Silt are new on the mountain bike scene, but their partner company Scribe have been around a little while in the road world, with some glowing reviews of their wheels, so I was intrigued to see how their first attempt at off road wheels would hold up.
If you want a decent set of alloy wheels for hard charging trail and enduro riding these days you are generally looking somewhere in the region of £550-700 (for a branded pair, e.g. Stans ZTR Flow, Hope Fortus 30, DT Swiss EX1700) so £370 for a pair seems like a bit of a steal at first glance. You may have heard of saying ‘Strong, light, cheap: pick two’, quoted by the legend Keith Bontrager. Well can you? These wheels are definitely at the cheaper end of the scale and they are light at 1869g. But does that mean they can’t be strong? Only time will tell…
I do usually have a soft spot for a Hope hub, and recently on my own bike I’ve been riding a pair hand built with Sapim C-Xray spokes and DT EX471 rims, which have become my baseline for wheel a comparison. They are super strong, compliant, pretty light (although not quite as light as these), the hubs run for ever, and they cost around £650. So it was going to be a tall order to even come close…or so I thought.
On unboxing of the wheels my first reaction was surprise to be honest, at the light weight and the feeling of a quality product. They come pre-taped for tubeless, and complete with valves and spare spokes.
Initial impression is that of a well built pair of wheels. The hubs are well finished and the bearings were smooth, if a little tight to start with. Hopefully a sign that they are packed full of grease to help them last. The graphics are bold to say the least, and if you don’t like that then you are stuck with it as they don’t peel off. Tyres popped up straight away with just a track pump, but unfortunately the front wheel would not hold air. It turned out the tape was leaking so I had to re-tape it straight away. Not a huge deal, but a bit of a pain, and not what you want from a brand new wheel, so points docked there.
One more thing worth mentioning is that Silt offer a 3 year warranty and a 50% cost crash replacement scheme to the original owner, so any product defects are covered for 3 years, and if you do write off a rim, then they offer replacement parts at 50% of RRP.
So back to that saying … are they strong? Well, to find out I bolted them to my Privateer 161, full coil shocked up enduro beast of a bike to find out. I am running Michelin Wild Enduro tyres with Rimpact Original Inserts, and have been for a while now. The tyres are incredibly versatile and handle almost all conditions you can throw at them, and I’ve been running inserts for a few years now due to the benefits they bring in terms of puncture protection, tyre support and ride feel, with the added bonus of rim protection.
So to the job in hand, could I disprove old KBs saying? Strong, light, cheap, pick two’.
Well, I’ve ridden these wheels through the wheel destroying rock gardens of Bike Park Wales, some big rides in the Valleys of South Wales and Triscombe and the local jump spot in Bristol and three months later they are still spinning as straight as the day they came out of the box. With no loose spokes, no dents, and the bearings are spinning smooth and faster than when they were new.
I would say they are on the stiffer side of the spectrum for an alloy wheel, but still way more compliant than a burly carbon rim. That may be solved by loosening off the spoke tension very slightly, but I was happy with how they rode. Paired with the mid weight tyres and inserts they took everything I could throw at them. My only criticism is that the free hub is a little on the noisy side, like an angry wasp chasing you down the trail.
What do we think?
I can honestly say these wheels have surpassed my expectations, and so far they have proved you can have strong, light, and cheap.
Yes there were a few niggles, but they are easily outweighed by the positives.
Strong, light and cheap
Come pre-taped with valves and spare spokes
3 year warranty and crash replacement scheme
Could do better:
Free hub is on the noisy side
Bold graphics not to all tastes
Front wheel tape leaked air
You can check out the Silt All Mountain wheelset on their website here.