Bontrager Line Comp 30 Wheels
REVIEW

Bontrager Line Comp 30 Wheelset

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (unless noted)
Date Apr 25, 2018

Can't-Lose

I've ridden my fair share of rear hubs that cost more than the 300 USD Bontrager Line Comp 30 wheelset.

The 29'er hoops come stock with a 29mm internal rim diameter, 54pt (6.7°) engagement, and they weigh around 2100 grams. Factor in easy tubeless installs thanks to the molded rim strip and solid rim durability and the Line Comp looks like a solid buy. Then drop an extra 20 USD on a spring & pawl kit and jump up to 108pt (3.3°) engagement and the Comp 30 competes for a can't-lose product designation. 

I've been riding the Line Comp wheels on a couple of different bikes since back in November. They've been covered by Bontrager's ultimate all-around tire the XR4 in both the 2.4" and 2.6" sizes as well as the new E*Thirteen LG1r. All these tires are easily popped up tubeless on these rims. 

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I'm not sure the Line 30 Comp wheels saw a single dry ride. Photo: Dave Smith

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I think a fast engaging rear hub makes any bike better. Photo: Dave Smith

Just like buying a frame, drivetrain or brakes, the value proposition of these wheels is going to depend on personal preferences and specifications. Personally, if my budget for fresh wheels is maxed-out, I don't think I could go wrong with these wheels for the price. 

If I'm looking at a bike in the 2500 USD to 3500 USD price range my potential rigs definitely include the Trek Fuel EX 7 29, Remedy 7, Fuel EX 8 29, and Remedy 8.* That's because with all other components being equal, for a 20 USD pawl kit update I can't think of a better wheel spec in that price range. 

*All these bikes are spec'ed with Line Comp 30 wheels. 

Can Choose

The Line Comp 30 wheels certainly are not faultless. I've never been at peace with Trek's insistence on 28x spoke wheels, although there are a lot more rim options than a few years ago. The weight is within the ballpark for other 29-31mm internal rims in their price range and there are plenty of 29" wheels with much narrower rims dropping into the same weight and price category. 

Bontrager Line Comp 30 Wheels

Add three pawls and some Dumondetech freehub lube for a medium-volume pawl-style hub with quick engagment. 

I don't notice the weight riding alone, but if I'm out with a fit group on big-money-super-bikes I definitely suffer more on lap two compared to spinning a set of lighter wheels like the Reynolds Blacklabel. That's probably not a surprise. Also unsurprising, the Reynolds are notably stiffer. 

Perhaps more importantly, the Lines are going to require more frequent basic maintenance, and full bearing replacements, compared to boutique mountain bike hubs with similar engagement and riders who are tough on gear will find the rims are on the soft side. 

I've pulled a couple small dents out of the rear rim and I tend to run moderately high pressure. I've had no problem airing them up tubeless to date. I should note that the hard rim strikes happened running fairly light Bontrager XR4 2.4" tires. I've experienced very few notable strikes, and no damage, running the larger 2.6" version of the XR4 and not a scratch with the support and damping of the DH casing LG1r tires.

I'm not suggesting running DH tires for trail bike duties, but a larger volume tire that still rolls fairly quickly for it's grip-level, like the 2.6" XR4 or SE4, is a win for rim survivability if it clears inside the frame. 

Service & Setup

The Line Comp 30 rear hub is ridiculously easy to open up and clean. Anyone who can remove a wheel can upgrade the rear-hub to a 6-pawl setup and likewise cleaning and lubing the pawls is a 1/2 beer job. The evidence is in my first look and teardown piece here.

This is helpful because the rear hub ingests crap faster than any of the pricier hubs I've used with similar engagement. I'll be very surprised if anything on the market can match the ease of service vs. sealing ratio of the Race Face Vault hub but the Bontrager ties for keeping things simple. Over the course of this test, I've opened up the Line Comp rear hub twice to quickly clean and re-lube the pawls and springs. 


Bontrager Line Comp 30 Wheels

The shape of the Bontrager rim strip helps make for easy airing up tubeless but can make tire removal a pain in the ass. Tight. 

The bearings are surprisingly still spinning smoothly. Assuming all bearings are well greased and shielded from the elements, the first to die horribly for me is usually the one inside the freehub where it interfaces with the hub shell and axle. In this case it' hasn't been an issue which I credit to Bontrager for doubling up on bearings in this location. 

Bontrager Line Comp 30 Wheels

The kits needed to upgrade the Line Comp 30. 

Bontrager Line Comp 30 Wheels

Spring and Pawl kits installed. 

Bontrager Line Comp 30 Wheels

Jeff pops everything back together. 

The only product I used to lube the pawls and springs is Dumondetech Freehub Oil. I've had great results using it in a few different Pawl-style hubs and highly recommend it for the application. 

Line Comp 30

The Line Comp 30 wheels roll medium-loud. They're not quiet-enough for someone who loves Onyx or Stealth hubs and not loud enough for folks who swear by the screaming metal sound of a dry Industry Nine hub*. Other trail users hear me coming just before I start to slow down, smile, and say hello but no one can hear me the next mountain over.

In the same vein, they're not light-enough or stiff-enough for the rider with the cash and requirements to justify a set of carbon hoops on boutique hubs. But, the budget Bontrager wheels are not going to apologize. 

*record said hub and play it backward at half speed and it still just screams "use some lube you jerk!"

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Lots of out of the saddle climbing on the Line hub driver. Photo: Dave Smith

Bontrager Line Comp 30 Wheels

Math: fast engagement, solid durability, easy maintenance, and basic price add to an awesome value. 

I think the real winners are folks buying the complete Trek Fuel and Remedy bikes with these wheels installed. They're a significant upgrade over the wheels gracing most bikes at these price points and 20 USD away from wicked-fast 3.3° engagement. 

If you want and can afford a higher end package go for it. If the Line Comp 30 wheels are your budget then look no further. More information at your local Trek dealer and here.  


Comments

mawa
0
MaWa  - April 25, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

Are you able to compare them to the other OEM wheels in that price segment?

Race Face AR30 for example?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 25, 2018, 8:25 a.m.

The big difference, compared to say the Race Face Aeffect wheels I tested previously, is the potential for super-fast engagement.

I dented rims on both wheels and could pull them out a bit and still air up tubeless. 

If you don’t care (some people don’t) then the Aeffect is a really reliable wheelset. I run ARC rims on my personal bike and I’m a fan.

Hope that’s helpful!

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - April 25, 2018, 7:59 a.m.

as an aside, those Bonty 2.4 tires- are they as high volume as they seem (when looking at them mounted on a couple of Trek bikes at the LBS)?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 25, 2018, 8:21 a.m.

The 2.4 tires are real 2.4 tires. 

I really like the 2.6 if you have room. They roll almost as fast (almost), have better climbing traction and I get fewer rim strikes on the way down.

Reply

MTBrent
0
MTBrent  - April 25, 2018, 11:10 a.m.

Saw a set on a Fuel EX at the local dealer today.  They look the business for $320. 108 POE, wide, and not super heavy.

Is that ~2100g ready to roll (wheels, strips, valves)?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 26, 2018, 4:40 p.m.

Mine are ~2100g ready to roll. I did actually go to the effort of weighing them but can’t find my note on exactly how much change is included in that number (sorry).

Reply

ac
0
Ac  - April 25, 2018, 10:48 p.m.

I love the Bontrager rim strips. I've used them on several brands of rims. It's great to never have a bad tape job ruin your tubeless setup.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 26, 2018, 4:34 p.m.

That’s great feedback - thanks. I’ve been considering trying a set on my ARC 30s. Slight weight penalty vs tape but I don’t care.

Reply

ac
+1 Andrew Major
Ac  - April 26, 2018, 5:02 p.m.

I have an Arc 24 that it works great in.

It doesn't work in a Spank rim because of the "W" rim profile but they seem to work in any normal rim.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - April 30, 2018, 10:59 p.m.

A counter point to that is that I had a set of tires that would not mount to a set of Bonty rims because of the narrow channel of the rim strip. Functionally it was great but it tire swaps a huge pain in the ass so I ended up removing them.

Reply

dan
0
Dan  - April 26, 2018, 10:05 p.m.

These wheels are on my '18 Slash 9.7, too. I'm about 10 rides deep on this steed and the wheels seem solid so far. SE4's however are a bit outgunned by the bike and its capabilities here in the PNW. Sidewalls fold quite easily and the SE5 would be a better choice for the steering end of the machine.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 26, 2018, 10:12 p.m.

I really like the SE4 as a rear tire. Up front when the riding gets aggressive unless if said SE4 is a 29x3" model I'd like to see an SE5 for sure on a Slash.

I'm working on an XR4/SE4 write-up right now and the other thing I've found is they are both still quite supple with a bit more air pressure then I run in other makes of similar tires (but the sidewall durability has been really good all the same).

Reply

GladePlayboy
0
Rob Gretchen  - April 29, 2018, 10:16 a.m.

Just building up a Fuel EX 9.8 29 with the Line Elite wheelset... they are impressive from a fresh out of the box perspective.    Need some saddle time to do a full eval....

Reply

Regis
0
Regis  - April 30, 2018, 9:39 a.m.

The Line Comps come as standard on my 2018 Fuel Ex 9.7 29 here in the UK and my experience is positive so far after 3 months use. 

I did ding the rear rim on a heavy-ish landing - my bad, end of ride, tired legs. 

The rim strip however is a mixed blessing. I had a nightmare removing the original tyres when going tubeless. 

The Bontrager XR4 were hard enough to remove but when I tried to fit a Magic Mary there was no way of even getting it on the rim. I ended up ditching the Bonty strip and going back to Stans tape and valves. Both tyres went on fine and sealed first time. I reckon that's because there's no give in the Bonty strip and it's quite deep.

I'm running a Magic Mary upfront with the XR4 out back and I'm really pleased with that combination. 

And that bike is well quick.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 30, 2018, 9:48 a.m.

I managed to put on a set of e13 LG1r 29’er DH tires with relative ease, with stock strips, but I’m certainly not looking forward to getting them off!

Did you upgrade the rear hub by adding the pawl kit?

Fuel EX looks like an awesome rig.

Reply

Regis
0
Regis  - May 1, 2018, 1:25 a.m.

As it happens, I dropped the bike at my LBS this morning with the hub upgrade as one of the items on the job list! I had it at the back of my mind but your article reminded me. 

Happy days!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 1, 2018, 2:07 p.m.

Enjoy! I don’t know if you’ll appreciate the difference as much as I did - but if you do the value of these wheels gets even better.

Reply

MArco_2198
0
marco misaipon  - Feb. 25, 2019, 3:52 p.m.

link to the upgrade kit please

Reply

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