ON TEST | The new Bontrager Line Pro 30 carbon wheels promise more strength, less flats

Bontrager has just rolled out two new carbon fibre mountain bike wheelsets; the Line Pro 30 and the Line Elite 30. Both wheelsets are designed for trail riding and enduro racing, and they feature an entirely new carbon fibre rim design that’s said to be smoother to ride, tougher and less likely to cause flats. We’ve currently got a set of the Line Pro 30 wheels in for review, and here we’ll be taking a closer to see what’s new, and what sets them apart from the competition.

bontrager line pro 30 carbon wheels
Bontrager has given the Line Pro 30 and Line Elite 30 wheelsets a hefty update for 2020.

Double The Strength

For a start, these are meant to be much tougher than the previous version. According to Bontrager, they’re not only the strongest carbon mountain bike wheels it has ever built, it’s also the strongest wheelset it’s ever tested – of any brand.

During the development of the new Line Pro & Elite wheelsets, the engineers developed a new torture device dubbed ‘The Eriminator’. Numerous rim profiles and carbon layups were subjected to the Eriminator’s angled anvil strike test, which was able to deliver sharper blows to the rim that are supposedly more representative of what happens out of the lab in the real world.

And according to Bontrager, the new rim possesses almost double the impact strength of the one it replaces.

The end result of all that testing is a new carbon fibre rim profile that is shallower and with notably wider bead hooks. And according to Bontrager, the new rim possesses almost double the impact strength of the one it replaces. That’s a hefty improvement.

Rider Weight Limit? Get Outta Here!

That’s right – Bontrager is so confident in the strength of its new carbon wheelset that there it comes with no official rider weight limit. Given most wheel brands have some kind of recommended weight limit, that’s a big deal. Furthermore, they have a lifetime warranty to the original owner to cover you against any potential manufacturing defects.

As a result, the bead hooks are quite a lot thicker, and that allows them to absorb impact energy over a broader surface area.

And going one step further, they also come with Bontrager’s Carbon Care Wheel Loyalty Programme. Here’s the official word on what that entails: “In the unlikely event that you damage your Bontrager carbon wheels within the first two years of ownership, we’ll repair or replace them for free“. Pretty comprehensive.

More Compliance & Better Pinch-Flat Resistance

Back to that rim design. Compared to the previous Line Pro 30 wheelset, the new carbon rim has a shallower 27mm depth that helps the rim to more readily absorb radial impacts, while offering more vertical compliance for a smoother ride. We’ve found the existing Line Pro 30s to be one of the stiffer and more harsh carbon wheels we’ve tested, so this is good news from a ride quality perspective.

bontrager line pro 30 carbon wheels
The new OCLV carbon fibre rims are wider externally, giving them a voluminous appearance when paired with chunky rubber.

Internal rim width remains at 29mm, and Bontrager says that will suit tyres from 2.2in to 2.6in wide. However, the external width has grown from 36mm to 38mm. As a result, the bead hooks are quite a lot thicker (4.64mm each, if you’re wondering), and that allows them to better absorb impact energy over a broader surface area. It also means in the event of a harsh rock strike, the rim bead is less likely to cut through the tyre casing thanks to its thicker and more blunt profile.

What’s The Build Like?

The Bontrager Line Pro 30 wheelset we have on test here features the new OCLV Pro carbon fibre rims, which are laced with 28 x DT Swiss straight-pull spokes onto Bontrager’s own Rapid Drive 108 hubs. The hubs are updated for 2020 and feature sealed cartridge bearings along with a 6-pawl freehub mechanism that delivers fast 3.3° engagement.

The rear hub features a 6-pawl freehub mechanism that delivers fast 3.3° engagement.

While you can get 27.5in and 29in sizes, the wheels are only available with Boost hub spacing. The hubs use a 6-bolt rotor mount, and you’ll get a SRAM XD freehub body as standard. Shimano Micro Spline freehubs are also available, but you’ll have to plump up another $153 for one of those.

The wheels do come out of the box already fitted with Bontrager’s plastic TLR tubeless rim strips and valves, which offer a very tight and secure interface – we had to use levers to get both tyres on. Unlike typical tubeless rim tape, the TLR strips won’t perish over time.

Confirmed weight for our 29er test wheelset is 1,881g. This weight includes the TLR strips and valves, which would explain the difference with Bontrager’s claimed weight of 1,760g.

The TLR rim strips create a very tight and secure fit, and unlike typical tubeless rim tape, they won’t perish over time.

There’s A Cheaper Line Elite Wheelset Too

The Line Pro 30 wheelset we’ve got on test just sneaks under the two grand barrier, making it solid value on paper. For $500 less though, there’s the Line Elite 30 wheelset. These still use OCLV carbon fibre rims, and the physical dimensions are the same with a 29mm internal width and a 38mm external width. However, the layup is a little different so they’re a touch heavier.

The Line Elite wheelset still gets Bontrager’s Rapid Drive 108 hubs, and they still get the same warranty and Carbon Care support programme. Cheaper J-bend spokes help to bring the price down, which may actually be preferable for some riders.

Bontrager Line Elite 30 Wheelset

Bontrager Line Pro 30 Wheelset

bontrager line pro 30 carbon wheels
We’ll be testing the Bontrager Line Pro 30 wheelset over the coming months to see just how tough these new carbon hoops really are.

Given the bold claims about impact strength, the comprehensive warranty support and the sub-$2K price tag, the new Bontrager Line Pro 30 & Line Elite 30 wheels certainly have a lot going for them on paper. We’ll be putting our Line Pro 30 test wheelset through its paces over the coming months to see how they perform on the trail, and to find out whether they’re as tough as Bontrager claims they are.

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