Quai x Stephen Metz box section carbon fiber enduro rims with staggered lacing for improved bracing angles

Inventor Stephen Metz showed us the SpeedRelease quick-release thru axle system at Taipei Show earlier this year. His latest project are these boxy carbon enduro rims for debut at Eurobike, built around a staggered lacing concept that provides even bracing angles for each side of the wheel regardless of differences in flange-to-center differences created by brake mounts and freehub spacing. As Metz puts it:

“The tech is known as Radially Staggered Lacing (RSL). It is based on having a different height on the left vs. the right spokes on the wheel, thus modifying the bracing angles in relation to each other.
The goal of any 1:1 wheel is as close to equal bracing angles as you can get and this is just one more tricky way to get closer. The side benefits are incredibly unique look and a box section on our Enduro rim that is super strong and laterally and torsional stiff while remaining very light.”

While not quite as wild looking as Alchemist’s latest I-beam design, these are certainly worth a closer look…

Quai x Stephen Metz box section carbon fiber enduro rims with staggered lacing for improved bracing angles

Specs on these 27.5″ enduro prototypes are a 25mm inside width, 7mm height differential for left to right spoke bed and 28 hole lacing. It’s a full carbon rim that uses their “Snugfit” tubeless ready bead profile.

Quai x Stephen Metz box section carbon fiber enduro rims with staggered lacing for improved bracing angles

Equally as interesting is the story of how these rims are being produced. They’ll be exhibited by Quai, which is a contract manufacturing company that helps inventors get products up and running when finances or other support systems might otherwise leave the idea stagnating in someone’s mind. In their words, their mission is “To champion innovation through the creation and commercialization of a ‘Pilot Brand’ for the benefit of the inventor, the sales channel and the consumer.”

If they believe in the idea, they’ll help fund an initial run and even shop it to their OEM customers, which is the stage these rims are in. Hence their debut at Eurobike.

Quai x Stephen Metz box section carbon fiber enduro rims with staggered lacing for improved bracing angles

Metz is already working on two more versions, too: A 700c PolyRoad (that’ll probably have a cyclocross version, too) with a 22mm inside width and 24 hole lacing; and a 29er Cross Country / Trail wheel with 22mm inside width and two lacing options – 28 hole and 24 Hole for 2:1 lacing

Both will share the same 7mm differential and Snugfit tubeless ready design. Stay tuned for more coverage when Eurobike starts on August 25th!

15 COMMENTS

  1. Why? Is there a legitimate bennefit? Looks neat, but are we breaking all that many spokes? Do we need stiffer wheels? World Cup XC and DH are testing wheel builds with more elastic spokes with carbon hoops. What’s the point? How much power are people putting out in their backyard?

  2. I just built a set of Nextie Wildcats with a 3.5mm offset. Identical spoke lengths front and rear and almost identical bracing angles on Chris King hubs. Absolutely a breeze to tension up and true . Not sure this design really improves on an offset rim profile with 4-5D drilling on the offset side holes.

  3. So…”The goal of any 1:1 wheel is as close to equal bracing angles as you can get and this is just one more tricky way to get closer.”…

    but at the same time…”Metz is already working on a 29er Cross Country / Trail wheel with 22mm inside width and two lacing options – 28 hole and 24 Hole for 2:1 lacing

    Wait, whaaa? How does this system work with 2:1? Isn’t the whole point of 2:1 to balance the tension in wheels with uneven bracing angles, which apparently shouldn’t exist with this type of rim in the first place.

    On a more positive note, Quai sounds like a pretty cool company! Does anyone know examples of any products that they have helped to bring to market?

  4. @Gruntled Hintrap Don’t you know everyone in the comment section is an aerodynamicist *and* metallurgist, and has 20 years of experience with carbon fiber production, as well as wheel building?

  5. It’s good to see a wheel manufacturer use (experiment?) carbon in a manner different than just copying an aluminum profile/structure in carbon. (I could see the next 5 or 10 years producing a wild variety of carbon rim shapes that take advantage carbon’s inherent properties.)

  6. It certainly looks interesting but was does it achieve that the offset rim and asymmetric hub flanges of my Ritchey wheels didn’t do in 2008?

  7. @chasejj, In these rim’s defense, they improve bracing angle on the dished side of the rim just like an offset/asym rim, however these do it without reducing the bracing angle on the opposing side, unlike a offset/asym. All else being equal, that should make the wheel more stiff laterally.

  8. “The side benefits are incredibly unique look and a box section on our Enduro rim that is super strong and laterally and torsional stiff while remaining very light.”

    Flip this statement around. I bet they came up with the look first, then went hunting for a technical explanation for it.

  9. highly doubt they’ll be worth the $$ they’re going to cost, but they look pretty rad IMO. will look even better with some giant knobby on ’em.

  10. Someone photoshop these on a bike, I bet they look awesome on a stealth build. I reality though they’ll just be harder to clean.. though not as bad as Alchemists I-beam.

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