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  1. #1
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    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review

    Because there's little information on WTB's newer KOM rim series, I thought I would add a review from a mechanic and wheel builder's perspective. I'll add my thoughts as a rider once I've had a chance to ride them for a few hundred miles or so...

    After much deliberation and a decision to not use a carbon rim, I finally landed on the WTB KOM 29" alloy rim - the goal was a sub-1700 gram 29er wheel set after using a tried and true 2000 ish gram set of Kings/Flows for everyday riding, and having extremely bad luck with a set of low spoke count system wheels. I wanted something in the middle that would be good for race day, yet reliable for moderately aggressive descending or every day use.

    DT Swiss got the vote for weight, serviceability, and reliability in the hub department - 240s c-lock, thru axles:

    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review-dscn6937.jpgWTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review-dscn6938.jpg

    The rims came in 12 grams of one another, fairly light actually:

    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review-dscn6934.jpgWTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review-dscn6935.jpg

    I have access to a Phil Wood spoke cutter and have since switched to using Wheelsmith spokes as they tend to cut and roll very nicely and consistently. For this build I went against my usual brass only rule for mountain wheels and went with a nice blue alloy Wheelsmith nipple and prepped the spoke threads with Rock 'n' Roll nipple cream. The project pre-lacing:

    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review-dscn6939.jpg

    After lacing, I weighed both wheels individually before the build:

    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review-dscn6941.jpgWTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review-dscn6942.jpg

    Weight goal achieved! Front 767g, Rear 879g, Set 1646g - quite svelte but hopefully dependable as well.

    I've built a lot of Stan's products over the years and usually end up with a decent set of wheels, but I never liked how the Arch EX built up, and the Flow's while a great set of rims, are just heavy, great for training and descending, but a little bit of a bear on extended climbs. The KOMs built up with a strong grade of B+ The tension on the front wheels drive side was a little lower than I would have liked, and there was one flaky spoke that was doing odd things at the spoke bed. Still easily a passing grade over all. The rear went smoother and more predictable. 115 Kg on almost all drive side spokes and most non-drive were evenly distributed around 100 Kg. I'd love to build a few more sets up, better than the Arch EX, not quite as stable as a Flow EX...

    but... the real review is in the ride:

    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review-dscn6944.jpgWTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review-dscn6945.jpg

    After the shake down ride, they get a quick and enthusiastic, YES. Not quite as stiff as my lovely Flows, however the acceleration and weight will more than likely make up for it. These will see racier tires with more PSI than I typically run for fun trail riding, but that was the plan. So far I'm very happy. I plan on abusing them on one of the longest descents on the east coast tomorrow and I will update this thread with a longer term review of the rims and wheels. Thanks!
    My one says BRAP!

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the write-up. Great photos, too. I'd be interested to hear how they fare long term. I was looking at these rims to build a light wheelset but there are reports that the KOMs are a bit fragile.

  3. #3
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    Any issues mounting the Maxxis or Schwalbe's on the rims?

  4. #4
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    The rear went smoother and more predictable. 115 Kg on almost all drive side spokes and most non-drive were evenly distributed around 100 Kg.
    How can it be possible?
    240CL have 100/60% tension distribution, so with 115kg on drive side, you should be at 70kg non drive side.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mac_Aravan View Post
    How can it be possible?
    240CL have 100/60% tension distribution, so with 115kg on drive side, you should be at 70kg non drive side.
    I was thinking the same thing. Something isn't quite right with those numbers.

    I've built half a dozen sets or so of the KOM rims and like them a lot. I think the people who've had durability issues are the ones who believed the inital WTB marketing that these were 'enduro' rims with strength equal to a carbon rim and they were indestructible, etc. There's no beating physics - these a light-ish XC/trail rims, not burly AM/Enduro rims. However, I think they strike a really nice balance of weight, stiffness, and width.

    If I were building myself another set of alloy rim'd MTB wheels, it would be with the KOMs.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhialto View Post
    Thanks for the write-up. Great photos, too. I'd be interested to hear how they fare long term. I was looking at these rims to build a light wheelset but there are reports that the KOMs are a bit fragile.
    I'm sticking to some higher pressures to hopefully avoid any rim damage. thanks!

    Any issues mounting the Maxxis or Schwalbe's on the rims?
    Not really. I've taken to simply removing the valve cores on all my tubeless set ups upon the initial inflation. No issues that way. I think the Schwalbe's tend to be the fussiest but w/ no valve that hook right up.

    How can it be possible?
    240CL have 100/60% tension distribution, so with 115kg on drive side, you should be at 70kg non drive side.
    Yep. I was thinking front when I posted that, just flat out wrong sorry. Wishful thinking but your numbers are the reality. I'm going to throw them in the stand later today to check how the last 3 rides have effected them.
    My one says BRAP!

  7. #7
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    What specifically about the Arches bothers you? Not a critical question, just a curious one.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by coombs View Post
    What specifically about the Arches bothers you? Not a critical question, just a curious one.
    They have been inconsistent, I have seen and built some that tension up nicely and I've had to send some back because the inner wall must of had some inconsistencies. This is no knock on the product in general and it's a universal acceptance that a lighter rim will inherently be more challenging to work with.

    At the end of the day? I want another option I can refer my customers to - some of them have had issues with Stan's products that I haven't experienced. So far I think the KOM rim is a nice alternative to the Arch EX...
    My one says BRAP!

  9. #9
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    Front wheel with actual deflection reading after 3 fairly rocky rides averaged 110-120 Kgf disc side, and 80 - 90 Kgf drive side. Rim was within 1 mm laterally. I'm using a Park Tool TM-1 so yeah...

    Rear wheel 100 - 110 Kfg drive side. 60 - 80 non-drive, meh. so more realistic numbers wheel builders (instead of plucking from the air or wishful thinking), rim was within 1.5 mm laterally. Just checking them both out with tires on thus far.

    In other words, I'm happy so far. I feel like they have a nice and lively feel largely due to the weight but without being overly whipy in corners. I'm probably 170 lbs with gear and am playing with higher PSI as I've damaged some rims recently. I'm around 28 psi rear, and 25 psi front. For racing I'm sure it's the right answer. For fun, I like a LOT less of course it's all dependent on tire volume and now, rim selection...

    As an aside the engagement on the DTs isn't as lightening quick as I'm used to with Kings/I9s but damn do they roll quick. I was hoping that they would come with the updated ratchet but I don't believe they did. There was more than once when I clumsily shifted gears or pedaled out of something techy that the hub gave me that knocking sound that I'm just not accustomed to. Not a big deal. I'll take reduced drag over hub engagement at least for the purposes of these wheels. Obviously these are my first DTs, always lusted, never purchased. They nice.

    I'll post more in a few months. I have a few endurance races coming up this summer...
    My one says BRAP!

  10. #10
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    Plume, thanks for this post. I was going to ask which hubs you had experience with, but post #9 explains it, cool. Keep us updated.

  11. #11
    Chris Bling
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    I have been on a set of KOM's since the beginning of the year and have been very pleased. I recently built me up another set for my new Canfileld Yelli Screamy a little over a month ago and have been oh so pleased!

    I raced on them at a local Enduro race and just returned from a trip down to Southern Utah where I grew up. After one especially gnarly trail, I stepped off the bike and spun the back wheel expecting to see some carnage. To my surprise, I spun the wheel and it was still dead true.

    These light rims have impressed me to no end. I have no problem pushing the hardtail into rocks and drops now. They have my stamp of approval.

    Don't know if anyone knows yet, but WTB is coming out with a KOM i25 (25mm internal width) with 29er weights ~460g per rim. Cant wait!!!
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dustyduke22 View Post
    Don't know if anyone knows yet, but WTB is coming out with a KOM i25 (25mm internal width) with 29er weights ~460g per rim. Cant wait!!!
    That's gotta be a typo right? The 23mm 29er versions I've built were all right around 460g, I'd be surprised if the 25mm versions were the same weight.

    WTB originally said the 23mm would be like 420g, but after some testing they added some beef for the production rims.

  13. #13
    mtbpete
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    The WTB 29in Frequency i25's I just built weighed 557g and 565g. 100g is a lot of weight to take off of the rim, but it can be done. I image the profile depth on the KOM will be a lot shorter than that of the Frequency.

  14. #14
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    Got a summer's worth of riding on these and I'm very happy with them, so happy that I've built another set with their KOM i25 rims and 350 hubs this time around. Wheel set weight is hovering just over 1800 grams (29") with c-lock hubs, DB wheelsmith spokes and brass pro lock nipples. Geared more towards enduro or trail use this time.

    The original wheels posted in the thread have required little maintenance and while I haven't pushed the envelop with low PSI I'm not running anything higher than 20 psi even for racing (I'm 160 lbs) so I'm pleased, no dings, rolling true. I ride fairly technical trails when given the chance...

    With these new wheels I plan on abusing them a bit more with lower pressures to improve some DH times... and fun. The build is decent but I am concerned with the seam, heat sink, weld as after bring the wheel to 120 Kg drive side I'm getting what I hope is only paint cracking right at that seam. I'm a little wary of this but I'll keep this thread updated.

    As an aside I'm finally going to adapt these dt hubs to the 36 step star ratchet as they are SLOW to engage with the 18 step... hope it makes a noticeable difference since that little upgrade retails for $120!!!
    My one says BRAP!

  15. #15
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    Glad to hear that people are pleased with the KOM rims. I'm about to have a set of wheels built up using KOM25s and some 32h CK hubs I had from an older 26" build. Looking forward to riding these things!!
    A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

  16. #16
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    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review

    I just built Up a set of these on Friday, with King hubs. I have to say I totally agree with you. It really makes for an amazing set of sturdy wheels.

    Setting them up with Specialized 2bliss tires though. Be warned....


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenzobear View Post
    Setting them up with Specialized 2bliss tires though. Be warned...
    Care to elaborate? I was planning on running a Purg/GC combo in 2.3 on these.
    A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

  18. #18
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    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review

    I just had a really hard time getting my tires to seat. My setup was a Fast Trak Conrol 2.0 up front and an S-Works Fast Trak 2.0 out back. I taped the rims with WTB's 28mm tape, as per their recommendation.

    I had zero success mounting the tire, removing the valve core, and using a compressor. The tire wouldn't even come close to seating. The only way I got them to seat was by having three other guys in the shop basically hold the tire onto the rims as I inflated them. Once I got them inflated though, they held air perfect. No shaking needed. I'll also add that the bead always sits just a hair uneven when fully seated. Making the tire roughly 4-5mm out of round.

    So, in short, it can be done, just not easily and not in the field.


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  19. #19
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    Those rims are designed for tires with a UST bead so unless you chose the Specialized Grid UST tires you're going to have trouble. The Specialized 2bliss tires have a larger bead than their grid UST tires so they are not the right choice for that rim. Some tubeless ready tires will inflate easier such as, Geax TNT, Hutchinson Tubeless Ready and of course WTB TCS tires.

  20. #20
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    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review

    Quote Originally Posted by changingleaf View Post
    Those rims are designed for tires with a UST bead so unless you chose the Specialized Grid UST tires you're going to have trouble. The Specialized 2bliss tires have a larger bead than their grid UST tires so they are not the right choice for that rim. Some tubeless ready tires will inflate easier such as, Geax TNT, Hutchinson Tubeless Ready and of course WTB TCS tires.
    You hit the nail on the head! I just used the 2bliss tires as they were what I had, and they still have a lot of life left in them.

    I think the design on the rim bed also has a lot to do with it. Stan's style rims have a very shallow divot in the rim bed, which helps the close the gap between tire and rim more tightly, allowing them to seal. The WTB rims have a very deep channel, which let's the tire sort of flop around on the rim. And yes, they do indeed fit a little bit looser, that's where the bead irregularity comes from. I'll bet another wrap of TCS tape would fix that


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  21. #21
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    Interesting. Any experience with Conti tires on these rims?
    A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

  22. #22
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    WTB KOM 29" Rim - wheel build review

    Quote Originally Posted by silent713 View Post
    Interesting. Any experience with Conti tires on these rims?
    Not as of yet for me, but back when I had flows(it seems the OP and I have very similar trains of thought here!) they were insanely tight on them, so I would assume they wouldn't be too bad of a hassle to mount up.


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  23. #23
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    I've tried the Conti Mountain King II and Trail King in the Protection version on a 26" KOM rim. They aired up fine and snapped into place nicely with a floor pump, nice & even, no wobbles, held air fine, piece of cake. I went back to tubes though since I change tires often enough that messing with sealant is a hassle I don't want to deal with. I used a single layer of fiber reinforced packing tape as the rim tape, I had some lying around and didn't feel like buying a roll of actual tubeless rim tape.

  24. #24
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    My wheels were built up this last Friday and I've managed to get two rides on them so far. Went with 32h i25 KOMS laced to CK hubs that I had laying around from an older bike. Slapped my existing Spec Prug/GC combo on the wheels and have been really happy with them so far. Started yesterday's ride out with 22psi in the front, and 25 in the back. Stopped twice during the ride to let a little air out. Plan to take them back to the shop on Wednesday so they can check them over and re-balance them if needed. So far so good. These things are MILES ahead of the crappy Easton wheels that came on my bike!
    A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

  25. #25
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    Thanks Plume. You influenced my next build. What was your spoke count for the wheels? I am looking to go 28h on the next build for cross country riding. Have you seen any issues with 28h?

    Thanks,

    urmb
    “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” ~ John F. Kennedy

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