Today WTB released both new tires and new rims. If you missed the tires, check them out here. That post also goes into more detail on where we rode and how the testing went down. Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho, hosted us for two days of riding in a bike park with loamy, off-camber, rooty and rocky trails. It was rad--not least of all because there was no climbing. But that also means the ride impressions are incomplete. Look for a longer-term test, with more all-around impressions in the future.
The KOM Light and KOM Tough Rim with TCS 2.0 | $105 to $110
WTB’s new rims are outfitted with TCS 2.0 (Tubeless Compatible System). Tires seat to the rim readily--like the original TCS--but there are two important updates. WTB has coined the first as Solid Strip. Down the center of the rim is a recessed channel. A strip of pliable rubber (the Solid Strip) fits into said channel. What does this do? Since the strip is solid and not easily ripped (unlike rim tape), it results in a smooth rim surface to mount tape and a tire on, and it protects against any spoke flats that might occur. If you’re unfamiliar with what a spoke flat is, here’s a quick rundown: A spoke breaks and becomes loose. As you ride, the loose spoke pierces the rim tape, and suddenly you have a flat. They suck. WTB claims the Solid Strip prevents this since spokes now contact the strip, which is not so easily pierced.
Since the Solid Strip does the heavy lifting when it comes to durability, WTB was able to create Flex Tape, which is an ultralight rim tape to work with TCS 2.0 rims. The tape is see-through, and much easier to apply than heavier rim tape options.
In conjunction with the release of TCS 2.0 came two new rims, along with some new names. Gone are the Frequency rims, replaced by the KOM Toughs. The KOM Toughs use two widely spaced I-Beams inside the rim that act as braces. They add weight, but make up for the penalty with extra strength and stiffness. The KOM Toughs are available with 32 holes for both 27.5- and 29-inch rims. Internal widths start at 25 millimeters and go up to 45 millimeters, with a total of five options.
The KOM Toughs value strength and stiffness over weight. The KOM Lights take a different approach. Lights forgo internal I-Beams, using an open cavity design--except on 40-millimeter and 45-millimeter width options, which use tightly spaced I-Beams to support the wider rims. The KOM Lights are also 32-hole and available in 27.5- and 29-inch options. Internal widths range from 21 millimeters to 45 millimeters. There is also a 40-millimeter, 26-inch rim for those rocking 26-plus.
Both the Tough and Light rims are made with 6069 alloy and are only available as a rim. Depending on width and wheel size, the KOM Toughs range in weight from 466 grams to 700 grams. The KOM Lights, starting at i25 and not including the 26er, range from 423 grams to 642 grams.
Over two days at Silver Mountain, I rode a pair of KOM Toughs measuring 29-millimeters internally. The wheels were mounted onto an Evil Insurgent, and I tried a few different tire combinations, ranging from 2.4 to 2.6 inches with pressures from 20 to 25 PSI. I wasn’t the one installing tires, so I can’t speak to WTB’s claims of TCS 2.0 making the process easier. I was the one riding however, and the rims preformed admirably. Run after run, I was able to push harder as I became more comfortable on the bike and more familiar with the trails. As I put down faster runs, the wheels responded well. Despite the numerous roots and rocks, I didn’t experience the pinball effect of being deflected from one line to another.
As for stiffness, I noticed no flex. But I only weigh 150 pounds. The only time I ever notice flex is in certain scenarios usually on my local trails where I can really push a bike (or on really terrible rims). These definitely aren’t terrible rims, and from my first ride on an unfamiliar bike and unfamiliar trails, I would even go so far as to say these have a lot of potential--both in performance and in durability with the new Solid Strip. We are planning to get a pair into the office for a long-term test, where we can put the rims through their paces, so check back for that in the coming months.
All tires and rims are available now. Find out more here.