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Synthesis E 11 Boost Wheelset
In life we have to make some compromises, but those shouldn't come in the quality department, and definitely shouldn't mean washy wheels that don't track well, or harsh, overly stiff hoops that leave our hands numb after 5 miles of singletrack. When dreaming up a new pair of enduro hoops the engineers at Crank Brothers had to learn how to compromise, and after stubbornly arguing the pros and cons of stiff wheels vs. compliant wheels, they landed on a novel concept: why not both? The Crank Brothers Synthesis E 11 Boost 29in Wheelset doesn't settle for just one idea, but packs in a rear wheel that emphasizes stiffness for exceptional tracking, and a front wheel that offers compliance and damping, with better turn control and reduced trail chatter. This is achieved by enduro-tuning the wheelset with a front-specific hoop, and a rear-specific hoop, laced up neatly to the ridiculously quick and snappy Synthesis 11 hub, with Project 321 internals.
To start to understand the Synthesis E 11 Wheelset, we need to look at the differences between each rim. The front rim uses a wider profile, with an outer width of 37.5mm, and inner of 31.5mm — this translates to a wider platform to host beefier tires, allowing for soaking up vibrations, meanwhile amping up the traction to keep you locked into your line in loose and wily corners. This rim is laced up with 28 spokes — 4 fewer than the rear wheel, allowing just a little more compliance to elevate vibration damping. In the back, Crank Bro's opt for a slightly narrower rim with 29.5mm internal and 36.5 external width, laced up with a whopping 32 spokes for a stiffer feel that offers undeniable control, power, and tracking. But the differences don't stop at the rims — different spokes are employed on each wheel, with the front using Sapim's CX-ray for lightweight, aerodynamics, and strength, and the rear dialing in the stiffer, heavy-duty CX-sprint.
Since nobody wants to waste their efforts on a hub that doesn't react quickly, Crank Brothers implements the Synthesis 11 hub with Project 321 internals to offer 2.5-degrees of quiet engagement with 216 points of engagement. This snappy engagement is achieved using a unique magnetically-actuated ratchet drive system, with 6-pawls for precise control. This magnetic system works a bit differently than the mechanical or magnetic push-spring systems you may have seen in the past, instead opting for a pull-spring to move pawls into the drive ring, which claims to achieve less drag and less noise than its counterparts.
- Enduro-tuned hoops dialed for both stiffness and compliance
- Front-and-rear specific hoops keep your needs a priority
- Extra-stiff rear wheel boosts stability, and tracking
- Front wheel is compliance tuned for better grip and control
- Wide front rim has room for lofty tires for extra traction
- Reduce rolling resistance with narrower rear rim
- Synthesis hub with Project 321 internals feature 2.5-degree engagement
- Item #CRN004O
- Q & A
Strong Review from Pinkbike
"Crankbrothers have designed a wheelset that validates their claims - the Synthesis wheels have proven to be compliant and durable. The wheels deliver a better ride quality than many other options currently on the market, and if they fit your budget I recommend them for riders searching for durable, high-performance carbon wheelset."
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Your first thought upon seeing a $2400 set of Crankbrothers wheels might be confusion, anger, shock or some combination of the three. However, these are not the Crankbrothers wheels of the past with strange spokes and a penchant for failure. They have completely rethought the idea of a wheelset, tuning each wheel separately instead of slapping the same rim on front and rear and calling it good. As innovative as this idea seems, I just cannot tell the difference between other high-end wheelsets in this category. They are just as stiff and compliant as my Reserve wheelset (which is a great compliment). The Project 321 hubs offer excellent engagement at a reasonable noise level, which I would place somewhere between DT Swiss and RaceFace Vault hubs. The rims themselves mount up easily with a tubeless pump.
With the advances made in carbon wheels, it can be tough to differentiate yourself in a crowded field of competition. Crankbrothers have made significant progress and the Synthesis is an excellent wheelset, just perhaps not quite worth the price tag.