New WTB Proterra Aluminum Wheel Sets Promise Affordable Performance

Wilderness Trail Bikes has been designing rims for quite some time. I had a set on my first 29er, and tested all of the classic tubeless hacks that were popular before anyone had tubeless-ready tires or hoops. Today the California-based crew at WTB has a new wheel lineup on offer, called Proterra.

Starting at the center, the brand went with a sturdy-looking hub to house a six-pawl freehub body that offers a tight 3.7° of engagement. The hub spacing is either 100/142mm wide or Boost, depending on the wheel model, and both Shimano or SRAM compatible freehubs are available.

Radiating outward, the Proterra wheels use double-butted Sapim J-bend spokes and secure lock nipples that are easy to find and replace.

There are four different rim widths and weights to differentiate the wheels for specific use cases. The narrowest 23x700c and 25x650b rims are laced up to a set of 100×12 and 142×12 hubs in a three-cross pattern, with 28 spokes front and rear tightened to alloy nipples. Those two sets take Center Lock disc rotors. The next size up shares many of the same features, though it has a 27mm rim, Boost hub spacing, four extra spokes for a total of 32 front and rear, brass nipples, and features a six-bolt rotor mount. These three sets all fit under what WTB calls the Proterra Light build.

For burlier biking, there’s also a heftier set of Proterra Tough wheels available. The Tough model also uses 32 spokes with a three-cross lacing pattern emanating from Boost hubs and all tightened down by brass nipples. There are two braces inside the rim to add rigidity and bolster the aluminum for impact.

All of the new rims are tubeless-ready, and WTB has included a “Solid Strip” that covers the nipple holes beneath the tubeless tape that “prevents tubeless tape from sagging at the spoke holes, which ensures a smooth interface between the tire and the rim.” This extra strip should also cut down on the potential for the sealant to escape into the rim where it can’t plug punctures. Front wheels retail for $294, and the rear bumps up a touch to $354.

Weights for the built-in-California wheelsets are reportedly 1,783g for the Light i23 model, 1,717g for the i25 650b set, and 1,930 for the pair of i27 wheels. The i30 Tough sets weigh 2,006g for the 27.5″ set and 2,112g for the 29er set.

Front wheels across the range retail for $294, and a rear bumps up a touch to $354.

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