Interbike ’13: WTB Introduces New Rims- by Guitar Ted

WTB has had a few nice TCS 29″er rims for awhile, but now that line has been expanded, and a new, slightly lower level line up has been added to the TCS family. Let’s take a look.

WTB has the Frequency line up of rims, but they wanted to offer a tubeless rated rim at a lower price point. At Interbike we got our first look at the solution to the problem, the WTB “TC” line of TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) rims.

The rims come in three different widths. In typical WTB fashion, they are alphanumerically named based upon their inner rim dimension. The TC 23, TC 25, and TC 19 should serve to get almost anyone up and running on a more budget based tubeless compatible 29″er wheel build. TC rims cost $60.00 USD and the weights are claimed to range from 500 gm for the TC 19 to 556 gm for the TC 25, and finally, 593 gm for the TC 25.

The Frequency line up now also gains a third choice with the addition of the i25 version. This model now compliments the i19 and i23 rims with a center “I” beam extruded, wider rim that should really open up the tires mounted to them for a bigger footprint.

With a claimed weight of 550 gms per rim, the MSRP $80.00 rim is looking like a decent weight for a burly wheel build for your trail bike, or all mountain 29″er build. We’ve tried the TCS Frequency rims here at Twenty Nine Inches and have found them to be stout and great at holding a tubeless set up, as long as you are using the UST type tires that WTB rims fit best. (They used a UST dimension for their bead seat.)

The star of our rim tour at WTB is definitely the new “KOM” rim. How about a nice, wide rim with a carbon rim weight, only at a much lower price because it is in alloy? Impossible you say? Check out these specs claimed by WTB: Inner rim width: 23mm, Weight: 448gms, Spoke Drilling: 32 hole.

That’s very, very impressive, and WTB is claiming these are tough enough for all around trail riding. These, (along with the new American Classic “Wide Lightning” wheels we will report on soon), are blurring the lines between what was once thought as an XC rim weight but having trail bike toughness. We like this trend!

WTB pulled this off by smart design and by utilizing their “WT69” alloy. While at a $100.00 per rim, these can not be considered “budget” hoops, they are hundreds less than typical carbon fiber rims in this class.

WTB also expanded the offerings to help set these rims up tubeless by widening the array of rim tape to sizes matched to every inner rim width they carry. In addition, they now have tubeless valve stems in aluminum and brass in two different lengths. Finally, not all the news has been confined to rims. WTB did also introduce a commuter 29″er tire, aptly named “Slick” in a 2.2″ width at a claimed 824 grams per tire. The Slick has a list price of $31.95 each.

That wraps up our look at WTB. Stay tuned for more reports from Interbike.