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March 14, 2023, 11:22 a.m. -  Andeh

Let me start this by saying I like the idea of what WAO is doing, owed a set of Agents, and currently own a set of Unions (with Hydras).  I've used their rim warranty twice, and it was simple and painless. But after recently getting an ebike which came with a set of fairly low end set of Roval Traverse 28h alloy wheels, I did some back to back testing, riding both my enduro bike and ebike on the same trails with the Rovals and the Unions.  Each time I swapped, I moved tires.  Both bikes had Zeb Ultimate forks with Buttercups, EXT coil shocks, Dominion A4 brakes and GE1 grips.  The enduro bike was fitted with an Ochain and 9 degree elastomer, which countered that frame's pedal kickback when braking.  But my hands were consistently more fatigued on the enduro bike with the Unions.  I didn't notice much difference on the ebike in terms of hand feel, other than the Unions held a line better.  (Maybe some of that was due to running heavier, damper casing on the ebike?)  So when I bought a new set of wheels to replace the Rovals, I got a set of Reserve 30 HD ALs with 350 hubs.  These feel great on the enduro bike, and the set only weighs about 70g more than my Unions/Hydras.  Similar awesome warranty as WAO, but cost $1,100 (USD) less than a set of Triad/Hydras. My point is that I think that many of us have bought the story of carbon wheels being the best thing, but if we are objective about whether or not they actually improve the ride feel, they're probably not.  Maybe it's a holdover from when MTBing was obsessed with every last gram (and when alloy wheels were made out of cheesium).  Maybe it's because we're suckers for a set of gorgeous hand-laid carbon rims made in Canada laced to hubs made in North Carolina that sound like a Swiss watch.  Nothing wrong with getting the pretty ones if that makes you happy.  But seriously, consider a set of really good aluminum rims if you want the best bang for your buck.

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