Remember way back in 2020, when WTB introduced their top of the line CZR carbon rim? Those rims are still the pinnacle of WTB rim design, but now they’re starring in WTB’s latest wheel builds. Wanting to offer a complete set of carbon wheels, WTB took the CZR rims, paired them with their own Frequency hubs and a smart build spec for durable wheels that are definitely worth a look.
Mirroring their CZR rim offerings, the new CZR wheels are only available in two sizes – i23 and i30. Both are 700c/29″ with the ‘i’ number referring to their inner width. That means the i23 with its 24mm deep cross section is meant for gravel and all road set ups, while the wider i30 is intended for MTB.
Rather than chasing the lightest wheel builds, WTB focused on durability with reinforced spoke beds and their 4D angled spoke drilling with an asymmetric design. All of this led to a rim that when directly tested against their competition led to more impact resistant rims.
Ride With Confidence Guarantee
Just how confident is WTB in their CZR carbon rim construction? If you manage to break a rim while riding, WTB will replace it. For free. They specify that you have to be the original owner and riding your bike at the time it breaks, but that’s a pretty awesome guarantee — you no longer have to be worried about breaking a rim and losing big dollars while out riding.
TCS 2.0 With Solid Strip
Both CZR rims are tubeless using WTB’s TCS 2.0 system with their ‘Solid Strip’. This is a durable nylon strip that lies over the spoke holes underneath the tubeless tape, which does a few things. One, it prevents the tape from pushing into the spoke holes and puncturing and provides a better seal for the tubeless tape. It also prevents spoke from pushing through the tape on excessively hard impacts or if you manage to break a spoke.
Offered in 24 or 28h builds, all CZR i23 gravel wheels are built using Pillar Wing Spokes for added aero gains. Pillar claims this spoke “offers the highest level of aerodynamic performance of any spoke on the market today” with a cold forged ‘wing’ shape. The spokes are designed so that they still fit through any spoke holes meant for round 14g spokes.
On the MTB oriented i30s however, you’ll only find 28h builds with standard double butted spokes and brass nipples for durability.
Inside the WTB Frequency hubs, you’ll find a 6 pawl freehub design that engages in two phases of three pawls at a time. With the included drivering, that yields a freehub engagement of 5°. WTB also includes different pawl springs depending on build. The i23 Gravel wheels get a lighter spring for less drag on the road. The i30 MTB hubs get a heavier spring for more solid engagement. Want the lighter spring on the MTB? WTB will also offer the light spring kit as an aftermarket part.
Note that the end caps on the rear hubs thread apart and require a 17mm wrench to remove. The front end caps are press fit and tool-free. Both hubs have excellent sealing including oversized freehub seals to keep things rolling smoothly in the wettest, and driest climates.
When it comes to hubs, you have a few choices in terms of spec. The i23 wheels are offered in both 6 bolt and Centerlock rotor configurations and with Shimano HG or SRAM XDR freehub bodies. Axle dimensions are limited to 12 x 100 and 12 x 142mm, inline with current gravel bike standards.
The i30 wheels have fewer options, basically all 6 bolt with Boost spacing and your choice of Shimano Micro Spline or SRAM XDR freehubs. As a reminder, you can run current SRAM MTB cassettes on XDR freehub bodies, but you’ll need to add a 1.85mm spacer.
Sold as individual wheels, all CZR front wheels are priced at $749.95 with rears running $849.95. Wheels are currently available at WTB.com in the U.S. and will soon be available at your favorite local retailer, with availability in Europe by late September.
Actual Weight of WTB CZR Wheels
WTB’s claimed weights are all listed on the chart above, but they sent over a pair of i23 wheels for us to check out in person. These were the 24h build with Centerlock hubs and a Shimano HG freehub body, which have a claimed weight of 620g and 775g. Real world weights are almost exact with the front at 619g and the rear at 775g. Note that WTB weighs their wheels as they should be — with everything needed to run them tubeless including the Solid Strip, tape, and valves. At 1394g for the set, these aren’t the lightest gravel wheels around, but for how durable they seem to be, the weight seems very respectable.
WTB i23 CZR Gravel Wheel First Impressions
In order to give the CZR i23 wheels a proper test, WTB wanted to ensure that I was riding the same tires I usually ride on my Otso Warakin Ti gravel bike. Fortunately for them, that was already the Riddler 700c x 45mm in a tan wall.
Mounting the tires was fairly straight forward, with the first bead being a bit of a struggle, but the second going on easily without tools. After a quick pop with the air compressor, the tires sealed well with Stan’s sealant and were ready to rip. When mounted to the i23 rims, the 45mm Riddlers measured right on the money at 45.59mm wide.
Once mounted to the bike, the wheels feel quick and responsive but also, stout. It feels like you could rally the i23s through a rock garden and come out the other side unscathed, in a good way. The stiffness of the wheels lends to riding lower tire pressures and loads of grip without losing that feeling of efficiency when you want to sprint.
So far, the i23 CZR wheels have been excellent and I’m looking forward to really testing them on an upcoming bike packing trip. The CZR wheels seem to hit the right targets in terms of durability, weight, price, and an awesome warranty to back it up.