WTB’s flagship CZR i30 rims don’t just look super cool, they’re strong and stiff to boot. While ride quality is good and they have an excellent warranty, they're not available built into wheels at the moment – or in anything other than a 29" diameter.
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Late last year WTB unleashed the CZR rim, along with an alloy version intended for e-bikes. Here we have the mountain bike-focused CZR in the form of the i30, which has a 30mm internal width. For any gravel riders out there, there’s the CZR i23 with its (you guessed it) 23mm internal width.
The CZR i30 only comes in the 29” wheel size, so unfortunately little wheel lovers are left out, but it is available in either 28 or 32-hole versions. We’ve got the latter on test.
These rims come chock full of cool tech, all in the name of strength. You get reinforced spoke beds, angled spoke holes and an asymmetrical design.
They’re also compatible with WTB’s Solid Strip system, which is a one-piece strip that sits at the bed of the rim. The idea is to provide a smooth surface for your rim tape, stopping it from sagging into the spoke holes, and stopping air escaping should you snap a spoke.
Of course, while strength, stiffness and weight are all important, the result's got to be easy to set up tubeless too. Unfortunately, the CZR i30s make tubeless setup quite the task, especially with WTB's own tyres.
The combo is incredibly tight – but thankfully, not impossible. You need some beasty tyre levers and the patience to be incredibly careful not to damage the rim tape, but it does work.
I found Maxxis tyres much easier thanks to their softer casing, but I had to give up installing tyre inserts because of how tight a fit the rims are. However, these rims can take a beating, so it’s not the end of the world. That super tight fit also secures the tyre much more, so you’re less likely to burp tyres when hard-charging.
Our test rims are built onto WTB hubs and prove to be seriously stiff, but it should be noted that with different hub, rim and spoke combos, stiffness will vary marginally.
During my time with the rims, they rarely felt too stiff. However, when seriously charging over rocky patches some harshness can creep through, but that's understandable – it's a trade off for having such an impressively strong rim.
On more than one occasion I bottomed out a tyre with a very audible, cringe-inducing ping, and the rim totally shrugged it off, letting me roll off down the trail without nervously holding back.
However, it’s a different case when it comes to scratches and exterior damage. Ride through loose rock and battle scars show up pretty quickly. This is understandable, but I’ve had other rims take much more before showing any wounds.
Both in terms of weight and price the CZR i30 comes against some mighty competition from the Sector 9i, which is 56g lighter and £50 cheaper – but only comes in that love-it-or-hate-it Innegra finish.
Then there’s the Pacenti I35-END that is a full £100 cheaper per rim, though they're 21g heavier.
Importantly though, WTB offers a mighty impressive warranty with the CZR rims. Named the Ride With Confidence guarantee, it covers two eventualities. There’s the While-Riding Policy, where the owner gets a free replacement rim if they break one while riding.
Then there’s the Non-Riding Policy, where you get a 50% discount if the rim is broken whilst not being ridden. That also includes any damage taken in transport or storage.
While it is unfortunate that the CZR i30 is only available as the rim itself, WTB has mentioned that come autumn, full wheelsets will be available.
WTB has created a pretty impressive rim with the CZR i30. Not only does it look great but it’s more than stiff enough and can take a fair bit of abuse without complaint. The warranty has the original owner well covered for any damage, but otherwise – in weight and price – they could be a little bit sharper.