How to care for your carbon wheels

NOBL Carbon Wheelsets Okanagan

When it comes to maximizing the performance and lifespan of your carbon mountain bike wheels, meticulous care and attention is key. Carbon wheels offer unparalleled benefits, such as reduced weight, enhanced stiffness with compliance, and generally improved ride quality, making them a popular choice among serious riders. In this guide, we'll delve into detailed steps on how to inspect and maintain your carbon mountain bike wheels.

1. Regular Cleaning:

Keeping your carbon wheels clean is crucial. Brake dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate quickly. Use a soft brush and mild soap to clean the wheels thoroughly. Ensuring your wheels are clean allows for proper pre-ride inspections. Avoid using hard or metal cleaning brushes, as these can scratch the delicate resin surface, compromising its integrity.

2. Avoid Harsh Cleaners:

When cleaning your carbon wheels, steer clear of harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners. These can damage the resin and finish of the carbon. Stick to mild soaps and cleaners specifically designed for bike maintenance to preserve the aesthetics and structural integrity of your wheels.

3. Inspect for Damage:

Regularly inspect your wheels for visible signs of damage, such as cracks, chips, bulges, or irregularities in the carbon surface. Avoid aggressive riding in rocky or technical terrain with lower tire pressures which could lead to impacts. If you do encounter impacts, even minor ones, conduct a thorough inspection to ensure the structural integrity of your wheels. 

4. Proper Tire Pressure:

Maintaining the right tire pressure is essential for riders with carbon wheels. Incorrect tire pressure can lead to uneven wear and affect the overall performance of the wheels. Check the tire pressure regularly, using a reliable gauge, and ensure it falls within the recommended range provided by your wheel manufacturer. While you're at it, check the tension of your spokes, ensuring even and proper tension throughout.

5. Temperature Management:

Carbon is sensitive to extreme temperatures, so be mindful of where you store your bike, especially in the Okanagan. Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight for prolonged periods, as excessive heat can affect the resin. Instances such as storing your bike in a hot car, or your wheels too close to the exhaust of your car when on its rack. Similarly, refrain from exposing your bike to extreme cold, as sudden temperature changes can impact the structural integrity of the carbon.

What Not to Do with Carbon Wheels:

  • Avoid Hard Cleaning Brushes: Refrain from using hard or metal cleaning brushes on your carbon wheels, as these can cause scratches, compromising both aesthetics and structural integrity.

  • Don't Overinflate Tires: Excessive tire pressure can lead to a harsher ride and may increase the risk of damage, especially when riding on rough terrain. Stick to the recommended pressure range.

  • Avoid Storing in Extreme Conditions: Steer clear of storing your bike in areas with extreme temperatures. Sudden temperature changes, especially in cold conditions, can impact the carbon's structural integrity.

Benefits of Carbon Wheels:

  • Reduced Weight: Carbon wheels are lighter than their aluminum counterparts, enhancing overall bike weight distribution.
  • Enhanced Stiffness: Increased rigidity provides better power transfer and responsiveness with small bump compliance.
  • Improved Ride Quality: Carbon's vibration-damping properties contribute to a smoother ride.

Downfalls of Carbon Wheels:

  • Cost: Carbon wheels can be more expensive upfront than aluminum.
  • Durability: While highly durable, impacts and mishandling can cause damage to the carbon.
  • Heat Sensitivity: Excessive heat, especially here in the Okanagan, can impact the resin and structural integrity of carbon.

Breaking your carbon wheels all the time?

It's always worth it to get high-quality wheels from trusted brands such as NOBL Wheels or We Are One Composites. Getting wheels from trusted brands ensures properly laid carbon and customer-focused warranties. Life-time warranties from our favorite wheel manufacturers, combined with the wheel building skills here at Smith Creek Cycle will instill trust in your wheels that won't stop you from sending it hard out there on the trails.

At the end of the day

Mastering the care of your carbon mountain bike wheels involves a combination of regular maintenance, thorough inspections, and cautious riding practices. These meticulous steps not only extend the lifespan of your wheels but also ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience. Embrace the benefits of carbon while avoiding common pitfalls, and you'll unlock the full potential of your high-performance cycling setup.

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