Atomik/Berd Ultimate Gravel Wheels: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
The time has come to finish up this Atomik/Berd Ultimate Gravel Wheel set review. The tech specs and mid-term ride report have already been filed. Now we’ve come down to it- Are these really the ‘ultimate gravel wheels’? Well, here’s what I think about that….
To my way of thinking an ‘ultimate wheel set’ has the qualities of (a) lightweight, (b) reliability, and (c) versatility. A possible fourth quality might be added in that I like wheels that are serviceable. What good does it do you if that fancy wheel set you purchased a few years ago is not supported with maintenance and replacement parts? These qualities all add up to how a wheel performs. Miss any one of those things and it gets hard to justify spending more than $500.00 on a set of wheels, much less three times as much as that.
Finally, all that has to be there and the wheel set should feel good to ride. You can have a lightweight, reliable, versatile wheel set that doesn’t feel good to ride. So, does this Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheel set measure up? That’s the big question.
I like this wheel set quite a bit. It does do a thing where you notice less vibrations. 200% less? Like the marketing claims? Well, I tackled that question in the last update. I will say that there is definitely something to the claim though. I like the lateral stiffness this wheel has, and I happen to like Industry 9 hubs, so this wheel set was great from that standpoint as well. (You can have different hubs laced up with Berd spokes) The carbon Atomik rims seem well made and have given me no trouble during the test period. I see no reasons to suspect that they wouldn’t work for years.
The Berd spokes? That is the unknown part for me. In research done for this review I could turn up nothing negative, so that seems like a good recommendation. Now, ‘if‘ you were to break one? Well, seeing as how these wheels use standard hubs and rims, one could get by with a traditional stainless steel spoke until a Berd spoke could be sourced. So at least you don’t have some proprietary barrier keeping you from continuing to ride these wheels.
A minor nitpick: The nature of the spoke material leaves a surface with a lot of places for mud and dust to grab on to. This makes cleaning a bit of a chore sometimes. But obviously, that’s not a performance issue. It is a side effect of owning a wheel set with these spokes though. Another thing I noted was that these wheels are a bit hard to handle in heavy crosswinds. But Atomik/Berd doesn’t claim any aero benefits, so one should probably expect crosswinds to have a negative effect with this wheel.
At The Finish: The calling card for this wheel set is the promise of a smoother ride. In that the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheel delivers upon that promise. The Berd spokes are unique and their qualities are what gives this otherwise fairly plain wheel set its appeal. It’s sort of a commentary on where we are with wheel sets meant specifically for gravel/all road use when we can say a tubeless carbon fiber rimmed wheel set with Industry 9 hubs is ‘plain‘, but with the plethora of carbon wheel sets out now, (many being or having been reviewed on this very site), the bar has been raised. Just producing a decent carbon rim with good quality hubs and spokes isn’t that attractive anymore. The competition in this space has really heated up, that’s for sure.
And in the end, the best recommendation I can give here is that the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheel set is a lot of fun to ride. You could race on these wheels, you can just explore, or use them as ‘daily driver’ wheels. It really wouldn’t matter. I think these wheels would make sense for all of that and more. This means, in my opinion, that these wheels are a good value. You don’t have to consider these just for your best bike or for race day only. These wheels can make any gravel/all road style of riding better. Just the comfort/vibration reducing factor alone make it worth the money. But in the end, I keep coming back to the fun I’ve had while using these wheels, and that the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheels were a big part of why those rides were fun.
You can learn more about the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheel set here. https://atomikcarbon.com/berd-wheel-sets/
Note: Atomik Carbon sent out the Atomik/Berd Ultimate Gravel wheels for test and review at no charge to Riding Gravel. We were not bribed, nor paid for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.