WTB has come out swinging in 2010 with a new and much improved product line for downhill bikes. Three items in particular stand out as products with excellent value: WTB Laserdisc DH Wheels, Dissent tires and Aviator saddle.
LaserDisc DH Wheels
WTB designed the LaserDisc DH Wheelset for downhill racers and performance-minded riders looking to shed weight off their bike without compromising strength. These wheels weigh in at 2195 grams, putting them in the same class as the 2010 Mavic Deemax UST wheel set, which weigh 2160 grams. As WTB’s burliest wheel set, they also promise to be strong. The LaserDisc DH is built from 34mm wide LaserDisc DH rims, 32 double butted WTB spokes, brass nipples and WTB Super Duty hubs. MSRP is $830 for the set, about $250 less than Mavic Deemax UST’s.
So far these wheels are holding up very well. After numerous days at the local indoor bike park, Joyride 150, the LaserDisc DH wheels are spinning true and problem free. Unless you already own high-end DH wheels, the LaserDisc DH’s will make your downhill bike faster. The low weight allows them to accelerate quickly and the high quality cartridge bearings roll easily to help you maintain speed. These wheels are also very stiff and I haven’t felt noticeable flex yet. They look decent and have a pleasantly quiet freehub. Stay tuned for a full review of the LaserDisc DH wheels in the spring. I’m excited to see how these wheels perform on the local DH trails as well as at big resorts.
Dissent 2.5 Tires
WTB claims to have vastly improved the Dissent 2.5 for 2010. In 2009, many riders complained that the Dissent 2.5 was great in dry conditions but terrible in the wet. Too many center knobs caused the tire to clog with mud while the spacing between center and side knobs was too narrow for aggressive cornering. WTB responded by releasing the Dissent 2.3, designed and tweaked on the World Cup circuit by Fabien Barel and the Subaru/Mondraker team. The Dissent 2.3 featured more space between the center knobs for increased braking power and a wider channel between the center and side knobs to improve cornering, especially in wet and loose conditions. The Dissent 2.3 turned out to be a very popular tire in 2009 because, unlike the old 2.5, it excelled in conditions ranging from dry to wet and hardpack to loose.
For 2010, WTB has applied lessons learned with the Dissent 2.3 to the wider 2.5 version. This means there is even more space between knobs, which increases braking and cornering traction in all conditions and solve the problems that plagued the 2009 Dissent 2.5. The 2010 Dissent 2.5 features 50a soft compound rubber and a nylon insert called “inner peace” that helps reduce flats. The tire also comes in 2 sidewall thicknesses – DH and Race. The DH tire is designed to hold up to shuttle runs and park days while the lighter, race version is design for all-mountain and freeride applications. The DH version costs $60 while the Race version costs $50, which is average for a performance DH tire. Fabian Barel and the Subaru/Mondraker team will be using the 2.3 and 2.5 versions of the Dissent on the World Cup circuit in 2010.
I installed the Dissent 2.5 tires on my LaserDisc DH wheels and set off to Joyride 150 for a couple impressive test laps. The Dissent 2.5’s roll very well for soft compound downhill tires and have great cornering and braking bite on wood surfaces. The low rolling resistance will be great on Eastern DH racetracks where pedaling and speed are key components in making the podium.
The Dissent 2.5’s are a tight fit on most rims and can cause some difficulties. I was able to mount the tire fine but getting the bead seated was difficult. After lubricating the bead with soapy water and inflating the tire to 40psi I was able to get the tire seated properly.
The Dissent 2.5’s are wide, high profile tires. This allows you to run slightly lower pressures than other tires without increasing the probability of a flat. At 1379 grams this is an average weight DH tire. Stay tuned for a full review in the spring – I’m stoked to see how these tires will perform on the rough, wet downhills we have here on the East Coast!
New for 2010, the Aviator is WTB’s premier DH saddle. The WTB Aviator is covered by the same material that Carhartt uses for their jeans so it resists tearing and stains. The circumference of the saddle is covered by a rubber strip, offering more grip and abrasion resistant corners. The oversized 8mm chromoly rails resist bending and the comfort zone cut-out, soft padding, and flex-tuned shell make it suitable for long days in the saddle. The Aviator weighs 315 grams, about average for a normal saddle and lightweight for a DH saddle. MSRP is $80, about right for a high-end DH saddle. I’ve already spent quite a lot of time on this saddle and I have written a full review, which can be found here.
WTB offers some excellent DH products at very competitive prices and weights for 2010. The LaserDisc DH wheels are race-light and have been sturdy so far; the Dissent 2.5 tires promise to be a great set of tires and the Aviator Saddle is very tough, good looking, and light. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more WTB products on DH bikes this year!
Thanks to WTB for providing the LaserDisc DH Wheels, Dissent 2.5 Tires and Aviator Saddle for review