Over the weekend I had a chance to test out some exciting new wheels that have been in the works for a couple of years now from an Adelaide based Bouwmeester Composites with input from Luescher Teknik, Melbourne. I picked up the wheel and first thoughts were – weight. This wheel is light…and has a very low profile.
Off to Buxton and first impressions are – silence. The Bouwmeester is noticably quieter than anything I’ve ridden before. I’m not sure if the low profile has something to do with this but it’s always nice to just hear your tires hooking up. With striking looks far removed from it’s road bike counterparts it’s reminiscent of a motocross rim. Great touch.
I had a Schwalbe Hans Dampf up front and a Rock Razor out back – a combo I’ve been really happy with for a year or so now. Particularly on fast dry tracks. The Rock Razor rolls very well and has some pretty aggressive side knobs to keep things gripping when you tip it in to a corner. I also haven’t noticed any big transition point blackspot where the tire has a loss of traction as it’s dropped into the corner. I settled on pressures of 24PSI up front and 26PSI out back, with a wider rim profile, 36mm, than the Arch EX’s I’ve been riding for the last year (24.6mm) I found lower pressures can be run as the tire is held much more securely with a near vertical sidewall. This results in more grip from a larger tread contact patch and better pedaling efficiency from tire small bump compliance with the ground. Win-win! The set I tested were pre-production, and I hear that the final version will be slightly wider and further refined.
In corners the wheel felt very direct and assisted in holding my line well. I didn’t experience any burping and only felt the tire roll slightly in a heavy corner where the tire was experiencing some pretty high lateral loads. Great for relatively low pressures and the grip was crazy good!
I committed to one corner expecting the tire to break traction a little – Nope. Looping out and fighting to stay on the bike as I had an off track excursion!
Bouwmeester have put in some serious testing over the last couple of years. This has directly translated into a solid feeling wheel – I felt at home railing turns right from the start. The profile has been carefully optimised to maximise impact strength – so there is enough strength to run them on a downhill bike and take a few hits but featherweight enough for XC/trail/Enduro.
It’s super exciting to see an Aussie company taking a ground up analytical approach to research and development in a market filled with Chinese catalog or uber expensive American made rims. The wheels will be 100% Australian made in rAdelaide and I can’t wait to get hold of a set of my own when they go on sale in the near future.