Review -

The Review | Crankbrothers Iodine 3 Wheelset

It’s been well documented in the past that Crankbrothers striking wheel sets have been known for some unreliability issues, but they are keen to claim that these issues have now been resolved. We tested the all-mountain Iodine 3 wheelset to see how they would stand up to being abused through a winter in the rugged and rocky Welsh mountains. It’s now time to see how well they performed.

The Iodine 3 is the biggest hitting enduro wheels Crankbrothers offer, available in both 650b and 29er, we were testing the 650b version. The wheels have a unique design with 24 twin spar straight pull spokes which creates their very striking look, this design also reduces rotating mass as the weight is placed closer to the hub. The spokes don’t penetrate the rim bed so no rim tape is required when running tubeless tyres, a really handy feature. Crankbrothers use sealed bearings to keep the dirt out and also have an XD driver available. The wheel-set comes in a competitive weight at 1780 g, this low weight and unique look doesn’t come cheap though retailing for 849 €.

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Crankbrothers are renowned for making some of the best look products on the market and the Iodine 3 wheelset certainly doesn’t disappoint, the hubs look great. The intricate machining looks amazing, and the cut outs remove as much rotating mass as possible. The wheels also come with adaptors for various difference axle standards at no extra cost.

Stiff enough to keep you on line.
Stiff enough to keep you on line.

The wheels were tested over winter on various different trails from loamy greasy corners to boulder littered wheel smashing sections, I’m pleased to say the wheels have performed excellently. Our testers were running 24-26 psi on the front and 28-30 psi in the rear and even with the now narrow 23 mm rim they never once burped a tyre. The rims have taken a beating with plenty of hard hits, the bearings are running as sweet as the first day they arrived. The wheels are light enough, but thanks to the twin spar design they accelerated quicker than our testers expected.

The rims have held up well to rocky riding conditions.
The rims have held up well to rocky riding conditions.

The Iodine wheelset are light and accelerate well, while there are stiffer wheels on the market there certainly stiff enough. One of the testers managed to break their rear mech off snapping one of the spokes, unfortunately because of the twin spar spokes the loss of 1 dramatically reduced the stiffness of the wheels and they were all over the place, almost unrideable at pace. This left the rim with a nasty buckle that our local bike shop struggled to true out. The wheels come with a few spare spokes, just make sure you keep a few in your pack!

Powering through the rocks
Powering through the rocks

Bottom Line

The Iodine 3 is one of the pimpest wheel sets out there, and with their new found durability impressed our testers. There are certainly cheaper and lighter wheels available but the striking looks, excellent machining and high finish of the Iodine 3 will appeal to many.

Words: Andrew Cooper Pics: Doc Ward