Enough spring to take the edge of any trail harshness
The FSA Afterburner Wider is really well put together and a good weight, reasonable price and available several axle options and 27.5 and 29in diameters.
FSA’s new Afterburner 29in Wider wheelset revolves around 27mm wide (internal) and 25mm deep, asymmetric aluminium rim, which the company calls a near-square design. It’s pretty stiff laterally but still has enough spring in it to take the edge of any trail harshness.
To keep the quality up and weight low the Afterburner is hand built using 24 straight-pull spokes in a two-cross pattern. FSA also makes the smart move using plain gauge rather than bladed spokes, which are easier to source if you break one, and more durable brass nipples.
End caps are included in the box to convert the front hub to either a 9mm QR or 15mm thru and the rear to 135mm QR or 142mm. And FSA even throws in a set of lightweight skewers should you want to venture down the old-skool route. The wheels are sold with either a Shimano freehub or SRAM 11-driver and there’s no difference in price. Both run feature a six-pawl design and a double row of stainless steel bearings.
To speed up the tubeless conversion FSA also pre-installs sealant tape and tubeless valves and it’s done a good job with the fitting too because we had zero issues with seating the tyre or the initial inflation.
In terms of stiffness and compliance, the Afterburner wheels split the difference between the Hope and Sun Ringlés. They have a solid and stable ride but don’t feel quite as forgiving as the Sun Ringlé wheels or as precise as the Hopes. However, apart from a few scuffs on the edge of rim they’ve been bombproof, even the bearings in the rear hub are still smooth after several months hard riding.
Overall the Afterburner Wider is really well put together trail wheelset that’s a good weight, reasonable price and available several axle options and 27.5 and 29in diameters. There’s no Boost, but we’ve been told wider hubs to go with the wider rims are coming later in the year.