The constant evolution of mountain bike technology over the past few years has been relentless. Mixed in with the breakneck progression comes fierce competition between the two powerhouses of component manufacturing; SRAM and Shimano. While Shimano was arguably a bit late to the 1x game when compared to SRAM’s early adoption of this technology, over the past few years they’ve proven they’re taking it seriously and have completely revamped one of their most beloved groups, Deore with trickle-down tech normally only found on the higher-priced tiers. I’ve been riding the entire M6100 kit for the past four months here in Santa Fe on my Mystic hardtail and I’m ready to talk about it, so let’s drop right in…
When someone makes a big marketing claim, one that promises “compliance”, superb strength, and a ride quality unlike anything else on the market, I can’t help but roll my eyes. This reaction is a sentiment that I’m sure you, the readers of this very website, also feel! The cycling industry is always coming out with the next best thing and trying to get you to buy it. That’s why when I take on something to review, I like to really give it a go because if I’m going to tell you something is worth your hard-earned money, it damn well better perform.
Please don’t mind this introduction, I just wanted to explain how long I’ve been thinking about writing this review and how it’s going to seem that I was paid to sing the praises of these wheels. Spoiler alert, I was not and yes, these wheels really do live up to the marketing hype!
For the past 10 months, I’ve been riding the Zipp 3ZERO MOTO 29er wheels on my hardtail and I am a firm – pardon the pun – believer that these wheels are the best thing to hit the MTB market in some time.
MTB wheels, especially the ones with aluminum rims, are easily the most abused product in my bike closet. They’re also the hardest to review, honestly. Reviewing wheels accurately and in a comprehensive way can be as elusive as a fast friend’s wheel in the woods. When Industry Nine gave me a set of their Backcountry 360 wheels, featuring their new Hydra hubs last year, I was amazed at not only the build quality of the wheels but the vast improvement of their newly-engineered Hydra hubs. Read on below.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor to throw my leg over many bikes, try them out, write a review, and then send them back. While the bikes return to their companies, the experience stays with me, and in the time I’ve been running this website, I’ve developed my own belief for what the perfect geometry for a hardtail mountain bike is. About a year ago, I began talking with Adam Sklar and Colin Frazer, who were about to launch a new production, US-made frame company called Mystic. We wanted to test the waters with a Radavist edition frame, dubbed the Alluvium. After chatting about numbers and branding, we felt like we were getting closer to releasing this frame. Then the reality of such an undertaking took hold and we killed the project.