2012 crank brothers cobalt 11 carbon fiber mountain bike wheels

In addition to all the new and revised components and soft goods, Crank Brothers has revamped their wheel line to drop price points and, in the case of the new carbon-rimmed Cobalt 11 wheels above, raise them, too.

Weighing in as light as 1380g (claimed) for the tubeless wheels, they use the 24 same stainless steel twin pull spokes as their alloy counterparts. All of the wheels, including these carbon 11’s, will be able to run either 9mm QR or 15mm thru axle on the front and standard 135 QR or 12×142 in the rear. That’s right, ALL of their wheels will have the 12×142 option in the rear for 2012 models!

Lots more after the break…

2012 crank brothers cobalt 11 carbon fiber mountain bike wheels 2012 crank brothers cobalt 11 carbon fiber mountain bike wheels

2012 crank brothers cobalt 11 carbon fiber mountain bike wheels

The 11 gets some serious bling, which matches the black/gold of the new Cobalt 11 saddle. The aesthetics may not appeal to everyone, but at least they’ll know you’re rockin’ a $2,220 wheelset. Unfortunately, there’s no 29er version of these…yet.

2012 crank brothers cobalt 3 wheels in a variety of colors

The 3 level Cobalt is comparable to their original line but are 40g lighter than last year’s model thanks to new internals and freehub.

Cobalt 3 at left is visually similar to the new Cobalt 2 (right), which starts at just $600. The main differences are that the 2’s rear hub has two sealed and two loose ball bearing sets, the 3 gets four sealed cartridge bearings, and the 2 has slightly thicker spokes. Cosmetically, the 3 gets double anodized rims to put some color in the center stripe and the 2 is solid. The weight difference is 140g, favoring the 3.

New Iodine saves 200g through more extensive machining but claims better durability. Now available in orange, gold, black and silver.

Opium is more than 300g lighter while also being stronger.

The Cobalt 3 29ers shave 89g off the big wheel while gaining 10x the strength of the original freehub body and a 33% stronger rim. Weight is just 1670g, pretty good for a $950 tubeless-ready wheelset. There’s also a new Cobalt 2 29er that’s $650 and weighs in at 1773g…unfortunately, that weight seems to be in the spokes and rim, but still, 100g for $300 seems like a tough upsell when you could put that money toward some higher end (lighter) tires or a carbon handlebar and seatpost. Just thinking out loud…and honestly, 1773g for a 29er wheelset is on par with many other sets that cost quite a bit more, so it looks like the Cobalt 2 29ers are a pretty good deal.

2012 crank brothers mallet 2 and 3 pedals get new split alloy and plastic bodies

As spotted at NAHBS on some Indy Fab bikes, Crank Brothers has reworked their Mallet and 50/50 pedals. They took the split design of the Candy and applied it to these flat pedals to sandwich the internals and protect them from the elements. The bodies are half alloy and half polycarbonate on the Mallet 2 and 3. The 1, below, is all polycarbonate. Click to enlarge and you should be able to read the weights and specs.

The 50/50 shares the split design and mixed materials on both the 2 and 3, but the 3 gets a little more material shaved off. Surprisingly, it’s still 5g heavier but gets needle bearings versus bushings on the 2 for better performance.

We saw these at Interbike, but they’re just so darned attractive, we had to have a second look. The new carbon Cobalt 11 stem was a forced redesign of the original concept shown at last year’s Sea Otter Classic in order to make it durable enough, and we’re really glad it did. This one’s stunning!

The 11’s clamping mechanism is a simple plunger and wedge arrangement that pushes the curved section into the bar, which holds it against the front of the stem. The small spring inside simple holds the pieces in place when their loose, connecting to a similar piece at the steerer tube clamp. On the right are the cosmetic pieces in the Cobalt 2 stem that close in the gaps when installed. They’re not necessary, but here’s what it looks like with them in place:

2012 crank brothers cobalt 2 alloy stem

The Cobalt 3 stems have anodized alloy inserts in place of these plastic ones and more extensive machining and an anodized finish (you can see the tip of one at the bottom of this photo). The extra material removal saves 18g.


  1. Holy! $2200 for mountain wheelset!?! Most frames (much less whole bikes) don’t cost that much. And yet… I want a set. So pimp.

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