WTB Stryker TCS Wheelset: Final Review: by M1

Background comments: It’s interesting how sometimes in the life of a tester like me that I find myself spending vast amounts of time looking for the right words to describe the feelings that I have for something that I’ve tested. This is exactly where I find myself now in regards to summing up how I feel about the WTB Stryker TCS wheels. Still … here comes my final verdict concluding the long testing period.

For the first part of the test, the wheels were ridden by c_g, so if you want to check out what c_g’s thought about them see his reports (here – Intro and here – Ride Impressions).

Ride Impressions:
I had these wheels for a long time; since mid-summer ´11 actually. They were ridden and raced for many months and spent the entirety of the test on my personal bike, an Independent Fabrications Ti Deluxe with a White Brothers, Rock Solid fork. They were run primarily single speed but I did try them geared for a brief period. I find, in many cases, riding with a rigid fork gives a lot of direct feedback that I wouldn’t receive another way.

When riding the WTB Strykers this way, I have had a notion of them not being the stiffest wheels around. Just like c_g I could feel a certain amount of rear wheels flex that certainly showed more under my riding style. Somewhere along the way I switched back to my personal wheels for awhile to investigate and in doing so I realized that the WTB Strykers had only a bit more flex,nothing severe really. Summing up I´d say they fall right in with the majority of XC oriented lightweight wheels on the market.

Other than that the WTB Strykers did ride well and just as you´d expect from a well built 1600 g XC-oriented wheelset.

If you look closely you might see a chip in the paint in one photo, I’m not sure when this occurred but it’s only surface damage. Also, if you look the other photos you might notice the decals starting to flake off. Looking online at the WTB website the specs. mention that the decals are water transferred as opposed to “stickers”. On one hand, it means that if you don’t like the decals, they are probably relatively easily removed. Besides, WTB mentioned they had improved the quality for the 2012 production so this would show less in the newer products.

The WTB Stryker TCS wheels´ hubs worked without fussing for me the entire test period. The hub/freewheel engagement was always constant and quick. No complaints which is good considering that as an single speed rider I am more sensitive to such things than the standard geared rider. Even after a lot of abuse in some pretty unpleasant conditions they remained smooth and constant. Previously c_g had a problem (here) with the hub axle loosening but this never occurred during my test period – must have been that it has not been tightened properly from the beginning on – so nothing negative to report on here either.

The rims remained straight and true albeit with chipped paint and flaking decals but functionally, everything worked really well.

Personally, I had issues getting tires to inflate as tubeless but I’m blaming my poor tire choices for that (all standard folding tires), not the wheels. The one tubeless ready tire I had (a SPECIALIZED 2 Bliss) was a snap to convert and worked just fine. Earlier c_g who had tried a full range of tubeless and tubeless ready tires had commented how well the WTB Styrker TCS rims converted with all kinds of tires. It is especially important to note that the TCS system is designed around the UST standard, meaning it will fit even the super tight GEAX TNTs well. With this, the WTB Stryker TCS rims and the recently reviewed AMERICAN CLASSIC All Mountain 29er wheels as such are the only standard built tubeless ready wheels that can well be run with the such super tight UST and TNT tires well. All others complying to this standard are complete tubeless rims (by MAVIC, EASTON, DT-
SWISS, …) and as such require a proprietary components.

This has been mentioned in c_g’s tech intro (here) already but deserves a re-mention the WTB Stryker TCS Wheel set comes in either a standard quick release version or a 15mm version. Make sure you purchase the one you want to use long-term as WTB didn’t make the hub parts interchangeable. Interesting. On another note; with the 19 mm (inner) width rims you will be able to run a good variety of tires and if you’re considering these wheels you’re probably shooting for a semi-budget race wheelset. If you feel the need to run super low pressures or wider tires than the new for 2012 WTB Speed TCS All Mountain 29” wheels or Frequency i23 29” rims with 23mm (inner) width rims might be more of what you need.

Sidenote: The all new WTB Frequency TCS rims, that Guitar Ted is building a wheelset from are based on the exact same dimensions and are therefore the only existing
rims with such characteristics to build into a custom wheel set from (that we know of).

Summing it all up:
The WTB Stryker wheelset is reasonably lightweight, constructed of quality parts work well and overall take a lot of abuse. They are not the stiffest around but – especially the rear showed the lateral flex often associated with similar weight wheels, but unless you are a Clydesdale rider or a single speed monster like myself you likely will not notice it negatively. The non convertible hubs are not up to date anymore, but if you don´t need this adaptability – then it won´t affect you at all. in my opinion they are a bit over designed in terms of graphics but that doesn’t affect performance. Pricing has been steep, considering the competition, but has been readjusted for 2012 (new Euro prices are € 335.- for the front and € 399.- for the rear) Now they fall more in line with the other peer wheel sets on the market.

So, if you’re currently running a mid-level wheelset from someone else you’ll quite possibly end up dropping a bit of weight and upping the quality of your current wheelset, which at the very least, makes the WTB Strykers a viable option if you’re in the market for new wheels.

ps: We are expecting a set of WTB TCS 29″er tires to come our way soon and will report on their fit and how they work with the rims, they primarily are designed
for, which is going to be especially interesting considering their claim for UST conformity.