Hookless or not?

This seems almost like the whole Press Fit BB progression. It has some benefits in reducing MFG costs (and maybe user price?), and when done well can be a good option. But as we saw, the reality of manufacturing tolerances lead to less than ideal results.

Maybe we are seeing similar here with hookless? Wheel and tire MFG’s not on the same page (nominal values) and maybe not living up to the requirements (functional tolerances) and we get a hodgepodge of results from great to terrible.

Like many ideas, they make sense and can work, but planning & execution is critical.


I don’t think we have ever had any kind of confirmation that hookless “costs less” beyond YT videos and general scuttlebutt.

there are also a number of ways that things can “cost less”…raw materials, lower tooling costs, lower scrap rate, etc.

While I am not privy to the actual numbers involved, I can use my past experience and general knowledge to SWAG and say that whatever savings on a “per piece” basis may be had by going to hookless is not likely the driving issue. On a relative basis, you are likely talking about tenths of percent, or at most, very low single digit.

Now where they may be able to save some decent money would be on higher manufacturing efficiency (i.e. produce more units over a set time period) and / or a lower scrap rate. But I would have no way to verify those numbers.

But the idea that hookless just “costs less” is probably giving the wrong impression.

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100%…was going to make that analogy as well in my earlier post.

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Do we need to lobby Escape Collective to start another T-Shirt battle?

  • I am ready to buy my team “Hooks on Rims” shirt :stuck_out_tongue:

“Team Hooked”



I thought this video from Cade Media interviewing Dov from Parcours to be interesting. Of note, it’s a year old, so standards may have changed, but basically his takeaway was, “Yes for gravel, and we don’t think it’s there yet for the road.”

The other :confused::confused::confused: I have is that, when stuff like this is being pushed: Why? Is it a push from manufacturers or a pull from consumers? I don’t think the market ever asked for hookless road. That isn’t a condemnation, but it makes me question the why behind the change.


Depends…disc brakes was largely consumer-driven. Hookless seems to be industry-driven.

But that doesn’t mean nefarious motives, either…a lot of the stuff you see is just bike geeks being bike geeks. As I noted, the industry is riddled with “Well, XX works in this segment, so let’s try it over here!”

Hookless seems to fall into that area…used in MTB successfully and there are supposedly manufacturing reasons to do it, so let’s slap it on gravel wheels. Hey, it worked well there…let’s try road now!!

Product guys in the biz are just as professional bike nerds…they want to make cool stuff and find ways to do something different. barring that, they tend to follow trends as quickly as possible to not get left behind.

ETA - see the current thread on the new Stigmata. A lot of the same ideas are at play, IMO.

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Team Hookers

I :heart: Hookers


Wasn’t hookless also supposed to be stronger, especially for mountain biking?

It can be, but depends on the actual design WRT side wall thickness and such.

Bike marketing falls purely into the old saying “believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”

They’ll tell the consumer it’s faster, stronger, lighter, blah… it’s one less machining and finishing step at the mfg level. It’s cheaper to produce, higher profit margins. That said, I have a set of hookless wheels. They were cheaper, and they worked just fine for me. I simply don’t trust the tech yet and there’s too much confusion around tire compatibility, tire size, internal rim diameter… the list goes on…

I’m using them for cx now at a pressure that shouldn’t be an issue and even if it is, improbably doin about 13 mph in the dirt or grass if/when it happens

As long as we’re talking n=1 studies, I can say that I routinely run my Giant hookless rims with 25 mm Conti 500 S TR at 80 lbs on the road and 90 on the rollers, with plenty of bead inside the rim. Before that, I was running 26 mm Specialized 2Bliss Turbos on my Giant wheels up to 100 on the rollers and 80-85 on the road.
I wouldn’t exceed the 72 psi limit without testing and measuring the bead still in the rim, but it certainly isn’t as if tires blowing off rims is a common occurrence. YMMV

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From what I remember from the old nerd alert podcast with James interviewing the Zipp guys making their pitch for hookless and how awesome it is was that the “cost savings” were found in the post production so to speak. After the wheels are taken out of the mold they require sanding to take out the seams and such and the crochet hook requires a bit more work to finish than the hookless. If you remember way back in the early podcasts Jonathon had a rough time at nationals because his race wheels had a sharp edge that hadn’t been sanded smooth that cut his tire twice that only expressed when he was pushing race pace. They also said it allowed for greater adherence to tolerances since those hooks added more room for variance. I highly doubt any of those purported cost savings will actually make it to consumers.

All that being said I ain’t buying it both figuratively and literally. Once they don’t need a list of compatible tires I might reevaluate my wheel situation. But I recently bought a pair of hooked road wheels because that means I can run whatever damn tire I want be it tubed or tubeless. I’m currently tubeless but if I get sick of the whole filling my tires with goop ritual I can use those same rims to go team tube inside which I wouldn’t be able to do with Zipp 303s or Enve foundation.


The fact that it can happen at specified pressures is concerning.

The wheels can be made to perfect tolerances but you are still at the mercy of the tire. Tires stretch. My tubeless continentals have all stretched. They go on way easier the second time around. Tires come out of different molds and can have different diameters even though they appear to be the same tire.

Personally, I’m not going to go out of my way to buy hookless road rims. I really don’t see much benefit. The only benefit seems to be the ability to buy Zipp/Enve at a lower price point.

My N=1

I’ve got 3 sets of hookless rims(Zipp 303S, 303FC and 404FC) and 1 set of hooked rims(Enve 7.8’s) Zero issues with any of them. The Enve’s and the 404’s are running 28mm GP5K S TR tires, on the zipps they measure just a touch over 30mm, but on the Enve’s they are bang on 28mm(this is likely a result of the different internal width). If I wanted to run 25mm tires on the 404’s I’d be over the pressure limit, but I’ve got zero desire to run anything smaller than my 28’s. I tested 25’s on the Enve’s but I was faster with 28’s on them.

None of them have given me any reason to not trust them. I’ve put over 20k miles on the 303FC’s running either 38mm or 44mm RH slicks.

Cost savings rarely do….the value of a product is not derived from its COGS, but by the price consumers are willing to pay for it.

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I’ve posted this before, direct from ENVE:

“To address this issue and eliminate one variable of the problem, we moved to a hookless design on the M Series to ensure that the rim’s bead seat diameter was consistent and more accurate. Going hookless allowed us to use machined hard tooling to create more precise bead seat diameters and bead locks, whereas our hook-bead tooling (mold) was soft so that it could actually be removed from the rim. While this process works well, it introduces more variability into the final product, creates more manufacturing waste, and requires more finishing.”

I first saw it as a blog article, now a support article: https://support.enve.com/hc/en-us/articles/360039656291-Hookless-Beads-Explained


thats my cynical viewpoint as well…

Did anyone mention the SRAM patent video from the other thread:

and a direct link to SRAM’s patent 20210178806


which states:

A patent to glue/bond hooks into hookless rims :thinking: even though the hooks may fail to maintain the tubeless clincher tire on the rim. :thinking:


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I don’t really see how that contradicts what I posted. As I noted, reducing costs can take a lot of forms….but in colloquial terms, most people think it means the product costs less in terms of COGS.

I dunno, ENVE says hookless manufacturing reduces waste and finishing costs :thinking: Sounds like its cheaper to produce, without getting into accounting :man_shrugging:

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