And in the Red Corner weighing in at a ridiculous 1316 grams are the ZTR Race Golds, and in the Blue Corner….well, we nope they’re not too heavy.
If it is grams you are chasing then you’ve come to the right bout. The ZTR Race Golds are stupidly light for an alloy rim and hub set-up, but are they too light? [private]
The ZTR Race Gold wheels are a new and improved version of the ZTR Race wheels that previously took the 29er to Jenny Craig. Stan’s have kept the weight off and even managed to scrape out an extra 54 grams, while providing an improved rim design delivering a wider tyre base and increased air volume. The rims are laced up to the Stan’s 3.30 Ti hubs that feature stainless steel bearings.
While the new hub design provides flexibility for axle set ups by offering standard Quick Release or conversion kits for a 15mm or 9mm thru axle on the front and a 12x142mm or 10x135mm set-up on the back; the rims set the rules for these wheels.
The new rim design means these are low pressure rollers with a set-up of 15-33 psi mandated. (Luckily our standard 32/28 psi tubeless set-up came in just inside the warranty cut-off.) If you prefer a higher psi you’ll have to live with the choice to void the warranty or not, though chances are that if you’re running more than 33 psi then you’re heavier than the 77 kg rider weight recommendation (limit).
With the boundaries established for the ZTR Race Golds, how did they perform?
First off we saved a bucket load of weight. The ZTR Race Golds shaved 1 kg off our test bike, and where it counts – the rolling weight. The next thing we very quick discovered – these wheels are fast, stupidly fast
How do they perform on the trails?
What better way to test a set of race wheels is there, other than race them? On our first outing the light weight rolling benefits of these wheels was evident on the relatively smooth and hilly course and the wheels performed without fault. The stainless steel bearings in the hubs where smooth and the engagement on the free body solid.
A big draw back on 29er wheels is often their flex, caused by the longer spoke distance between the hub and rim (in addition to the larger diameter rim). While the ZTR Race Golds have tried to reduce this with larger diameter flanges on the hub bodies we still found them flexing. This could be largely attributed to the light weight spokes laced to the light rims. In particular when applying the power out of a corner, with the bike lent over, there was noticeable flexing in the rear wheel which subsequently interfered with the chain line.
Chatter on the trail and in the race pits is that some riders have found the durability of these wheels not as good as they hoped. So are these hoops durable?
When it came to racing these wheels up and down through rock gardens the limits of the ZTR Race Golds became evidently clear. After 5 laps through the race rock garden the rear wheel was in need of a good truing. While we did not experience anything more significant than some minor loss of spoke tension the wheels did not feel at home amongst the rocks, and the previously discussed flexibility was again evident. That said, since the re-truing of the wheels they have held up through a fast paced 4 hour race and a few more XC races and training rides – though all on smoother tracks.
These wheels are RACE wheels, hence the word “race” in their name. They are not all day everyday trail riding wheels (unless you are riding super groomed non-technical trails). There is a reason why wheels have a recommended rider weight and application.
If you’re looking for a race day set of wheels that can be rested while training, you don’t have an aggressive riding style (or your willing to give these wheels a true from time-to-time) and your budget doesn’t extend to a set of more expensive carbon wheels, then these wheels may just be a match made in heaven.