I don’t claim I know all the details and specs on wheel sets, but I just read the PinkBike interview with the company’s Product Manager who explained how by scaling down on the wide range of wheels, they can now produce just as good wheels for much less money and pass the savings on to consumers.
Finally a company who’s thinking of the customer on a damn budget.
In my experience owning and renting Trek bikes (including some high end models), I’ve found Bontrager wheels to be of pretty shitty quality. So much so I’ve had hesitation about buying one of their nicer full sus models like the Fuel or Remedy. Hopefully, the reductions will also result in better build quality for people running stock wheel sets.
I do agree though, with such high costs for decent bikes, it would be nice if manufacturers gave consideration to people who don’t have unlimited money to throw at it.
I’ve long adhered to the mantra that retail is for schmucks and Christmas shoppers. This is not to say that I don’t support local businesses by doing all my shopping online. Quite the contrary, but I go to local businesses for things/services I cannot get online or do not wish to do myself. Such is the case I present below.
I first rode a bike with ENVE wheels four years ago. They felt awesome, but not $2000 (now $3000) awesome. I knew I could do something comparable for significantly less. Short story: After extensive research, I bought Light Bicycle 35 rims, converted a set of Hadley hubs I had to a larger axle standard and had a trusted local wheel builder build my wheels. My cost outlay for this was less than $1000. Still expensive, but not ENVE expensive.
Long story: Those wheels were going on three years when I sold them. In the time I ran them, I never had a rim crack, they never went out of true, I never flatted (running tubeless 24/28 PSI frt/rear) and only replaced a couple of spokes due to an aberrant stick. This is even more impressive when you consider my Clydesdale weight and angry bear riding style. They weighed 1/4-1/2 lb more than ENVE M70’s built with King hubs. I rode them on average 2-4X a week while I had them. Hated to let them go, but new frame with different hub spacing/wheel size necessitates it. That said, I will be building the same wheels again (Industry-9 hubs this time) for the new rig once I get settled into it.
So what’s the point? It’s nice that the big boys are now offering fancy wheels at sub-stratospheric prices. However, doing some smart shopping you can still do better.
That would be good if they improve and maintain the quality of tires for less. I’ve encountered some products that started with high quality and a good price which eventually lower the quality in future for profit.