Product Review: WTB CZR i30 Custom Wheels
Product Inventory May Be Scarce, But We Show You A way To Get Wheels!
WTBCZR i30 CUSTOM WHEELS
If you are anything like our wrecking crew, you likely have plans to update a more seasoned mountain bike with some new parts, such as the latest drivetrain, brakes, carbon components, etc. One of the most effective and efficient upgrades is a fresh set of wheels and tires; however, as anyone in the market for parts knows, they can be hard to come by these days due to the enormous influx of new riders into our sport. Unfortunately, complete wheelsets are typically sold out. Be this as it may, there is a solution to getting the next level of wheels in spite of high demand.
Tech features: We set out to build a robust 29-inch wheelset that could be swapped between several test bikes. We wanted a complete build that was light enough to be used on a trail/cross-country bike but could take a beating when we decided to run the wheels on an enduro machine. To satisfy our criteria, we decided to run the latest WTB CZR i30 28-hole carbon rims laced to proven (and now no longer produced) Chris King ISO hubs.
The new CZR carbon rims from WTB feature reinforced spoke beds, 4D-angled spoke-hole drilling and an asymmetrical design. They are available in a 23mm internal width for the gravel guy and 30mm (what we chose, of course) for mountain-minded folk. The 29-inch i30 rims weigh in at 484 grams each, with a burly outer rim width of 37.5mm.
WTB claims that compared to the competition, the CZR carbon rims are lighter overall, more impact resistant and laterally stiffer while remaining vertically compliant. While these are some big claims, they are backed up with two notable policies. While-Riding Policy: Original owner receives a free rim replacement if his CZR rim breaks while riding. Non-Riding Policy: Original owner receives 50 percent off the replacement rim MSRP if their CZR rim breaks while not riding. As WTB states, this includes during transport or storage. That’s a big bonus when you are spending $570 per rim.
While Chris Kings are not inexpensive (or the lightest weight), we did some digging on eBay and were able to find a bargain for an unused set that we couldn’t pass up. Winning with a bid of $500 for the set of 28-hole Boost hubs saved us a few hundred dollars. With all parts gathered, we got the custom set built by our trustworthy friends over at Wheel Builder and put them to the test.
Field test results: 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 inch (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.
• Wide inner width adds a few extra millimeters to the size of the tires
• Stiff when needed and compliant in rough terrain
• Exceptional build quality and attention to detail
• More robust and durable carbon comes with the cost of more weight
Price: $1600; $569.96, each rim
Weight for set: 1915 grams