Gravity, Full Speed Ahead’s MTB line up includes many different products, with wheels being one of their more recent staples. A while back they sent us a set of their Grid 27.5″ wheels which are aimed at the riders on mid travel bikes. They’re designed to be tough and not too heavy. We put them to the test over the last few months on the Enduro trails of Punta Ala. Find out how we got on below.
Dropping in here, the trails down to the sea are rocky and mixed.
- Asymmetric 25mm deep x 31mm wide alloy clincher rim.
- Tubeless compatible.
- Front hub with 9QR/15TA axle compatibility; Rear hub with 135QR/142TA axle compatibility (TA standard).
- Stainless steel bearings.
- 2 cross double butted spokes with brass nipples.
- Built entirely by hand.
- 6 – pawl aluminum freehub body for Shimano 10-11sp.
- Spokes: 28 front wheel, 2 cross; 28 rear wheel, 2 cross.
- Finish: sandblasted black anodized.
- Weight: 1,930 grams/pair
- Price: $599
Gravity have put together a solid package on paper, with a competitive weight given the price and construction. The inner diameter of the rims are 27mm, providing a nice tyre profile and improving cornering over narrower options. 28 spokes keeps things light and black as a colour option fits with any bike.
A robust looking wheel at first sight with a deep rim profile.
The rim shape is angular and asymmetric.
The hubs are 28 hole and the centre axle is not that oversized but it’s plenty big.
A close up of the asymmetric rim profile on the front. It gives better rim alignment and strength for the free-hub offset on the rear and disc offset on the front.
An internal view of the rim and tape.
On The Trail
We rolled off the top of a 600 metre hill taking in a rough trail network that really pushed us to our limits. The pedal up was enjoyable, the wheels gave no sensation of slowing you down or dragging. The 6 pawl design of the free hub gave us a pretty good power take up when we needed to hammer the pedals on the way up. Not as good as the very best hubs out there but more than acceptable for the price point that these wheels are aimed at.
The snow hole, trails start high here, giving us plenty to work with when understanding a gravity directed wheel set.
The Grid wheels feel stiff and with the extra width in the rims, compressions on the trail are handled much better compared to a narrower rim setup that we have used previously. With the nature of tougher trails, misjudging maneuvers is more frequent as the technicality of the trails increases, especially if the entry to a corner is misjudged. We felt the extra width provided better stability in the tyre as we were able to feel it stand up more and not have the side walls collapse or wobble as the tyre rolls over in these situations, especially at lower pressures. The extra width in long technical sections absorbs rock hits a bit better as well, we felt in most cases we had an increase in stability. All this comes from the foot print of the tyre being more widely supported.
Braking feels more purposeful with the extra support for the tyres being noticeable as the foot print is slightly enlarged. Steering felt precise, with the wider rim giving better directional acceleration out of corners. Off camber trail sections felt a bit different as the extra traction is there especially when using a wider tyre.
Fast and smooth was the norm with the extra rim width.
Over our test time we pretty much threw everything we had at the Grid wheels, giving them a good thrashing and pedal about on some pretty tough trails in Punta Ala. There is no doubt that the wider rim gave us better control and more fluidity on tough sections. That is something we really appreciated the more we rode. We didn’t manage to dent the rims as we rode with a pretty standard pressure that kept us out of contact with rocks, so we cant comment on rock strikes and strength, although we did test the lateral strength frequently and the wheel remained true.
The construction of the wheels is top notch for the price and that showed with no need for any spoke readjustment or re-tensioning. The bearings behaved, the free hub kept clicking smoothly, even in some grimy conditions. These aren’t boutique wheels carbon wheels and they don’t quite have that refined feel, however – nor do they come with the steep price tag. There was a lot to like about these wheels and if you are looking for a well priced, robust wheel-set for your mid travel bike then the Grids will fit the bill pretty well.