Crankbrothers rolls out its latest gravity mountain bike wheelset with the new Opium 3 DH. Gravity tested and raced on the UCI World Cup Downhill circuit last season by the NS Bikes team, the new aluminum wheels are the latest option for riders looking to bash big wheels down the mountain.

Opium 3 DH alloy gravity wheels in 27.5″ or 29″

The Opium 3 is the latest iteration of the gravity wheelset Crankbrothers offers, getting stronger, lighter, and wider for 2018. We got a quick look at the new 28mm internal, tubeless alloy wheels back at Interbike, now optimized for better tire shape and more air volume with wider tires. Crankbrothers was calling them entry-level DH race wheels at the time on account of their aluminum rim and relatively low $750 pricetag (for a proper DH race-ready wheelset, that is.) We wonder if that might suggest a carbon 11 version could also be in development.

Besides getting a stronger and wider rim profile – now up to 32.5mm outside – the other big news is the addition of a new gravity-ready 29er option for the growing number of wagon wheel DH bikes. The 27.5″ wheelset claims a weight of 2075g, while the 29″ wheels add just a hundred grams to a claimed 2175g.

The wheels still to use Crankbrothers’ unique Twinspar spoke setup, which they say maximizes overall wheel strength & stiffness. While some cyclists debate about longer unsupported rim sections with the paired 24/28 spoke lacing, the design does leave a tubeless-friendly uninterrupted rim bed and makes wheel truing simple. It also helps keep a good bit of the wheel weight close to the hub for wheels that spin up & stop faster than one would expect.

Hubs are Crankbrothers’ own that have gone on a weight loss diet, shedding excess material around the standard dimension sealed bearings, endcaps, axle, and throughout the hubshell itself, plus getting a new alloy freehub. The updated 6061 hubs keep straight pull lacing for the extended aluminum spoke pins that grab more conventional straight gauge Sapim stainless spokes (all conveniently the same length). The hub axles are available only in DH specific 20mm front and swap between 12×150 & 12x157mm with included endcaps. The wheels come standard with a Shimano freehub, but a SRAM XD driver is also available for an extra $100.

Crankbrothers rates the Opium 3 wheels even for DH e-bikes up to 350W, and gives them a 2 year warranty, which downhillers are welcome to push to the limits. Get them direct from Crankbrothers or through your local bike shop.


  1. if your DH runs weren’t scary enough, you can now get wheels from the brand with the worst reliability in Cycling. I bet the box they come in is really cool though.

  2. It amazes me that CB still thinks these wheels are a good idea. To try and sell such a proprietary wheel design with such a bad reliability history to the MTB market that is probably the single most abusive to wheels is absurd.

What do you think?