Bontrager Tubeless Ready System 29"er Wheel Set: First Impressions

Bontrager Tubeless ready wheel

If you haven’t read the post on the specs of this wheelset, you can find it here. Today, I am ready to give you my first impressions on this wheelset.

So far the wheels have seen snow, ice, rain, mud, and a bit of regular old dirt during testing. Keep in mind that I am not as yet using the tubeless option here as the Tubeless Ready tires are not yet available. Very soon, my pretties, very soon!

One of the first things you notice when riding these 28 spoke wheels is…….nothing! As in totally silent, or nearly so, in the freewheel department. A great feature for those racers who don’t want to telegraph what they are doing while riding behind an adversary! I found the silence strange since alot of higher end hubs seem to pride themselves on their “whirring pawls of doom” sounds.

The ride was, at first, also transparent. The earlier test rides were on snow and ice which showed that the freehub had good engagement, and ran through the cold temps rather well, not feeling stiff or sluggish. When things warmed up, I was able to throw these out on the dirt a bit. This showed a bit different characteristic.

During climbs, I was feeling a bit sluggish, like the tires weren’t pumped up enough, but I knew they were at 35 psi front and rear. The trail I was riding at the time was a bit loamy and had just been maintenanced after the winter season. I thought a short pavement up hill was in order to eliminate the soft trail from the equation. Sure enough, in short, powerful bursts I could feel it. Spoke windup. Just a bit, but it’s there. It’s probably got alot to do with the fact that I am a Clydesdale and a pedal masher, so lighter weight spinners may fare better. The good news is that laterally these wheels seemed just fine. No quirky traits in off cambers, downhill turns, or fast sweepers.

So far, these wheels have exceeded my expectations for what I consider to be a low spoke count wheel for a 29″er. Even with the slight spoke windup, which isn’t anything out of the ordinary for alot of lightweight wheels, I think these wheels are really good wheels and they seem pretty tough so far. The lightweight is noticeable when riding from slower to higher speeds, which gives the bike a snappier feel. I haven’t been able to detect any out of trueness so far and even through wet, nasty weather, the internals have been running smoothly up till now.

As just wheels, the Bontrager Tubeless Ready Wheelset passes muster with flying colors, and is worthy of looking at for anyone thinking of race wheels. Hopefully soon I can get my grubby mits on a set of real Tubeless Ready tires and try them out tubeless. If that works out great, then this wheelset would be worth every penny. Time will tell. Stay tuned!

p.s: A note on the Geax Saguaro tires. So far they are doing pretty well. Great in packed snow, bad on icy snow, and fair in our sticky river bottom mud. Actually, better than alot of tires, but not as good as Michelin’s XC AT 29″er tires. More testing and a report to come!


No Responses to “Bontrager Tubeless Ready System 29"er Wheel Set: First Impressions”

  1. Thunderlump Says:

    Any word from Bonty on when the TR tires will be out?

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    Thunderlump: I heard April the last time I got word. If the bugs are out of the system, look for a Sea Otter appearance. Fisher team riders are riding and testing samples already this spring, so it’s gotta be close to going green on the System!

  3. Jo Mama Says:

    I have been running 2 sets of these wheels with “regular” tires tubeless. No air loss, running 100%. The seal on those rims are so tight that I am not worried (as in I had to pump those bad boys up to like 70 PSI to seat).

    P.S. The Dry-X tire looks like the bomb

  4. Guitar Ted Says:

    Jo Mama: I noted that in the instructions it recommends you take the inflation to 60psi to seat the tires, which jives with your comments. I also noted that even with standard tires and tubes, the tires take alot of pressure to seat up correctly.

  5. Jo Mama Says:

    You read the instructions? That is an interesting concept.

  6. mark in minnesota Says:

    getting my 1st 29er soon – a Salsa Mamseta.
    I ride fast cross country only, and ride, not jump, over stuff. and some technical single track…
    Any recomendatins for wheel set?

  7. Guitar Ted Says:

    Jo Mama: Yeah, I’m weird like that! I actually read instructions before putting together kids toys, furniture, etc. Been bitten once too many times!

    mark in minnesota: Well, you could do a whole lot worse than these Bontragers you see here. Plus, they will be tubeless compatible with Bontragers full 29″er tire line up, once the tires are ready. If you actually live in Minnesota, that tire line up has some of the best tires you could want for midwest trails.

    It all depends on how much money you have to throw at a wheelset. That said, it’s the best money spent on a bike build. You will notice the difference between average wheels and high quality, lightweight ones. Several options exist, Industry 9, Velocity, (who will build up 29″er wheels), Cane Creek, and several custom built options from several wheel builders.

    One last thing: The Bontrager wheel works stuff has a five year warranty, and several Trek/Fisher dealers across the country can service them for you, should the need arise. Something to think about.

  8. Twenty Nine Inches | A 29er Bike site » Blog Archive » Bontrager Tubeless Ready System 29″er Wheel Set/Dry X Tires: First Impressions Says:

    […] The Bontrager Tubeless Ready wheel set, which I have already covered here, has been finally paired up with the Dry X Tubeless Ready tires and ridden out in the woods a few times. I am now ready to give you some first impressions on how the system works, and rides. […]

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