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

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