Yes, 2020 has been tough. But WTB promises their new rims are tougher. Clearly, there are numerous options out there for replacement rims, so it’s getting hard to zero in on the best choice. But if you’re looking for something that’s more durable, it looks like you may want to check out the new CZR or HTZ.
CZR Carbon Rims
On the carbon side of things, the CZR is WTB’s flagship rim for both mountain bikes and gravel bikes. Their design includes reinforced spoke beds with 4D angled spoke drilling with an asymmetric design to lead to a stronger wheel build.
WTB makes some big claims in terms of the durability of these rims, mentioning that, “throughout the process of ride testing, we went through hundreds of rims, dozens of layups, three rounds of rider testing and a complete mold re-design before we were satisfied with the results,” explains Evan Smith, WTB’s principal engineer. “Once we reached an ideal strength-to-weight ratio, we then tested it until we were certain it couldn’t be better. In this case, we’ve be riding the final design for nearly a year. Since we began testing the final iteration of the CZR, not a single tester has broken a rim. Seemingly unbreakable while remaining lighter than the competition…we’ll take it.”
After their own testing, WTB sent the rims out to an independent third party testing facility where they found the CZR i23 to be 38% more impact resistant, and the CZR i30 to be 10% more impact resistant than their direct competition. They also claim to be more laterally stiff and also lighter.
Inside, the rims are tubeless compatible and include their TCS 2.0 system with a preinstalled Solid Strip. That’s a reinforcing strip that sits below the tubeless tape in a special channel. It not only keeps the tape from sagging for a better, airtight seal, but it also protects the tape in the event of a spoke failure.
Currently, there are just two rim width options, the i23 and the i30. Those numbers directly correspond to the internal rim width of 23 or 30mm. With that, WTB sees the i23 as a gravel rim while the i30 is the MTB option. The CZR i23 will be offered in 24h at a claimed 331g, and the CZR i30 will be sold in 28h with a claimed weight of 472g.
With all of that, the CZR rims retail for $569.95 a piece making them quite competitive in the carbon marketplace.
HTZ Aluminum e-bike Rims
But what if you don’t want carbon, and your bike has a motor? In that case, you’ll probably want to check out the HTZ series. These aluminum rims are purposefully overbuilt to withstand all the punishment of a modern e-MTB.
Extruded from 6069 aluminum alloy, each rim is drilled with 32 holes with an asymmetric pattern for more even spoke tension and a stronger wheel. To make them more durable, wall thicknesses have been increased by 25-30% compared to the KOM Tough rim which is meant for Enduro and Gravity riding. That increases the weight a bit to 622g-768g depending on the size, but if you have a bike with a motor that’s less of an issue.
Rims will be offered in 27.5″ diameters in the i27, i30, and i35 models, and in 29″ diameters in the i23, i25, i27, i30, and i35 models. All of the rims are TCS 2.0 compatible and include the Solid Strip, and retail for $94.95-99.95 depending on the size. WTB notes that their CZR carbon rims will include their Ride With Confidence guarantee that covers damage to the rims both while riding and not. If you damage the rim while riding, they’ll give you a new rim completely free. If that damage occurs while not riding, like transporting or storing your bike, then you’ll get 50% off the replacement rim MSRP.
All rims are currently available in the U.S. and will be available in Europe by the end of the month.