Since the beginning of Troupe 10 years ago, we’ve sought out uncommon companies to align ourself with. In a region obsessed by the big “S”, we were one of the first to race XC events with Santa Cruz bikes. We saw the potential of X Fusion and jumped on board as one of their first and longest running XC teams. Back then, Hincapie was a new company and virtually unknown in mountain bike. These brands helped carve out our unique brand and set us apart from the sea of black and red.
That’s where RideFast Racing comes in. They’re a local wheel company that’s relatively unknown. They’ve been around for about 2 years now developing carbon MTB and road wheels out of their Mission Viejo headquarters. We stopped by to pick up a couple sets of Hotwire 29's and to check out how they build each wheel by hand.
While they’re a young company, they are anything but new to riding. They’ve been at it since the early 90’s, all the while learning the craft of wheel building and tuning to get them through those early years on the NORBA circuit.
Think these are off the shelf wheels with a logo slapped on the side? Think again. Both rims and hubs are designed and built specifically to their requirements, and finished off with parts spec’ed from Sapim Spokes and Speed Evolution valve stems. They’ve even got their own specific tubeless rim tape.
Getting tires set is super easy. In this day and age, it had better be. Truth be told, we needed an air compressor with our thin walled super race Kenda prototype tires. But with that they set up quickly, thanks to what RideFast calls Str8 Wall. Basically, it secures the tire to the rim deeper down near the rim bed, rather than up top on the rim sidewall. Easier to set the tire, and less tire flex. Win, win… win.
You can check their site to read up on the impressive list of tech that goes into their wheels. But the real question is how do they ride. At 1330g for a 29er race wheelset, they ride fast. Impressively fast, and equally important, impressively stiff. We’re not feeling any wheel flex out of these what. so. ever.
They roll great and help remove some of that trail feedback/vibration that a good carbon wheel should dampen. They corner exceptionally well (again, no flex happening), and seriously do inspire confidence as XC courses get more and more technically demanding. We can't get over that stiffness-to-weight ratio though... 1330g is insanely low for this kind of ride quality.
We’re thrilled to be a part of this new company’s XC program, and feel very fortunate that they’ve offered us a place with them. Like the others before them that we’ve partnered with, we’ve sought out what we believe is a fantastic product that is flying under the radar – for now….