Once again, Atomik Carbon’s latest wheelset doesn’t actually use a carbon fiber rim. After adding premium aluminum mountain bike wheels to their repertoire, Atomik turned their focus to aluminum wheels for gravel – but with a twist. An ultra high molecular weight polyethylene twist.

Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes spoke detail

BERD spokes are bonded to threaded steel ends that thread into traditional nipples.

Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes

The spokes are held in place at the hub with a rod inserted through a loop in the end after it’s passed through the spoke hole. Under tension, this won’t come undone.

At this point, outside of the spoke company themselves, Atomik has established themselves as an expert in BERD spokes. The “world’s lightest spokes’ are not easy to build with, but they offer a number of benefits over traditional steel spoke. In order to build a wheel with BERD spokes, each spoke hole on the hub has to be rounded out to prevent any sharp corners from damaging the fibers of the spoke itself.

Then there’s the lacing and tensioning process which presents unique challenges thanks to the flexible braided spokes. After building hundreds, maybe thousands of BERD equipped wheels, Atomik has learned things like the BERD spokes don’t like to be crossed like traditional spokes – they rub together and make noise. Which is why on these wheels you won’t see any over under crossing of the spokes.

All of that work pays off with a spoke that is lighter, stronger, and claims to offer more compliance than a traditional spoke. It’s that compliance that led to the creation of their newest offering, the ALGR aluminum gravel wheelset.

Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes

Note that you can get the ALGR with standard Sapim Race 2.0/1.8 steel spokes and Industry 9 1/1 classic hubs at an enticing price of just $699.

But we’re going to focus on the BERD option for the ALGR which adds another $500 to the build. Now, $1,199 is still an expensive wheelset – but it’s a bargain considering that just the 56 spokes needed for this wheelset would run you $448 directly from BERD. Also, the addition of the aluminum rim makes them quite a bit cheaper than Atomik carbon wheels with BERD spokes.

Why aluminum rims if you’re after compliance? Well, there’s the obvious lower cost to the rims and potential for greater durability. But the real reason is in the magic of the BERD spokes. There is definitely something to their compliance claims, and even when paired with an aluminum rim, the wheels offer better compliance than many carbon rims with traditional spokes.

Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes on Otso Warakin ti gravel bike Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes on Otso warakin ti gravel bike

That’s a claim that I probably wouldn’t have taken at face value – if I hadn’t experienced it myself. After riding them with my favorite 700c x 45mm WTB Riddler tires and then with a smaller 700c x 40mm Goodyear Connector, I’m convinced.

There is no doubt that these wheels offer a smoother ride than most of the gravel wheels that I’ve tried. Of course that does come with a trade off. Compared with something like the Easton EC90 AX, the Atomik ALGR wheels don’t quite have the same snap under hard efforts or aggressive cornering. But for someone who prizes all day comfort over short bursts of all-out performance, it seems like a worthwhile compromise.

Wheel Details

Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes internal rim width

Starting at the rim, the ALGRs use a 6066-T6 aluminum rim with an internal width of 24.5mm. The hooked profile is tubeless ready, and the rims come pre-taped with tubeless rim tape and include tubeless valves. ALGR wheels and rims are available in both 29″/700c and 27.5″/650b, each with the same rim width dimensions.

Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes front i9 1/1 hub Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes rear i9 1/1 hub

When ordered as a complete wheelset, the ALGR rims are laced to Industry 9 1/1 classic hubs in either 24 or 28h builds. That provides options for Shimano HG or SRAM XDR freehub bodies, and 12×100 or 15×100 front axle standards with 12x142mm rear.

At this point, the wheels split between the ALGR and the ALGR Ultimate BERD designations. The ALGR uses the Sapim Race spokes and sells for $699 a set. The ALGR Ultimate BERD wheels get a choice of black or white BERD spokes and sell for $1,199.00.

Want to buy the rim only? That’s an option as well, with individual rims priced at $99.

Decide down the line that you really want a set of carbon wheels? If it’s within 2 years, Atomik offers their Carbon Upgrade Program which means Atomik will rebuild the wheel using the existing hubs with new spokes and nipples plus all labor and return shipping—at no cost to the customer with the purchase of carbon rims.

What do they weigh?

Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes actual weight

BERD spokes are inherently lighter than steel spokes, so that makes for a decently light wheelset with a wide aluminum rim. The 700c 28h wheelset shown above with tubeless tape and valves weighs in at 688g for the front and 833g for the rear (1521g for the set).

Rim weights are claimed at 420g for 650b, and 440g for 700c and complete wheelset weights are provided at 1,609/1,659g for 650b/700c ALGR wheels with Sapim spokes and 1,405g/1,465 grams for the AGLR Ultimate BERD wheels (without tape or valves). 

Atomik ALGR aluminum gravel wheels with BERD spokes riding

In an extremely crowded wheel market, it’s not often that a company can offer something that’s truly unique. Not to mention well priced, all while delivering on the promised performance. But that’s exactly what Atomik seems to have here with the ALGR Ultimates. For ultimate comfort on any terrain, you might want to give these a shot.

atomikcarbon.com

26 comments

  1. K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

    Strange wheels to advertise that in essence the builder voids hub warranties when they modify the flange holes. Ask i9 or any other mfg. The only way to avoid that with BERD spokes is to build with straight pull hubs.

    Reply
    • Wayne Lee on

      First of all, less than 1 gram of material is removed. We weighed what we removed from both hubs and it registered zero on the gram scale. We have built hundreds of wheels without any problems. If any of the hubs broke that I9 did not take care of, we would certainly.warranty it for.our customer.

      Reply
      • K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

        By no means am I disputing that it can’t be done safely, not sure where you picked that up in my statement. It’s just odd to be promoting brand new wheels where a perfectly good hub warranty is pre-voided by the builder. I’m actually BERD curious, but will be sticking with straight pull hubs when I pull the trigger for sure. Or maybe Onyx if they make that BERD specific sailboat cleat style flange they did for HED. That would be something. Ultimately it’s 2021 and we shouldn’t have to void warranties of parts to make a wheel system. That’s absurd.

        Reply
        • reading is fun on

          even after Wayne spelled out that they would cover any warranty issue K-pop still has an issue with voiding a warranty. Is the issue that you need to have the warranty from I9, rather than from Wayne?

          Reply
          • K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

            My issue is written out in plain English. Sorry but I can’t put it any more simple terms than I have already.

            Reply
        • Tim on

          That’s great that Atomik warranties any hubs that have problems, because it completely eliminates any concerns any reasonable person might have about i9 not warrantying damaged hubs.

          Reply
      • Matthias on

        It would still have to be seen how i9 handles this. If you got a cracked hub body or a prematurely worn out bearing and claimed your warranty, would they be shortsighted enough to refuse it just because the legally can for a tiny modification, done professionally by the wheel manufacturer, that has obviously f-all to do with the fault? My money is on no.

        Reply
        • K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

          We used to slot hubs for bladed spokes in the 90’s, and every hub manufacturer back then said warranty voided if you do it. Why would you expect any different now? Because the mod isn’t as severe? Pffft, c’mon. I’ve already spoken with most of the aftermarket hub mfg’s and some OEM’s in Taiwan about the BERD mods for j-bend hubs and they all say warranty over. Some will still oblige an issue not related to the mod, like you say bearings. But generally any problems appear related to the mod is coming out of the builder’s pocket.

          Reply
  2. Craig on

    Could we see some data from tests that prove the increased compliance claims? Otherwise it’s just that, a claim with no evidence which means it could be completely false.

    From the review “There is no doubt that these wheels offer a smoother ride than most of the gravel wheels that I’ve tried. ” Wow that’s incredible. How was that measured? Can we see the data?

    Reply
    • Wayne A Lee on

      There are more than enough reviews out there with the same claim, over and over again. If you want to give them a try, let me know and we will see if we can arrange that through one of our dealers.

      Reply
      • ap on

        I can vouch for this comment. Lots of folks on forums posting comments and the majority that try them do echo the opinions in this article.

        I have been interested in Berd spokes for a while. It’s cool that Atomik is offering pre-built options because otherwise you’re buying rims and hubs and sending them off to Berd, or building them yourself and that is probably not a great option for most people considering the unique build requirements.

        Reply
    • K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

      If you take a quick tour around what Berd owners are about these spokes they are no gimmick. They are incredibly light and strong, and the general consensus is they are very well adapted to gravel because of the vibration dampening characteristics. Same points made in the review.

      Reply
    • El Pataron on

      Ken–gimmick, magic, new technology–three ways to say the same thing. This is not a good website for luddites, you know?

      Reply
    • Wayne Lee on

      Absoluty not. That is probably the #1 question we are asked. The spoke mitigates any vibrations better than a steel spoke. Completely different than flexing.

      Reply
  3. Clinton Blacksmith on

    Compliance is not the job of the wheel. I don’t know why this hasn’t been beat into everyone more but compliance in the wheel system should come solely from the tire.

    Reply
  4. K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

    Here, I’ll make it real easy…

    Wayne @ Atomik,
    Why put something on the market that requires a modification and disrupt the natural order of part warranties when you don’t have to? i.e. tangential straight pull hubs.

    Reply
    • Wayne on

      Easy answer….we dont have an option when people send their wheels to.us to get done. There are not too many hubs with straight pull spokes. I9 by far is the most popular option. We cannot use their system build hubs. In addition some straight pull hubs cannot work if the spoke holes are underneath the end cap….not enough space…

      Reply
      • K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

        That’s right, only the ‘paddle’ style straight pull hubs work. But there are more of those available than you’re giving up. All the DT models, Carbon-Ti, Shimano, Extralite. Taiwan has more, some of which are really solid. I’ll toss this potato back over to you and say there are many straight pull hub options that will work with BERD spokes.

        Reply
  5. Wayne on

    We are/were a DT Swiss dealer until the last time we placed an order and was told 18-24 months. We have built with Carbon-Ti and Extralite and I personally like them. However, our business is to build what the customer wants…..95% have chosen Industry 9.

    Reply

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