- Pronghorn Racing MTB CX-Ray wheels
- €646.54 (£482 at time of writing)
Pronghorn Racing is a Danish manufacturer of high-end XC kit – it’s named for the pronghorn antelope, one of the fastest land animals on the planet. Pronghorn produces a range of frames, bars and posts, as well as a selection of wheels.
Here we’re looking at Pronghorn’s flagship XC wheels, using its own design of hubs and rims laced with Spaim CX-Ray bladed spokes. The hubs feature cold-forged 7075 aluminium shells and run on cartridge bearings – two up front, four out back. The bearings are shielded by end caps secured by grub screws – no falling off into dark corners in the car boot here. Each hub carries a standard six-bolt rotor mount.
The rims are of traditional XC dimensions – 23mm wide overall, 18mm between the beads. They’re 6061-T6 aluminium with a welded joint and eyeletted spoke holes. Unlike the super-low spoke counts on many high-end wheels, Pronghorn has opted for a conventional 32 and the back and an only slightly less conventional 28 at the front. We like this fairly traditional approach – fewer spokes mean that the rim has to be stronger and hence heavier, and the fewer spokes you have the more trouble losing one of them is likely to lead you to.
Pronghorn’s standard wheels use the same hubs and rims with conventional butted spokes, but the CX-Ray edition saves 100g by swapping to Sapim’s bladed spokes. They lend the wheels a very smart look (helped along by the bold graphics on the rims). You won’t need any mysterious tools to look after these wheels – the spoke nipples are conventional.
The whole package comes in at 1,470g, which is a very impressive weight – lighter than Shimano’s flagship XTR wheels and only giving away 50g to Mavic’s CrossMax SL (and without recourse to any proprietary technologies – you might not be able to immediately get a replacement CX-Ray spoke from your nearest shop, but you’re certainly be able to get a spoke that’ll fit and keep you rolling).
Impressively, they’re also cheaper than either rival – only about £20 less than XTR but a whole £100 less than the Mavic wheels. And in use, they’re at least the equal of either, with a sturdy feel that belies their low weight.
About the only downsides that we can see to these wheels are that they’re not UST ready, so tubeless fans will have to look to an aftermarket kit, and the quick releases are the usual external-cam style that we’ll never be big fans of. Other than that, the Pronghorn wheels are an excellent illustration of the principle that it’s hard to beat conventional wheels built with well-chosen components.
Positives: Light, good price, no weird proprietary parts, easy to live with, stout feel
Negatives: Not UST compatible
Verdict: A lot of high-end wheelsets have a kind of “special occasion” feel about them – you kind of think that you should save them for race day, if only because if you damage something you could be in for a long wait for parts. Not the Pronghorn offering – it’s a sturdy, everyday wheelset that also happens to be very light.