[CR] New Grand Bois rims, 700C and 650B

(Example: Framebuilders:Jack Taylor)

Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 14:26:18 -0700
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
From: "Jan Heine" <heine94@earthlink.net>
Subject: [CR] New Grand Bois rims, 700C and 650B

After many years when it looked like classic box-section rims with a polished aluminum finish were going to be a distant memory, we now have more and more exciting rim choices.

Grand Bois just offered their latest, a "double-wall" polished rim that is 23 mm wide, 700C and 650B, 32 and 36 holes.

The new Grand Bois rim is based on a custom extrusion. Why a custom extrusion? Most makers of limited-production rims use existing extrusions, and just have them rolled to different diameters, sometimes adding a nice polish as well. That means that there is only minimal tooling and setup cost. However, all existing classic rim profiles are only 19 mm wide, as they are intended for narrow racing tires. That is narrower than is ideal for the 30-40 mm wide tires many of us prefer. The wider rims are intended for mountain or hybrid bikes and often have facetted shapes that are heavier and look out of place on a classic bike. So Grand Bois commissioned a custom extrusion for a 23 mm wide rim.

The new Grand Bois rims are remarkably light, without compromising strength. The 650B version weighs 488 g, making it the lightest 650B rim available today. (The Velocity Synergy weighs 502 g, so the difference isn't great. You begin to reach a lower limit, and to make the rims lighter, you either compromise strength and durability, or you make them narrower.)

Available in 700C and 650B, 32 and 36 holes. Because of the custom extrusion, these rims aren't cheap, but worth every penny at $89 (650B) and $96 (700C).

For more info, see


In the mean time, we have a few of the first-generation Grand Bois 650B rims left. They use a cross-section with two small boxes, like the old Super Champion M58. A very nice rim, but not ideal for modern, highly asymmetric rear wheels. $ 60 as long as supplies last.

Jan Heine
Bicycle Quarterly
2116 Western Ave.
Seattle WA 98121