Your wheelset will either make or break your bike’s ride quality. Hopping on a new bike and heading out for an inaugural ride, nothing is more of a buzz-kill than finding your wheels to be flimsy, slow to engage and offer tracking akin to a wet noodle.   Believe me… if you’re going to ride hard and want to improve your bike’s performance, there are few components that will give you as much bang-for-the-buck than a solid wheelset. Spendy, yes… but well worth it.

Crank Brothers crashed the wheelset scene with the Cobalt XC wheelset in 2008 and then continued its evolution to include the Iodine (AM), Opium (DH), Sage (FR) and now the Cobalt 29er. Mated to my Ibis Mojo, the Iodine’s have been superb.

About the Crank Brothers Iodine Wheels

Introduced as the all-mountain offering in the Crank Brothers wheelset lineup. They’ve since rounded out their lineup with a full spectrum of wheels, but the Iodine’s continue to hit the sweet spot between light weight and versatility for most riding conditions. At 1903 grams a pair, there are lighter wheels, but not with the girth of the Iodine’s.

The front hub is built to accept 20mm, 15mm (extra adapter required) or 9mm axles, so just about any fork will work. The unique spokes are built for extra strength while maintaining adjustment capabilities.

  • Unique Twinpair spokes (24) connect via vertical rib
  • 21mm inside rim width
  • 25mm rear axle
  • Split QR levers
  • Disc brakes only
  • 2.3-2.5 in. tires recommended
  • Split quick-release levers
  • Convertible between 9mm and 20mm with 15mm thru-axle option
  • 6 pawl drive design with 7.5-degree maximum engagement
  • Tubeless-compatible
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Weight: 1903 grams
  • MSRP: $950

Ibis Mojo with Crank Brothers Iodine Wheels

Crank Brothers Iodine Wheelset Review

The proper wheelset is critical to overall bike performance. It may cost a lot, but think about it… the wheels are darn important. Next to the frame and fork, the wheels are the next most important parts of your ride quality. Flimsy, cheap wheels will ruin your ride quality faster than a Deore rear derailleur ever will, so spend wisely.

Now the Iodine’s have been matched to my new Ibis Mojo for the past 6 months. When I first got the bike assembled in all its glory, I couldn’t keep my eyes off it. The burnt orange Iodine’s were just the perfect match with the natural carbon fiber black of the Mojo. The whole package just looks amazing. I wasn’t the only one… most everyone who saw the bike commented on how cool the wheels were.

While looks are great and all, they don’t get you much when the trails get gnarly. In every riding condition, I’ve been super-impressed with the ride quality of the Iodine’s.

Ibis Mojo Hearts the Ridge Trail 157 in American Fork Canyon

Rolling quality is outstanding as these wheels seem to roll on and on by themselves. The rear hub provides fast and smooth engagement under all load conditions–steep climbs, fast rollers and downhill transitions. Quick adjustments in rocky sections to avoid pedal-strikes are met with a solid drivetrain no matter the location. The only negative of the freehub is the volume as you’re coasting downhill. The tell-tale whirrrrrr is really quite loud. My riding buddies have commented multiple times on the loudness, but if that’s the only flaw, it’s pretty minor.

Other than that, my initial set of 15mm end caps were machined a little off, so I had to spend a few minutes hand-sanding the inside diameter to remove a few microns. A second set of caps were much better, so it appears to no longer be an issue.

I just love laying into corners with the Iodine’s as they track straight and true no matter how hard-pressed. Tracking through rock gardens and rough terrain, the Iodine’s simply hold their line. Drops and jumps are also met with solid hoops underfoot.

Everywhere from the epic downhill of the Wasatch Crest Trail to the winding singletrack of the Ridge Trail 157 and fast loops in Corner Canyon have been perfect for these wheels.

I’ve yet to ride these tubeless (I know, I know…), but will change to tubeless in the Spring and post a follow-up.

Good Iodine

  • Lateral stiffness
  • Tracking through the rough stuff
  • Smooth rolling
  • Unique design
  • Quick freehub engagement
  • Easy to service and/or replace bearings
  • Amazing good looks (the wheels or me?)
  • Tubeless-compatibility

Bad Iodine

  • Loud freehub
  • Proprietary spokes may be difficult to find in a pinch
  • Color options may clash with your ride
  • It’ll cost ya’

Swobo Merino 753 Long-sleeve Jersey Review

Bottom Line: Crank Brothers Iodine Wheelset

If you’re in the market for a new set of high-end all-mountain wheels, give the the $950 Crank Brothers Iodine wheelset a fair shake–they roll well and adeptly track through rough stuff.

Buy Now: Search for Crank Brothers Wheels at

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. Hey Jason…do you think the slightly more than 1/3 pound between the iodine and the cobalt is significant for a rider like me? I’m thinking based on what I’ve read that the iodine will handle quite a bit more of a beating than the cobalt. Would you choose the iodine over the cobalt for an all around bike for yourself?

  2. It’s hard to say since I haven’t ridden the Cobalt. Typically though, an XC race wheelset may require a little more care through the rough stuff, but again… I don’t have any ride-time on the Cobalt.

    I can honestly say that the Iodine’s are the smoothest-rolling and fastest-engaging wheels I’ve ridden. Again… haven’t ridden Industry9 wheels, but just about everything else.

  3. Good enough. Since I’m not racing and these wheels with my build will still put me at about 23.5 overall…I can’t see going with a race wheel that may need more careful riding.

  4. I bought these wheels and stuck them on my Ibis Mojo SL despite everybody’s advice to go with CK hubs + Mavic Crossmax combo since they say that Iodines aren’t that tough. But I went for it and they’ve never disappointed! I’m a heavyweight mtb newbie (5″10″ 210lbs) who loves to try aggressive stuff (making me a LOT more prone to crashes etc and I’ve been through a lot with the Mojo and these wheelset) but they’ve held on so far! Match made in heaven! Only problem is when the day comes that I have to service them, I don’t think Crank Bros have anybody who could service their wheels from where I am (Philippines). If that dreaded day arrives, I wouldn’t know what to do with my wheels!

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