With a no frills philosophy and consistent throughline of environmental consciousness, We Are One has built a strong reputation as one of the finest composites manufacturers in the bike industry. Like any hot brand there's a fair bit of hype at play, but the folks in Kamloops aren't ones to rest on their laurels, as they keep releasing new and exciting products to grow and improve their lineup. Newest on the wheel front is their uniquely shaped Convergence series of rims, with some strong claims about increased durability, build strength, and ride feel. It's not unusual for companies to tout their newest wheel tech as somehow revolutionary, but given their track record, the WAO Convergence series might just have the performance to match.
• Carbon fiber rims
• 28-hole front, 32-hole rear
• Inner rim width: 28, 30, or 33
• Made in Canada
• Lifetime warranty
• Weight: 1887 gram wheelset, 495-505g rims
• Price:$1,799 USD
• More info: weareonecomposites.com
Like all of We Are One's carbon products, the Convergence rims are made in their Kamloops, BC, factory with material sourced as close to home as possible. The wheelsets are built around Industry Nine Hydra hubs, with their class-leading 690 points of engagement and whichever freehub standard you prefer. The wheels are laced with Sapim Race spokes, held by Sapim Polyax nipples, using a 2-cross pattern for 29" and 3-cross for 27.5". When speccing a wheelset on the WAO website, you have the choice of Boost or Superboost rear spacing, as well as three front axle specs: Boost, Boost w/ RockShox Torque Caps, and 110x20 DH spacing. The rims come in 29" and 27.5", and mixed wheelsets can be ordered with ease. DESIGN
The Convergence series differs from We Are One's typical rim shape, instead opting for a unique wavy pattern that is meant to optimize the bracing angle of the spokes as they enter the rim. They say the shape of the rim was driven by both beauty and function, with a 32% increase in impact strength over their prior Union models. Part of the redesign was integrating a novel material called ZRT, created by Boston Materials. WAO doesn't provide a ton of info about where the material is being integrated, but after some reading
I'd guess it's helping with spoke bed strength, and preventing pull-out under very high stress. ZRT also helps prevent damage from lightning strikes, but I'm guessing that wasn't their first thought with integrating it into the new rims.
On the other wheelbuilding fronts, it's business as usual, with pretty sensible choices all around. One difference from their other rim designs is the overall depth of the rim, which has been reduced to 18.5mm from the previous 21mm. Pretty small difference, but this should provide more compliance as the rim can deflect to conform to cambered terrain and impacts.SETUP
There's nothing too special or unusual to report here, despite setting them up with a wide variety of tires and inserts over a few months of use. Over that period I ran Maxxis, Continental, and Specialized tires, and all were able to seat with nothing more than a floor pump, no compressor or special tricks needed. After a little while I did swap in the Santa Cruz Fillmore valves, because I've come to prefer their clog-free operation over standard Presta valves.
Worth noting is the front and rear difference in rim width that we tested here. WAO sent us a set with a 28mm internal rear (named the Sector) and a 30mm internal front (named the Triad). The idea here was to bias a bit towards the common tire sizes at the two ends of the bike, as most folks are running bigger rubber up front compared to the rear. I personally don't mind having a more squared-off rear tire, but the slightly mismatched combo did give a nicely similar shape to a 2.5 front and 2.4 rear tire.PERFORMANCE
It's become a common refrain here, but talking about high-quality mountain bike wheels has gotten harder and harder as the competition improves. As long as they're built well and carry decent value, any number of carbon wheelsets should impress and deliver a solid, reliable ride. That said, there are a few key areas where the We Are One Convergence wheels did stand out from the crowd.
The first is that wave pattern, and I don't mean from an aesthetic point of view. The Convergence wheels have held their tension better than just about any wheelset I've used, which may not seem like a huge accolade until you consider what that means for durability. As a wheel loses tension, the stress on the rim, spokes, and even the hubs can grow pretty significantly, leading to failure under load - as well as some weird ride characteristics. The Convergence wheels have been very consistent, with minor loss in tension and no real change in how true they spin, which simply makes them easier to rely on day in and day out.
Another impressive characteristic of the Convergence rims is how well they've handled some pretty serious tire bottom-outs, with and without inserts. I've been riding Vancouver's North Shore a lot this winter, and there are no shortage of abrupt square edges to really see what your wheels can take. Despite some bad line choices and timing, the WAO rims have suffered no damage, nor have they caused any snake-bite flats in tires. Part of that is my choice to run heavier casing tires (typically downhill or similarly durable options), but a big component is just how wide the rim flanges are. There are a few brands moving in this direction now, and I think it really helps abate a lot of the common causes for tubeless flats, at least up here in the Northwest. As a result, I've started moving away from using inserts when running heavy tires, though I still opt for them with less-supportive light casing options.
When it comes to ride feel, the Convergence rims have been pleasantly neutral. I know, not the explosive change in handling you hoped for, but to me this is high praise. They do everything quite well, without biasing too heavily towards any one trait. I've ridden carbon wheels that feel super precise and snappy, but can't hold a line through rough terrain unless the stars align. On the other end of the spectrum you have the forgiving feel of some aluminum rims, as well as specifically-made carbon products meant to give a very damp and smooth ride - though they sacrifice some energy in corners and heavy compressions. The Convergence wheels feel like they're right in the middle of that spectrum, which suits the varied terrain modern bikes are meant to handle.VALUE
Coming in at a dollar under $1,800 USD, the We Are One Convergence wheels are by no means a cheap upgrade to your bike, but they are quite competitive amongst other options of the same caliber. Compared to some ultra high-end wheelsets out there, you could even make the argument that the Convergence lineup presents a better value, with a solid warranty, North American manufacturing, and an excellent product to boot. If you've already stocked up on good tires, have brakes you really like, and have treated your suspension nicely, then a high-quality wheelset is a pretty excellent next step in upping the performance of your bike. Given how well these have worked for me, I think they're a solid choice.
The only area where I wish We Are One had a bit more flexibility and cost consideration is in the hub spec. I think the Industry Nine Hydras are a pretty great set of hubs, but I'd be just as happy with lower-engagement options from companies like DT Swiss or Hope. I've had some durability issues with Hydras in the past, mostly in the form of broken axles and bearing life, and though their customer service is excellent, it's just another thing to check when you're giving your bike some love. Small complaints about a truly high-end component, but when you're balling out on fancy wheels it's nice to have a choice on the details.
Precise yet comfortable ride feel +
Limited hub selection-
Not much else