While weight is a major selling point for e-bikes, people who ride them regularly are often more concerned about longevity. Components designed for regular bikes generally have a much shorter lifespan on an eMTB.
Enter WTB's first e-bike specific wheelset. A 29" wheelset weighs around 2,691 g, according to WTB, which is at least half a kilo heavier than a typical alloy DH wheelset. The payoff, WTB say, is toughness and longevity to cope with many seasons of the most demanding e-bike action, plus heat sink hubs to improve braking on long descents.
Starting with the i30 rim, which has existed before as a rim-only but not as a wheelset. It has up to 20% thicker walls than WTB's enduro-duty KOM Tough rims. It also has a highly asymmetric design, allowing the same length of spoke to be used on both sides of the wheel for easier replacement, with similar spoke tensions too for a stronger and stiffer wheel. The rims are claimed to weigh 718 g in 29" and 678 g in 27.5". They come set up with tubeless tape, plus a solid rim strip to stop spokes poking through the tape if the wheel does (somehow) get bent out of shape.
The Pillar spokes are 13-gauge single-butted, going from a chunky 2.3 mm diameter at the hub to 2 mm at the DT Swiss nipple. There are 32 spokes per wheel.
The freehub contains six sets of pawls which all engage simultaneously to minimise the stress on each one to better cope with the mighty torque modern e-bikes can produce. The tradeoff is a slower engagement; the freehub has a middle-of-the-road 42 points of contact for an 8.5° engagement angle.
The hub axle sleeves are 17 mm in diameter (not 15mm), which increases the stiffness of the hub and so reduces stress on the bearings. The freehub spins on three bearings for XD and HG varieties, while the Microspline ones house four bearings (as many as will fit) in order to reduce play and wear while spinning under the tension from the chain. All driver bodies are steel, not alloy.
Finally, the hubs have extra material around the 6-bolt rotor mount. WTB claim these heat sinks improve heat dissipation by up to 10%, helping to reduce peak brake temperatures and brake fade.Pricing:
Front wheel: $329.95 / €299.95
Rear wheel: $439.95 / €399.95
Wheelset: $769.90 / €699.90
For more, visit www.wtb.com