Back in December, we introduced you to Bouwmeester Composites, bringing a new way of thinking to the world of carbon fiber enduro rims with their single-walled Tammar V4.8. The technology and story were impressive, so we got our hands on a set for a long term review.
However, we were also lucky enough to sit down with Mello Bouwmeester, the founder of the company to get the whole story on the brand, and where the fresh design came from. Click past the break for a two-rider long term review…
Bringing all of the bike industry to one spot, Sea Otter gave us the opportunity to meet up with Mello Bouwmeester and Raoul Luescher, the two men behind the R&D of the Tammar rim. Both have backgrounds in engineering and composites, and Mello is the owner of the company, and Raoul is a consultant with a long history of composites with Boeing, and is actually one of the very few guys in Australia that is certified to do carbon fiber repair on the Air Force fighter jets.
They explained that their goal in setting out was to use all of this composites experience to build a great rim, not just optimize existing (read: double wall) designs.
The single-walled shape was not just arrived at randomly. The name, Tammar V4.8, means that this is the 4th complete design iteration of the rim, and the 8th layup version. They went through a huge amount of refinement and testing before bringing this product to market. They did not set out to build a single wall rim, and some of the first versions were dual-wall. But as engineers following the scientific method, they came to the current design because it was the best for this specific purpose. And Mello also says that if they were to ever come out with a 29er version, it would not be the same rim in a larger diameter, it may look entirely different, after they do the research and testing to get there.
They also did not go single-wall to save weight like other manufacturers that have chosen that construction method. Combined with their toughened resin, the single-wall allows more vertical flex to the design, allowing it to be more impact resistant than other designs.
While not intended as a plus rim, I did my testing of the rims on the Advocate Hayduke with WTB Trailblazer 2.8″ tires. The 31mm (inside) rim is actually about the same width as Specialized is recommending for B+ bikes, and I found that it rounded out the tire profile nicely on the WTB tire.
On my rides, I felt that the Bouwmeester rims were very stiff, especially under my big frame pushing a single-speed hardtail. But here is the real kicker – Mello says that they are not stiff at all, and in fact, are engineered to be compliant. He told me that what I felt was not stiffness, but stability. The rim is actually designed to flex torsionally, and keep more tire tread on the ground through a corner. So, while I felt they were stiff because they made the bike feel confident, they were actually intentionally flexing. Either way, they were confident, and in the end, it really doesn’t matter how we get to that ride quality.
Bouwmeester will offer the wheels built as completes with DT Swiss 240 hubs because he feels through the wheelbuild, they can do a even better QC check to insure that an absolute perfect wheelset is delivered to the final customer. The USA MSRP for the wheelset will be $2,999.
Our other reviewer – Casey Krueger – mounted the wheels to his Rocky Mountain Instinct that he uses for big multi-day enduro races, and took them on a tour of the west.
Boasting an internal width of 31.5 mm, hook-less solid carbon construction, asymmetric design and weighing in at 1,780 grams for the set (DT 240 hubs, DT Competition spokes), these wheels check all the boxes for a modern, race ready, enduro ready, all-mountain wheelset. So, I did what any self-respecting mountain bike junkie would do, I planned a trip to Moab.
The solid carbon (think moto-cross) Bouwmeester rims came laced to the tried and true DT Swiss 240 hubs, for a top-shelf wheelset that will rival any other out there. I’ve tried or owned many different types of carbon rims from all the big manufacturers and this was by far the easiest tubeless setup I’ve ever done. When I read on the website that the rims will seat at 33 psi, I laughed at the idea of such an exact measure. So, I pulled out a fresh pair of tires and threw them on the rims without sealant to see how easy this tubeless setup would be (I always add sealant after the tire is fully seated). As I started to pump up a brand new pair of Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires with a simple floor pump, I couldn’t believe it when they “popped” onto the hookless rim at precisely 33 psi, no joke! The deep middle channel and nicely ramped sides made the tires seat easily without too much effort and without an air compressor. Standing in my sub arctic garage in Duluth, I began to salivate at the thought of pushing these rims to their limit while speeding down Porc Rim or Captain Ahab
Once I made it away from the frozen lands of Northern Minnesota and got these wheels on some dry ground beneath my trusty Rocky Mountain Altitude, I could tell these were not just another set of wheels. Extremely fast at accelerating in the punchy sections and out of corners, the Tammar’s had absolutely no lateral flex. In the really rough stuff they absorbed enough vertical impact to keep the bike pointed where I wanted, and not get bucked around, like some of the more beefy double wall rims I’ve ridden. I felt like I could pick the bike up and put it down wherever I wanted and the wheels would listen. No arguing about crappy line choices, these wheels just did as they were told. The perfect combination of energy absorption and torsional stiffness lead to a wheel that didn’t talk back, just complied with my demands. High speed cornering was also a no-brainier. For all the benefits the solid construction gives as far as energy absorption and tracking, when put on edge, the wheels were stiff as could be (Ed. note: or maybe not?) and held their line through every high speed berm and off camber corner I threw at them. My Hans Dampfs, aired to 25psi, held the hookless bead like their life depended on it and didn’t burp or roll once. It is obvious that these guys are on to something. Optimal traction and predictable handling are what can be expected from the Bouwmeester Tammar v4.8’s revolutionary design and construction.
As I had to pass this pair of wheels on to the next reviewer, I saw no reason not to think that they will hold up to years of extended abuse (To demonstrate this, Mello said he intends to send the exact same set of wheels we rode consecutively to other reviewers, to show how they will just hold up to anything) With the MSRP shooting north of a set of comparable ENVE wheels for the pair of wheels with DT 240 hubs, these wheels are definitely not for the everyday trail rider, but more geared toward the discerning all-mountain veterans and enduro racers who want nothing but the best beneath them. Do they carry enough forward to be worth more than the benchmark ENVE? We both think so, as they felt as good (we both personally own ENVE AM wheelsets), but had some remarkable features to improve on what ENVE has done (like external nipple access!!!). And while we had to send the test wheels back, the best review I can give any product is that I have placed an order to purchase my own set. They are really that good, and worth the price tag.