These wheels combine WTB's KOM Tough i29 rims with Industry Nine 1/1 hubs to create a strong and fairly reliable build. The rear hub is especially good for its rapid pick-up, but at just over 2kg the wheelset is a little hefty. It's not tubeless-ready either, while there are question marks over longevity, with the rear bearings feeling ropey and needing re-truing before the test was over.
Ideally, we'd start by telling you what this wheelset is called, but it doesn't really have a name. Though it uses WTB and Industry Nine parts, it's built by Raleigh as part a program of custom wheels you spec yourself from various menus. To get this or any similar wheelset, Raleigh says you need to find any shop with a Raleigh Trade account and then ask for... well, we assume just 'wheels'.
We specced ours with higher-end options including WTB rims and Industry Nine hubs. Specifically, we tested a Boost 27.5" wheelset on WTB KOM Tough i29 rims and i9 1/1 hubs, and used both a SRAM XD Driver and a new Shimano Microspline freehub. The result works out at £550, and 2020g a pair with the XD Driver bolted on.
The WTB KOM Tough i29 rims are heavy duty, featuring 'dual support' beams inside the rim extrusion to increase stiffness and strength. The two beams intersect the rim, connecting the outer edge to the inner bed and providing lateral support.
It's these beams that make the difference between the KOM Tough and the KOM Light rims. The KOMs are also available in a range of sizes (from 21mm to 35mm), and the 29mm internal diameter is good for tyres from 2.3" to 2.6".
The Industry Nine 1/1 hubs give 90 points and four degrees of engagement via the six-pawl freehub ratchet. For perspective, that's far better than either the DT Swiss M 1900 SPLINE 30 wheels or Halo Vortex wheels manage for £215 and £140 more respectively.
We chose six-bolt disc mounts (centre lock is available), and they lace to regular J-bend spokes.
Sadly the result is not tubeless-ready – you're left to tape the WTB rims yourself, and buy some valves too. This is a little disappointing and tips the balance back towards the DT Swiss and Halo wheelsets a little, as both come taped with valves inserted and ready for tyres.
These wheels are tough, leaning towards heavy-duty trail riding and enduro racing rather than cross-country missions. The hub has a super-fast engagement and, if sprinting into trails or efficiency when racing is your bag, these offer good bang for your buck.
After four months on test in at first very wet and subsequently very dry conditions, the rear bearings are clearly past their best and will soon need replacing. The front wheel, however, is still spinning smoothly.
I hammered these rims not too kindly into rocks, and have yet to dent them. They're super tough – the upside of that 2020g heft. Speccing the KOM Light i29 rims instead would drop rotating weight but also lose a little of that hardcore nature, but that's the advantage of a customisable system like Raleigh's.
While I haven't suffered any dents, by the end of the test the rear wheel needed truing slightly, which is not so good. I fettled mine back into line myself – the movement was only slight – but if you're not into home-maintenance you could find yourself taking a trip back to the bike shop for bearings and truing sooner rather than later.
The price is fair for an understated, functional yet tough wheelset. If you're looking to upgrade your current bike and your main goals are quicker hubs and trail-wide rims, then these wheels from Raleigh are worth considering.
Or they are, at least, if you're happy to jump through a few hoops to get your new hoops. As we've said, these wheels (and other combinations) can be found through a bike shop with a Raleigh account – find your closest one here – but there's also online shopping behemoth Wiggle. It's worth noting, however, that at the time of writing it was not possible to get this particular spec through them. There's no sign of the Raleigh brand in the listings, either, so to reduce confusion it's probably best to track down a shop... and then ask for something with no clear name.
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