Sixth Element SE50 Carbon 27.5+ wheel review
June 17th, 2016
Product Full Name | Sixth Element SE50 27.5 wheels
Retail Price | £899pr
Available From | Sixth Element
Sixth Element SE50 carbon wheels
When we first took delivery of our Mondraker Crafty r+ #frankenbike, we were immediately on the search for a set of upgraded wheels for it. Whilst the originals were adequate, they were a touch weighty, flexy and had a very slow freehub engagement.
I wanted to lower the wheel weight, so carbon was the obvious choice – but there’s a lot on the market ranging from alarmingly cheap Chinese eBay specials to the card-smouldering Enve’s.
British company Sixth Element make high-quality carbon fibre rims, and hand build them in to complete wheels with various options available. With a 2 year no quibble warranty and the price for a pair on Hope hubs coming in under a grand they are already getting popular. We reviewed the Sixth Element SE50.
Sixth Element offer three different width rims, starting at a more conservative 30mm external/24mm internal, a slightly wider 38mm external/32mm internal and finally their widest offering at 50mm external/45mm internal, all of which are available in 27.5 or 29 inch diameters.
As our Crafty is a plus bike, we naturally went for the widest option – the Sixth Element SE50 – and man are they wide, producing a nice wide tyre profile and further improving traction. They have a hookless design and a 100% smooth inner sidewall for increased tyre contact, which, having now changed tyres several times we can vouch for, the bead grip is very impressive.
The quality and attention to detail of the Sixth Element SE50 is great – two orange nipples are fitted either side of the tubeless valve and both wheels are taped and ready to be wrapped in rubber. Another neat little touch is how the decals are lacquered over to ensure they stay the right colour for longer and don’t start to lift or peel with general use – as often found on other, more expensive wheelsets.
Out on the Trail
So, how do they handle on our more typical trails of steep, loose and off camber? Well, honestly – they’re simply sublime.
Most noticeably is the ability to hold such ridiculous off camber and tight lines, the stiffness is so obvious meaning the suspension is left to do its job resulting in the most precise tracking we’ve ever felt on a plus bike. Equally, stuff it hard into a tight rut and the bike accelerates out at warp speed with minimal energy lost to wheel flex.
The Hope Pro 4 hubs have superb pickup with their new 44 tooth engagement and equally high levels of durability – needless to say after 2 months of hard abuse and lack of cleaning, the bearings are still silky smooth.
After 2 months of hard abuse including 5 races and numerous days of bike based hooliganism, the Sixth Element hoops are like the day we pulled them from their box.
We’ve tweaked the spokes once, not long after we got them and as is to be expected with new handbuilt wheels. At 1800g for the set, hand built in Manchester; backed by a no quibble crash replacement warranty (at a vastly reduced price) and coming in at a very reasonable £899 (with hope hubs) delivered to your door – they are an achievable upgrade for many.