WTB goes big and light with new tires, rims and saddle
WTB is betting heavy on bigger mountain bike rims and tires by introducing four new wide-profile rims and a new plus-sized tire, as seen at the Taipei Cycle Show.
The brand hasn’t forgotten how to make light things, either – it’s also releasing two new carbon fiber rims and a featherweight saddle.
Ci24 carbon rim
Spearheading the collection for this season is the new Ci24 carbon rim, which will be offered in both 27.5in (414g) and 29in (420g) diameters.
According to WTB product manager Chris Feucht, the draw of the new rim isn’t its weight but rather the apparently noticeably snappier and more responsive feel that comes as a result of its extra stiffness compared to an aluminum hoop.
The new wtb ci24 boasts light and stiff carbon fiber construction, a 24mm internal width, and a comparatively inexpensive price tag:
The new carbon fiber Ci24 rim is light but also supposedly very tough
Angled spoke holes (with molded-in internal reinforcing rings) and extra-tough fibers around the bead hook area promise good durability, too. The 24mm internal width should be a good match for 2.2 to 2.3in tires, and WTB is sticking to a true UST-tubeless hooked tire bed for what the company claims is better security than other tubeless shapes.
Retail price is far from cheap at US$550 but given that it costs 45 percent less than Enve’s M60 Forty, it’s a relative bargain. Target availability is set for June.
Asym aluminum rims
Riders with more realistic budgets can look to the new Asym aluminum rims.
As the name suggests, these feature asymmetrical cross-sections to help even out the spoke tension from side to side – and in fact, the offset in the widest version is so generous that many complete wheels will actually use the same spoke lengths on both sides.
WTB says the offset in the new asym i35 rim is so substantial that many wheels will end with the same spoke lengths on both sides:
The Asym rims’ asymmetrical profile should help equalize spoke tension between one side and the other
WTB is launching the Asym rims in 27.5in and 29in diameters, and in four internal widths: the 19mm-wide i19 (389g; 408g), the 23mm-wide i23 (426g; 427g), and the far broader i29 (538g; 583g) and i35 (570g; 612g). Prices range from US$85 to 90, depending on size.
Bridger 3in tire
To address the growing 27.5+ mountain bike market, there’s a new 3in wide tire called the Bridger. The medium-sized, slightly ramped blocks are staggered in a semi-dense pattern that should roll reasonably fast despite the big footprint while an aggressive shoulder tread and slightly squared-off casing cross-section looks to provide sure cornering grip in a wide range of conditions.
The faster TCS Light version (US$68) comes in at 1,207g (claimed) while the beefier and grippier and more durable TCS Tough version (US$77) creeps up to 1,507g.
For riders looking to cram 27.5+ tires into standard 29er frames with questionable clearance, the wtb trailblazer 2.8 sports a much narrower profile than the bridger 3.0:
The new Bridger 3.0 promises massive traction in a wide range of conditions
Finally, there’s the new SL8 saddle, which has a nominally flat profile, a narrow nose, and a slightly kicked up tail. WTB says it will work equally well on the trail or road.
The SL8 will be offered in three versions: the ultralight Carbon with carbon fiber rails (146g, US$250); the Team with titanium rails (180g, US$160); and the Pro with chromoly rails (TBDg, US$120). Target availability is June 2015.
WTB says the new sl8 carbon is the lightest saddle it’s ever produced with a claimed weight of just 148g:
The claimed weight of the new WTB SL8 Carbon saddle is just 148g