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  1. #1
    offroader
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    WTB Frequency i19 29 wheel build review

    I recently got a hold of a pair of WTB frequency i19 rims and thought I'd share my experiencebuilding these wheels. I started off with a set of wtb laserdisc hubs, wheelsmith db14 spokes and the rims.

    First a little bit of background. I've built about 20 or so sets of wheels in the past plus some wheel maintenence for friends. My main rim of choice is stans flow but I have built velocity and mavic rims in the past.

    First impression: The rims are well machined and the welds are seamless. The quality of the alloy used seems stiff and durable (unlike the velocity p35 rims which were soft and scratched easily) The finish was camparable to Mavic (which IMO has the best finish of any rim I've used). The eyelets in particular were nicely finished as seen from the inside. They are directional so I played around with the spoke and nipple to be sure I was lacing them correctly.

    At 434g the rims are slightly heavier than Stans Crest but comparable to the Arch. They felt beefy but not heavy and the bead hook was noticeably longer than the Crests which felt thin walled and the bead hooks short. There is no doubt in my mind these rims were solid.

    Building: these rims are probably one of the easiest to work with. In particular the nipples seated on the first twist as if the were on an eyelitted rim even though the rims are not eyelited. So my colored nipple did not get caught inside the rim by the eylets and didn't get scratched like they usually do with Stans rims. The nipples also seem to turn easier either due to the smooth finish of the rim eyelets or the directional eyelet or a combination of both. All in all they were a dream to work with.

    Conclusion: I have yet to ride the wheels but I plan to soon. The weight of my set should be in the range of 1600g for both font and rear. I haven't weighed them however. More to come....
    Last edited by CupOfJava; 01-17-2012 at 09:55 AM.

  2. #2
    offroader
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    Rode the wheels today. They are fricken awesome. Stiff and light and they look tight on my bike. My next set of rim are going to be the i23 for sure. Tuebless was as easy as stans and the bead locked on. As much as I love the flows if the i23 are as capable as these rims I think I may not go back to stans.

    Some after ride shots:



    Last edited by CupOfJava; 01-17-2012 at 10:02 AM.

  3. #3
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    The i23 look really interesting. Considering the ERD is 537, when I need a replacement for my DT 5.1d (540mm ERD), I may look for a i23

  4. #4
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    I have about six hours on my i23 rims and love them so far. Couldn't compare them to Flows since I have never owned those but they are a night and day difference over the crappy Alex rims I had on this bike previously. They also air up much faster than my Bontrager Rhythms with the TLR strips (and those are super easy to setup tubeless).
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
    I have about six hours on my i23 rims and love them so far. Couldn't compare them to Flows since I have never owned those but they are a night and day difference over the crappy Alex rims I had on this bike previously. They also air up much faster than my Bontrager Rhythms with the TLR strips (and those are super easy to setup tubeless).
    Very interesting. So the i23s are 23mm wide internally, and can go tubeless with just some yellow tape?

  6. #6
    offroader
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    Yep, I used Stans yellow tape and Stans valves. They worked flawlessly. What I particularly like about the rims is the 4d drilling used for the eyelets. The biggest gripe have have with the Flows were that the eyelets straight drilled causing the top of the nipples to get caught inside the rim causing them get get scratched on the way out. It also looks like the directional drilling will help in keep the wheels true longer and contribute to lateral stiffness (I'm only guessing here), but time will tell. I can't emphasize how much I liked the finish of the rims. On a scale of 1-10 I rate the Flows a 10 and these a 10.5.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by macming View Post
    Very interesting. So the i23s are 23mm wide internally, and can go tubeless with just some yellow tape?
    Yes. I used the 25mm yellow tape and Stans valves. The bead popped into place at about the 15-20psi mark using a floor pump with the i23 (2.4 Purgatory up front and 2.3 Bontrager 29-3 in the rear).
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  8. #8
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    I'm very interested in using the i23s for my next build to replace my Arch/Flow combo. Can someone clear up the marketing speak for me: Will a non-UST beaded tire (or tire not marketed as "Tubeless Ready") seal up as easily on these as on a Stan's bead socket?

    I prefer Maxxis and Panaracer non-UST tires which mount up great on Stan's. It seems like WTB is trying to push their heavy, UST-beaded tubeless ready tires to be used with their 'system'. I know other tire makers have their tubeless-ready branded tires now (basically a UST bead without the stiffer sidewall and airtight casing?); Specialized and Kenda come to mind. Although in Kenda's case, the non-tubeless ready versions wouldn't stay sealed even on Stan's due to the braided bead. But it looks like the OP'er has Slant Sixes on the Frequencies; are they the 'tubeless-ready' version?

    Also, you mentioned these rims are not as soft as Velocity rims; are they harder than Stan's? I'm asking because I get a lot of flat spots with my hardtail, even with my new Flow build.
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  9. #9
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    My experience with UST spec rims (Mavic in my case) is that non-tubeless tires do not mount up well with them. I tried several different brands of tires on my Mavic UST wheels and they all were a pain to mount even with a compressor and burped easily. I've honestly had better luck with "ghetto" setups on regular tires than with UST rims (although still a hit or miss scenario). The WTB TCS system is made to UST specs so I would expect the same. Not sure why you think they are trying to push "their system"...UST is actually Mavic's system. As you mentioned, there are other manufacturers of Tubeless Ready tires if the WTB tires are not to your liking.

    The TCS rims are made with 7000 series alloy which is going to be "harder" than the 6000 series used by many other rims manufacturers (including Stans).

  10. #10
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    I've tried mounting a TCS 29er tire to a Bontrager TLR Duster rim with no luck - the tire was too tight to get the second bead on. WTB checked the tire on one of their rims and it worked fine. On a different note, I've mounted 26" TCS tire on Bontrager TLR rims with no problem.

  11. #11
    offroader
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadedbee View Post
    I'm very interested in using the i23s for my next build to replace my Arch/Flow combo. Can someone clear up the marketing speak for me: Will a non-UST beaded tire (or tire not marketed as "Tubeless Ready") seal up as easily on these as on a Stan's bead socket?

    I prefer Maxxis and Panaracer non-UST tires which mount up great on Stan's. It seems like WTB is trying to push their heavy, UST-beaded tubeless ready tires to be used with their 'system'. I know other tire makers have their tubeless-ready branded tires now (basically a UST bead without the stiffer sidewall and airtight casing?); Specialized and Kenda come to mind. Although in Kenda's case, the non-tubeless ready versions wouldn't stay sealed even on Stan's due to the braided bead. But it looks like the OP'er has Slant Sixes on the Frequencies; are they the 'tubeless-ready' version?

    Also, you mentioned these rims are not as soft as Velocity rims; are they harder than Stan's? I'm asking because I get a lot of flat spots with my hardtail, even with my new Flow build.
    Not sure if they're harder, but I would say they definitely don't feel softer. They don't have that hollow high pitched "ting" sound that the Velocity's had. The Slant Six are regular tires not TL or UST. They sealed up just fine. I tried to mount my Small Block 8 on the rims but they were hard to get on, but I can't really blame the rims because I had the same issues mounting my SB8 on my Flows as well. I'm fairly confident these rims could mount just about any recent tire I throw at it. My SB8 were kind of old and had been run tubed for a while.

  12. #12
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    Hey COJ, thanks very much for the write up, hadn't heard of these before, but they sound like a good alternative to the Stans rims. What price did you pay for them? Right now though I'm really wanting my next set of wheels to be wider than the Flows I currently have to mainly use on the Rigid and HT to help widen the footprint and let me use lower pressures to help with some cush. Have to think that the directional drilling of the spoke holes will make seating and building much easier. Oh how much tension did you build them to?
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    My experience with UST spec rims (Mavic in my case) is that non-tubeless tires do not mount up well with them. I tried several different brands of tires on my Mavic UST wheels and they all were a pain to mount even with a compressor and burped easily. I've honestly had better luck with "ghetto" setups on regular tires than with UST rims (although still a hit or miss scenario). The WTB TCS system is made to UST specs so I would expect the same. Not sure why you think they are trying to push "their system"...UST is actually Mavic's system. As you mentioned, there are other manufacturers of Tubeless Ready tires if the WTB tires are not to your liking.
    The TCS system push was more of an impression I got from a WTB rep I spoke with. They were positioning it as an alternative to the UST system, since just the bead-hook was UST spec; you have to use a sealed rim tape and sealant which you don't with UST. Using a tire with just the UST bead is an advantage because of reduced weight and cost along with a more supple casing versus a UST tire. But not being a big fan of WTB, Kenda or Specialized tires (in 29"), who seem to making non-UST tires with UST beads, I wasn't sure if these rims would work for me. Guess we'll have to see what people's experiences are mounting up other brands.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    The TCS rims are made with 7000 series alloy which is going to be "harder" than the 6000 series used by many other rims manufacturers (including Stans).
    This is definitely another plus in WTB's favor to get me to switch.
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  14. #14
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    Note that WTB makes rim tape in specific widths for their TCS rims. 19mm inner width rims use 24mm tape. 23mm rims use 28mm tape. The simple rule is to add 5mm to the inner rim width to determine the best tape width.

    Also note that the purpose of using a UST bead on a light weight casing is to ELIMINATE the need to use tube type tires tubeless. Tube type tires are for just as the name says: to be used with tubes, and tubes only. Tubeless use of a tube type tire will generally result in a poor tubeless experience. Ask any tire manufacturer if you should use their tube type tires in a tubeless application. The answer will always be the same.

    The simple tubeless rule, lightweight, or otherwise: UST tire bead + UST compliant rim equals consistent tire/rim fit, all the time, even when mixing brands. Anything outside of the UST fit world is questionable at best.

  15. #15
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    Wow, I guess you've had bad experiences running non-UST tubeless tires. Just like a lot of people, I suppose.

    Maybe I've just been lucky: I've had no seal problems whatsoever in 3 years running non-UST Maxxis and Panaracer tires on my Stan's Arch and Flow rims. The fact that I really like these tread patterns on the trails I ride, coupled with the fact that they aren't available in a "TL ready" version, makes me less likely to fix it when it ain't broke. But as I described above, I do have some concerns about the durability of the Stan's rims, which makes me curious to try others.

    You mentioned that the tape on the WTB rims is 5mm wider than the inner width; is this standard for UST bead designs? I was told to trim away any of the tape that wandered into the bead hook on my Stan's rims because it could interfere with seating the tire. And I would think the same would be true on a UST bead hook, especially given the specific dimensions it is suppose to be built to.
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  16. #16
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    According to WTB website, I-beam construction includes extra wall inside rim, running from tire bed to spoke bed. This would seem super strong to me. Stan's rim is hollow. I am not cutting a rim to verify.

  17. #17
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    I have been running the laserdisc trail (29er rim, 28mm outside width) since the end of the past fall (pulled a spoke thru the velocity blunt SL). built up really easily with the eyelets. Haven't had any issues with the wheels so far- the I-beam seems to be pretty stiff, have hit a few rooty/rocky trails, and bottomed out once or twice, rims are still round. They went tubeless fairly easily, only burped once with geax aka tires, and just yellow tape. overall, has been a very durable wheel, which is exactly what i wanted after the blunt SL (which held up quite well under me, at 200 lbs for an entire race season).

    We had a guy at the shop who had a prebuilt set of the i19's to dt swiss 350s, and they only lasted him a month and a half. if you run narrow tires at low pressures on rooty trails, they don't hold up to HARD riding. his front is still holding up fine. (he has been thru about 5 rear rims since I have known him, so I will still be trying the i23 when my laserdisc trail gives out.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by droptop View Post
    I have been running the laserdisc trail (29er rim, 28mm outside width) since the end of the past fall (pulled a spoke thru the velocity blunt SL). built up really easily with the eyelets. Haven't had any issues with the wheels so far- the I-beam seems to be pretty stiff, have hit a few rooty/rocky trails, and bottomed out once or twice, rims are still round. They went tubeless fairly easily, only burped once with geax aka tires, and just yellow tape. overall, has been a very durable wheel, which is exactly what i wanted after the blunt SL (which held up quite well under me, at 200 lbs for an entire race season).

    We had a guy at the shop who had a prebuilt set of the i19's to dt swiss 350s, and they only lasted him a month and a half. if you run narrow tires at low pressures on rooty trails, they don't hold up to HARD riding. his front is still holding up fine. (he has been thru about 5 rear rims since I have known him, so I will still be trying the i23 when my laserdisc trail gives out.
    I like that you're comparing it to the Blunt SL as it's what I'm currently running. The Blunt SL alloy is so soft that I'm considering the Frequency i19 as a replacement since I dent the Velocity very easily on the rear wheel of my hardtail. I'm not heavy at 145lbs so it's saying something. I would go with the i23 if it wasn't for the weight, this is a racing wheelset after all...
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
    I like that you're comparing it to the Blunt SL as it's what I'm currently running. The Blunt SL alloy is so soft that I'm considering the Frequency i19 as a replacement since I dent the Velocity very easily on the rear wheel of my hardtail. I'm not heavy at 145lbs so it's saying something. I would go with the i23 if it wasn't for the weight, this is a racing wheelset after all...
    I'm still trying to figure out what Velocity is using for an alloy in their rims. Sun-Ringle and Stans (made by Sun-Ringle) use good old 6061-T6 and don't seem to have any issues with denting. But I read about Velocity rims being soft and denting easily. Since Velocity doesn't weld their rims to my knowledge, maybe they aren't heat treating them and that results a much lower yield strength which would make them dent easier.

  20. #20
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    Even at race weight, I'm still 175+ lbs, so I don't worry about bike weight too much. I race a steel hard tail, either single speed or 1x9. The blunt SL dented first ride, bent it back. I raced gingerly on it until it finally met its demise in a muddy race when my derailleur got clogged with mud and went into the spokes (bike has a very weak derailleur hanger). The spoke didn't pull completely thru, but it cracked around the nipple seat. I ran the rim for 2 more weekends of racing (6 races). the last race, I went all out, figured Id taco it or finish strong. Rims held up quite well, Sold the front to a lighter rider, relaced the rear hub to the laserdisc. Next wheels will either be the i23 or a stans flow.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    I'm still trying to figure out what Velocity is using for an alloy in their rims. Sun-Ringle and Stans (made by Sun-Ringle) use good old 6061-T6 and don't seem to have any issues with denting. But I read about Velocity rims being soft and denting easily. Since Velocity doesn't weld their rims to my knowledge, maybe they aren't heat treating them and that results a much lower yield strength which would make them dent easier.
    They certainly dent easily. I think I have about 5 dents on the rear rim already and the wheelset was built this winter. So that makes for about 15-20 rides at most. The alloy is so soft that it bent when I was repairing a dent using the Morningstar Rim Rench tool. It gets a bit ridiculous and forces me to 32+ psi tire pressures on 2.1 tires.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by droptop View Post
    I have been running the laserdisc trail (29er rim, 28mm outside width) since the end of the past fall (pulled a spoke thru the velocity blunt SL). built up really easily with the eyelets. Haven't had any issues with the wheels so far- the I-beam seems to be pretty stiff, have hit a few rooty/rocky trails, and bottomed out once or twice, rims are still round. They went tubeless fairly easily, only burped once with geax aka tires, and just yellow tape. overall, has been a very durable wheel, which is exactly what i wanted after the blunt SL (which held up quite well under me, at 200 lbs for an entire race season).

    We had a guy at the shop who had a prebuilt set of the i19's to dt swiss 350s, and they only lasted him a month and a half. if you run narrow tires at low pressures on rooty trails, they don't hold up to HARD riding. his front is still holding up fine. (he has been thru about 5 rear rims since I have known him, so I will still be trying the i23 when my laserdisc trail gives out.
    Interesting, as my prebuilt i19 rear lasted almost exactly as long. I've never destroyed a rim, but I certainly did this one. I'm trying again with the shop rebuilding this time rather than the pre-built, but I certainly hope this one lasts longer!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadedbee View Post
    Can someone clear up the marketing speak for me: Will a non-UST beaded tire (or tire not marketed as "Tubeless Ready") seal up as easily on these as on a Stan's bead socket?

    I prefer Maxxis and Panaracer non-UST tires which mount up great on Stan's.
    I just got a new wheelset (came on my SC TallboyC) with i19 rims. It came with Maxxis Crossmark tires with tubes. I tried mounting my Panaracer Driver29er and Panaracer Rampage tubeless. Neither are tubeless or UST tires and both fit very loosely on the rim. The would not seat using an air compressor and if they did seat it looked like their fit would be too loose anyway and could be dangerous.

    I have some friends that work for WTB and they confirmed that only UST, TCS or any tire with a tube is recommended. If you want to run a tire that is not UST or TCS without a tire I think you are out of luck.

    I have decided to sell the wheels and put on a set of Stan's NoTubes. I have had zero problems using Panaracer non tubeless tires set up as tubeless on the NoTubes rims.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by vuduvgn View Post
    I just got a new wheelset (came on my SC TallboyC) with i19 rims. It came with Maxxis Crossmark tires with tubes. I tried mounting my Panaracer Driver29er and Panaracer Rampage tubeless. Neither are tubeless or UST tires and both fit very loosely on the rim. The would not seat using an air compressor and if they did seat it looked like their fit would be too loose anyway and could be dangerous.

    I have some friends that work for WTB and they confirmed that only UST, TCS or any tire with a tube is recommended. If you want to run a tire that is not UST or TCS without a tire I think you are out of luck.

    I have decided to sell the wheels and put on a set of Stan's NoTubes. I have had zero problems using Panaracer non tubeless tires set up as tubeless on the NoTubes rims.
    I've been running mine with Ikon's tubeless for a couple of months with no mounting/seating problems. On a separate issue, I've yet to find a Panaracer Driver around here. What are your impressions if you've put any miles on them?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by lanruss View Post
    On a separate issue, I've yet to find a Panaracer Driver around here. What are your impressions if you've put any miles on them?
    I probably have about 1,000 miles on them, singlespeed, geared, training, racing, road, gravel and singletrack. They are great! They don't last too long though. The first tire lasted about 500 miles on the rear of my singlespeed and then was too bald to ride anymore. They are fast and corner incredibly well.

    I havn't ridden them in much mud and I don't imagine they would do well in it, but for hardpack or even some dusty stuff they are great. I havn't had any trouble with them in rocky conditions. They are very light too.

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