Review: Bontrager's 1,290g Kovee XXX Wheelset

Dec 12, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  


The 29" Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon wheelset weighs in at just 1290 grams and is designed for competitive XC use. They sell for $2,399 USD with DT Swiss hub internals and come with a lifetime warranty for the original owner.

$2,400 for a wheelset is crazy expensive, but that weight is really damn light. For the person looking for one of the lightest weight wheelsets made money probably doesn't matter, but durability most certainly does. I spent the last several months logging hundreds of miles on the Kovee XXX wheels and riding trails that are probably far more technical than what you'd find on an XC race course in order to see how things held up.

Kovee XXX Details

• Intended use: XC Racing
• Rim material: OCLV Carbon fiber
• Rim width: 29mm (internal)
• Diameter: 29"
• DT Swiss 240s hub internals, center lock rotor
• 24 DT Swiss Aerolite Spokes (f/r)
• 110/148 Spacing
• Weight: 1,290 g (actual)
• Lifetime warranty
• MSRP: $2,399 USD
• More info: www.trekbikes.com


Trek's OCLV (Optimum Compaction Low Void) carbon is used in the Kovee XXX rims.


The Details

The latest iteration of these wheels knocks 100g off of the previous Kovee XXX wheelset's weight. More demanding courses and better tire technology are leading riders to run wider tires at lower air pressures, which is why Bontrager went with a 29mm internal rim width, 29mm height, and a 34mm external width.

The rims, built in Asia, are laced up using 24 DT Swiss Aeroblade spokes and assembled in house, at Trek, in the USA. The hub is a Bontrager shell with DT Swiss 240s internals with a 54-tooth star ratchet.

The wheels are designed to be set up tubeless and come with two options: Riders can use rim tape for the lightest set-up or, they can opt to use Bontrager's proprietary rim strip system which is said to provide a better bead lock with the tire to help with set-up and to improve performance at ultra-low tire pressures. The rim strip system adds a little weight, at about 75-grams a wheel, but according to Bontrager, also improves performance. I opted for the tape.

Also worth noting is that the wheels come with a lifetime warranty where Bontrager will replace or repair wheels for the original owner. Even more noteworthy is the fact that Bontrager have enough confidence in these wheels that there is not a rider weight limit, something you often see in the fine print with weight-weenie XC parts, especially wheels.

The OCLV carbon rims can be set up using either standard rim tape or with Bontrager's tubeless rim strips, for a small weight penalty.




Daniel Sapp at Dupont State Park
These wheels were made for XC but held their own with baggies and a dropper post.


Performance

This Kovee XXX wheelset has spent several months on Trek's new Supercaliber, as well as a stint on Revel's 130mm Rascal trail bike. Tires have mostly been Bontrager's 2.4" XR3 trail tires, although I also had some Maxxis tread mounted up as well. In swapping tires out, I have had no issue getting them inflated with more than a standard volume floor pump. Speaking of inflation, it's been wet, leafy, and slippery so I've been running somewhat low air pressures at 18 - 22psi for my 150 pound weight.

Despite a mostly good (but by no means flawless) track record with carbon wheels, I'll admit that I was a bit hesitant when it came to using a sub- 1,300g carbon wheelset. After a few months of pointing and shooting my over-forked XC race bike with a dropper post down the chunkiest descents in the forest, hucking and hoping down lines usually reserved for a longer travel bike, laughing as I'm hanging onto the bucking bronco of an XC rig, I can attest that the Kovee XXX wheels can hang in the durability test. I've had zero issues with the rims themselves and, as expected, no issues with the tried and true DT Swiss 240s hub innards, common in many high-end wheelsets.

When it comes to putting the power down and getting the wheels up to speed, the ultra-light weight of the Kovee XXX wheelset is noticeable. On tight, rooty, technical terrain, the wheels help the bike accelerate quickly, especially in places where quick bursts of power are paramount and in everything short and punchy. One of my frequent test laps has a section that requires picking away at a technical bit of off-camber singletrack, and then powering into a short but steep uphill section. The quickness that the Kovee wheels can get up to speed and accelerate is very noticeable in situations like this. There's noticeably less effort required to hammer up to speed compared to wheelsets that weigh even just a couple hundred grams more.

The wheels feel amply stiff and similar to other top-tier XC wheelsets such as Roval's Control SL hoops as far as ride quality and stiffness, and slightly more compliant than ENVE's M525 wheels. They never felt overly harsh or unforgiving, a trait that becomes even more important when you're talking about a set of wheels that will end up on a shorter travel bike.



Pros

+ Ultra light and durable
+ DT Swiss 240s internals
+ No rider weight limit / lifetime warranty

Cons

- Limited axle configurations, Centerlock only
- Price. $2,400 is a lot of money to spend on wheels.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesBontrager's Kovee XXX wheelset is one of the lightest production wheelsets available. The wheels perform well, are durable, and I can't find much to complain about from a performance perspective. Yes, the price is quite high, but that tends to be the way it goes with lightweight bike parts. For racers looking to save some rolling weight, or anyone who's building up an XC speed machine, the Kovee XXX wheels hit the mark. Daniel Sapp








194 Comments

  • 333 1
 New policy for Pinkbike in 2020: everything gets subjected to the Huck to flat test.
  • 148 1
 Even helmets
  • 79 0
 #HUCKTOFLATEVERYTHING
  • 25 38
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 12, 2019 at 1:39) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymarty: especially those who watched “The Game Changers” and woke up...
  • 35 0
 @mattg95: Even socks.
  • 43 1
 The huck to flat test isn't even that rough. Next up, the huck to case landing.
  • 17 4
 @vinay: I am talking a proper huck to flat - old skool 6 foot drop off (none of this jump ramp stuff where you have a forward component to the movement).
  • 16 1
 @fartymarty: let's go full Bender!
  • 17 0
 Not a bad idea for shades - will they stay on your face?
  • 22 0
 Wheels will get the 'ol huck to case on a square edge rock.
  • 7 0
 @Jacquers: same goes to bottle cages
  • 3 1
 @jiMMy23: Instructions unclear. Nose, mouth and tongue stuck in bottlecage (after the huck to faceplant test)..
  • 6 0
 @vinay
Huck to under-rotated 360??
  • 1 0
 @danielsapp: is it a lifetime or a two year warranty on these rock smashers? Review says both.
  • 7 0
 @dhdropout: It's lifetime...hit refresh.
  • 1 1
 @danielsapp: except for enves, we already know what a huck to rock would do to them...
  • 1 1
 @mattg95: I would support a huck to flat gear edition featuring Mike Levy.
  • 1 0
 Flat Wallet.
  • 2 0
 I would enjoy seeing the results of them mounted on a DH bike and taken down many runs.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: They've got to get Adam Brayton signed up for proper huck to knuckle testing
  • 3 0
 @Rasterman: I just used these on a Trek Slash while racing a Mexican urban DH- zero issues!
  • 2 0
 @mokydot: Huck to flat ur wallet
  • 73 3
 I like imagining that XXX was a placeholder for a different name while they were writing the marketing copy, but then they accidentally approved a bunch of ads without replacing the text, and they just ran with it. Seriously though, 1,290g is impressive as hell for a mass market wheelset.
  • 9 1
 XXX is the logo for the city of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I think it the name is indeed because they appreciate our cycling culture.

DT Swiss internals, does that imply that it also takes a DT freehub so that it also accepts the micro spline for the latest Shimano cassette?
  • 25 11
 sorry @brianpark but I disagree that USD$2400 is the price point for a 'mass market wheelset'.

Commercially viable, specialised product.. sure. Mass market? Nooope.
  • 71 108
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 12, 2019 at 0:33) (Below Threshold)
 Whenever I see XXX on wheels I am thinking of Treks XC female team... I’ll show myself out
  • 29 0
 @darkmuncan: ehhh fair enough. I meant "not made by one of Dangerholm's friends."
  • 3 8
flag chyu (Dec 12, 2019 at 1:11) (Below Threshold)
 This is not for dentist. This is for Johnny Sins!
  • 1 1
 Check tune from Germany.

en.tune.de/tuneparts/mtb-wheels-29
  • 29 38
flag Heidesandnorth (Dec 12, 2019 at 3:46) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: stupid old, dirty guy joke - man, get a grip!
  • 52 33
 @WAKIdesigns: I thought it was funny! Neg prop me all you want you thin skinned pc bitches!
  • 17 18
 @WAKIdesigns: FUNNY
  • 2 0
 @vinay: yes you can get a mirco spine free hub for them through Trek.
  • 15 10
 @Heidesandnorth: Oh me apologies... I must admit it could have been better. I’ll try harder next time!
  • 3 21
flag pargolf8 (Dec 12, 2019 at 5:43) (Below Threshold)
 @darkmuncan: paid 700 for stans ex3 laced to hope pro 4s. Keep your xxx’s bros
  • 3 13
flag JohanG (Dec 12, 2019 at 5:44) (Below Threshold)
 I heard that in the early 2000s the design engineer was caught pulling his pud in his office to one of those .jpg images on dial up that loads10% at a time. As punishment they named the wheels xxx instead of firing him because he got caught before the good parts had time to download.
  • 7 5
 @Heidesandnorth: so you dont think attractiveness goes into who teams sign? Yes your 2 wheeled ability is most important but your marketability is a close 2nd. Sex sells bud. Marketing 101.
  • 2 11
flag pargolf8 (Dec 12, 2019 at 5:46) (Below Threshold)
 @JohanG: if you’re trying to be funny, it failed miserably
  • 1 0
 @vinay: trek offers a micro spline for all their nicer wheels now.
  • 20 10
 @pargolf8: if anything sells sex here it is keeping the XXX name. Nobody in the right mind would keep that name unintentionally. and even if they do say there's always been X and XX quality gradation system, it's just stupid to keep it. Nobody will use R Kellys song i believe I can fly in a kids movie anymore, not to mention Michael Jacksons songs. Bonty either deals with most common meaning of XXX or they should not even mention a tiniest justification for it. There isn't. By no means I judge them or condemn them. I leave it to White Knights which I generally not tolerate, since I am disgusted by hipocritical, sneaky predators trying to get laid by being mr Nice guy, posing in front of their wives and daughters as guardians of gentlemans etiquette. There are better ways to be a gentleman than virtue signal...

I made a rather bad joke (for comic quality) It's a lunacy to think Trek hires girls based on looks, and even if, most of the field is qualified.
  • 2 2
 @brianpark

I believe the XXX wheels are laid up in the US at Trek's Waterloo base. This may have changed now but for the longest time the XXX wheels were more expensive and what not cause they were American made and what not.

Let's also not forget everyone for the price they are lifetime warranty. I don't give a shit what the price is, lifetime means that you never have to buy a new set of wheels. Call me when alloy wheel comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • 1 0
 @pargolf8: no questions asked lifetime warranty on those alloy rims?
  • 3 13
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 12, 2019 at 8:33) (Below Threshold)
 @TheBearDen: Why would you want warranty on something that costs 5+ times more than alloy. You will never waste that many alu rims during the time you use the carbon ones and don’t even try to tell me you will keep them longer than 3 years before you get something “better” or “more optimized to your needs”.

Don’t hate me yet because There is a spin to the story, since above applies to Trail, Enduro and DH rims. XC racing rims tend to go under 400g a piece, at least that’s what the desirable weight is. Below that threshold the durability and stiffness of alu rims starts to fall dramatically. Quite simply, regardless of alloy used, they become cheese. Anyone who weights 70kg+ and tried ZTR Crests knows this. One mistake - bang! Taco! If I was to spend money on XC racing wheelset I would either have to satisfy myself with an alu trail wheelset having rims like Arch mk3 or DT 401, or go for carbon with lifetime warranty. And I would mess at least one carbon rim per year...
  • 19 4
 @WAKIdesigns: I have had my first gen Bontrager line carbon wheels for 3 years now, they are about to go on my new Norco optic.... So I WILL f*ckING TELL YOU I WILL RUN CARBON WHEELS LONGER THAN 3 f*ckING YEARS.

You are insufrable with the amount of crap you spew around here Jesus Christ.
  • 2 10
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 12, 2019 at 9:38) (Below Threshold)
 @TheBearDen: cool you are in minority. Most people I know tend to sell stuff after 2 years and the more expensive it is the quicker they sell it... I also congratulate you on keeping them in one piece...
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I blew up a rear one last year and Bontrager happily replaced the whole wheel for me and apologized that it died.

Last time I ran allow wheels I went through 1 front rim and 4 rear rims. Racing through the year wether that's weekday fiver races on the shore, 70km XC races and a couple enduros is a quick way to find new ways to destroy an alloy rim... It's just what happens living in a rocky riding area and racing in it. I don't mind building wheels it's Been a fun skill to learn but 5 times a year with time off your bike while you wait for the rim to arrive gets really annoying really fast.
  • 2 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 12, 2019 at 9:55) (Below Threshold)
 @TheBearDen: I also live in a rocky area and I rode several carbon rims as well as alu. As I said they make perfect sense for XC because alu rims in XC weights are bloody cheese. I woukd not run Crests because I would be worried if I get home on one. In my experience 400g is a magic number for alu. They tend to get robust for application above that. EX471 is awfully robust. Having said that I wasted Ex511 beyond reparation on the fireroad...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Now just imagine if your EX511 would have been replaced for free? wouldn't that be nice.
  • 2 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 12, 2019 at 11:15) (Below Threshold)
 @TheBearDen: nah, don’t care. Costs 1/3rd of closest carbon rim and considering the size of the damage carbon would explode.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: alloy frames are much cheaper than carbon frames but thats something you are fine with?
  • 1 4
 @TheBearDen: yes, in-fact I am changing from boutique carbon to alloy. The only piece of carbon in my bike will be cage in XTR rear mech which I haven’t paid for. Carbon Jack has been great but not because it is made of carbon...
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Let's get something straight. Stan's Crest ZTR are not made of cheese, that's giving them too much credit. I would think there were made in more of an ice-cream consistency.
  • 3 0
 @TheBearDen: The price of replacement is embedded in the original cost of the carbon wheels - you are paying for it up front.

With the 511, or any other alloy, it's pay as you go.

$2400 will go a long way to keeping an alloy wheelset rolling. Back out $600 for a set of nice hubs and some wire, and you are left with $1800 for rims. At say $90 per rim USD, that's 20 rims.

Carbon are great. So to are alloy. Both for their own reasons.
  • 2 4
 @privateer-wheels: would you with your professional experience say that there is a limit below which alloy rims lose stiffness and durability in a non linear manner? Judging by my own experience and that of my friends, rims made of quality alloys tend to gain strength and stiffness around 450g mark, that is for 29” and become very strong above 500g. Now it seems to correlate with durability hit resistance of carbon rims. While they are stiff already on 350g mark they gain durability around 450g but top out quickly which can be easily observed with cases of failed Enves. That leaves a narrow window of 300-450 where they still make sense because they are competitive in xc/ trail segment but in Enduro they seem to lose sense because at above 450g mark they start to lose to alloys with hit resistance. The only way it kind of got better for carbon rims is inserts that give more hope to sub 400-450g carbon rims. But then people lace them with alloy nipples and suddenly they find cocaine in the rims and nipples lose their heads... one after another
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: What are you replacing the carbon bike with?
  • 2 0
 @privateer-wheels: I assume this is also based on myself lacing and truing the wheels to get the new rim ready to go? Or did you factor in roughly 45-70 bucks to have a shop do it each time?

So I need to buy a truing stand and a proper tension gauge as well. How much was your tension gauge and your truing stand?
  • 2 4
 @TheBearDen: Custom Omen Racing Frame Noon. It will be a bit like Banshee Darkside, RM Slayer. The point is to have a DH bike that can climb fireroads. My CJ weighed 15kg with DH tires anyways... DT350 hubs/54pawls upg and XM521, EX511 rims. All on dt comps and brass nipples.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Is most of the riding in your area lift access and or fire road up then trail down kinda thing?
My knowledge of Swedish biking is not all that great.
  • 3 3
 @TheBearDen: for Swedish areas I will run 29” HT and 26”DJ. For reql mountainsIam used to climb a heavy bike for hours. Or use lifts Smile 200mm DH bike won’t climb any worse than 160 bike if both have same components, mainly drive train and dropper, very similar geo. They weigh the same, have identical wheels. That is what is ridiculous with tire choice in the field test. They take XC bikes and run Minions Exo on them. Then they will use same tires on Enduro bikes. Too slow rolling and too heavy for XC, too flimsy for Enduro. There’s been a time when Enduro/AM bikes were long travel XC bikes, now they flipped the coin. Down Countrybikes are DH bikes with little travel which makes just as little sense. Now everyone wants to sell “aggression”. The only benefit being it hasn’t been done before, so let’s learn from our own mistakes.

What do you do? XC racing?
  • 2 1
 @TheBearDen: generally when you break a carbon rim, you are also on the hook for paying for a rebuild - there is no difference there.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: yeah, when you start thinning out an alloy rim, it starts to get wonky. Nipple beds below 2mm this for example, forget it. You get as light as those crests and they start warping up as you approach a moderate tension. They just don't react well when you think them out too much - i.e. decrease the weight too much. But Stans definitely had other issues too - poor quality aluminum, or not properly heat treated, or something.

Alloy nipples - the ticket with aluminum nips, is picking a nipples that's made with good aluminum (Paceline, WheelFanatyk, etc), that's been put through a good anodization process (Paceline, WF, Sapim are all double anodized), and that you use stainless washers between them and the rim, with good grease. I use them exclusively myself. But definitely a no-no if you are I'm salty environments - in which case brass king.
  • 1 0
 @darkmuncan: Basically the price of my full suspension price - including upgrades & changes. I knew I should have gone into dentistry...
  • 1 0
 @TheBearDen: the kovee xxx are now laid up in Asia. Kovee xxx used to be made in WI until very very recently.

The line30 xxx and Aeolus xxx are still made in Wisconsin...for the time being.
  • 1 0
 I suspect it's more likely a hangover from the previous Race XXX-Lite naming range, which included Race Lite, Race X-Lite. It's a bit weird without the 'Lite' bit to make sense of it though.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: yes I did it. Very easy.
I often road mine at 17-19 psi, which is too low for a 175-180 pound rider. I broke the rear rim and paid $400 to Trek for a new rim and spokes along with the new build. I think it was reasonable.
In my opinion it broke due to my being tired and slamming into sharp edges.
  • 45 0
 Just to clarify, Bontrager's warranty policy was updated about a month ago to offer a lifetime warranty on carbon wheels. The policy can be found here.
  • 2 0
 @darkmuncan:
So long as you don't use tire inserts... I feel like that's important to note
  • 7 1
 @sam264: From the laundy list of conditions in the warranty policy it seems any damage done while actually riding them means you’re sol. But if they break while standing in your garage Trek has your back..
  • 49 1
 Covfefe
  • 3 0
 Yes, who else read covfefe say aye!
  • 3 0
 aye
  • 1 0
 Hahaha this is immediately what I thought too.
  • 42 2
 For $600 more you can get a RIPMO AF NX full build....
  • 1 0
 Seriously. Hilarious
  • 2 5
 If anything has even the slightest mention of carbon the price skyrockets times 10.
  • 10 1
 @stumphumper92: Unless it's made by GG in which case it's only $200 more expensive than the previous alloy version.
  • 6 0
 The wheels have a better warranty..
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: fair point
  • 3 0
 For $300 less you can have an entire Fuel EX 5
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: but that's not actual carbon
  • 41 2
 Put them on a Pole Stamina and huck to flat. See which folds first.
  • 8 2
 I don't think carbon wheels can "fold"
  • 32 6
 Why is centrelock only a con? It's a much superior disc attachment than traditional 6 bolt rotors, and if you can afford to drop 2.4k on a wheelset surely you'll easily be able to afford a new set of centrelock discs if need be.
  • 20 6
 Yes, but then you're limited to centrelock rotors, which are ~122g minimum. On a superlight build, you'd save maybe 25-35g per end by using a lighter 6 bolt rotor...
  • 22 1
 @riish: But aren't CL hubs usually lighter than 6 bolt hubs?
And then there are the screws as well.
  • 3 12
flag stoo61 (Dec 12, 2019 at 1:57) (Below Threshold)
 Used to hate my centre lock wheels. Very nearly got on a hell drop with a rattling barely attached rotor.
  • 7 1
 Well I prefer centerlock rotors, but the centrelock is not bad either.
  • 33 0
 @stoo61: yeah I hate when I suck at being a mechanic, too.
  • 4 6
 Lol. They do tend to come loose a lot easier even with lock tight @JohanG:
  • 3 0
 @freeridejerk888: What are the circumstances where you are experiencing this? I've used centerlock exclusively for five years with no problems. I use anti seize on the threads, and I use the large lockrings.
  • 7 2
 I don't understand why anyone even has an opinion on center lock or 6 bolt. It's so irrelevant.
  • 3 0
 @Justmatthew: yeah chose one a be a d1ck about it!!!
  • 4 0
 @biglev: Ha, yeah I forgot the rules for a moment. As you were, guys.
  • 3 0
 DT even makes an adapter that works really well. I run it on my rear wheel with a 6 bold rotor.
  • 2 0
 @JohanG: RIGHT?!
  • 6 0
 I'll chime in as another Centerlock lover. They're way easier to install/remove than 12 little bolts with a bunch of vibratite on the threads. There's a generous amount of thread depth for a strong attachment, and it's a lot easier to get to torque spec with a nice, long tool than a t-25 bit.

I've ridden at terrain parks and in places like Moab, Grand Junction, and Sedona (as well as my equally rocky and chunky trails in SE Wyoming) and NEVER had one loosen.

When the patents on Centerlock expire (looks like 2021) I suspect that the industry will adopt that standard, even on lower cost bikes. I'm all for it.
  • 12 1
 Xander Cage approved.
  • 6 0
 I'd love to see these put on an enduro bike with some meatier tires (maybe even a double down rear), some Cushcores, and thrashed at the bike park and on some straight up rowdy terrain.

It's my suspicion that with sturdy tires and foam inserts, you could get away with a lighter wheelset and offset some of that weight. But.....my personal wallet doesn't allow for that kind of experimentation. So.....c'mon Pinkbike-really test this wheelset (and every other 30mm internal xc wheelset)-for science!!!
  • 2 2
 Throw them on a dh rig and really see what they are about... Lol
  • 2 0
 @iantmcg: I'd be all for it. Light carbon rims can be stiff, but stiffer carbon (and layups) tend to be more brittle. With double ply tires and inserts, rim impact is minimized-so it's at least possible that running light and stiff (but not highly impact resistant) rims would work.

Every few years bikes get more capable and heavier, then trim a little fat, then get more capable and heaver.....

We seem to have reached a new threshold of capability. Even at bike parks, enduro bikes are more common than pure DH rigs, but while enduro bikes are efficient climbers, they aren't light. With the availability of strong tires and sturdy tire inserts, lighter rims might be possible. Barring winning the lottery, I doubt I'd be able (or willing) to buy wheels this fancy. However, if a midpriced light(ish) rimset worked for enduro and park use with sturdy tires and inserts, it would allow a 1/4-1/2 weight reduction. I'd consider lacing up (or buying) a set of wheels on lighter rims if I didn't feel like I was playing Russian Roulette every time I sent a drop.
  • 2 0
 Just mounted these to my Trek Slash with 2.6" SE4 tires and ran them for 3 days doing an urban DH in Mexico- they held up amazing with zero issues
  • 9 5
 These look and spec. a lot like the LB rims, which can be had with a DT Swiss hub, for less cost. Been running a pair of their 29 width rims built up by them, for a couple of years now without problems.
Something to be said for Bontrager/Trek warranty, but LB are also reputed to be good at this.
  • 3 0
 Proprietary carbon molding process.
  • 4 0
 @allenfstar: I doubt it. At one time, Trek manufactured all their carbon frames in USA with a proprietary process they called OCLV. But they've long since moved most (like 99%+) of their carbon manufacturing off-shore, using outside companies with their own processes. So OCLV is just a marketing term now. Not to say that these rims/wheels aren't great - I bet they are - but don't take it too seriously when they hint of proprietary processes.
  • 1 0
 @MtbSince84: Yeah-I remember selling $650 mountain bikes welded/bonded out of (US made) True Temper or Eason tubing from Trek (and sub-brands). Starting in the early 2000's they started moving everything offshore.

Outsourcing production might get a better margin, but now they're just an engineering firm that has Giant make their stuff. Treks are good bikes (I'm riding a Slash these days) but nothing special/unique anymore.

And.....yeah, if you want proprietary composite production, there are a couple of niche players that actually have truly proprietary composite technology (Guerrilla Gravity comes to mind) but otherwise get a Giant (or Merida if you're outside the US).
  • 1 0
 @peleton7: What the hell ever happened to Easton? I remember when Havoc's were the cats meow, and now I don't see Easton anywhere.
  • 4 0
 Yes, but the warranty gets even more vague and doesn't mention crash replacement.

but does mention
"This Warranty Does Not Cover
Normal wear and tear
Damage or failure due to accident, misuse, abuse, or neglect"

Seems like an easy way out for them.
  • 3 0
 My friend melted his with his exhaust and they gave him a new wheel. Hows that for crash replacement
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: no way my friend melted his carbon rims the same way
  • 2 0
 @jordanrh: they should get together and have a bike melting party
  • 7 0
 For that price I expect to see the new DT 180 hubs on there.
  • 7 2
 new for 2020 models trek IS offering ifetime waranty on carbon wheels.. outdated info on warranty
  • 3 0
 Lifetime crash replacement?
  • 3 1
 @irck: yup on all carbon wheels!
  • 4 0
 @danielsapp: Thanks for the link.

@allenfstar Looks like it’s not lifetime crash replacement. 2 year crash replacement, lifetime discount on replacements.
  • 4 0
 @irck: Turns out, it is a lifetime warranty...apologies for the confusion there. - Current warranty policy
  • 4 0
 @danielsapp: Thanks for clarifying (and well done Trek!).
  • 2 0
 Bontrager rims are underrated. I remember back in the day they released the cheap Rhythm wheelset and I couldn't believe how durable they were. Honestly they were head to head with a set of Atom Labs aircorps.
  • 1 0
 Gotta say i had the opposite experience. Had a set of rythyms and the rear one was fubar in about a month
  • 1 0
 FWIW a friend of mine has been riding on the old XXX wheels 2-3 times per week and also raced enduro series for 2 years on them. The guy is 6'6" and hammers. He never had an issue with them while riding, I think he may have given them a minor true once or twice. They are very durable and I'm guessing that's why Trek has updated their warranty. If no one is breaking them, why not offer the warranty to attract more buyers?
  • 5 1
 Nice review. Please send to Aston now and see if it goes one run at Finale.
  • 1 0
 That is pretty light for MTB disc wheels with 29mm internal width. My road bike BikeAhead tubeless disc wheels weigh same. It might seem expensive but comes with LT warranty. The high price factors in the LT warranty in a sense buyer is paying for the hidden insurance.


Worth it if you keep your gear for many years. Not worth it if you want the latest & greatest each year with boost 157, boost 1XX and the next boost size and so on bike marketing gurus throws at us to force for upgrade!.

My new Reynolds BL 429 w/ LT warranty are on their way with claimed 1380g. Bought direct from Reynolds few days ago for $1374, no tax on cyber week sale before price jumped.
  • 4 0
 All wheels made of bontrager carbon fiber have a lifetime warranty
  • 4 0
 More x means les weight
  • 33 0
 Or less clothes. Depends on the website's content.
  • 10 0
 @gui21st:
Less clothes is technically less weight, too
  • 2 0
 @gui21st: bruh ahahahha
  • 2 0
 So no picture of the super duper rim strip? Did it work well? Was it worth it over regular rim tape?
  • 1 1
 @danielsapp the amount of hair on your legs in that photo up top is a bit alarming. If you are running these wheels and wearing lycra, you should at least shave your legs! Think of the children, man!
  • 2 0
 Been there, done that...it’s almost always baggies these days. It bothers me every time I look at the photos too.
  • 3 0
 WAO Revolution wheelsets with I9 Hydras are $700 less
  • 1 0
 but your not getting them at 1290 grams
  • 2 0
 That's a really light weight for a rim that wide, in a 29er, that they are willing to provide that sort of warranty for.
  • 1 2
 I'll do 100 grams more but $1000 less for Nox Skylines on DT240s. They held up to years of Lunch Loops/Fruita riding, and got me on the podium at the Grand Junction Off Road with no damage, despite me occasionally running too low of pressure. 1290g is a sick weight though.
  • 1 2
 If it was Made in the USA and I was helping my fellow American worker....sign me up...even with the steep price.
You lost me @ Asian made.....what do they pay the asian wheel makers?
For carbon.....I have light bicycles for half the price and made in Asia.
DoPe Smile
  • 2 0
 @danielsapp but they do have lifetime warranty!
  • 2 0
 dont let your kids look for that wheelset on the internet
  • 2 0
 So this is what they sell on pornhub.com.
  • 2 0
 Or you can grab We Are One's Revive XC wheelset for $1500 usd. Shrug
  • 1 1
 I bend a rim, I lace in a new one, two hours and $75, easy peazy.

Those wheels cost more than my frame, fork, and shock.

That's orthodontist prices
  • 2 0
 $350 White Giro shoes required.
  • 3 0
 27.5 is dead.
  • 1 0
 $1200! Just buy some Podiums for half the price, Stans has been awesome on repairs ????????
  • 1 0
 Where in Asia are they made @danielsapp ?
  • 1 1
 Bontrager's wheels are Taiwanese, I know the aluminium come out of formulas factory, not sure on the carbon.
  • 1 3
 Pretty sure the XXX series wheels are made in USA. Or at least they were a few years ago.
  • 1 0
 @Almazing: They are assembled and built in the US but the rims are made in Asia.
  • 1 0
 @Almazing: As far as the mountain wheels from Bontrager, Trek only mentions domestic production for the Line XXX rim.
  • 2 4
 @danielsapp: Giant does the rims and hub shells for Trek. I've even built a Giant of two over the years that had a Bontrager logo accidentally etched onto a hub shell.
  • 1 2
 @danielsapp: which country in Asia ? Important detail.
  • 1 0
 I'd opt for tape too, Daniel...
  • 1 4
 These are "race only" wheelsets for a good reason. If you used them on a daily then they're sure to get damaged. Less time on these rims the longer the lifespan.

@1300 grams that's the lightest I've ever seen from a big brand company. However, even XC these days is getting more gnarlier than from previous years. So buying these I'd still use them with caution in mind.
  • 1 0
 Hah thanks for punny correction.
  • 1 0
 Supercaliber Review hopefully soon!
  • 1 0
 2400$ this prise) specialized demo 2015 full custom)))))
  • 1 1
 @danielsapp

I thought these were laid-up in the wisconsin? Are you sure they're made in asia?
  • 1 0
 According to Trek, they are laced in WI - rims are made overseas.
  • 1 1
 I'm pretty sure they're USA made...might wanna double check!

edit: you probably DID doublcheck. my bad. I'm pretty sure they USED to be made in USA. Now I dunno...
  • 1 1
 @danielsapp: actually...I think I'm wrong here. I know they USED to be made in USA, like up to a year ago.

I know some of their carbon wheels are made in wisconsin...maybe not the kovee xxx. hmmm...
  • 1 0
 Dentists everywhere will have these wheels
  • 1 0
 MA FARETE ANCHE I CERCHI COL NOME CULONUDO.com
  • 1 0
 The reason why my wheelsets are 15 years old, and everything else is new.
  • 1 0
 so is this the definition of "bike porn" considering it's XXX ???
  • 1 0
 So huck to flat and let’s out air. Is that flatulate?
  • 1 0
 Edit: nvm i'm blind..
  • 1 0
 Forget the predictable "Is it stiff/light/durable?"

These days, add the words "crazy expensive" and "probably made for people for whom money doesn't matter"

We get it.
  • 1 1
 Would be a infinitely better with actual 240's and lifetime warranty.
  • 1 2
 My Acros XC wheels are lighter in almost 100 grams than these, and cost half the price. Do the math.
  • 1 4
 Two and a half grand, two and a half fucking grand. They best make me a sammitch and tell me good night story every night for that shit.
  • 2 4
 Friends don’t let friends ride Bontrager
  • 2 1
 What about Big Earl?
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