Based in Kamloops, British Columbia, We Are One Composites have built up a loyal fan base over the course of their relatively short history. The company was started by ex-pro World Cup racer Dustin Adams in 2017 after he decided to embark on a new career path and begin manufacturing high-end carbon rims.
There are currently four different rims in We Are One's lineup, with intended uses ranging from XC/gravel all the way to downhill. It's the Union wheelset that's tested here, which is aimed at enduro / all-mountain riders. The rims have a 30mm internal width, and they're laced to a set of Industry Nine's new Hydra hubs.
We Are One Union Details
• Intended use: enduro / all-mountain
• 32 hole, 2-cross lacing
• 30mm internal rim width
• Industry Nine Hydra hubs
• Weight (29"): 1,905 grams, 894 front / 1,011 rear
• Laid up and molded in Kamloops, BC
• Lifetime warranty
• Price: $1,640 USD / $450 rim only
Industry Nine's 101 hubs are also an option, and while they have 4-degrees between engagement points vs. the Hydra's .52 degrees, they'll also drop the price of the wheelset from $1,640 down to $1,425 USD.
The Union carbon rims are hookless and have a 21mm height with a 30mm internal width.
Industry Nine's hubs have a whopping 690 points of engagement. Details
“Compliance” has been a buzzword recently with regards to carbon wheels as more and more companies try to find that ideal balance of lateral vs. radial stiffness. That desire for more radial compliance was part of what inspired We Are One to create the Union rim. They also wanted it to be lighter and stronger than the Agent rim, its predecessor. The result is a hookless hoop that's 21mm tall, with a 30mm internal width. We Are One doesn't paint or sand their rims, but the finish on these has to be seen to be believed. It's smooth and slightly glossy, and you can see the individual fibers when the light hits it the right way – it's about as pretty as a rim can get.
That rim is laced to the Industry Nine hubs with 32 Sapim spokes in a two-cross pattern. The rear Hydra hub has a 115-tooth drive ring that's paired with six individually phased pawls to create 690 points of engagement. That equates to a near-instant response when you stomp on the pedals – there's a minuscule .52-degrees of movement before a pawl engages. Ride Impressions
All those ratcheting pawls in the Hydra hub can sound like a swarm of angry insects when you're coasting, and if you like loud hubs the Hydra fit the bill. Personally, I prefer a hub that's silent over one that screams, which is why I added a few drops of Dumonde Tech freehub oil around the drive ring, which quieted things down nicely.
I've had a few different tires mounted on the Union wheels over the last few months, and in all instances installation was trouble-free, and no air compressor was required. My tire pressures hovered in the low 20s, typically 21psi in the front and 23psi in the rear with some variation depending on the tire and trail conditions.
The Union wheels have a nice and neutral feel to them, which may sound like faint praise, but I'd much rather have wheels that are easy to forget about over ones that are harsh and jarring. That was the overall theme during my time with this wheelset – once it was installed I really didn't need to think about it at all.
As far as overall stiffness goes, I'd put the Unions somewhere in the middle of the carbon wheel stiffness scale. Quantifying ride feel is a tricky proposition, but I'd say We Are One hit the sweet spot with these wheels. They don't mute the trail as much as Zipp's 3Zero Moto wheels, and they're not quite as rigid feeling as Race Face's Next R carbon wheels, which puts them in a zone of stiffness that's very easy to live with.
The rapid engagement from the Hydra hub is a nifty feature, but is it worth the extra $215 USD over the 101 hubs? That's up to you and your wallet; personally, 4-degrees between engagement points is plenty for me.
The stickers are fairly low key, and they're easy to peel off if you want to fly under the radar. Durability
The Union wheelset held up extremely well during the first couple months of testing – I didn't even need to look at my truing stand – but while my local trails have plenty of roots for pinging rims against, there aren't really that many sharp, square-edged hits, the type that love to crumple aluminum and shatter carbon. For that, I headed to Moab, Utah, to really test We Are One's durability claims.
As it turns out, these are some legitimately tough rims. In one instance, I seriously mistimed the speed I needed to clear a poorly constructed gap jump on the side of the trail and fully cased the landing. It was a violent impact, one that I was sure would inflict at least some damage. I pulled over, gave the wheel a spin, and... nothing. It was still perfectly true, and all of the spokes were still tensioned. That story remained the same for the rest of the trip, which included plenty of hucks to flat and high-speed shenanigans through jumbles of sandstone chunder.
The hubs have also fared well, and even with all of the mud baths and rainy rides that winter in the Pacific Northwest brings they're still running smoothly without any play.
Good balance of stiffness and comfort +
Excellent impact resistance+
Handmade in Canada with a lifetime warranty