The ideal state.
We won't try to be coy: if we were looking to invest in a tubeless setup that would consistently outperform pricier options without requiring us to demolish our upgrade budgets, we'd go with Stan's NoTubes. If you haven't heard of the small Upstate New York-based company, you're missing out on one of the most reliable tubeless systems on the market right now, and if you have, then you already know what we're so excited about. Stan's has had its tubeless system dialed for years now, so this year, the company set out to update its alloy mountain rim profiles and hubs, transforming the Flow MK3 Wheelset into a venerable all-mountain/enduro beast to replace the burly XC wheelset it used to be.
Taking a wheelset from XC to enduro-ready requires more than just dimensional changes, so Stan's chose to mold each Flow rim from a stronger, more durable aluminum than it's used in the past. 6069 aluminum requires less material to achieve higher stiffness levels, allowing Stan's to lighten the rim while achieving higher lateral rigidity: crucial when you're cruising down apocalyptic lines at the helm of your enduro rig. Answering the growing demand for bigger, burlier tires, Stan's also widened the internal rim width to 29mm, using its meticulous WideRight design process to guide the decision to increase width by nearly 4mm. WideRight is a manifestation of Stan's firm belief that tire positioning cannot be overlooked in rim design, and it ensures that a tire is able to maintains its ideal shape when mounted on the rim. In the case of the Flow MK3, Stan's achieved this balance of stability and optimal tire positioning by adopting a wider, flatter rim profile than on previous versions.
Wider, flatter profiles are somewhat of a Stan's hallmark already, of course, and represent the incredible dependability of Stan's Bead Socket Technology (BST). When you're on a technical stretch of trail, blasting unevenly through jagged rock gardens and hidden obstacles, BST is the reason that every hard hit isn't immediate cause for pulling to the side of the trail to change a flat. Creating an expertly-shaped pocket into which your 2.35-2.8in tire nestles cleanly, BST is one of the best systems that exist currently, refraining from squeezing the sidewalls of your tire and giving you better traction and grip, less likelihood of pinch flats, and more access to the full tread pattern on your tires.
Lastly, Stan's brand new Neo hubs deserve a mention of their own as well. While the Neo is the younger sibling of flashier Neo Ultimate, it still boasts a precise CNC-machined aluminum construction and a four-pawl design with 36 points and 10 degrees of engagement. The redesign delivers improved longevity and an energetic jump to action when you're slamming the pedals down on the crux of a climb.
- A stable alloy wheelset updated for all-mountain/enduro
- Lighter, stronger aluminum construction this year
- Increased internal width for compatibility with bigger tires
- Updated hub design for improved longevity and fast engagement
- BST tubeless bead profile for dependable tubeless seal
- Developed for 2.35-2.8in tires