Affordable Disc Hoops

WHAT: Cane Creek Terros Disc
HOW MUCH: $350

Leave it to Cane Creek's design team in the Smoky Mountains to make performance wheels so affordable. With 28 high-tensioned spokes, sealed cartridge bearings and sturdy hubs, the Terros have the features of wheels twice their price. Plus, the all-black components make a low-profile, stealthy package.

The tall hub flanges and high-tension, straight-pull spokes effectively combated drivetrain and disc brake forces that normally undermine spoke tension. The system not only aids durability, but also boosts responsiveness. On trail, however, that responsiveness translated to stiffness.

While diving into and sprinting out of tight corners, the wheels tracked straight and offered solid power transfer. But on rock-strewn climbs the Terros were achingly stiff, especially when linked to a hardtail frame, forcing us to lower the tire pressure to take the edge off.

Although the Terros held tough, wheel truing required a special 3/16-inch spoke wrench, a torx wrench to remove the disc rotors, a chain whip, a cassette removal tool and ample patience. Aside from long maintenance times, the Terros offer a well-thought-out alternative in a sea of ubiquitous, affordable wheels.