WTB CZR WHEELS
You may recall the set of WTB CZR i30’s that we had built up custom to Chris King hubs. (see review here) Now, WTB is offering their carbon CZR’s rims completely built-up. The CZR gravel and mountain options utilize WTB’s unique Solid Strip, which is a durable nylon strip that lies between the rim and tubeless tape to prevent the tubeless tape from pushing into the spoke holes and ensures a smooth interface between the tire and rim. The smooth surface makes it easier to mount a tire by preventing air from escaping around the bead at each indent during inflation. Solid Strip also protects the airtight system from a puncture in the case of a broken spoke. TCS tubeless dependability, asymmetrical rim offset, and Solid strips all do their part in producing the most reliable carbon wheels on the market.
WTB CZR rims are paired to our high-quality Frequency hubs to further improve the performance and dependability of our complete CZR wheels. Frequency hubs feature a low-drag, 6-pawl design that alternates contact between two sets of 3-pawl groupings to provide a responsive 5 degrees of freehub engagement. Designing a lightweight hub that provides quick engagement and spins away with a pleasing sound is relatively easy, but ensuring it survives through countless seasons of adverse conditions is the real challenge. Two years of testing and development through sloppy Pacific Northwest winters and dry California summers allowed us to fine-tune the design with oversized freehub seals that drastically improve weatherproofing.
CZR i23 and CZR i30 wheels are assembled with hub pawl springs of different strengths to further tailor them towards their gravel and mountain uses. Frequency hubs laced to CZR i23 wheels feature lightweight pawl springs that minimize drag and therefore improve efficiency for drop-bar usage. CZR i30 wheels feature heavy-duty pawl springs that engage with greater force to counteract the additional torque of intermittent and steep mountain riding. Both spring options are compatible across all Frequency hubs and a Light Pawl-Spring Kit is available at WTB.com for CZR i30 riders who prefer a quieter hub with lighter pawl engagement.
The differentiator between carbon wheels is quickly becoming how well a company stands behind them. We believe in ours enough to offer our Ride With Confidence Guarantee on all CZR carbon rims and wheels. If you break a CZR while riding, we’ll send you a replacement for free. No exceptions. Didn’t see that sharp rock until you were mid-air? Found yourself testing your gravel bike on some downhill tracks? As long as you’re the original owner and were riding your bike when it happened, we’ll replace it for free. Check out WTB.com for the complete details of our Ride With Confidence Guarantee.
All CZR front wheels have an MSRP of $749.95, while rear wheels are $849.95. CZR wheels are currently available at WTB.com but will also be available at your favorite local retailers in the months ahead. Wheels will be available at retailers in Europe by late September.
Test Results from Custom Set: The set, laced with DT Competition double-butted spokes (with tubeless tape, valves, and no tires installed), weighed 1915 grams. By no means is this custom set winning any weight wars in the cross-country discipline, where wheelsets tend to weigh south of 1800 grams. Nonetheless, as a strong trail/enduro wheelset, our custom build lands right in the sweet spot. With no installation issues, we outfitted the wheels with a 2.4-inch tire in the front and a 2.3-inch tire in the rear. It is worth noting that both the tires we used sized up by 0.1 inches (2.5mm), making our tires slightly more squared-off when properly aired up.
On the trail, we were not disappointed, no matter the obstacles we encountered. While we favored an enduro style of riding during testing, the set still sheds some weight on our cross-country test subject. While we saved some weight from OEM alloy wheels, we also gained the advantage of the compliance of carbon rims on the trail. Our set is about 300 grams (0.6 pounds) heavier than an Enve M630 build with Chris King hubs. We will say that our wheels respond and perform similar to the Enves. Saving over half a pound would be noticeable in ride quality; however, the Enve set starts at $2550, and that’s about $1000 more than we spent to have these built.
Overall, we saved some money and saved some weight with this custom build in comparison to other brands currently offering complete sets. Thanks to Wheel Builder’s attention to detail, we were able to reap the benefits of savings while sustaining top performance. Purchasing a new bike or parts may not be an option until brands are able to catch up on inventory. In the meantime, it’s worth taking a look at some custom options (like wheels) that could be added to your current bike as an upgrade.