I’ve never owned a lightweight cross-country wheelset; I’m not light weight and I’m not a cross-country racer. But I figured that if WTB riders Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler could race a bunch of French enduro events on the cross-country race version of WTB’s new Stryker without having to straighten anything, then these wheels would be worth a crack. At 1598 grams these hoops are definitely on the lighter side of things. More svelte 29 inch hoops are available on the market (Easton’s new EC90 wheelset is just 1416 grams), but a gram per dollar breakdown shows the Strykers to be a safe bet. I must admit, I was sceptical that they would stand up to my weight (plus the extra eight kilograms of camera bag) and to Wellington singletrack. But after six months of some pretty gnarly trails, some good crashes and a Super D race, the wheels have only required a minor tickle; in fact, the spokes on the front wheel are still untouched. The Strykers sport high-flanged WTB LaserDisc Lite hubs and bladed spokes. Both the rear freehub and the 15QR hub on the front are performing flawlessly, requiring zero maintenance. I’ve completely shredded other name-brand hubs in less time. I guess the coolest thing about the Strykers is the fact that WTB has designed them to work with its range of Tubeless Compatible System (TCS) tyres. They have a rim strip and valve pre-installed; all you need to do is add sealant and you’re ready to roll. They feature a standard UST bead, so they’ll accept any UST tyre. If you want a lightweight, bulletproof set of 29 inch (or 26 inch) tubeless hoops that can take on almost anything, WTB’s Stryker Race wheelset should be on your very, very short list. CALEB SMITH
A 170mm 29er built to go fast as hell, and only weighs 14.4kgs with an aluminium frame. Banshee build one hell of a bike, and the new Titan lives up the hype. Get the low down inside
A new Tallboy that redefines it’s image. No longer just an XC trail bike. This thing decend’s as good as it climbs. Maybe better? Get the details inside.
The Meta TR 29, the new 130mm travel beautiful brushed alloy trail rig from Commencal just passed through the office recently. A solid, well-priced build makes this a very good option for a lot of people wanting that perfect blend between fun and pain. The go-everywhere, do-everything Meta in a neat little bundle.
One of the supercars of the modern era, the Pivot Firebird has been on the lips of everyone this past year. With Ed Masters piloting one to all sorts of reults, we got the Rod Bardsley to swing his leg over a Firey Bird and deliver some wise words of his own.
Santa Cruz have reached into their bag of tricks, and conjured up the all new Hightower. A completely revised version of their extremely popular 150mm 29er. We got to get an early ride aboard this beautiful machine on some equally stunning dirt. Here’s the lowdown…
Afton are another newcomer in what seems a flood of new shoe brands, but the stylish look and comfort have got everyone talking. Want to be the snazziest dude among your mates? Look no further.