal in the hub was destroyed. Luckily I caught it before it failed on the trail.
I had my local shop (Irwin cycles of Las Vegas) lace the Flow S1 rim up to an Onyx rear hub and haven't looked back since. The main reason for this was durability. The shop said it's the only rear hub they've had almost no issues with. I've also accepted that I'm hard on rear hubs. The failure on the Stans hub was my 4th rear hub failure in less than 2 years. I was really hoping that the stans hubs would be the solution to my hub issues, but that wasn't the case.
The Onyx rear hub has been amazing. It's completely silent and the instant engagement has been great, especially on really technical sections of trail. I have my fingers crossed that I'll get more mileage out of the 2nd set of Flow S1 wheels on my enduro, but only time will tell. If that hub does fail it will be quickly replaced with another Onyx rear hub.
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