New Hoops for the Chilcotin
Found a dik-ronkulous price on a new pair of 2012 Crank Brothers Iodine 3 wheels. Even though I haven't had very good experiences with CB stuff, I couldn't pass up this deal. My I9 Enduros were feeling a bit tired, and probably just needed some basic maintenance, but like I said, great deal...
Anyway, got them mounted up last night and rode this morning. They seem cool. Engagement is 7.5 deg, so not as fast as I9 or King, but comparable to most high-end wheelsets. I could definitely feel the lag. They're also only 21mm wide. This used to be the default width for all-mountain rims. But, since last year most bike manufactures have started spec'ing wider rims. The I9 Enduro rim is a 23mm ID. My Hans Dampf 2.35s seem to be fine with the skinnier rim. No rim tape is necessary as the Iodine is a true UST rim. The Iodine 3s at 1780g are also 120g lighter than the I9 Enduro wheelset. The new wheelset has significantly less drag when back pedaling. I noticed this when applying chain lube, not sure how, or even if this would impact actual riding. The only differences I could feel are the slower engagement, and the smoother ride from the spanking new bearings. Hub noise was almost non-existant, although it was starting to get louder towards the end of the ride.
Seems there are a lot of bad experiences with the freehub, but with a two-year warranty I figured I had to try. They just look so damn hot!
Last edited by dulyebr; 03-02-2013 at 06:08 PM.
Make sure you keep her on the ground (or close to it!).
Those wheels look flexy and weak to my untrained eye.
Niner Rip9 RDO
Nope. Wheels are very stout due to lack of spoke holes, which are necessary for traditional rims. Also, oversized rear axle and low-dish are meant to keep things tough.The downside of the spoke design is if you get a flat-spot, it may not be possible to get back to round.
Hans Rey rides Iodines on his all-mountain bikes. Of course he's sponsored by Crank Bros., but still he gets plenty of air. The main issue from my research has been the freehub cracking. They supposedly fixed the issue, but I've read it's still a problem even with this new version.
Last edited by dulyebr; 03-02-2013 at 08:36 PM.
I have a set of Sage's on my DH bike. (also at a Price I could not pass...that has to be one of the strong points of the Crank Brother wheels...they go on sale big time).
I have to agree as far as looks go the Crank Brothers are top notch. I have a year on them and Performance has been good so far but I really don't put that many miles on them.
I've had a half a dozen rides on the new wheelset with mixed impressions. They look killer, and they roll so smoooooothly. I honestly believe I can climb two gears higher than the I9s. The difference is so dramatic, I think there may be something wrong the rear hub of the I9s. I mean "drag" should only be noticeable when coasting - right?
Unfortunately, despite many, many reviews (professional and amateur) about how stiff these wheels are, I have to disagree. I can actually see tire marks where the Hans Dampf is rubbing the non-drive chainstay. Plus, I can feel a loss of precision; steering feels less direct resulting in decreased confidence.
I have to say though, Crank Bros. customer service is pretty amazing. I emailed them about my experience and they asked that I send the wheels back to HQ so they could evaluate the situation. They even emailed me a pre-paid UPS label, and promised one day turnaround - classy!
I sent the wheels off yesterday and while I'm hopeful there is something they can do, I sort of doubt it. It is really strange though that so many reviews gushed over the stiffness...
The Iodines are very sharp looking no-doubt. My experience with them on a couple of long test rides (one on a Chili) is that they feel plenty stiff.
Disclaimer: I'm not sure I'm super sensitive to wheel stiffness (within reason).
Have you serviced your I-9's lately dulyebr?
I'm ready to replace my non-drive side bearing again for the 3rd time in 2 years. They just hold up on that side.
I also replaced the large ring bearing on the free hub with a RWC ceramic bearing to reduce drag while coasting.
Hopely Crank Bros. can retension your wheels to make them stiffer. That's good cust. service.
Niner Rip9 RDO
No. I'm sure I'm overdue for an overhaul. When I made the switch from 10X135 to 12X142, I checked the bearings and all seems great but one, which was just okay. Even when new (after break-in) they've never felt nearly as nice as the Crank Brothers wheels.
I'm running the Opium's on my TR450.
- They look bada$$
- the wheels are overall pretty stiff
- they do roll fast.
- CB's customer service is very good.
- Bearings are a standard size for replacement.
- Engagement is pretty good. Again, not king or I9 good, but not bad either.
- Maintaining spoke tension, as you'd guess, is critical. I've had a couple spokes, unknowingly, come loose at Whistler and within a top to bottom tech run, the entire wheel was about to fall apart. Every spoke was mega loose.
- Speaking of spokes - make sure you've got a few (both sections) in your toolbox. If you get a stick or derailleur in them or a couple break due to a gnarly case , you're not likely going to find them at most shops. CB is totally cool about sending some to you for cheap.
- Freehub. I had a couple freehubs blow up on me....as in, pawls spilling out when I pulled the hub body off. That said, that was with their older design and I' know they've made fixes to them. I also learned that it's imperative that when you pull the hub body off, that you ensure the rubber gasket seats properly back into the hub shell (all the way around). You can probably do that with a finger nail, but I just use a tiny screwdriver. If it doesn't you'll get a crazy amount of mud in them.
So, how much did you pay for them?
Let me know if you are looking to get rid of the I9s - I am looking for a backup set.
After sending the Iodines in, I went ahead and spoke directly to the Crank Bros. rep who told me that the wheels were completely in spec. He let me know several times that he put his entire weight (180 lbs) against the rim, and it would not flex. I tried to be nice about it, but we ended up just going round and round with him saying that if I'm experiencing flex and tire marks on the chainstay, it's probably the frame. Anyway, it was nice of them to pay for me to send the wheels in, but it was an utter waste.
I decided to send the I9s back to North Carolina for an overhaul. I'm sure I could have done it on my own, but I wanted them to look at what was causing the dramatic difference in drag. I ended up speaking to Jake for a good length of time. He seemed really interested in helping get the issues taken care of. Turns out my axle was "out of adjustment". I guess that happens now and again, which I suppose explains the drag. I also think it wore my bearings out, which they replaced for free. Overall, very happy with I9 customer service.
I rode for the first time today on the newly serviced wheels, and they did seem much smoother; less drag too, even though there is probably a break-in period for the new bearing. More important it felt great having a super stiff wheelset back on the Chilly! Now I'll just have to sell the Iodines.
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