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Review: bc original Loamer Wheelset

Christoph 22. February 2019

The requirements a modern bike wheel has to meet couldn’t be more demanding. However, that doesn’t mean a wheelset has to cost a fortune…

There’s no doubt that building wheels is an art, and that’s always been the case: the right blend of radial and lateral flex combined with the rigidity to resist rim-shattering impacts is incredibly important in determining whether you a have a fun ride or are just a passenger. Of course, it also depends on your personal riding style, your ability, the speed and the terrain. And the rider’s weight naturally plays a role, too. Reconciling all these different factors is exactly what makes building wheels such a difficult task. Without making compromises, it’s not generally possible to find a common denominator.

Proof that the compromise is not always a four-figure price tag can be seen in the new bc original wheelset: developed in collaboration with Michi Grätz and part of our range since the beginning of February, the bc original Loamer represents an alternative design. Just like two of my colleagues and two external reviewers, I’ve ridden the wheelset on my Santa Cruz Hightower in the 29” version these last few months. I have to say, I am really impressed.

rim plus tire in close-up shot valve

A totally black rim with a sleek white bc decal.

‘Obviously, if it’s got the bc badge on it, then a bc employee has to love it!’ That’s a fair point! The only thing is that we would have to be sticking our necks out pretty far if we were to praise such an elementary mountain bike component so highly, offer it at this price – and then see it fail to live up to our promises. Alright then, let’s get back to my experience with wheels and to a few facts concerning the bc Loamer Boost wheelset:

Where the tyre meets the rim, the internal width is 28 mm. Further down in the bed, the rim is much narrower. This has two decisive advantages:

Firstly, the shape of the tyre is more natural because the casing runs straight up and fits at the ‘right angle’. In other words, it goes where the casing actually wants to go due to the shape of the tyre. As a result, it simply sits better in the rim and is not “bulbed”.

Secondly, because the rim tapers towards the hub, it is much lighter. Optically it doesn’t appear as bulky as a normal rim of the same width. I also get the impression that the shape and position of the rim walls make them less sensitive to impacts. Heavy-duty doesn’t necessarily mean heavy – it’s the shaping that counts. The V-form in combination with the 28 mm rim width covers a very respectable spectrum of different applications from Cross Country, Trail and All Mountain through to the carnage of Enduro.

Mountain bike rider cornering in the forest roots

The right mix of lateral and radial flex is as essential as stiffness.

mountain bike rider accelerates in uphill in forest

The weight for the whole wheelset is: 1740 g (29") and 1650 g (27.5").

Do you need more proof? The 29” wheelset weighs in at 1740 g, while the 27.5” version chalks up to a mere 1650 g per set. And during the review period, it proved itself by surviving the rough trails of Canada and the simply endless descents in the Himalayas without damage. I’ve also been riding the bc original Loamer throughout the winter. Including pressure cleaning– yes, I know, don’t do it! However, judging by the distance of about 2,000 km covered, the double-sealed deep groove ball bearings can take a rough cleaning without complaint.

To sum it up: as far as I’m concerned, this really is a fine all-round, carefree wheelset. As a backup set in any case; but to be honest, I’ve completely switched over and made the bc original Loamer my first wheelset of choice!