Tough Gets Tougher: WTB’s New HTZ Wheels Designed Specifically for eMTBs
E-bikes have introduced a whole lot of “extra” into the world of mountain biking: extra laps, extra miles, extra stoke. All this extra introduces more wear and tear into the already unforgiving riding equation. eMTBs allow riders of all levels to enhance their riding experience, while also bringing up a whole new set of challenges for component design. WTB is excited to introduce its first purpose-built eMTB wheelset for those who want to ride with confidence rather than wonder if their wheels will make it through the ride. Specifically tailored to meet the demands of full-power eMTBs, all aspects of WTB’s new HTZ wheels were meticulously designed to be the most dependable e-specific wheels on the market.
HTZ i30 tubeless-ready rims boast an increased wall thickness of 20% over our already-burly KOM Tough enduro rims to help ensure they’re capable of withstanding the additional forces of modern eMTBs. WTB didn’t simply add material and call it good, though. Asymmetric spoke offset helps balance spoke length and tension to create a more stable wheel while a symmetric outer rim profile distributes impact forces evenly through the rim. HTZ tubeless-ready wheels feature our unique Solid Strip, which is a durable nylon strip that lies between the rim and tubeless tape to prevent tubeless tape from pushing into the spoke holes and therefore ensures a smooth interface between the tire and rim. The smooth surface makes it easier to mount a tire by preventing air from escaping around the bead at each spoke hole indentation during inflation. Solid Strip also protects the airtight system from puncture in the case of a broken spoke.
You get it… HTZ rims are burly enough to withstand whatever you and your e-bike throw at them, but we all know the quality of the hub plays a huge role in determining the long term resilience of a wheel. HTZ hubs feature a heat-treated steel freehub body, which eliminates gouging and prevents pawl socket failure under load. WTB’s new hubs feature a 6-pawl ratchet system with simultaneous engagement of all pawls to distribute pedaling forces more evenly and improve reliability on bikes with high-torque motors. The brand also increased the outer diameter of the rear axle sleeve to 17mm (compared to a traditional 15mm sleeve), which increases performance and durability while remaining compatible with traditional 12mm thru-axles. This reduces axle flex while cornering and pedaling, which results in improved ride quality and bearing longevity. Double-stacked, sealed Enduro bearings at the inboard end of the driver body further improve durability and extend bearing life. HTZ hubs also feature a heat sink behind the 6-bolt rotor mount to improve heat dissipation by up to 10% on long descents, allowing you to descend with confidence despite the extra weight of an e-bike.
A side-by-side comparison of competitors’ e-bike hubs against our HTZ hubs resulted in competitors’ hubs failing at 2,000 start/stop cycles while HTZ hubs endured 40,000 cycles. The key difference is that other brands simply use a steel freehub body in order to market their hubs for e-bike usage whereas every aspect of the new HTZ hub is specifically designed to withstand the additional torque and wear of e-bikes.
“E-bikes get you deeper, farther, and faster than a traditional bike,” explains enduro champion turned e-bike aficionado, Mark Weir. “Having strong, durable parts is crucial to prevent getting stranded out in the woods. HTZ wheels give me the extra security and peace of mind I need when I’m deep in the pines.”
Wheel strength is limited by its weakest point, which is why the complete build spec is as meticulous as the component designs themselves. HTZ wheels feature thick 2.3/2.0mm single-butted spokes to increase wheel stiffness and durability, with the thickest section at the hub to counteract the higher braking forces and increased motor torque of an e-bike. Every HTZ wheel sold in North America is hand-built at the WTB wheel building facility in California, while wheels sold in Europe are hand-built in Italy. Both facilities follow a six-step dewinding process to deliver equal spoke tension and worry-free riding. This ensures the final build is free of any winding stresses in the spokes that can release while riding and result in a loss of spoke tension. Combine this process with mechanically locking nipples and HTZ wheels will hold tension and stay true even through the most strenuous of rides.
HTZ front wheels are available at an MSRP of $329.95, while rear wheels are available for $439.95. Available in i30 x 27.5” (rear wheels only) and i30 x 29” sizes, hand-built HTZ wheels are currently available in both North America and Europe.
• Up to 20% thicker walls than KOM Tough rims
• 30mm inner rim width
• 6069 aluminum alloy
• Heat-treated steel freehub body
• 6-pawl ratchet system with simultaneous engagement
• 42 points of contact for 8.5° of engagement
• Heat sink improves heat dissipation up to 10% on long descents
• 13-gauge butted (2.3/2.0mm) spokes are oversized at the hub
• TCS Tubeless-Ready with Solid Strip integration
• 29” and 29/27.5” mullet configurations
• XD / HG / MS driver body options