Do Wheels Need to Cost So Much? – Interview – Sea Otter 2017

Apr 24, 2017
by AJ Barlas  
It’s no secret that wheels have gotten considerably more expensive in recent years. We're reminded of it every time an article goes up on a wheel that costs anywhere from $1,500 all the way to $3,000+. Discussing it among the tech team while here at Sea Otter led us to notice two key points that we feel had some sort of influence on the increase in wheel prices.

In 2008, Easton released the Haven alloy wheelset and when they did, it came with a price of roughly $800 USD. That was for an alloy wheelset and granted, they had some pretty interesting updates, with their proprietary spoke/nipple interface and fully tubeless rim bed, but regardless of the tech, there was no other stock MTB wheelset on the market at for such a cost. Two years later they launched the carbon version and with it came another previously unheard of price of over $2K. Also around this same time, Enve was hitting and had similar prices that no one previously thought possible, with wheels in the $2.5–$3K range.

Eight hundred dollars once seemed like a tremendous amount of money for a wheelset, but in a world full of $3,000 wheels those $800 hoops almost began to seem affordable. Have we mountain bikers gradually gone numb to these kinds of cost increases? More importantly, are those rising costs truly justified?

This week, however, something cool happened. After the release of Bontrager's new $1,200 Line Pro 30 wheels, which on their own are relatively decent value, we were made aware of a couple of other cheaper, decent-sounding options—one of which is carbon, while the others are alloy. The carbon is an XC/light trail use wheel, but again, the general starting point for such a wheel seems to be significantly more. So we stopped in on Bontrager and threw a couple of pretty pointed questions at their MTB wheel and tire Product Manager, Graham Wilhelm.





Bontrager s impressively priced 2018 wheels
  Bontrager's 2018 wheel range is, for the most part, very well priced.


Wheels have gotten significantly more expensive in the last eight or so years. Why do you think that is?


I think a lot of it has to do with the increase in the cost of the material going into the rim. A lot of people are trying to push either higher-end alloys or higher-end carbon and then on the same note are doing the same with the hubs—for instance, pushing either DT Swiss hubs or similar, higher-cost hubs, and those things altogether add up, bringing a lot of costs to the wheels.

A lot of it does come down to the fact that there’s a market for that and so people go after that, but people (brands) tend to forget that there’s also this huge other side. For us, we saw that and what we did is actually approach it a slightly different way. We asked ourselves; so for $300, what’s the most we could put in (to a wheel). For $600 what’s the most we could put in—the most value for the customer? And for $1,200, what’s the most we could do? So we found these strategic price points and we just attacked it from the angle: how can we add the most value for the customer?


Right. So, do you feel that the higher price point associated with some wheels is substantiated?


Absolutely not. Knowing what I know about it—I was an engineer before being a product manager—so knowing what I do on the design side, and now also on the product side, the cost of the things? I don’t think the higher price is substantiated and I think that in a lot of ways you will be paying for a name. An example of that is like with our Kovee XXX. Where they’re priced currently, we feel that’s a good price point to be able to bring the highest value to a customer. They’re made in America, using the best processes, yielding the best rims in terms of strength-to-weight ratio, but they don’t need to be $3,000.


Right…


For what we’re doing, knowing the cost and the technical bits that go in, where they’re priced is probably the max of what you want to pay, and then, of course, you go down the line.

Bontrager s impressively priced 2018 wheels
  The more cost efficient hubs may not look as shiny, but they function the same as their more expensive siblings.


And what do those wheels cost?


Those ones are $2,250, but it’s a quick jump down to our new line where the highest is $1,200. So yeah, going back to your question, I think there’s a lot of companies where what they’re selling right now is more the sticker, rather than the actual value of their products.


Where do you think that came from? We’ve (PB) been chatting the last few days about how it possibly got to this. Do you think it was brands like Enve pushing the limits of what people were willing to pay, while other brands watched and noticed that they were still selling?


I think a lot of it is that, but what’s going to bring it back is the fact that even though you’re paying three grand for a carbon wheel, that carbon wheel can still break under the right conditions, the hub can still have problems—you know, at the end of the day it’s really no better than something at $1,200, or maybe an alloy product at $600. So, I think there is definitely the Enve’s of wheelsets pushing the boundaries—Zipp on the road side—of wheel pricing for that aspirational purchase. Because at the end of the day there’s a lot of people that get into the sport who make their purchasing decisions as an aspirational thing.


Yeah. They may not need it.


Right, but they see that the top guy’s got the carbon frame and this suspension, this wheelset and these tires, but realistically speaking they would get along just as well with half. So, yes, I think it’s definitely being pushed by a couple of particular brands, but I also think that the pendulum’s going to swing back the other way, because, let’s face it, we’re not all doctors or dentists, but we love to ride bikes.


So, you guys have got a $700 carbon wheelset here. How have you managed to produce that?


There are three big things that allow us to produce a carbon wheelset at that price. The first thing is the rim itself. We’ve actually had the tooling for this rim for about five years now. So the tooling is all paid for, the manufacturing methods to produce that rim have been perfected, the materials are all dialled—everything is dialed on the rim side and it has been for five years. So as time goes on with anything we’re able to get the cost down from manufacturing and pass those savings on to the customer.

The second thing is that for 2018… we actually started this project about two and a half years ago, where we set out to really refine our hubs. If you were to look back at last year, we actually had seven different hub internal designs—you can imagine the support needed with that, and the economy of scale isn’t that great. So two and a half years ago I started a project in engineering where we asked what would happen if we took the good parts of those seven hubs and put them together until we arrived at one hub design? What would that look like? Could we do it such that we could have that hub be such a performer that it could be put on a $1,200 wheelset but at the same time be cost-conscious enough so that it could also be in a $300 wheelset?

So two and a half years ago we started the project and it went through a few iterations and, so, we’ve actually been riding this design for two years. But the cool thing is that since we’re able to have it at the high end as well as the low end, the economies of scale of the internal components are huge; it’s all the same drive ring, all the same pawls, all the same, freehub bodies, axles, end caps. The only difference that we’re changing between the high end and the low end is the hub shell itself. On the high end; straight pull, a lighter weight hub shell, overall lighter hub set, the machining, the finish. Then on the more value conscious end, it’s a j-bend hub, which is much easier to manufacture, the treatments are very simple—in terms of anodizing and graphics—to bring the cost down, but the internals are all the same. Doing the hub consolidation has allowed us to bring the hub pricing down quite a bit, but provide better performance than previously.

So we’ve got the rim, having that exist for five years helped bring the cost down there, the hub being used all across the line, in terms of internals, to help bring the cost down there, and the third and final piece of that is bike spec. Being a house brand of Trek, we get quite a bit of bike spec, and you know, again, the more you buy from your vendor, the lower the price can be to pass on to the customer.

Bontrager s impressively priced 2018 wheels
  A $600 hub next to the $1,200 hub. The internals are the same.


Let’s talk about the internals. You say that they’re the same all the way through the hubs but you have different engagement levels in the range. How are you achieving that?


We just add three more pawls and springs.


So the drive ring and everything else is the same?


Exactly. So a little light fact is that if you only have $300 to spend but they want a really high engagement hub, you could buy our Line Comp 30 wheelset, open up the hub, add in three pawls and springs and have a 108 point engagement hub.


As it is, it’s a $300 wheelset with 54 points of engagement. There are $600 wheelsets out there that don’t have that!


Yeah. And for that wheelset, we realize that customer is willing to spend $300, they’re not really super concerned about the nipple spec, or they’ve got to have the certain alloy, they just need something that works. They’re not thinking; “I need the Aerolite spoke”, they’re just thinking that they need a spoke that holds the wheel together. So in areas where people are willing to say, I just need good enough, I don’t need the best, we put that in there and where they really want value, with say, hub engagement or rim width—in this case, that wheelset has a 29mm inner width—which is awesome. Rather than a pinned rim, which typically adds a little more weight, we went with a sleeved rim, which only adds a little more cost but it pulls the weight down quite a bit. Between these and the hub, this is where we added the value and in the other areas we try and keep cost down, that way we can have an awesome wheelset for 300 bucks.

Bontrager s impressively priced 2018 wheels
Bontrager s impressively priced 2018 wheels
A closer look at the internals of the hubs, but note the different external finish and spoke type etc.


Right. So in terms of rim widths—obviously people are going wider, how come you ended up at 23mm for the competitively-priced, $700 carbon wheel?


There are two reasons there. One, it’s an XC-focused wheel. So even though at our Kovee XXX level we’ve sort of pushed the boundaries for what’s acceptable for XC rim widths, we find that still, based on looking around at what people are actually racing on and riding on, a 23mm width is still used quite often. So for XC it’s a very acceptable width and the other thing is that it’s something that we’ve had around for five years, which is prior to the rims getting wider.

So it’s driven more from who you’re targeting with it, rather than if you were to go wider it’s got to cost more.


Exactly! Again, we looked at this value proposition and thought, what is this customer going to be looking for? They’re a cross-country rider—they’ll probably want it to be a little bit lighter-gauge spoke, so we went with that. What we see in the XC marketplace is that carbon rims sell pretty well, and then also the hub—a nice reliable hub, and that’s where we put the value into. They’re not as concerned with rim width—there are some, but not all, they’re not hyper concerned if the nipple is DT or if it’s Alpina, and it’s more a matter of is it lightweight and does it perform well. So we focused on those areas and everything else we just try to keep the cost down.


Adding value for people…


Yeah, giving them what they want and sort of need and in the areas that they’re not really super concerned about, minimizing the cost there.

Bontrager s impressively priced 2018 wheels
  The $700 Kovee 23 carbon wheels.


Even at $1,200 your Line Pro 30 wheels are reasonably priced, especially when considering what's currently happening in the wheel market. Do you feel that there are a number of overpriced options out there?


I do. When we went into this project (Line Pro 30) we had a price and value target that we wanted to hit. We spent a lot of time in the engineering of the rim in terms of the shape, thicknesses, the structure and we passed it onto our vendor to manufacture and we were really surprised when they came back with the rim. When we tested it we were like, holy, this doesn’t weigh that much. I mean, that rim is a 445g rim in the 29”…


That’s a 1,600g wheelset, right? That’s still pretty damn competitive…


Right, very competitive, but the impact strength of that wheel is still one of the highest that we’ve tested for its class. So, that’s pretty amazing and again, whether it’s getting the bike spec, or whether it’s getting the hub consolidation, we’re thinking, why would you need to have anything more than $1,200 for this audience, for this target.


It’s kind of like, being more honest about it all?


Yeah, there’s still decent margins in there, but we’re giving the customers what they want and not gouging them for it. I go on Pinkbike all the time, I read the comments all the time. Me, personally, I take a lot of that in and process that feedback and a lot of people just want to ride their bikes and they want to have a decent product underneath them.


Right. But some brands will argue that to get the most up to date technology, you need to pay premium prices. What would you say to that?


Let’s face it, wheels have been around for a long time. When people come out with these new things in wheels, most of them are gimmicky, and I’m saying that from the place of an engineer, I design all of this stuff, so, you know… I think that in frames, especially in mountain bike frames, it’s very much the case (premium for the most up to date tech). The mountain bike frame still isn’t at the level of maturity yet, where everybody has sort of converged onto one optimal design. There’s still innovation—we’re in the teenage years of mountain bike frames, and soon we’ll definitely get into the 20 something years and then everything will mature and may carry a number of similar traits.

But with wheels, it’s such a mature part of the bike, that it was another part of it. You know with this design of the hub, there’s nothing earth-shattering there. We knew this bearing configuration was the best for the widest range of uses. We knew this mechanism style was the best for this type of use. There were some cruxes during the process, some new things that we had to come up with to make it work with the manufacturing methods that we’re using, but that wasn’t in the design—it wasn’t like we needed to make a new machine in order to build it, we just had to design the parts such that they would work with that system and there is no reason to charge a premium for that.

Bontrager s impressively priced 2018 wheels
  The difference between the drivers—six pawls to three, with the three-pawl easily updated to six, should you want more than 54 point engagement.


You’re just tweaking things.


Just tweaking things to put as much value as possible in at this price point. Again, there’s just no need to gouge, because there’s nothing earth-shattering—the earth-shattering part is the value for the price. One thing to mention with manufacturing methods, in terms of new and cool things. We did develop a special machine to measure the, what I call the Pop: when you get a missed engagement with the hub. We went out and we benchmarked all our competitor's hubs, all of our old hubs and we set some thresholds that our hubs had to meet. So we did do some new things there but again, there was no need to pass that on to the customer. We just want to pass on a great product at a great value.

Another thing to note is that the internals on these hubs is the same as what the Atherton's and the Trek Factory Racing Enduro team are running. The TFR Enduro team are actually running the $600 Line Elite 30 wheels.


I did notice that a number of the wheels here only list Boost spacing. That must be part of keeping the cost down, too?


Absolutely. If we go with Boost spacing only, that’s one hub shell. All of our hub shells are made with forging tooling, which can get pretty expensive. So if you were to go with standard and Boost, that’s two forging toolings per hub set and that just adds to the cost. The XD driver is also sold separately in an effort to keep the cost down and for customers that don’t need it, they won't be left with extra parts sitting around that they had to pay for. When someone does want to purchase an XD driver, that driver comes with all six pawls resulting in their hub having 108 points of engagement, regardless of whether that’s what they had initially.


MENTIONS: @trek




198 Comments

  • 366 1
 Damn... of all the brands, one of the big boys finally hears what the 'average rider' is saying--we want to ride, but we can't afford that new bike/frame/wheelset, etc when the prices keep going up, up, up. $300 wheelset that has some engagement and 29mm wide rims? That's practically SCREAMING at me to go ride my bike..

Thanks guys. We really do appreciate it.
Signed,
Average Joe
  • 110 6
 While I totally agree, and the honesty from the Bontrager end is refreshing, I do find it ironic that Trek sells their carbon frames for such a B.S. markup - like the Slash frame for $3700? Where's the price point there? Major disconnect between the two branches of the company...
  • 36 12
 @ratedgg13: put in mind that the Slash frame is built to be the very best frame on the market. Don't think the slash was built so that they could sell it at a competitive price point. Hoping for an alloy-slash coming in soon
  • 10 7
 @ratedgg13: aren't they the only one still made in the USA?
  • 8 8
 Bicycles are insane, that's all I can say as someone who's trying to bicycle as a positive pastime. Like do they only want Lance Armstrong to bicycle or what? "Only the top 10 riders shall ever ride a bike from now on, and we can't even figure out who they are"
  • 9 8
 @Hulleland @louantonis Sure, but you can get a made in the USA Alchemy Arktos frame for $2999, you will soon be able to get an Unno or maybe even a Hope carbon frame for somewhere near the same price range. I'd argue that Unno and Hope are just as, if not more advanced than what Trek has going.
  • 11 0
 wheel of fortune
  • 1 0
 @Hulleland: Ditto the alloy slash...like the Remedy 9 RSL....you think its carbon at first and second glance
  • 11 17
flag mnorris122 (Apr 24, 2017 at 5:24) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah, Bontrager seems cool and all, but they build their wheels 2-cross Very confused
  • 9 0
 @mnorris122: 2 cross straight pull spokes laced to carbon is a good stiffness to weight combo. 2 cross is a solid lacing pattern. Me personally, I build my wheels 3 cross 32 spokes. I would think 28 spokes on carbon rims would be strong. Time will tell.....
  • 16 23
flag mnorris122 (Apr 24, 2017 at 5:58) (Below Threshold)
 @MrDiamondDave: 3-cross is the only acceptable number of cross for MTBs
  • 9 0
 @louantonis: slash is taiwanese.
  • 5 1
 @mnorris122: NOBL also lace their 29ers 2x. More laterally stiff than 3x I believe is their justification.
  • 7 0
 @ratedgg13: It's part of everything the article is saying about reducing the number of SKUs and achieving some sort of economy of scale. By avoiding frame only sales they don't have to manage frame and complete bike inventory. However, in the spirit of customer service Trek will accommodate people that scream "TAKE MY MONEY".
  • 6 0
 @louantonis: I did a trek factory tour a year ago and from what I remember the only frames made in the US were the session 9.9 and the top level frames for the domane, madone, and emonda. But that was a year ago, and before the slash came out. Alchemy also makes carbon frames in the US.
  • 5 0
 @ratedgg13: the wheels can be turned out in WAY more volume than MTB frames. E.g. they're selling 3 rims, one hub shell. Frames, if we ignore DH and just look at enduro/trail/xc, you have a ton of frames, each in 3 or 4 sizes, let alone more sizes for 27.5 or 29 options. In addition to all this, Trek can sell a bunch of these wheels to 3rd parties. While there may be some room to squeeze the frame cost, and I'd love to see them cheaper, there's a lot going for wheels in order to make them a mass volume product and thus cheaper.
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: I tried to lace my 28 spoke Rhythm hoop to a Hope Evo hub 3X and the spoke overlap on the hub flange was far too great, I had to set it up 2X.
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: What about 4X ?
  • 12 0
 @tremeer023: it's cheap nasty Aussie beer
  • 2 1
 @louantonis: very little of their product is made in the USA.
  • 1 0
 @louantonis: Only carbon session , some madones and emonda SLR are made in US still. Also the aeolus road wheels and xxx mountain rims are made in USA.
  • 3 0
 @Hulleland:
Every frame that Trek sells separately is above $3k, save their dirt-jumpers.
If anything, with Trek's economies of scale they should be able to sell their frames cheaper than their competition, but they choose to charge twice as much
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: Specialized is similar, no? must come back to the business model. They probably get such great pricing on components because of house brands and sheer volume that if they sold frames at only a reasonable margin it would make their complete bikes look like a rip off. Another benefit is that the complete bikes are easier to sell, probably more predictable sales, so by overpricing the frame they don't have to guess how many people will buy bare frame and make a bunch of extra frames that will be impossible to sell at the end of the season when they guess wrong.
  • 3 2
 I've always been torn on this. I'd love to make hubs in my machine shop, but if I did I'd have to charge a lot of money for them. I've somewhat done the math and even essentially paying myself nothing the only way I could see it working would be to charge basically what some of these higher end hubs cost. Something to keep in mind is nobody, and I mean nobody in the mountain bike business is getting rich. I really don't think the guys that own some of these companies are floating around the Med on a yacht laughing about suckers buying XTR derailleurs or whatever.
  • 59 3
 Carbon wheels are for people with money to burn, go to crc and build a custom hope pro4 wheel with threadlocked dB spokes and easton arc or mavic ex830 30mm wide rims for $500 and it can be updated to different axle widths if needed, or halos new vapour 35 wheels with the 120poe supadrive hubs for around the same price if the much needed 30mm internal with is your thing. $2000-3000 for wheels is farcical.
  • 14 4
 True. But hub engagement is what really matters after weight/ durability , etc. I run I9 Hubs, love the 3° of engagement . These new line pro 30's are very intriguing. I'm getting a set asap. 3.3° of engagement is pretty damn good with carbon fiber and an awesome warranty
  • 5 0
 @ctd07
My $350 Halo 35 (with Driver) have been pretty good so far...and they have been tested!

I went with the more reliable 60 POE version, which to be frank is all you need...can anyone actually really tell the difference between 54/60 and circa 100 POE? I never hear Hope hub users complianing about 40/44T
  • 27 2
 @Travel66: i had King hubs for a good while before moving to all Hopes on all my bikes years ago. the thought of POE never has even crossed my mind on a single ride ever. you know what DID cross my mind a bunch of times? how you had to service King hubs like twice a year and how i haven't touched my Hope hubs once in years of use and abuse. to each their own i guess.
  • 5 3
 @Sweatypants: Hub Engagement is important to me and where I ride. Rocky, Tech Trail in the SE. Lots of pedal ratchet moves to power thru the tech. King hubs and Hope hubs are both awesome and hard to beat.
  • 6 1
 @MrDiamondDave: You stop pedaling?
  • 2 1
 @MrDiamondDave: Yea i get it if you're like an XC racer type, or a "i like to ride trails with a billion things to climb over at -1mph and have to do stoppie 180* pivot turns to get around obstacles" type. Makes sense. For just exercise, even with the mid-Atlantic constant ups and downs and roots and rocks, it never catches me out except the few times I go ride a new trail and run into some obscure obstacle. even then, once you've been to a place before and know something is coming up, often you can just modify your speed or approach to negate it the next time around. if i have to hop off cause something caught me out once in a 100 rides, not sweating it just for that. on a DH bike, literally never a concern.
  • 3 0
 Yeah poe is whatever, and j bend spokes are fine, but I will spend the extra $100 for the added stiffness and lower weight of a carbon rim. And seals -give me bearings that run forever.
  • 13 3
 @BryceBorlick: Thing is, "sealed" bearings don't last nearly forever. A Shimano hub that's been rebuilt and packed with marine bearing grease (a 30 minute job) will last just as long as the "sealed" bearings in any hub out there-except maybe King. And when it comes time to service the bearings, looseball is way easier and doesn't require special tools.
  • 4 0
 @Sweatypants: Agree. I still have Hope Pro hubs on one of my bikes that I have had since 1999. What's that 18 years now? I honestly can't remember the last time I serviced the hubs. May have changed the bearings once in all that time.
  • 6 0
 @mnorris122: Marine bearing grease is absolutely foul stuff for the environment - specifically aquatic ecosystems. I'm not saying don't use it, but if your rides involve creek crossings you might consider different grease. It's the molybdenum in a moly grease that makes it so.
  • 2 0
 @Sweatypants: Totally agree.. I'm still on my hope pro 2 evos goin on 5th season and I haven't even looked at them.. still as zippy as day I got them.
  • 4 0
 @husstler: Most greases are, really. And it's not like any amount of grease actually comes out of the hub during rides.
  • 8 0
 @mnorris122: i'm pretty sure anyone that can work on shimano hubs in any short about of time is a wizard. everything is easy until it comes time to tighten the cone lockrings, and the act of tightening them tightens the cone at the same time. start over. too loose this time. start over. too tight once again. get frustrated. give up. that's close enough, i'm too mad to care anymore
  • 6 0
 @xeren: haha best way is to clamp the threaded axle on the other side in a soft jaw clamp or vice grip to hold the axle while you tighten the other side, the axle spinning causes your problems, but I'd rather replace cartridge bearings anyway over dealing with shimano hubs tbh
  • 1 0
 @xeren: lol!!
  • 3 0
 @mnorris122: I run Heavy duty lanolin in all the bearings of my water jump bike. I jump it into salt water of the Swan River.
  • 1 0
 @husstler: marine grease is aluminium based
  • 1 0
 @ctd07: thanks, i'll remember that for next time! yeah, i only have sealed bearings on my mtb's, but on my cheap commuter, i refuse to upgrade simply because i know as soon as I do, it will be stolen, so i'm stuck dealing with cups and cones
  • 39 0
 This is the type of article I want to read. I'm re-evaluating choices here. It makes sense and there's no overt bullshit.

I trashed another advert / article today and felt a little bad about it but this article shows just how bad the other one was.
  • 43 7
 They had me until the only doing boost comment. Ffs
  • 16 3
 Same here! Whole article bitching about new tech we actually dont need, atleast not at that price and then at the end boost only which is again one additional crap we dont need...
  • 9 4
 I can't believe they aren't offering the $300 wheelset in non-boost. That is the wheelset that most people with non-boost bikes would be looking at for an upgrade or to replace dying wheels on a bike that is 2-4 years old. They will probably end up discontinuing them for lack of sales and wonder why nobody bought them.
  • 6 2
 @carym: I agree, a non-boost would have had me interested
  • 3 0
 @carym: aftermarket boost adapters is the way to go, they should just come standard.... wait a minute, scratching head...got it: in this case we need antimatter boost reverters that negate the 3mm each side - that is really innovative, we are adding it to our wheelsets for free but now they cost a gazillion bazillion dollars. neat eh?
  • 9 1
 Yeah but by reading the wbole thing, he explains the cost of forged tooling for other widths and how their racing teams are using these wheels. I'd have to guess that they feel boost is worthwhile for their racers and that is what they are building for. Only offering one spacing allows them to keep the cost down. Otherwise, this wouldn't be an article about a more budget-friendly option for a carbon wheel set. Maybe I'm thinking too far into this but it seems that a lot of people want innovation that only fits what they already have. They get mad at new standards and the prices of components, then they complain about a company that tries to offer more budget oriented options. It's kind of like having your cake and eating it too. Either get with the times or just keep running what you have. I get mad at how expensive new trucks are so I just keep driving my low-mile 2004 and stay up to date with maintenance so that I don't have to buy a new one.
  • 2 0
 @nekislav: If they want to save production costs by running 1 hub size, then it has to be boost, because that is what the new bikes have. So they don't really have a choice. Since they make thousands of OEM Wheeelsets they must do boost.
  • 2 0
 @carym: the bulk of what they manufacture will be OEM wheels on new bikes, so they have to be boost.
  • 39 8
 Enve wheels and the people who buy them are the biggest joke in cycling. I can't wait for them to start building $10k frames under their new subsidiary LU$T.
  • 12 2
 With the umbrella company TOSSER
  • 7 0
 Awwwwww....you hurt my feeeeeerings.
  • 24 8
 Im wiping my tears away with all the money i get from MY JOB.
  • 6 0
 I see carbon wheels/frames as the Yeti coolers of the bike industry. Sure they're probably great, but 98% of consumers will never use them to their full potential.
  • 4 1
 That is true. Just like who needs a Rolex to tell time. It is Status Symbol Gear.
  • 5 10
flag scary1 (Apr 24, 2017 at 13:44) (Below Threshold)
 @KuroHada: Go buy your mtn bike from Target,then. Theres no difference,everything is else is because of greed and a ripoff,right?
  • 3 0
 @scary1: Yes Target cycles are quite nice.
  • 5 0
 @scary1: false dichotomy.
  • 2 6
flag scary1 (Apr 24, 2017 at 18:54) (Below Threshold)
 @xeren: why? Cuz you dont like it or you just dont understand basic economics?
  • 3 0
 @scary1: it's a false dichotomy because there is a whole world of bikes in between ENVE level fashion show bikes and Target bikes. it's not $10K bike or $200 bike, and you know it.
  • 3 7
flag scary1 (Apr 25, 2017 at 16:23) (Below Threshold)
 @xeren: yeah, and that fashion show wheel ,if desirable enough gets reproduced eventually by 20 other companies and the cost WILL does down. FYI ,there is a dramatic difference in ride quality of carbon wheels over aluminum . You either like it or you dont.
The exact crybaby arguments were made about carbon frames, disk brakes,dropper posts, 9 speed gearing,carbon bars, tires, front suspension, rear suspension.
Its all f*cking bullshit ,especially from people who engage in this f*cking sport. Buncha spoiled brat little punks who never invented a a goddamn thing criticizing those who risk everything ,who get off their asses and DO something.
  • 3 1
 @scary1: i have no idea what you're talking about, and i don't think anyone else does either. your argument seems to have shifted to the point that i don't know what you were talking about originally either (and judging by the downvotes it got, no one did)
  • 3 0
 @xeren: I have to agree with you. I guess that makes me a crybaby in some folks opinions...
  • 3 0
 @scary1: "Im wiping my tears away with all the money i get from MY JOB."


POD Smile
  • 30 1
 Finally someone said it out loud that bike industry is sucking our money big time for years now in the name of "the latest" tech.
  • 23 0
 People have a lot of emotional reactions to this, but let's be real. Bontrager / Trek did the marketing research footwork and realized there's plenty of money to be made selling wheels to the middle-market $600-$1200 price point.

Don't get me wrong I only buy cheap stuff because I can't afford anything else. I like good, strong, cheap parts. But the only thing that's happening here is a large company making money in a specific market.
  • 3 0
 The definition then, of a win-win
  • 23 1
 as a cheapskate, i am happy to pay $400-450 per pair for something that rotates and occasionally hits rocks. thats hope pro 4 X stans arch ex. The combo does the job nicely, well built, acceptable weight, tubeless ready with yellow tape, easily repairable (that is, parts are readily available). anything higher than that, no thanks.
  • 2 0
 That's not you being a cheapskate, that's you being reasonable.
  • 21 0
 Nice to see someone in the industry reads the comment sections on these articles and actually listens to some of the valid feedback. Good Job Trek/Bontrager Smile
  • 16 1
 in all honesty, i mainly blame the consumer itself!
it is commonly accepted in the car industry that there are highly overpriced brands and cars with a great value. plus people do not mind to buy used cars. why isn't that the case with bikes and parts?
there are quiet a bunch of brands producing valuable products. we don't NEED to buy the highest exclusive things if we can't afford it and mainly if we don't need it.
if porsche brings out a new model we all drool even by knowing the hefty price tag but would never consider buying one because it's simply not made for 98% of car drivers.
if there is bike brand xxx popping out there latest model on the highest level of prices, consumers moan about how shitty expensive biking got and that's it.
buy what you need and what you can afford. bontrager and hope wheels just poppin up in my mind thinking about wheels.
ps: i ride a bontrager line comp alloy wheelset myself and couldn't be happier Smile
  • 2 0
 The most sense I've read in a long time regarding the entire bike industry
  • 1 1
 One of the problems is that cars aren't usually meant to hit rocks, so most people think they are able to determine how much abuse they got even when buying used by someone they don't know. Used MTB frames or wheels, who knows? Either you know how the one that used it before rides, or you just assume they were used hard.
  • 13 0
 tbh i guess that a lot of money is paid for the name. I could imagine a lot of wheels are made in taiwan factories @ $200 a pair but retailed @ $2000 for that sticker/name.
  • 13 0
 Chain Reaction: Hope Pro 4's, DT Swiss Super comp spokes, and Black nipples
Amazon: Stan's Flow MK3 rims
Total: $512 + Smile on my face and money in my wallet
  • 2 0
 @abzillah: I rock the exact same setup except I went with the straight pull with DT Champion Straights. I love it! Also love being able to replace the flow mk3 for $75 every time I destroy one in Pisgah!
  • 11 0
 I would love to buy a set of the carbon 23mm wheels they talk about at $700. I was planning on dt xt361 rims, aerolite spokes and hope pro 4s. The price would be pretty similar.

Unfortunately I have a nomad 3 and a fox 36 that are not boost.

That is a real shame because I would definitely go carbon for xc if the value was there. Please reconsider the boost only policy, Bonty!
  • 2 0
 Ditto
  • 5 0
 Check out light bicycle, they have a 24mm inner rim that I built up with dt350 hubs a few years ago for under $700. They've been super solid.
  • 1 0
 @chize: I have been looking at those but I'm not keen on made in China (yes I know the nomad is made in China) and the price for a set is about $1000 American. It puts them clear of the XR361 in price but at almost the same weight.

Thanks for the tip though.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: except for ENVE's, I think pretty much all the carbon rims out there are made in China/Taiwan, probably in the same factory that makes LB. =)
  • 2 0
 @fpmd: I spent ten years in Taiwan. I love made in Taiwan. I dislike made in China because I don't like their political strategies, especially pertaining to Taiwan. Light bicycle is made in China, and Taiwan is not China (unless you believe the Chinese Communist Party).
  • 1 0
 @fpmd: Let's not loop everyone into that pile so fast....
  • 11 1
 Bontrager products are killing it! Line Pro Bars, Stem Dropper. Now wheels. Love it. Trek and Bontrager also stand behind their product with a very good warranty, I'd say the best in the business. Now let's see a boost rigid carbon fork And 2.6 / 2.8 29 tires too.
  • 3 2
 They do have one of the worst crash replacement policies in the business. You get 20% off the frame if it breaks, and 20% off 3500$ is still a lot of money.
  • 2 0
 The Stash comes with a rigid boost fork, it's available through your Trek dealer.
  • 2 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: the fork has 100mm spacing.
  • 1 0
 Don't forget the tires! Frank Stacy works magic with the Bonty's.
  • 2 0
 @coregrind: you're right... It will clear 3" tires, but only has a 15x100 hub standard. Mahbad
  • 1 0
 @davehuffstetler: Curious. Who is doing it better?
  • 2 0
 @davehuffstetler: Depends on Frame, but Trek is Lifetime on Triangle and 2 or 3 years on swing arms. A crash replacement is "discount" if it is a warranty failure. If you break a frame and your the original owner. It is replaced at no charge.
  • 10 0
 The value is there, hopefully the performance is on point and other manufacturers take notice.
  • 1 0
 Can you buy these in Aus for anywhere near that price? I hope so, but unfortunately I doubt it.

I'm running a set of Merlin's house wheels (less than AUD300 delivered) - Chosen hubs, Alexrim Volar rims; nothing fancy, but gets the job done. I haven't found anything that compares on price.
  • 1 0
 @jdsy2154: I believe Line Pro 30s are AUD1700, which (if my math is ok) seems cheaper than USD1200 after taking GST into account
  • 7 0
 Wheels haven't gone up in price at all, I can still go to CRC and buy the same damn pro4 on magic 823 that I could 10 years ago for the same price (save for inflation) - The bike industry has just discovered that there is no limit to what the dentists will pay for shit, and have created a market to cater for that, the variety and quality has only improved at a low price point for us average joe's!
  • 1 0
 I agree on this, mostly the high-high end of luxury goes more expensive (and better at the same time - of course diminishing returns). But that was only a matter of time seeing how the sport and industry grow and evolve.
It is very refreshing to read a big brand like Bontrager state this though.
  • 6 0
 I dont get people buying supwrexpensive wheels and only have one pair when for the same money you could get 3 pairs of really good wheels set with condition specific tires to match whats going on outside the window. Wheels regardless cost are slaves under rubber performance, so build the best pair of wheels you buy 2 pairs of and laugh at silly-money-carbon hoops with ardents on a mud ride...
  • 1 0
 Excellent point. As a second set of wheels, $700 is not a worry, but $1200 is. For me at least.
  • 2 0
 This is how I've always done it. Good solid reasonable wt rim laced to a good hub. Two different sets of tires.. Even set up my wife's bike like this. Narrow rims and narrower, aggressive tread tire for soupy / thick spring and fall riding. Wider rim and tire with, aggressive tread for loose/ chundery summer riding. She has no idea I swap em out but she notices that her friends often complain they have the wrong tires. Appreciate what Bonty is doing, but simplifying your hub offerings and internals is not just about the consumer Graham Wilhelmina (guy in interview says as much) that's a lot of parts to carry. Do agree to bad about Boost only. Feel some shift is afoot with Rock Shox and a major player like Trek dropping "standard spacing" on their entire mid to high end (the next logical move with these ne wheels). Don't forget how much their "helping the consumer", its all about us.
  • 8 0
 And here I am still sweating over the $2K bike I just purchased (which I know, is a bargain). Damn this sport is expensive!
  • 6 1
 Wheels, wheels wheels...its all about wheels these days. And I still don´t get it why you spend $3K for a set of enve wheels, when you can get a set of DT Swiss wheels for 1/5 of the price, which has the same weight (EX471 on 240s)

BUT the biggest problem is that ppl are buying this shit....they are willing to spend a months salary for a f*cking wheelset. Until there are ppl buying those wheels, there will be companies offering $3K wheels.

So stick with some cheap but well made alloy wheels until the inventory of carbon wheels stack up and prices drop Wink
  • 1 0
 I think the point is, $3000 might be a months salary for you or I, but for some people it is only a couple of days' work. That is who enve is aimed at. Me? I'm Spank, Deore XT (mechanical, of course) and Hope.
  • 5 1
 WTB rims, 60€ each
Novatec hubs 250€ (DS54x ones, there is cheaper alternative)
Sapim d-light spokes: 64€
Halo nipples: 20€
A good 3.2 spokey: 15€
Roger Musson ebook: 12€
Scrap material for wheel bench.

So less than 450€ of parts for a good set of TR ready wheel that take a beating since 3000km without issues. Labor not included but it take a weekend to lace and tension and you know how to repair them if needed.
  • 1 0
 wtb rims+Hope+Sapim...that was the combo in my old 26" inch jekyll. I kill 2 rims and 1 spoke in 4 years but they are affordable and light.
My 2017 Jekyll comes with wtb+formula+dt , the rim it´s OK but the rear hub is slow and heavy, DT cheap spokes are shit compared to same range Sapim spokes.
I crush 2 rear derailleur onto Sapim spokes,only 1 spoke bend,if that happens in a DT spokes your rear wheel is f*ck up and you go home pushing the bike.
For me one key component is the 4D drilling in WTB rims,they hold the tension really well and the spokes are straight, no bend at the nipple area.
  • 1 0
 Got myself Novatec Hubs for free,just bought DT rims,spokes and nipples.Paid -25% less in my local bike shope for them and it all was for something like 100 euro and i'm a happy rider.
  • 4 0
 I've had aluminum line Elites for about 6months riding them 3-4 times a week in rock country ( San puia obispo ) and they have been pretty fantastic . I've got no real love for Trek/Bontrager and ended up with them on kind of fluke from a sponsered rider that couldn't use them . I was going to use The wheels temporarily until I found some thing " better" but now I see no reason .... And actually the same goes for the XR4 team tires . .... Wouldn't own a trek but seems like they have some pretty nice parts now.
  • 5 2
 Seems legit, hopefully they are as good during a review as they are on paper!
That said, got some of these beautys coming today, and I reckon they are better than Bontragers:

www.blueflowwheels.com are $900, 30mm internal, Hope hubs, custom decals, hand built in UK with custom lacing
  • 5 0
 Seems pretty much like they're just importing Nextie or Light Bicycle (or some other Chinese knockoff) and building them in the UK. Not saying it's a bad thing, just noting that it's not necessarily any better of a deal.
  • 4 0
 Any company that advertises their products on a Cotic is alright with me.
  • 3 1
 @ratedgg13 Yeah but getting a UK build and customer service that doesn't take 6 weeks has to be worth something right? Also having the control over a custom build in terms of tension, 2 cross or 3 cross etc is pretty nice at this price!
  • 1 0
 @JoeRSB: Okay you get proximity, but the same build details are offered by most of the Chinese counterparts if you ask. There should be a new Canadian company called "We Are One" composites doing something similar (if I understand correctly). I'd hazard a guess though, that Trek (for a little more) will have a better product with much better warranty and service - because really, they have to.
  • 2 0
 Been looking at BlueFlow...but I cant find any views on quality of rim or build/service/warranty etc. If anyone can help would be grateful.....

Cannot believe TREK is not making non-boost...look how many non-boost bikes they have sold and others are in the market for replacement wheels...surely they could sell loads more non-boost and spread the investment over much higher volume?
  • 1 1
 @Travel66: 2 year warranty, lifetime crash replacement service. I would say Stuart's customer service is exceptional, responds very quickly and is genuinely very helpful - contact him with any questions you have about the rims etc. He told me he has not yet had a rim failure, which is quite promising by my reckoning.

Mine should be here in a few hours so i'll let you know how they look and feel!
  • 1 0
 @JoeRSB: Please let me know
  • 1 0
 @Travel66: Seem properly solid to me, got an amazing matte UD finish to them. Not ridden the new bike in anger yet, but the wheels are really nice, so wide, and seem to have been built well - perfectly true, set up tubeless, spoke tension is all good. So far so good, for the price i would highly recommend. Custom graphics as standard are so nice as well, Stuart does such a good job of matching stuff to the bike!
  • 3 0
 I have WTB KOMs on Chris Kings, hand built, for 1300 CAD, which is like 1000 US. And that is from my LBS. So many good options if you build your own and can handle old fashioned aluminum, plus there's nothing proprietary. Hit up CRC or Jenson in February and you can be well under a 1000 for high end parts and a build. Glad to see companies do value builds, but I think they've been there for a long time, you just had to shop. So many great Alu rims now, there's really no excuse for crappy wheels.
  • 4 1
 "we’re giving the customers what they want and not gouging them for it. I go on Pinkbike all the time, I read the comments all the time." == Translation: there's an endless stream of complaints on PB about wheels that are too expensive. Good on Bontrager to listen and to attack rising prices
  • 3 0
 I appreciate the way these guys approached their model builds because its the same way I usually make decisions as a consumer...whats the most value I can get for $$, or sometimes whats the $$ point at which value drops substantially for additional increase and it becomes about cachet or prestige. I like good stuff and I like ripping...don't give a toss about impressing others on the trail with my decals.
  • 6 0
 Huge kudos to a Product Manager honest enough to say "aspirational purchase" in an interview.
  • 2 0
 Really good to hear some commonsense from an industry insider for once.

Hope hubs on your rim of choice is the max I will spend on wheels that take a hammering! I tried some Enve wheels at BPW and they were no better than my 2 year old Tech Enduro's, let alone £1500+ better! The added bonus with Hope is that they will always be worth a bit on the resale market too, sold a 5 year old surplus front hub for 1/2 what it costs new a while back. Try doing that with something that requires a proprietary spoke and special tools to service!

I have a Fuel Ex that came with Bonty Duster Elite wheels and I'm mighty impressed with them. Not too heavy, brilliant tubeless system and simple, serviceable hubs. Was going to bin them for Hopes when they died but after 2 1/2 years I've only needed to get the rear retensioned after whacking it off a wall!
  • 5 0
 Congrats to Bontrager for doing what your local wheel-builders have been doing for decades!
  • 4 0
 wheels don't have to be expensive at all. A set of hope hubs with mavic or stans hoops and you've got many years of reliable wheels under you.
  • 2 0
 Well my hope hubs on velocity blunt 35's with DT spokes that I built this year cost me under 500 USD--they're bomb-proof as hell, and standing up to my cuttying/roosting addiction. ENVE's are only about 100-200 grams lighter than full hope hoops, but they're 2000 USD more--I'm really not at all sold on carbon in the MTB world, though I suppose I'm not on the EWS circuit. I ride aluminum and steel bikes and I'm happy as can be.
  • 4 1
 White industry CLD hubs - $500
Velocity Blunt SS rims - $300
Spokes and lace up at LBS $200

$1000 for an all American manufactured set of wheels.
Putting Americans to work, PRICELESS!!
  • 5 0
 I'm still running a set of 2007ish Rhyno Lite 26" with XT hubs, what am I missing?
  • 9 0
 3 inches.
  • 2 0
 All of the cool, new parts the "market" will lust after will only come in the new standards, just like these wheels (i.e. Boost only) creating "forced obsolescence". The only way to get this to stop or slow down is voting with your wallet, i.e. not replacing stuff for the sake of replacing it with "what's new".

Think about it, in 5 months at I-Bike there are likely to be more standards introduced that weren't ready for SOC. And we'll all be scratching our collective heads about it.
  • 2 0
 Back in the day, I bought a set of RL Edge 48 wheels with Suntour coaster brake hubs and an ACS freecoaster sprocket for my freestyle bike for $80. They were the trickest wheels, and expensive for the time, and I was super proud of myself because I spent my summer mowing lawns to pay for them. Those were the days. What happened?
  • 2 0
 My last washer and dryer set has way more techy features and engineering than carbon wheels and was cheaper than my Enve / king wheels. Fun factor is not great. I find it crazy how bike companies rationalize theirs prices and how I continually fall for it.
  • 2 0
 Got a pair of Flow 2016 with Fuel hubs (Aivee MT2, 6 pawls) for 150EUR at their end of the year 50% discount.

No need to spend a lot of money to have a good wheels.

And f*ck system wheels, like the pair of Easton's, where it has been a nightmare to just get a pair of spare proprietary spokes. The rim was damaged, so the spokes were breaking one after the other, I tried to get a spare rim from Easton, they said "you wheel is a 26 from 2011 (the 800USD one), we don't support it anymore". I had to find a spare second hand rim on pinkbike (50EUR) to be able to repair it.
  • 3 2
 Just look at the prices of road wheels; you'd pay that amount of money for a carbon road wheelset long before carbon wheels for MTB were even available. I remember ordering a new set of Mavic Crossmax SX for 700 EUR back in 2013, looking at their Ksyrium and Cosmic models and telling myself "poor roadies, what an outrageous price to pay".
  • 1 0
 Have a set of Spank Enduro race 28 wheels....2 years of riding with a Clydesdale rider and true as could be.... Could save maybe 200g if I spent another 3x the price.... Just can't see what all the fuss is now...Just seems to be ridiculous with some of the prices and the need to put carbon everywhere...
  • 1 0
 Interesting about using the same hub in all their wheelsets. I think that works great for their low end products, and you get a great deal, but on their high end stuff, I feel you can get a better hub, such as I9, Hope, or Onyx, in a $1200 wheelset...
  • 2 0
 The era of $2000+ wheels is over. Carbon is no longer an exotic commodity. Manufacturing, design and reliability is getting better and better. It's great to see some of the bigger companies catching wind of this.
  • 1 0
 No Super Boost? Anyway, at least they move the flanges out for their boost spacing to actually take advantage of the additional wheel stiffness you get. Not all hub manufacturers do that. I wonder how much the additional pawls cost . . .
  • 2 0
 Set of springs and pawls will run you $30 USD.
  • 1 0
 @FisherFreerider: Thanks, that sounds like a very reasonable upgrade. It's hard to tell what their entire lineup is going to look like. But I would like the cheaper hubs with j-bend spokes, boost width, and a 40mm width 27.5 aluminum rim (I have no desire to smash a carbon rim), with the Bontrager tubeless setup and the extra pawls and springs. I like the Line Pro 40's, but I don't want the carbon or the price. Just a solid 27.5+ wheelset for a reasonable price!
  • 1 0
 Really cool interview - If I hadn't left the bike industry for automotive refinishing, I would still be building wheels. I asked a lot of these questions and took a "best possible" for a given price point approach to customer needs and typically landed around the $600-800 wheelset mark, but pretty frequently had to put something together for $160-300 that still held up. This interview makes me want to work in the Bontrager wheelhouse! I love to hear that they've taken such a familiar approach to something that a lot of riders pine for but can't always reach - a dope wheelset!
  • 1 0
 Pick your grade of hub, pick your grade of spokes.. even with your lbs charging you say $60 CAN per end.. you could lace up a pretty sweet set of wheels for under $800.. the RF ARC series rims are ~$120msrp in pretty well every width imaginable. Of course you can always go Gucci.
  • 2 1
 For everybody being super stocked on this, i'll tell you something about getting a product on the market. Trek are the ones who pushed the boost stuff (for better or worst). Two years later and it's still not mainstream. But if more people where riding boost wheels, it would put pressure on the industry to make more boost bike. How do we get boost on the market? We get bontrager to produce very cheap wheels of good quality. The msrgin on them are probably ridiculus, it's their to crush others and put boost as the one standard. In a few years from today, boost will be everywhere, and trek will have a breakthru in wheel technologie wich will rise the price back to 1000+ for alu wheels and their long term strategy will have worked. Or maybe i've just lost hope in the corporate world. Anyway, nice wheels.
  • 1 0
 Hubs haven't really changed internally for 20 years, and carbon rims are way overpriced. If you're somewhat savvy you can by rims direct from china (Nexties and Light Bicycle are awesome), decent spokes, and a decent hub, and build them up for about $600. I'd say for what companies get hubs and spokes for at cost, they've got $400 into a wheel set, and charge $2k. $10k bikes could be sold for $5k, and bike companies would still be making money. Don't get me wrong, I love high end stuff and will continue to buy it, just wish it would come down a little bit in price.
  • 1 0
 The proper US marketing is: if you sell something for high price, people will think that is a kinda "wow" or over the "wow" quality. Behind it there is a huuuge marketing pressure, I mean PRESSURE in adverts to say and suggest as much people as they can, to make them believe....mamma mia that is something out of the universe. NO WAY. I do love genius items, created by genius minds but those genius people are mostly NOT THOSE money hungry people who lead the capital market. There is a highest point of affordable price of everything but you all can be sure, these guys (partly Bontrager too) willing to fight for higher and higher prices....taking out of our pocket. That is it. The money is their god. Frown Sad show. Sad.
  • 2 0
 Props to Trek. Nice work. Now can someone update the bontrager.com website? Select "29" and you don't get an assortment of wagon wheels, you just get the SKU for some rim strips. Bizarre.
  • 1 0
 I just hope brands can start making more reliable free hubs that will not be toast after one season under an average rider. To many times I get to tell customers that the hubs that came on their $4k bike are garbage, and I tell them to go DT Swiss..
  • 2 0
 I built 35mm wide light bike carbon around hope pro 2 hubs last year for about 500gbp. I weigh 16 stone and abuse these wheels, so far zero problems. Couldn't be happier
  • 4 0
 @ajbarlas
Where does Trek stand on moving to 20mm front and rear axles?
  • 1 0
 I very much appreciate this open and honest interview. If Graham is ever in Squamish and has a few minutes to spare, I would like to shake his hand, buy him a beer, and chat bikes.
  • 1 0
 This article would have been much more interesting had they spoken to someone at Light Bicycle, or Nextie, or any of the other off-brands already offering non-price gouged, great value product.
  • 1 0
 i actually blew my freehub by a pedal strocke after a trackstand at the trafic light well, i guess i am sticking to bontrager
  • 3 0
 Superstar wheels are a case in point.
  • 5 2
 "Ya we think $3000 wheels are ridiculous but here is or $2300 set"
  • 3 0
 Mountain biking has slowly become a sport of who has the most money
  • 1 0
 Yeah but it's good prep for golf, which is where the target market is heading anyhow.
  • 1 0
 Damn, I read most of this article thinking I might be getting some new wheels for my 2015 scout, then I got to the part where it says "boost only"...
  • 1 0
 Everything mtb costs way too much. I'm dtill running Hope pro2 on Mavic 829s, Four years later and they still work. I'm only changing them now as I want 650b.
  • 1 0
 So they're cheap because it's year's old tech and tooling? Kudos to them for being frank about it but it's hardly a revolutionary concept.
  • 1 0
 Probably one of the most informative, honest and worthwhile reads on PB so far. Now watch the UK import tax knock the prices back up...
  • 1 0
 So, does this mean that we will be able to buy these sweet, cheap hubs by themselves? Cause I'm in the market for more engagement points without breaking the bank.
  • 1 2
 Only ever been on one ride where someone had carbon wheels. Light Bicycle. Full squish. Broke a spoke and cracked the rim so it wouldn't seal tubeless at under 10mph on a rock that was essentially a half buried baseball. Wheelset was barely a year old. Looked at my Flow EX set with 240 hubs that I got for $400 less on my rigid XC bike and just laughed.
  • 2 0
 Hahahaha that "cheap" wheelset is over R15 000.00 in our rubbish currency.
  • 2 0
 Glad to see they're not trying to reinvent the wheel...ahem...
  • 4 2
 So, this is just publicity for Bontrager.
  • 3 0
 And a chance to showcase how their manufacturing and volume make them so much cheaper than the little guy.
  • 2 0
 @DrPete: that's what I was thinking. Being 'big' means economies of scale and volume bring down piece prices, but also enable large capital expenditures for forging tools and years of R&D. No doubt Trek did a comprehensive job platforming their wheelsets, that is refreshing, but only a massive company would be able to do this and offer these prices.
  • 1 0
 Once you go HALO, you STAYO Idk but you get my point. Superstar are peng for quality price too
  • 1 0
 Superstar's customer service is woeful. I had a DHX wheelset and both rims died in general use inside six months. I emailed Superstar expressing concerns about the manufacturing process and they told me that I should just buy some more.
  • 3 1
 Good info, but it does overlook Trek's economy of scale.
  • 2 0
 Reynolds Cycling does not like this article
  • 1 0
 Economics at its finest. Something about perceived value and consumer utility...
  • 1 0
 Holy Poop! My wheels and tires on my Jetta cost 1/2 of what those ENVE cost.
  • 1 0
 my next set of wheels will be from these guys. I respect the view they bring to the market
  • 1 0
 they may not have to cost "that much" but they would of course be using boost...
  • 1 0
 i think my next wheels might be Bontragers. i'm sold on their honesty alone!!
  • 1 0
 What is the warranty on these wheels?
  • 2 0
 Great interview
  • 1 0
 "bunch of shittee "- stans no tubes.
  • 1 0
 Proper design and engineering. No BS. Keith should be proud.
  • 1 0
 I would love to see a carbon dh wheel set at the $1200 mark.
  • 1 0
 Halo Chaos? cheap and bombproof
  • 1 0
 Bahahhahaaaaa! Dentists on wheels
  • 2 0
 good job Trek, good job.
  • 1 0
 And a mass produced frame needs to cost $4,500 ???????
  • 1 0
 when wheels for my truck are cheaper
  • 2 5
 Just think how much cheaper those Bonty wheels could have been if they'd spent less on buying Pinkbike press! Wink
  • 1 0
 95% of things you consume have this level or WAY more exposure.
  • 1 2
 **mavic**
  • 1 4
 fck the industry
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