Bontrager King Earl Wheelset£299.98

These wheels seem to work with almost any bike. The broad 32mm rims are fat enough for tyres beyond 2.5in and didn't bend. The wheels have a 20mm bolt-through front hub and the rear hubs are available as quick-release

BikeRadar score4.5/5

These wheels seem to work with almost any bike. The broad 32mm rims are fat enough for tyres beyond 2.5in and didn't bend. The wheels have a 20mm bolt-through front hub and the rear hubs are available as quick-release, 10mm boltthrough or 150mm versions, so they're DH compatible. That said, the hubs are actually alloy ribbed with carbon fibre centres and they help provide a wheel weight (1.012kg front, 1.26kg rear) not far off many XC setups.

This makes them superb all-round hard riding choices, and bolt-on adaptors to convert the six-bolt hubs to Shimano's Saint Centrelock fitting are available; they aren't tubeless tyre compatible though.

After months of riding we've only had to tweak the bearings on the front wheel. Otherwise, they're showing no signs of age, and they're impressive value.

 

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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