This fall I got a pair of Bontrager Line Plus 29+ wheels to test. I was excited to test these wheels out because Trek/Bontrager really seem to have their tubeless setup dialed in and they also have been doing some exciting things with the design of their components. This wheelset certainly didn’t disappoint because it employed several different bits of tech that were different from the wheels I have been riding recently but I will get into that stuff more in a bit.
First off let’s hit the basics. My wheels came with a 100×15 front hub and 142×12 rear with a standard freehub (not XD, but an XD driver is available). The axles are interchangeable to fit other standards and I believe that Bontrager is offering these in boost sizes also but I got these sized for an “older” 29+ setup. The hubs are made by DT Swiss which have a great reputation for durability and serviceability. The rims have a 44mm outer and 39mm inner width. Wheels also come with Bontrager’s tubeless tape and valve stems. I also got a pair of Chupacabras to mount up which made me very happy because they are my favorite allrounder 29+ tire.
On my scale the wheels weighed 1,082g for the rear and 959g for the front (2,041g total) without tape or valve stems. According to the Trek website, the cost is $461.99 for the front wheel and $537.99 for the rear.
The wheels have a lot of tech packed into them. On of the biggest features is the asymmetric rims. This helps build wheels with equal spoke tension between both sides of the wheel and can make for a stronger and/or lighter wheelset. There is a nice bead channel to keep the tire bead in place at low pressures and prevent burps (wheels, you are on your own gastronomically). They even made a slight depression for the tubeless tape. I find this helps when installing the tape (no guesswork if it is going on straight and fully covering spoke holes) but more importantly it also smooths the inner wall of the rim and allows the tire to pop into place more easily; even with a floor pump. It is small details like this that help to add up to one of the easiest and most bombproof tubeless setups I have experienced. Kudos to Bontrager for making tubeless life easy!
Hubs are a pretty sexy bit of kit. They machine off portions of the hub and leave the aluminum exposed which to my eye is really attractive. They utilize straight pull spokes front and rear which eliminate one of the weak point in the spokes. I am not sure of the exact engagement angle on the hubs but it certainly isn’t slow so in techie bits of the trail your bike will respond quickly to pedal inputs.
Wheels are built with 32 double butted 14/15 from DT spokes front and rear. The quality of the wheel build was solid right out of the box with no hops or wobbles and the dish was dead on.
I rode the wheels for a few hundred miles this fall but that was after the leaves had already fallen making it tough to really push the limit and test the wheels more fully. Initial impressions are that the wheels are similarly stiff to the carbon wheels I ride on a day-to-day basis. Spin up is slightly slower than my carbon wheels but far better than any other alloy rimmed 29+ wheelset I have ridden. Initial durability has been good with no noticeable change in trueness of the wheels. I really look forward to riding these wheels more. I have some trips south planned for late winter and that should give a good opportunity to really push these wheels in some challenging conditions. More to come!