Bontrager Line Pro 30 TLR Boost Wheelset

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Tested: Bontrager's High-Value Line Pro 30 Carbon Wheelset

Do carbon wheels have to be so expensive? Bontrager proves they don't.

Rating: Vital Review
Tested: Bontrager's High-Value Line Pro 30 Carbon Wheelset

When you think of carbon wheelsets, you're usually talking about an exponential price jump to almost unobtainable prices for most riders' budgets. When does the madness stop? What if it didn’t have to be that painful? Bontrager set out on a mission to give you the benefits of high modulus hoops and precise engagement hubs with the Line Pro 30 wheels – all for hundreds less than the vast majority of the competition. We put the working man’s carbon wheelset to the test on both 27.5 and 29-inch bikes to see how they stack up after a long season on the trail.

Highlights

  • Available in 27.5 and 29-inch sizes
  • OCLV carbon rim with Read More »

When you think of carbon wheelsets, you're usually talking about an exponential price jump to almost unobtainable prices for most riders' budgets. When does the madness stop? What if it didn’t have to be that painful? Bontrager set out on a mission to give you the benefits of high modulus hoops and precise engagement hubs with the Line Pro 30 wheels – all for hundreds less than the vast majority of the competition. We put the working man’s carbon wheelset to the test on both 27.5 and 29-inch bikes to see how they stack up after a long season on the trail.

Highlights

  • Available in 27.5 and 29-inch sizes
  • OCLV carbon rim with 29mm internal and 36mm external width
  • TLR tubeless rim strip and valve pre-installed
  • 28 DT Swiss Aerolite 15/17G bladed spokes per wheel with stacked lacing
  • Alpina alloy locking nipples
  • Rapid Drive straight pull hubs with 108-points of engagement
  • Shimano or XD driver freehub compatible (XD driver sold separately)
  • Boost 12x148mm rear and 15x110mm front axles
  • 6 bolt rotor mounting
  • Wheelset weights: 27.5 - 1,539g // 29 - 1,608g (claimed)
  • MSRP: $1,200 USD

Initial Impressions

From the nicely machined and anodized silver and black straight-pull hubs, bladed spokes, and flawlessly finished carbon hoops, these wheels impressed us within seconds of pulling them out of the box. A quick spin of the freehub showed a precise and crisp engagement at 108-points per revolution (3.3-degrees).

The beefy rims sport a stout bead with a small inward hook. They have a taller domed profile with external nipple access to make maintenance easy. The generous 29mm inner width gives riders a nice tire profile with today's typical wider rubber choices.

A pre-installed tubeless rim strip made of a very stiff plastic material fits tightly inside the rim channel. It would take some careful work with a fine-tipped bladed screwdriver to remove this for nipple replacement, and left us wondering how much it might permanently damage the strip if this ever had to be done someday. Regardless, the seal looks bomber and left no doubts that they'd seal up nice and air tight.

Access to the freehub and pawls is a tool free operation, which we consider a big plus. Pulling off the driveside end cap and sliding the freehub body out gives you full access to clean, inspect, and maintain your rear hub and ratchet system – just be careful with the pawls and springs as they can wiggle out of place and fall out when the freehub is removed. The guts of the freehub feature a six-pawl system where three sets of pawls engage at a time while the other three are in-between their engagement points on the 54-tooth drive ring. We installed an XD driver for our SRAM drivetrain and began mounting our tires.

Pairing the Line Pro 30s with Bontrager’s SE5 Team Issue 2.3-inch tires required the use of some soapy water and tires levers to walk the bead onto the rim due to a very tight fit. On one wheel, we needed to do some extra work to get the bead fully seated as it didn’t want to pop into place initially. De-pressurizing, pulling the bead back into the rim channel, and spraying more soapy water down into the rim encouraged the bead to seat. For comparison, we also mounted some Maxxis rubber and had to do some wrestling. Removing both the Bontrager and Maxxis tires took a bit of force as well.

On The Trail

The first spin around the driveway brought a nice smile to our faces – stellar engagement on the rear hub and a nice sound that furthered our initial impression of a quality wheelset. The rear hub isn't overly loud, but gives a precise-sounding series of clicks that will let riders know you're behind them. For comparison, they're not quite as loud as Industry 9 hubs. After getting on the trail, the hub engagement leaves little to ask for with near-instant engagement, allowing you to start putting down power out of corners, through off-and-on pedal sections of trail, and ratchet pedaling through technical sections.

Quantifiable measurements are hard to derive by simply riding a wheelset, but doing a bit of back-to-back testing reveals relative differences. Doing so with Race Face Arc 27 alloy wheels and moving to the Bontrager wheels was a great comparison – the previous level rim might represent a common wheelset upgrade and experience for many moving into the carbon game. The damped but responsive feel of the Line Pro 30 carbon hoops added a noticeable improvement to on-trail feedback to the rider, tuning out frequencies that seem to resonate back to the rider’s hands and feet with alloy rims. This was most notable in rougher sections of trail, especially through rockier terrain.

Another notable improvement was the overall tuned stiffness. At 185-pounds, this tester can feel alloy wheels (especially on 29ers) start to get that flexed feeling when pushing hard in certain scenarios. While the improvements may require you to do some back-to-back testing of your own to really notice them, the bike feels more "on rails" and more predictable while holding a line in chunkier and brake-bumped turns. Negotiating rock gardens becomes more point-and-shoot friendly, and the bike seems to stay more composed while pumping through compressions. The bike just seems to track straighter and go where you point it without deflecting or dancing off line. Bontrager has done a great job with these wheels, offering a zippy, responsive ride without adding the harshness that some carbon hoops are guilty of. Prior testing of top-tier carbon offerings from other brands has us impressed by the ride quality Bontrager designed into these wheels, especially considering they cost half as much.

Bontrager has done a great job with these wheels, offering a zippy, responsive ride without adding the harshness that some carbon hoops are guilty of.

The most notable improvements in stiffness were felt on the 29-inch wheelset for obvious reasons, but testing a 27.5-inch wheelset mirrored its wagon-wheeled brother’s ride qualities and performed just as well on the trail. They have proven strong and reliable while seeing the added abuse and speed that's made possible by riding a longer-travel 170mm bike.

These have outperformed our expectations after a full season on the trails and shown what a component powerhouse is capable of competitively producing.

Long Term Durability

Half of a season of smashing rocks in the East Coast and half of a season of Pacific North West riding has put some serious miles on our two pairs of test wheels, and never once did we have to fiddle with them. After seven months of use, both sets of hubs are running just as smoothly as day one. Recent removal of the freehubs showed a good seal, protecting the pawls and bearings from many muddy and dusty rides.

We also have yet to need any truing adjustments as the rims are still running straight, taking everything we've dished to them in stride. We've experienced some uncomfortable-feeling rim shots due to bad line choices but have yet to see any damage. Small surface scratching and cosmetic rock scars are visible, but our two test sets have fared well.

Update: Field reports from another Vital MTB tester who purchased the wheels have indicated that these rims aren't immune to cracking under big impacts, however, though Bontrager's warranty process is hassle-free. The wheels are backed by a 30-day unconditional guarantee ("think of it as a 30-day test ride"), two-year warranty, as well as a discounted Carbon Care guarantee.

Things That Could Be Improved

The Line Pro 30 wheels leave little to be desired, though there are some areas for improvement. Tire mounting is a bit tougher than many wheels, but once mounted no burps were experienced and the bead seat was solid. You may need to throw some plastic tire irons in your riding pack if you want to be prepared for tire removal.

Tire mounting is a bit tougher than many wheels, but once mounted no burps were experienced and the bead seat was solid.

Each rim has two large "Bontrager" logos per side, which may be a bit loud and billboard-esque for some consumers seeking a low key look. All graphics and brandings are permanently painted to the rim surface, so there is no option for removal. The silver-gray color against black carbon doesn’t stick out too badly, however.

Finally, it would be nice if Bontrager offered a XD driver option at the time of purchase so riders didn’t have to buy an additional freehub body and essentially pay for a Shimano-style freehub to sit in the garage parts box.

What's The Bottom Line?

At a benchmark price for a solid carbon wheelset with quality hubs, the Bontrager Line Pro 30 wheels make perfect sense for riders looking to upgrade their bike and reap the benefits of carbon without taking out a second mortgage. These have outperformed our expectations after a full season on the trails and shown what a component powerhouse is capable of competitively producing. "Bang for the buck" is the key phrase here, and the Line Pro 30s have performed extremely well and added noticeable performance to our rides.

Visit www.bontrager.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Nick Zuzelski - Age: 32 // Years Riding MTB: 14 // Height: 6'3" (1.90m) // Weight: 185lbs (83.9kg)

Nick began riding motocross at a young age, a sport that would eventually lead him to the world of downhill. As a Colorado native, racing downhill, dual slalom, or a chill dirt jump session was never far away, and he eventually worked his way up the ranks to the Pro level. If a trail has fast flow and some fun gaps, he is grinning ear to ear and getting after it. Living by the assumption that basically everything feels better with a short stem and wide bars, you can count on him keeping it real with a laid back attitude and flat pedals most of the time. Mechanical Engineer by trade, rider by heart, he enjoys riding it, finding out how it works, and making it better.

Photos by Brandon Turman, Carl Gray, and Nick Zuzelski

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Specifications

Product Bontrager Line Pro 30 TLR Boost Wheelset
Riding Type Trail
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29"
Rim Material Carbon
Rim Bontrager OCLV Pro Carbon, tubeless-ready (TLR), 36mm external width
Inner Rim Width 29mm
Hole Count 28
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Rear Hub Bontrager Rapid Drive 108, Shimano 10/11-speed driver (SRAM XD driver available separately)
Rear Axle 12mm x 148mm (Boost)
Front Hub Bontrager Rapid Drive 108
Front Axle 15mm x 110mm (Boost)
Disc Mount Type 6 Bolt
Spokes DT Swiss Aerolite 15/17G
Nipples Alpina alloy locking
Colors Anthracite/Black
Weight
  • 1 lb 8.9 oz (706 g)
  • 1 lb 13.4 oz (834 g)
  • 3 lb 6.3 oz (1540 g)
Miscellaneous Stacked Lacing design
Disc-specific
Includes TLR rim strip installed, TLR valve, and valve core removal tool
Price
  • $549.99
  • $649.99
More Info

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