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Just add dirt.
Our first taste of Mercury, Utah's own sandaled god of speed, came on the road in the form of the US championship-winning M5 carbon wheels. We were converted pretty handily, and several Competitive staffers can be seen on the roads spinning the distinctive logo. Given this enthusiasm, we obviously had no choice but to jump at the chance to also stock Mercury's X3 27.5in Wheelset for our off-road adventures. After all, life isn't (just) carbon and Lycra; sometimes we find that a little alloy and a lot of dirt are the tickets to staying motivated to hit our cycling goals — especially if the goal is just to have fun on cranks.
The X3 rims are an XC-specific model, built from a lightweight, stiff aluminum that lives up to the trail-furniture-be-damned attitude that their efficient ride quality inspires. At 24mm, the tubeless-ready rims are a touch wider than many traditional XC race models, so they'll seat slightly fatter tires at a lower PSI with less chance of rolling off while leaving hot tracks across a berm. In addition to a safer setup, the wider rims also allow more tire volume, grippier cornering, and less rolling resistance.
Mercury's six-bolt rear hub is convertible for use with either 135 or 142mm axles, so they're compatible with most current frames and they're proof against the dimensions of what looks to be the likely future standard. Though the adapter isn't included here, it's nice to know it's available. The fact that they're built for 27.5in tires means they're future-proof in that regard, too, as the superior angle of attack and nimble handling of the greater than/less than tire size makes a strong argument for its off-road hegemony going forward.
- Item #MCW0003