WTB’s CZR I30 wheelset touts some hefty claims with their line of carbon rims, but most importantly a lifetime “while riding” rim replacement policy. It’s a quite handy thing to guarantee because, don’t you just know it, Spencer Harding broke a carbon rim again. Below, Spencer outlines the ins and outs of the WTB CZR i30 wheelset, where it stands in the field or carbon wheelsets, and how the WTB rim replacement process works.
First things first, I did minorly crack the CZR rim. I only noticed after getting home from my Northwoods route tour and removing the rim tape since it started to peel on the edges. During the trip, I kept getting slow flats with air coming out of the nipple holes. I had some fresh tape installed midway through the trip at a local shop and had no further issues. I could have been “just riding along” for months with that rim cracked and would have been none the wiser. I probably would be writing this review and still wouldn’t have noticed it.
Without the walls of the rim having any damage it seems like this was a pretty unique impact to miss the flanges and damage the rim bed. As a testament to the rim’s strength and build quality, both rims are straight as an arrow after months of riding from touring around Lake Superior to bikepacking on the Colorado Trail. My buddy Sam had the same wheelset and is much shredlier than me and it took the rim getting melted from car exhaust to end the wheel for him. If they lasted even a few months with Sam that is mostly more of an endorsement than I can give, here he is riding his remaining front CZR rim…
But Spencer, why weren’t you riding tire insert?!? Well, I usually do really love tire inserts for making my rims last longer than a few months down in the rocky ass desert. For this review, I wanted to make sure to put them to the test as they come, without inserts. My rims were going commando, raw dogging the trail, no foam between them and the sharp rocks coming to assail their finely woven carbon layers. In the end, the rocks kind of won, for now…
This brings us to WTB’s lifetime guarantee on the CZR rims, you can read all the fine print here if you’d like. To paraphrase, if you break these while riding you get a new rim replaced for free. That replacement process can go a few ways. I was offered to be sent a replacement rim that I or a local shop could re-lace to the hub at my expense or I could have the whole wheel shipped back to WTB for them to do the replacement. I chose the latter for simplicity’s sake. So after snapping a few photos of the crack the rim was sent off to be replaced with WTB covering shipping. I dropped the wheel off at UPS on Monday afternoon and had a rebuilt wheel on my doorstep by Friday, a pretty amazing turnaround time.
By the numbers, the wheels find themselves among the usual suspects of the carbon mountain bike world. 30mm internal width has become a standard in the world of 2.4-2.6″ tires these days. 28H rims seem to be a settling point for balancing spoke count with the new strength of carbon rims. The rims have a 5mm offset to make them asymmetrical so as to balance out the spoke tension and any impacting forces.
WTB’s frequency hubs have 5-degree engagement which sounds so much lower than I9’s impressive .5-degree engagement, but in reality, it was more than enough for my rock crawling, and if you want I9 hubs they offer them as an option. The ratchet noise sounded louder than I9’s Hydra hubs but probably short of their older Torch hubs. Apparently, the CZR i23 gravel wheels and CZR i30 mountain wheels have interchangeable springs, with light springs for the gravel and heavy-duty springs for mountain. I’m going to order some light springs and see if that brings the noise down a few decibels as I prefer quieter hubs.
Among The Competition
WTB CZR I30
- Rear: 960g
- front: 840g
- Total: 1800g
I9 1/1 enduro carbon
- Rear: 975g
- Front: 840g
- Total: 1815g
- Front: 860g
- Total: 1850g
Revel RW30 (fusion fiber)
In their field, the WTB CZR wheelset finds itself just a small amount more expensive than some of the competition. All three other wheelsets use I9 hubs (1/1 or Hydra) while WTB uses its own Frequency hubs. All the companies listed above except Enve provide a lifetime warranty for riding damage to the rims. The weight difference between the wheelset is just about 50g which in this case I would consider that difference to be negligible. I show these similarities to validate WTB throwing their hat in the ring with other big names in the carbon MTB wheel world and they seem to be holding their own.
I loved these wheels for all the things that are great about carbon rims, low rotational weight, strength, rigidity, and usually a lifetime guarantee. Now I did crack one of the rims and to be fair I also cracked the last We Are One rim I had on an I9 wheelset as well. So saying I cracked it doesn’t lessen its competitiveness with other brands. To be honest, if there wasn’t a guarantee on the rim, I would have epoxied the small crack, taped it up, and probably gotten many more rides out of it nonetheless, but WTB handled it.
I’m very impressed with the turnaround time on my replacement rim and that seems like a standout reason to purchase one of these wheelsets. In the growing field of carbon mountain wheelsets, many of the features and specs will be relatively similar, so you’ll need to decide one way or another. Having confidence in being able to break a rim and have it rebuilt and back in a few dasts makes for good peace of mind.
- Strong even when damaged
- Amazing lifetime guarantee on the rims
- Loud ratchet (might be a pro for most) but can be controlled by swapping springs
- No option for HG freehub, only MS and XDR