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  1. #1
    Chris Bling
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    WTB KOM med-term Review

    Hey everyone,

    Several folks have been asking about the WTB KOM i23 rims and I have been lucky enough to have built quite a few wheelsets for customers over the past few months and even managed to build one for myself. I decided I needed to know how reliable and strong they really were.

    I chose to built mine with triple butted Sapim Force Spokes for their strength and fatigue life. I used Sapim Polyax Black alloy nipples to give alloy another shot. I didn't much care for earlier alloy nipples. I chose Hope Pro II Evo hubs for their reliability, value and reasonably high POE.

    Once they were built up, I chose to try the new WTB Vigilante tire. Tubeless setup was a breeze as I only used my floor pump with no hassle at all. Here is a picture of my bike as it has been set up for the past several months of riding. Its a Santa Cruz Chameleon with a Marzocchi 55 RC3 Ti Evo fork. Nice AM Hardtail sled

    WTB KOM med-term Review-hubsessed-kom-rims.jpg

    I really didn't know what to expect so I decided just to ride everything as I normally would. I had heard the rims were soft, so I babied them at first. I ran higher than normal pressures (~34 psi) to make sure I didnt dent my rims after the first ride. Lo and behold, after the first ride, there were no dents and the rims were perfectly true. Sweet! This gave me a little more courage and the next few rides, I turned up the speed and hit some of the more rocky/techy stuff in the area. I let out some pressure and was running ~30 psi. This made me a little nervous, but the rims remained true and free of dents. From then on I did not hesitate to attack the trail as I would have with my past wheels. I now ride with the back tire right around 28-29 psi and the front tire at about 26-27 psi.

    After over a month of doing XC, chunky downhills, dry riverbeds full of rocks, messing around learning to manuel at a church parking lot, bunny hopping everything I can see, and 2-300 miles later, I am pleased to say that I still do not have a dent in the rim and they are as true as they day I built them. They are super stiff for a 408 gram rim and a pleasure on the uphill! On the downhill, they hold a line great and feel even stiffer than previous ~500 gram rims I have had.

    If anyone is on the fence about getting a pair of WTB KOM rims, I would say to pull the trigger.

    **Today I had one of the local racers drop his bike off to get tuned up. He had a pair of Hope/KOM 29er rims I built him back in December. They were the first KOM rims I had build up so I was curious to see how they were fairing. I was stoked to see that they were dent free and still perfectly true! He has 2 or 3 times as many miles on his wheels as I have on mine, so I am pretty confident in saying that KOM rims are the real deal!
    The obsession of wheels fused with the passion of cycling
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  2. #2
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    Thanks a lot for the update, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear as I'm lacing mine up this week. Out of curiosity though, where are the trails you are riding?

  3. #3
    Chris Bling
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    I live up in Northers Nevada, so lots of XC double track, washed out rocky AM stuff and lots of dry river washes that have everything from sand to baby heads and bigger. Really, its opportunistic riding out here.

    When the snow clears, we have some incredible riding up in the Ruby Mouontains. High alpine trails with all the fixin's
    Last edited by dustyduke22; 03-15-2014 at 09:15 AM. Reason: more detail
    The obsession of wheels fused with the passion of cycling
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  4. #4
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    How much do you weight? And would you do a 2 ft drop to flat on them?

  5. #5
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    These are some sweet wheels, I'm going to probably get a pair and lace them to some X9 hubs. Not to expensive either for the quality.

  6. #6
    Chris Bling
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilikefire View Post
    How much do you weight? And would you do a 2 ft drop to flat on them?
    I weight 195 and would take a 2 foot to flat drop any day
    The obsession of wheels fused with the passion of cycling
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the review.

    So what wouldn't you do with these wheels? When do you step up to something slightly more substantial like say the frequencies?

  8. #8
    Chris Bling
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    At this point, I don't really know what I wouldn't do on them. They have held up so good that there is nothing in my normal riding I wouldn't hit with them. At this point, I will just keep on riding and see what happens over this coming season.
    The obsession of wheels fused with the passion of cycling
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  9. #9
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    Great wheelset review. Can you provide your thoughts on the Vigilante tires?

  10. #10
    Chris Bling
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike_mtn View Post
    Great wheelset review. Can you provide your thoughts on the Vigilante tires?
    They have become my favorite tires. At first I was a little skeptical because the seemed 'narrow' compared to my Conti Trail King 2.4's. After riding them a few rides, I had even more confidence than the Conti's and much lower rolling resistance.

    They have worn very well, and after a couple hundred miles, they still look nearly new. I am very impressed and will buy them again in a heartbeat
    The obsession of wheels fused with the passion of cycling
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  11. #11
    Chris Bling
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomeeskeburbs View Post
    These are some sweet wheels, I'm going to probably get a pair and lace them to some X9 hubs. Not to expensive either for the quality.
    I think the X9 hubs have a super low POE, something like 16. I would highly recommend going with a higher POE hub.
    The obsession of wheels fused with the passion of cycling
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  12. #12
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    Great review, hard to find much info on these wheels. I want a set for my Trance. Can any one recommend a mid level hubs with good poe? I was also looking at SRAM X9 hubs until I saw how low the poe was. But can't afford to swing the loot for Hopes. Appreciate the review and any advice.

  13. #13
    Chris Bling
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    Velocity has some decent hubs that are around 30POE I believe. Easy to service and look real nice too.

    Shimano hubs are all right, but if you go that way, I would get the 529 or 629 rear hub. They are not the sexiest, but they are strong.
    The obsession of wheels fused with the passion of cycling
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  14. #14
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    Cool I'll check those out!

  15. #15
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    I'm on the fence. i23's or KOM's.

    What are the perceived 'limit' for the KOM's in terms of roughness of the terrain? I like how light they are, I like their look WAAAY better than the i23's and the price isn't a big factor. Just hesitant because lighter normally means less burly...

    Can the KOM's take 2-3 foot jumps and drops (to flat), rock gardens, etc? I just have one bike that I do everything on (a Titus El Guapo) and I've been known to not necessarily choose the smoothest lines (my sunringle EQ27's are a tad bit beat up because of it - no dents tho, but i got a pretty big scratch on it). 98% of the time I have my tires (2.4 conti trail kings) at 25-30 psi and I'm not using tubeless just yet.

    Should I go for the tried and tested i23, or gamble on the KOM's?

  16. #16
    Chris Bling
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    Quote Originally Posted by prancisfena View Post
    I'm on the fence. i23's or KOM's.

    What are the perceived 'limit' for the KOM's in terms of roughness of the terrain? I like how light they are, I like their look WAAAY better than the i23's and the price isn't a big factor. Just hesitant because lighter normally means less burly...

    Can the KOM's take 2-3 foot jumps and drops (to flat), rock gardens, etc? I just have one bike that I do everything on (a Titus El Guapo) and I've been known to not necessarily choose the smoothest lines (my sunringle EQ27's are a tad bit beat up because of it - no dents tho, but i got a pretty big scratch on it). 98% of the time I have my tires (2.4 conti trail kings) at 25-30 psi and I'm not using tubeless just yet.

    Should I go for the tried and tested i23, or gamble on the KOM's?
    I don't think going with the KOM's is a gamble. The have held up beautifully for me since the beginning of the year. As I have said before, if you run adequate pressures in your tires, you are not going to have an issue with dings.

    This past week, I accidentally hit a roller waaaaaay to fast and launched myself way past the transition to an almost flat landing. I probably dropped anywhere from 6-8 feet to near flat. I was at speed, so that helped. The KOM's took the impact with no issues. No broken spokes, no bent wheels, etc. Once I realized that I survived the impact without crashing or exploding, it was pretty sweet to look back at what just happened!

    These were designed as an Enduro Race rim, so anything I can do as a mere mortal will pale in comparison to what Mark Weir and the WTB crew subject them to.
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  17. #17
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    COOL. Great news for me.

    I ride no where near as aggressively as you guys haha.

    Will post up photos once it's built up.

  18. #18
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    Wow this is pretty much the exact same setup as I'm about to build up (except I'll be running a Bronson in the rear). I was a bit apprehensive about the KOMs, but I think they'll be all good.

  19. #19
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    My KOM i23 wheelset

    I forgot to post mine up haha...

    you can check the full article here: The Rotational Mass Reduction Experiment

    WTB KOM med-term Review-wheelset.004.jpgWTB KOM med-term Review-wheelset.005.jpgWTB KOM med-term Review-wheelset.003.jpgWTB KOM med-term Review-wheelset.0011.jpg

  20. #20
    Chris Bling
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    Quote Originally Posted by prancisfena View Post
    I forgot to post mine up haha...

    you can check the full article here: The Rotational Mass Reduction Experiment

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Good looking pair.

    I just built me up a new set of KOM's for my new ride since the other ones were so bomber.

    Industry Nine hubs round out the build Here is a pic

    WTB KOM med-term Review-1511700_1437746113148530_473971776850769611_o.jpg
    The obsession of wheels fused with the passion of cycling
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