Who's up for a little game of word association? When I say "carbon fiber wheels," what comes to mind? Traditionally, the words "affordable" and "durable" were unlikely responses. Yet, in recent years we've seen reasonably priced, modern carbon wheel offerings from Praxis, Specialized, and Ibis, among others. Back in April, Bontrager introduced their new Line Pro 30 wheelset ($1200, varies slightly by wheel size), which features a 29-millimeter internal width and is available in both 29er and 650b wheel sizes, and I've spent the last few months aboard the 29er version.
Line Pro 30 Details
Created from Trek's OCLV carbon construction, the Line Pro 30 wheelset utilizes Bontrager's Rapid Drive 108 hub, and are equipped with a pre-installed TLR (tubeless-ready) plastic rim strip. Given that Boost hub spacing is currently the most widely used hub standard, the Line Pro 30 wheels only come in the 110 x 15-millimeter front and 148 x 12-millimeter rear variety, and are both mated with 28 bladed DT Swiss Aerolite spokes. The hubs support six-bolt disc brake rotors, and the rear comes standard with Shimano 10/11 speed freehub driver. Though the Line 30s are a good value, it stings a bit that a SRAM XD driver is only sold separately. My 29er wheelset with an XD driver weighed 1748 grams.
On The Trail
The current sweet spot in regard to inner-rim width for standard tires (up to 2.5 inches wide) among trail and all-mountain wheels falls in the 30 to 32-millimeter range. Although Bontrager's latest offering has 30 in the name, the internal rim width is 29 millimeters. These days, tubeless wheelsets are as common as dropper posts, and most of us are comfortable with the tubeless setup process. I ran a variety of tires from Schwalbe, Bontrager, Maxxis, and Specialized on the Line Pro wheels; and although each one snapped aggressively into its resting place, removing a tire was a different story. Over the first dozen rides I suffered a few flats, which mostly came from torn sideknobs. At first, getting the installed tire unseated with lightweight, plastic levers one carries while riding was nearly impossible and often required me to wrap the tire around a fallen branch or multi-tool to simply get enough leverage on the bead to pop it away from rim. As time went on the struggle required to unseat a tire waned and was no longer as much of an issue.
For as slick as the Line Pro wheels look, they've performed just as impressively. Whether blasting bike park laps in Snowmass, Colorado, or charging rock-filled terrain in Tahoe, the Line Pro 30 wheels held tough, remained true, and showed no signs of succumbing to whatever jagged terrain I could throw their way. The Line Pro 30s utilize Bontrager's Rapid Drive hub, which features a six-pawl engagement with a 54-tooth drive ring. Some riders love a loud ratcheting sound from the rear hub while coasting, however for me the quieter the better. The Rapid Drive hub offers quick and precise engagement and certainly doesn’t scream like a swarm of locusts when coasting, but it isn’t on the spectrum of super-quiet rear hubs either. Some carbon wheelsets feel so stiff the result can compromise ride quality. Although not as compliant as an alloy rim, the Line Pros never felt too harsh for my 150-something-pound body. After months of repetitive local-trail beatdowns, demanding enduro race courses, and high-speed bike park laps, the Bontrager Line Pro 30s have remained true, withstood countless harsh impacts, and proven to be an excellent option for riders with an eye on a modern trail bike wheelset.