WTB Ci24 carbon fiber mountain bike rims

Two of the brands shown here, WTB and PowerTap, announced their new products just before the Taipei Cycle Show, so we used our time with them to take a few detailed shots and ask more technical questions (of WTB anyway).

WTB’s products were announced just days prior to the show, but all have availability dates this summer. The rims have an interesting production story. They say they’re still playing around with different materials in different places and different manufacturing partners based on where the rims are going to be sold.

The 27.5 rim shown here has a more UD finish (left) on the inside and it’s made in Taiwan. The 29er has the woven top layer and is being made in China. Apples to apples, it’s coming out lighter, hence the eerily close claimed weights for different size rims. They’re still in testing, but Chris Feucht, product development manager, says all aftermarket rims will likely ship from the China factory and that the 27.5″ is likely to see a weight reduction by the time they’re available. The Taiwanese made rims will likely be reserved for OEM customers. So, build your own wheels and they’ll probably be lighter.

The reason for the difference is basically just dealing with the different capabilities and methods used by different manufacturers.

WTB Ci24 carbon fiber mountain bike rims

The spoke holes are made specific to 3x lacing, which means they’re drilled at angles in more dimensions than just staggered left and right. Feucht says they’ll work fine built with 2x lacing, too, but radial lacing would be less ideal. It’d still work OK, just not ideal.

WTB Bridger 275+ mountain bike tires

Nothing else to add on the Bridger (right), but this is it next to the Trailblazer 27.5 x 2.8 “semi-plus” tire. (yep, we just coined the phrase “semi-plus”)

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The 146g SL8 Team carbon rail saddle is the lightest they’ve ever made. Its shape is a blend of other popular WTB seats, but adds its own comfort features.

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WTB-Team-SL8-lightweight-mountain-bike-saddles

A center cut out in the shell and two starburst flex sections let the saddle flex with you. Combine that with a slightly narrower profile and it should feel pretty good.

POWERTAP

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PowerTap showed their C1 (chainring) and P1 (pedal) power meters just before the show also, so here are just a few closeups.

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The powermeter’s transmitter sits aboard the spider, which has offset chainring bolt holes. That design provides the ability to run any standard 5-bolt 110BCD crankarm and replace the chainrings, all without affecting the power meter unit. Strain gauges between the spider and rings calculate your power and send that data wirelessly to your favorite cycling computer. Which, they hope, is the new-ish Joule GPS+:

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While they’ve made hub based power meters for years and the new chainring model will give you aggregate-if-averaged power, the pedals are the way to get true left/right power measurements to see if your output is lopsided.

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One AAA battery hides inside each pedal, and they attach to your shoe using the Look Keo cleat interface.

NOVATEC

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Not much to say about Novatec other than their hubs will get a bit wider to offer options for the new Boost 148 rear and 110mm front axle standards.

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SAMOX

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Samox is a major private label manufacturer, so much so that if you Google them, links to Alibaba and the like come up. From the examples at their booth, their CNC and forging work is impressive and looks very similar to some lightweight offerings from major brands. So, not much to say here, just a few pics…

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10 COMMENTS

  1. So will the Chinese ones be cheaper than the Taiwanese given the manufacturing labor rate in China is about 1/3 (trending from 2012 – Taiwan, and 2009- China, respectively). I’ll even give the benefit of the doubt and say China’s labor rate is 50% of Taiwan’s.

  2. Too bad WTB is relegating the Ci24 rims to 32h only. Pointless to offer a stand alone rim like that with no drilling options. Why not make 24-32 hole counts available so wheel builders can run the gamut of race to fred setups for both MTB and CX? 32h only is missing the boat.

  3. Kernel,
    It seems like they’re drilling the rims specifically to 3x lacing, which works best on a 32 hole rim. Maybe in the future they’ll branch out and do a 2x specific lacing, which would allow much lower spoke counts. For the majority of mountain bike wheels built using a rim like that, 32 spoke 3 cross is what they will be built up with.

  4. Kernel: it’s not pointless at all. All companies do this to gage demand. Your reasoning would surely lead to a loss because of over production or inventory over stock. When there is one model both factors are reduced. If you choose limited run which cost a good amount more you run the risk of customers going else where when stock dries up and losing money trying to ramp up production.

  5. Sorry but B+ is B+, high volume tires 2.7-3.5 designed for wide rims. Let’s not get cheeky and start inserting into people’s brains new terms.

  6. @Sevo yes because B+ isn’t a cheeky new term to sell wider tires than just calling the size 650B x 2.8, 3.0, 3.25 or 3.5. Apparently anything wide is now + sized… 700C x 3.0″ is 29er Plus… 26 x 2.7 is now 26+., etc. At least the mags that labeled it Mid-Fat kept it in plain english to explain the tires are midway between fat bike tires and regular bike tires.

  7. @Endurobob, I understand perfectly about hole counts and their corresponding x patterns. However if the water cooler talk at NAHBS was any indication of demand, the interest is far more than 32h MTB specific wheels that people are talking about with these.

    @Myke, name one company in the carbon rim game that only offered a single hole count as an initial release to gauge demand?? You can poo poo my reasoning if you back it up with fact, I’d have no problem with that.

  8. @kernel

    It may not be quite what you’re looking for, but the Enve SES rims were initially (and still are) only offered in 20 and 24 hole options for what they intend as front and rear wheels.

  9. @dl, got it. But that’s still 2 options as opposed to one. Considering the slated MSRP of the Ci24 is less than wholesale of any ENVE rim I’ll leave that one for the 1%. ENVE’s comparable rim to the Ci24 is the XC, also available in two options 28 and 32h. I think WTB is on to something with their 4D drilling, they’ve really stepped up their game with their alloy rims, which used to be pretty lackluster. But it seems like their drilling process keeping them from offering hole count options. From a wheel builders perspective that’s pretty limiting. Customers demand options for custom wheels whether they race or not. Ci24 could be a great race rim if offered in at least in a 28h, it’s carbon after all with a pretty decent aero section for a dirt bike rim, 32h kind of overkill for most. I know many who will pass on this rim just for that reason. Not a lot in the 150-175lbs range that demand 32h custom builit wheels on their race or performance rigs, MTB or CX.

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