Below are some of the common questions we get regarding our wheels, if you don't see the answer to your questions, don't hesitate to contact us.
- How is your build process better than machine-built wheels?
- Why does Astral use J-bend spokes?
- How does Astral test carbon clincher braking?
- How do you join your alloy rims?
- Where are Astral wheels built?
- How do I identify my freehub body type for specification
- How do I identify my axle type for specification
- Does Astral recommend a maximum tire inflation pressure?
- Does Astral offer a PowerTap wheel?
- Can I purchase replacement Astral decals?
- Do Astral wheels have max rider weights?
- Are ceramic bearings offered in Astral wheels?
- Are there tire size recommendations?
- What length presta valve should I use?
- How long do wheels last?
- Is my wheel Campagnolo 8, 9, 10 & 11 speed compatible?
- Is my wheel Shimano 9, 10 & 11 speed compatible? What about SRAM XD?
- Are Astral wheels compatible with Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM?
Brake questions (Rim & Disc brake)
- Should I do anything special in setting up my rim brakes?
- What disc brake axles are your wheels compatible with?
- Are Astral wheels 6 bolt or Centerlock? Does it matter?
- Carbon rims and braking - What should I know?
Tires & Tubeless questions
- What size tires should I use for tandem wheels?
- What tire pressure should I use for my tandem wheels?
- Can I run my Astral wheels tubeless?
- What can I do if I crash and my wheels get damaged?
- Where can I get replacement parts for my Astral wheel(s)?
- What is the warranty on Astral wheels?
- If I break a spoke, does it have to be replaced with the exact same type of spoke?
- Do my Astral wheels have to come back to the factory for all service needs?
- Where is the serial number for my wheel located?
- How do you clean Ballistic Armor coated hubs and rims?
- Can ceramic bearings be serviced?
Q: How is your build process better than machine-built wheels?
A: Every Astral wheel is carefully built using a painstaking build process that enables our wheels to run true longer - without the need for constant attention or a "break-in period". In effect, we build each wheel three times with two stress cycles in the build to seat and stretch all components.
Q: Why does Astral use J-bend spokes?
A: Ahh. The age-old question: Straight pull versus J-bend. The J shape of the spoke where it enters the spoke hole of the hub allows it to rotate slightly in the spoke hole under the torque loads coming from the chain/cogs. This movement helps the spoke absorb this input force more easily - increasing fatigue life. If you look closely at many straight pull hub designs, many try to replicate this feature including one that uses 2 flanges per side (4 per hub) with straight pull spokes threaded into brass barrels joining the flanges to allow rotation. In effect, a heavy way to replicate the benefits of a J-bend spoke. We cut to the chase and use the best spoke shape around - J-bend.
Q: How does Astral test carbon clincher braking?
A: We use the ISO4210 standard as a base starting point but it is not tough enough. So, we have our own in-house standards. Read more about our testing Here.
Q: How do you join your alloy rims?
A: To understand why the joint matters, it is important to know the process. We roll our extrusion into a helix that will eventually become two rims. After a rim is rolled, it is cut and then requires the two faces from the cut to be joined together. There are three main ways to join a rim: pinned, welding and sleeve.
Pinned: Only the cheapest of rims are pinned. Pinned uses two steel dowel pins jammed into formed or extruded holes in the rim to hold the rim together. Pinning only holds the mating rim faces at the two pins so the brake track and spoke bed of the rim have a lot of flexibility to move relative to each other. This is why some cheaper rims tick in the brakes at the seam.
Welding: This came to the forefront to replace pinning on nicer rims about 30 years ago and was a big improvement. Welding can create a nice, finished looking joint but it has some tradeoffs. The material in a rim is heat treated to increase the strength of the material. Without this heat treatment step, aluminum is not strong enough to be a bike rim. The flash welding process generates an enormous level of heat at the joint area creating a “heat affected zone”. This heat affected zone degrades the heat treatment of the material surrounding the joint making the material at the joint weaker than the material everywhere else in the rim. This is not to say it doesn’t work, just that in our experience this unnecessarily makes the joint the weakest part of the rim. We have full welding capability in our Oregon facility, but with all of our experience, we have decided to sleeve join our rims.
Sleeve: Sleeve joining uses a form fitted sleeve in the exact shape of the inner cavity of the rim to span the joint. It is about 2.5” long and weighs typically 4-5g. In our process, this sleeve is a press fit - meaning it is incredibly tightly fitted and requires a specialized press to insert. We use epoxy as an insulator to minimize the potential for any noise but the epoxy is not a structural part of the joint. What we like about this process is that the sleeve effectively doubles the wall thickness in the immediate area of the joint making it the strongest part of the rim and it does not affect the heat treatment of the material. We then machine the brake tracks after joining so the brake track is completely smooth.
Q: Where are Astral wheels built?
A: All Astral wheels are built in our Eugene, Oregon facility by our skilled employees. Meet our builders.
Q: Does Astral recommend a maximum tire inflation pressure?
A:The size and tire pressure are related and are dependent on the inner width of the rims. Check you wheel for a sticker indicating the rim size. The format is similar to ‘622 x 25TC’. Correlate the 2nd number to the tire width and pressure in the chart below. In this example, a 25TC wheel could use a tire as narrow as 40mm at 35-60 psi (tubeless) or as wide as 67mm (2.65”) at 20-35psi (tubeless).
|Wheel / Rim Model||Rim internal Width||Tape Width|
|Serpentine Carbon X/Backbone Carbon X|
Q: Does Astral offer a PowerTap wheel?
A: Yes - you can order the Solstice, Radiant and Veil with a G3 PowerTap hub.
Q: Can I purchase replacement Astral decals?
A: Yes, replacement decals can be purchased through your local shop or directly from Astral.
Q: Do Astral wheels have max rider weights?
A: Yes and No. Every wheel from every manufacturer has limits but it is more than just weight. It also involves riding style and road conditions in your area. Some wheels are built for ultra-lightweight as #1 and some are built to be a bit stiffer. If you're a heavier rider or you tend to stand and throw the bike around, you should probably look for a wheel with increased stiffness. For that reason, you may not want to go with our lightest wheel options like the Solstice. We might steer you towards wheels that we build with more spokes, stouter rims and/or more spoke tension such as the Leviathan. contact us to find out which wheel best fits your riding needs.
Q: Are ceramic bearings offered in Astral wheels?
A: Yes, you can order your Astral wheels with ceramic bearings, we offer Enduro Zer0 and XD-15 ceramic bearings.
Q: Are there tire size recommendations?Tire Size Guide
Q: What length presta valve should I use?
A: Our lower profile wheels: Solstice and Wanderlust can use a 35mm or longer valve. Our deeper rims like the Veil, Radiant and Leviathan will work with a 48mm or longer.
Q: How long do wheels last?
A: Wheels are not indestructible and they will not last forever. We engineer and test extensively to give you the longest wheel life we can, but every part of a wheel has a limited useful life due to wear, stress, and fatigue. Fatigue is when a force is repeated over a large number of cycles and it can eventually cause a material to crack or break. Wear can occur from extensive use – such as brake pads wearing on the rim brake walls. You, the rider, play a role in the longevity of the wheels. If you are heavier, ride hard or aggressively then you may need to replace the wheel and/or its parts more frequently than riders who are lighter, ride gently or carefully. Several factors can change the condition of your wheels: rider weight, speed, skill, terrain, maintenance and more. Because there are many variables, it is not possible to give an accurate timetable for replacement. To be safe, inspect your wheels frequently and replace the wheel or parts more frequently. If you are not sure, speak to your dealer. If you crash or hit large obstacles, inspect your wheels carefully and have them inspected by your dealer. As a rule of thumb, light-weight, high-performance wheels and other parts require more care and more frequent inspections even though they are tested extensively. With wheels, remember that a rim wears as you use your brakes, so the rim must be replaced occasionally.
Q: Is my wheel Campagnolo 8, 9, 10 & 11 speed compatible?
A: Astral wheels configured with a Campagnolo® freehub body will fit 9, 10 and 11 speed Campagnolo® ED compatible cassettes.
Q: Is my wheel Shimano 9, 10 & 11 speed compatible? What about SRAM XD?
A: Astral wheels configured with a Shimano® freehub body that are 2013 or newer are 9, 10 and 11-speed compatible. We can also build the wheels with SRAM XD compatibility.
Q: Are Astral wheels compatible with Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM?
A: Yes. Shimano and SRAM systems use the same freehub body shape. Campagnolo however is different. Astral makes wheels that are compatible with either Campagnolo or Shimano/ SRAM drive systems. You will need to specify which system you need when buying your wheels. Don't worry though, if you change systems later, existing wheels can be converted to either system.
Q: Should I do anything special in setting up my rim brakes?
A: Yes. For all Astral wheels we recommend our branded brake pads. These are available from your local Astral dealer or on the Astral store. Also, see this for details on setting up your brakes. It is important to “toe-in” the pads in set up.
Q: What disc brake axles are your wheels compatible with?
A:There are a lot of options for “standards” now with disc brakes. Since we hand build all wheels in Eugene, Oregon we can build your wheels to order. We offer the following axle options: Front - 9mm QR, 12mm Thru axle, 15mm Thru axle, Boost 110mm; Rear: 135mm QR, 145mm QR[tandem], 142mm Thru axle, Boost 148mm.
Q: Are Astral wheels 6 bolt or Centerlock? Does it matter?
A: Astral road disc [Veil, Radiant and Solstice] and Adventure wheels [Wanderlust Carbon and Wanderlust] are Center Lock disc brake compatible. The tandem/ touring [Leviathan] and mountain bike [Hollywood and Jester] are 6-Bolt compatible.
Q: Carbon rims and braking - What should I know?
A: Any carbon rim can be damaged by incorrect braking technique. Please read the Owner's Manual because it contains a lot of Important Safety Information. In addition, here are a few other things to note about braking on carbon rims.
Q: What size tires can I use for my tandem wheels?
A: We recommend 25mm - 35mm.
Q: What tire pressure should I use for my tandem wheels?
A: Due to the higher team weight generated by two riders, we recommend running tires at the maximum inflation recommended on the tire.
Q: Can I run my Astral wheels tubeless?
A: Yep. All Astral wheels are tubeless compatible and can be converted with a kit. All of our mountain and adventure models come taped for tubeless setup with valves.
Q: What can I do if I crash and my wheels get damaged?
A: We can often rebuild any crashed wheel, by using your existing hub and rebuilding it with a new rim, spokes and nipples. It is more cost effective to rebuild a wheel, than to replace it and with our timely turn around policy you are not without your wheel for long. Contact our sales team for further details.
Q: Where can I get replacement parts for my Astral wheel(s)?
A: Any professional bicycle shop can order replacement parts to service Astral wheels. If you don't have a shop near you, check our online store for replacement parts or contact us directly.
Q: What is the warranty on Astral wheels?
A: Five year protection from the date of purchase against defects in materials and workmanship. For more details on our warranty.
Q: If I break a spoke, does it have to be replaced with the exact same type of spoke?
A: We do suggest replacing a broken spoke with an Astral spec'd spoke, however in a pinch or emergency, a standard J-bend spoke of the right length can be used.
Q: Do my Astral wheels have to come back to the factory for all service needs?
A: Nope. Any routine service can be performed at your local shop.
Q: Where is the serial number for my wheel located?
A: The serial number is located near the valve hole on the spoke bed of the rim.