Alienation Runaway

Duration of test: First rim: April 2009 - present. Second rim: July 2011 - present (24’ tested)

Cost: £45

Use: All-round - street, park and trails

Options: 20’, 24’, 26’ Black/ red/ blue/ green/ chrome

Spec: 520g (24’), material: 6061 T6, welded joint, double wall, 31mm wide, 36h, cross lacing



Overview


Pro:

Weight/ strength ratio

Longevity

Cross lacing


Fail:

Expect some spoke key action



Overall

Choosing the right rIm is a fine balancing act between weight and strength. Rotational weight is particularly important as it is far more noticeable than anywhere else on a bike. There are few 24’ rims around the 500g mark, and the only other option with a braking surface at a similar weight is the Sun Ringle Rhyno Lite XL. The Runaway is also the only 24’ rim designed to be built cross laced, which increases strength without weight. Alienation is an established BMX component company, but it wasn’t until 2009 that they introduced 24’ versions to their most popular lines.


My first Runaway was built in April, 2009. It endured 27 months on the back of my bike built wrong (not cross laced), and rebuilt three times onto different hubs using the same spokes by me, a first time wheel builder. I wasn’t doing it any favours, and that was before my frequent riding mishaps: cases, sidweways landings, bails etc, but the wheel held up well. The only major buckle occurred when over rotating a 180’ off a step down, and I only put one dent in the rim despite countless quarter pipe cases. After two years the sidewalls showed signs of wear, but I did also use my bike to commute on, and since my job was at the top of a large hill I did a lot of braking.


In July 2011 I replaced my worn Runaway with a new one. Some people complained about tyres unseating (I didn’t experience this), so amendments were made to later versions to resolve the problem. As with all new wheels they need some attention during the first few rides while the spokes stretch, but after this period they only require occasional tuning. As with the first rim, the second has been subject to a far from smooth life including some brutal quarter pipe cases from over five foot airs which remarkably have not left a mark. The original rim has since been laced to my front hub and is still going strong.


I am impressed with The Runaways durability. I have cracked rims in the past after only a year, but three years on the original rim is not showing any signs of failure. If you want as little to do with your bike as possible, then it may be worth investing an extra £35 and 250g for an Odyssey Hazard Lite, but as long as you ensure that your spokes are tight then you can’t go wrong. The price isn’t bad either.

Review date: Jan 2012