When it comes to industry experience, newly formed wheel company Knight Composites has it in spades. The newly formed super group includes industry veterans Jim Pfeil, Beverly Lucas, and Kevin Quan who combined have loads of experience with companies like Reynolds composites, EDGE and ENVE, Diamondback, and Neilpryde. Together, they’ve each made contributions to changing the carbon bicycle landscape and for their next project, they thought they could make a better wheel. Again.
After launching the brand with their first road wheels which promised to be faster and more stable, Knight Composites turned their focus towards mountain bikes with some wide but super light carbon options. Back in January, Knight promised some news in the form of tubulars for both road and CX, and they made good on the promise at Sea Otter…
Starting with a 35mm road tubular, the wheel builds on their aero philosophy introduced with their first wheels that places the emphasis on the trailing edge rather than the leading edge. Knight claims this is because the tire messes with aerodynamics no matter what you do to the rim profile, while working the trailing edge allows you to better control how the air transitions from the wheel to the frame. The result is supposedly an even faster wheel with great stability in crosswinds.
Now with a tubular wheel in the line up, Knight is offering that speed in both rim and disc brake options. One important distinction from what’s shown above – the production wheels will have external nipples, not internal as shown. This is good news for anyone who has had to take off a tubular just to true a wheel (or more likely, tension loose spokes). Like other Knight Composite wheels, the tubulars are made using an EPS foam mandrel which allows for a more compact carbon structure than bladder molding and makes for a lighter wheel since they can use less carbon where it isn’t needed.
Labeled as both road and CX, their tubulars have a slightly different layup than the road clinchers to withstand the abuse from CX racing. Weights are listed as 368g per 25.5mm rim, with prices ranging from $2099 with Aivee SR5 hubs to $2349 with Chris King R45 Ceramic hubs. Rim brake models see 20h radial laced front/24h 2x rear, while disc wheels are 24h 2x front and rear.
Knight was also showing off their 35mm road disc wheel which at the moment is clincher only and not tubeless compatible. While they mentioned that tubeless was in the works, at the moment the demand was higher for standard clincher so that’s what is coming first. The 35mm rim comes in at 420g with a 25.5/17mm external/internal width and pricing ranging from $2299 for DT 240 CL hubs to $2549 for the Chris King R45 Ceramic hubs.
As part of their mountain bike lineup, the new Plus rim is pretty impressive at 488g for a 50mm/45mm internal rim. The hookless rim will be offered in 28 or 30h drillings with complete builds on DT Swiss 240 Boost hubs running $2399.