Trail-Ready, Weight Conscious Hoops
Size Tested: 26-inch MSRP: $85 per rim www.BikeLugs.com
In a time when most wheelsets come complete from the factory, these Pacenti TL28 hoops offer a nice alternative for those who’d rather build up a super-tough, versatile trail wheelset the old fashioned way: from the hub up.
Kirk Pacenti has been designing and fabricating custom bicycles for over 20 years. In 2007 he debuted the first 650B mountain bike at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show; a move that likely sent his career in a new direction as he pioneered the movement toward 650B wheels (which had a slow start but has enjoyed a sudden burst in growth for 2013).
Pacenti’s interest in making 650B a commonly used wheel size led him first to develop his own line of tires and beginning in spring of 2012, he has added a full line of high quality rims as well.
With weights closer to light XC race rims—(26 inch (360 grams), 650b (409 grams), and 29 inch (438 grams)—the TL28’s are light by any standard but will hold up to hard trail-style riding without a problem. Their strength is due in part to welded construction, an external width of 28mm and 23mm internally, 18-mm section height, and eyeleted spoke holes for increased durability.
The extra rim width, coupled with WTB 2.3 Bronson’s front and rear made for solid cornering and the increased tire volume offered noticeably more control through the roughest terrain. With the wide stance and ample horizontal stiffness, these rims offered a nice forgiving ride appropriate for a trail-oriented rim, without compromising anything.
Buying rims separately and building custom wheels offers personalized options you just can’t get with a factory wheelset. With different spokes, you can build them as strong as you like. And there are a lot of nice hub options out there depending on your intended use. For our purpose, we enjoyed the durability of these Industry Nine hubs with their stout build, high flanges, and 120 point, 6-pawl freewheel body with 3-degree engagement. That adds up to very solidly build hub that responds rapidly for quick accelerations out of corners or over risers. The freehub body is a little nosey and takes time to break in but the quick and solid engagement is worth it.
Fully built on the Industry Nine hubs, the 26-inch set registered at 1690 grams and served us well; staying true during a full season of heavy use on a trail bike. The TL28’s are suitable for anything from a 120-mm XC or marathon racer to a 160-mm trail bike.
While the TL28’s are not a UST or tubeless specific rim, they set up nicely—thanks to the wide profile and deep center channel—using Stan’s yellow rim tape and WTB tubeless ready tires.
The Pacenti TL28 rim provides a surprisingly light but extremely solid platform for rippin’ trail or for the demands of enduro racing.