These are my go to rim brands. They have been proven to perform up to Zspokes standards.
- ENVE - The spoke holes are molded into the rim as part of the manufacturing process. They have a smooth and even brake tracks as well as a 5 year warranty with lots of size and weight options. Made in USA
- Knight Composites - When great minds from ENVE, Reynolds and Cervelo get together...good things happen. 5 year warranty. Amazing aerodynamics. Proven high end carbon layups and manufacturing techniques.
- Nox Composites - More moderately priced high quality carbon, with offset spoke beds for more even tension. 2 year warranty and it's the only carbon rim maker to INCLUDE rock strike damage.
Carbon and Aluminum rims
Several years ago Boyd had finally grown enough to step it up and design and own their own carbon rim molds. This allowed some clean slate designs with depth profiles and flange angled spoke holes allowing for very high quality builds. The proprietary shapes of their alloy rims means they're also some of the nicest on offer, with their Altamont being one of the few modern aero shapes available in an alloy rim.
I have been building with Velocity wheels since the early '90s and have never once seen a nipple pull through a rim. Even in "raccident" and "run over by a car" scenarios, the rim is not the failure point. That is great news for me, as it allows for high spoke tension with less concern for rim failure. Ultimately that equals a stronger, stiffer wheel for you. Along those same lines, I am a particularly big fan of their A23 wide road/cross rim. It is a really nice width, a nice weight and plenty strong with the right build, and because it is available with an offset spoke bed for more even tension of rear and disc brake wheels, it results in a very stable wheelset. An added bonus is that a few years ago they moved production from Australia to Florida, now made in USA.
In the last 4-5 years, Spank has been working with a very cutting edge rim manufacturer to push the limits of what is possible in an aluminum rim, with advanced alloys and rim wall shapes. The results are impressive indeed, with exceptional strength and hardness, while still maintaining very reasonable weights. Check out their "Oobah" rim bed shape, it performs as claimed and adds a noticeable level of stiffness for a given weight rim. As a bonus they often have fun anodized colors available.
Just like with their hubs, DT makes a full range of rims, from basic and entry level, up to some of the most expensive carbon you can find. Similar to the hubs, we can gloss over their less expensive options in favor of other things at similar prices. However when you start to look at their higher end alloy rims, things get good. Their most recent rim releases from a few years ago (XR, XM and EX) are very light for any given width and feature a new squorx nipple/washer combo that allows the nipple head to pivot slightly and align with the hub flange better...NICE!
STan's No Tubes
When lightweight is high on the priority list and carbon isn't in the budget, look to the Stan's rim options for some of the lightest alloy rims around. For many years they have been found on many a racers bike for a reason, when you're turning yourself inside out for a few hours, it's nice to know that you have the least rotating weight possible. With these new Mk3 versions of the Crest and Arch they are adding some much needed width and still keeping the weight down. The Hugo is also an impressive option for all the 4"+ tires out there.
Easton has recently decided to focus their extensive aluminum manufacturing expertise into making some very high quality rims. Early builds and testing have looked very favorable and these are going to be a nice option going forward. Expect to see RaceFace branded product with the same technology as well.