Dull and solid, rather than overly sharp and precise, and they don’t rattle your fillings out
South Industries Enduro rims weigh 495g each in 29-er size with sidewalls rocking a 3mm thick hookless bead lip and an internal width of 31mm.
One of the original points of splashing out on carbon wheels has got a bit lost recently as brands struggle to engineer enough durability into rims. Manufacturing in-house, South Industries pile carbon into high impact areas like rim walls and spoke eyelet zones and then use less fibre in shoulders and rim beds. The pretty impressive result of this is a 29-er wheelset under 1,800g using Hope hubs that aren’t exactly the lightest around.
The engineering team in South Africa do everything by hand, hence the ‘Handgemaak’ written on the side. The exact placement of pre-preg sheets and carbon is a result of constant development, and every layer in the final mould is one continuous piece extending along the circumference of the rim; a technique that should resist delamination and peeling under impacts better. The 31mm internal Enduro rims here are the stronger of two options, and still only a flyweight 495g each in 29-er size even with fat sidewalls using a 3mm thick hookless bead lip. The wide, shallow profile supports wider tyres nicely and inflates easily too.
It’s not clear exactly how much emphasis is placed on impact strength versus saving weight and comfort, but we’ve hammered these wheels everywhere and not even tweaked a spoke, which is exactly what you’d hope for. Back to back testing also backs up the brand’s claims to be smoother and more compliant than most carbon hoops too.
By tracking really well, rolling over square edges efficiently and not beating you up on the longest descents, the South’s offer a great ride quality and despite some massive impacts at speed on rocks and racing Enduro the rims are still undamaged. Alongside pure strength, the damped ride quality makes these things maintain pace nicely, without getting bucked or bounced through repeated rough rock gardens or root webs. The lighter rim weight at the outside means they build speed and slow down quickly too sprinting or putting hard effort in on climbs.
Hope hubs used are a known and proven quantity, but there’s nothing to stop you building these rims into a lighter or faster-engaging hub if that’s bag. And there aren’t many better carbon rims at this price and this weight to base a fancy custom wheel out of either.
South Industries have designed a great riding carbon rim in South Africa that’d build into a great wheelset as well.