One of my pro tips is not to sleep on house brands. Carbon wheelsets from Bontrager and Roval are making waves on both stock Trek or Specialized bikes and in the aftermarket as riders recognize the huge value they offer. The Bontrager Line Pro 30 TLR Wheelset comes standard on the top-of-the-line Trek Top Fuel 9.9 XX1 spec and after six months of rigorous testing, they have proven to be fast, capable and durable.
Bontrager Line Pro 30 TLR Wheelset Features:
- Ultra-durable OCLV Pro carbon provides a lighter layup for the ultimate in lightweight strength
- Rim profile and hooked bead design adds impact strength and helps prevent pinch flats
- Rapid Drive 108 hub with 3.3 degrees of engagement for quick, confident energy transfer
- Tubeless-ready (TLR) rims allow for quick tubeless setup
- Boost 110/148, 28 front/rear DT Swiss Competition Race 14/16G spokes with Alpina alloy locking nipples
- 29mm internal, 38mm external width, 28 hole front/rear
- 6 bolt disc rotor compatible
- Includes SRAM XD driver (Shimano 10/11 and MicroSpline available separately)
- Warrantied for life, no rider weight limit
- Weight: 1760 grams (set, stated)
- MSRP: $1499.98 (pair)
Downcountry wheelset extraordinaire
It wasn’t that long ago when alloy wheelsets ruled on mountain bikes. But, as manufacturing processes and durability have improved, mass-produced carbon wheelsets are both affordable and durable — and are coming in more and more stock builds at lower price points. Earlier this year, I forgot just how great carbon MTB wheelsets are when I tested the capable, but less-durable alloy Fulcrum Red Zone 3 wheelset. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid wheelset, but after years of riding carbon wheelsets at lower pressures, I unfortunately, put a ding in the sidewall. Doh!
Saying that, I’m not implying that carbon rims are impervious to trail damage at lower pressures, but what I am saying is that modern carbon wheels are much more durable than their alloy amigos. Are alloy wheels dead? Well… that’s a loaded question, but the Bontrager Line Pro 30’s (and other similar wheelsets) do make that case very strongly.
Aboard the downcountry Trek Top Fuel 9.9 XX1 AXS, the Line Pro 30’s are more on the trail side than XC. In fact, the top-end 2023 Trek Fuel EX models will also come equipped with these wheels. That being said, for no-fuss trail crushing, these are a great wheelset — whether you’re bike has 120mm or 150mm travel. Want something lighter? Take a look at the new Bontrager Kovee wheels.
It’s worth talking about some of the specs of the Line 30’s. Particularly, these feature a modern 29mm internal width, which allows a fuller, more supported tire. As part of that, handling is improved since the tire has less lateral movement during hard cornering. That width is not exclusive to the Line 30, but at this point, 28-30mm internal width should be the standard for XC and trail bikes. The Rapid Drive 108 hub features 3.3 degrees of engagement, which never leaves you hanging. Any quick adjustments at slower speeds are always met with forward motion. In addition, the freewheel has a nice sound to it — not too loud or too quiet, but just enough to remind you that you’re flying (and to low-key warn other riders around you).
While other brands have gone hookless, Bontrager remains in the hooked bead camp and it still works great. I swapped out the Bontrager XR4 tires for a set of faster-rolling XR3’s and the process was super-easy. I was able to mount, seat and seal the tires without tools or a compressor. While the Santoprene TLR rim strip does add weight (~50g each), I love how durable they are compared to rim tape. If you ever plan to swap tires with any regularity, the TLR rim strips are a must.
As stated, there are lighter wheels on the market, but the price, durability and lifetime warranty do put these in the sweet spot for an upgrade, custom build or confidence in the wheelset that came aboard your new Trek.
I have been pushing these wheels hard over the past 6 months and not once have they given me any trouble or shown signs of abuse. At my preferred 22 psi front and 24 psi rear, I’ve enjoyed awesome traction on all terrain. And, an occasional square-edged hit has compressed the sidewall to the rim with a thunk. But, not once have I had any punctures or rim damage.
Narrower wheels will exhibit what I call “tire flopping.” This happens most noticeably on uphill, seated switchbacks, just as you’re beginning to lean into the turn. You’ll feel that back tire get a little squirrely. Wit the Line 30’s, you don’t get anything like that. The rim and the seated tire feel like a cohesive unit.
When pushing the Top Fuel to its limits (uphill and down), I have appreciated the lateral stiffness and overall responsiveness of these wheels. Standing climbs or sprinting efforts are solid, with no perceptible lateral flex. On demanding descents, that’s also the case — if you lay into them, you’ll be rewarded in spades as they track with precision and roll through anything. Even the roughest terrain has been met with a solid platform that takes the edge off of rough terrain.
- Durable and responsive
- Taken lots of abuse and don’t show it
- TLR rim strips are durable and reliable for tubeless setup
- 29mm internal width allows straighter sidewalls and fuller tire
- Great for downcountry or trail bikes (120-150mm)
- Can’t beat the price
- I’d love to see them in the 1600 gram range
- I typically prefer Centerlock rotors
The Bottom Line: Bontrager Line Pro 30 TLR Wheelset
Bontrager’s wheelset game is strong. And, over the past few years, their game has even gotten stronger. Across their road, gravel and MTB range, you’ll find incredible performance and value. With the Line Pro 30’s, you get a healthy dose of speed, responsiveness and durability for your downcountry or trail bike.
Buy Now: Available from TrekBikes.com
The high-value Bontrager Line Pro 30 wheelset is easy to recommend. With easy tubeless setup and responsive, reliable performance, your downcountry or trail bike will perform even better. With a modern 29mm internal width, your tires will deliver better traction and comfort as well.