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Eight XC and trail wheels to roll into 2022

Top cross country and aggressive wheelsets to upgrade your bike this year

Outside of a new bike, a new set of wheels is one of the most impactful ways to improve your ride. A good wheelset can change how your ride feels, how your bike accelerates and handles and, of course, how it looks.

If you’re looking to add some bling to your favourite frame, or up the performance, these eight wheelsets are a great place to start. They range from the highest-of-high-end cross country race rims to wallet-friendly trail wheels that don’t sacrifice performance for price. Each one will freshen your ride for a new year and make your bike feel brand new.

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Bontrager Line Pro 30
Bontrager Line Pro 30. Photo: Matt Stetson

Bontrager Line Pro 30

Bontrager’s Line Pro has a reputation for an affordable and reliable option in carbon fibre trail rims. Now the same name brings an updated rim shape designed for a more comfortable ride. With a sleek black satin finish and 3.3-degree engagement, the Line Pro 30 looks as good as it works out on the trails. Bontrager’s since updated the alloy Line Comp 30 wheelset to follow many of these changes for under a grand. The Line Pro remains on another level, though, delivering Carbon fibre performance at an appealing price point with proven toughness. Read more about the Line Pro 30.

DT Swiss EX 1700 Spline

With DT Swiss moving its 1501 rims to carbon fibre, the 1700 series is the Swiss brand’s top alloy rim option. The budget-friendly wheelset gets an upgrade to DT’s own 350 hubs, with 10-degree engagement, and welded steams instead of sleeves. With a 30-mm internal width, the EX 1700 is a more trail-friendly rim well suited to aggressive riding. Read our full review of the EX 1700 Spline wheelset.

Roval Control SL

Roval Control SL

Roval’s Control SL are an experiment in what’s possible when you get creative with carbon fibre rim design. The results are astounding. A barely believable sub-1,300gram weight with smooth, fatigue-reducing trail feel, snappy acceleration and flat protection. There are now several versions of the Control design available, at lower prices with still-very-light weights, but the Control SL are in a class of their own for super-light XC wheels.

We Are One Revive 29. Photo: Matt Stetson

We Are One Revive 29

We Are One roll out something unique with the Revive 29: a carbon fibre cross country wheel that is made in Canada. Not just designed or assembled in Canada, either. WAO hand-lays carbon fibre in its Kamloops, B.C. facility. Truly local construction isn’t the only thing going for the Revive’s, of course. They also perform impressively well on trail, balancing compliance and stiffness. Plus, as our tester found out, they’re plenty tough.


Based on Vancouver Island, NOBL designed the TR32 as a meeting point of light weight, approachable price and “BC XC” toughness. Add in customization options, you can choose what hub you want when you order, and a unique sine-wave rim profile that mixes stiffness and trail feel, and the wheels from this Canadian brand are an attractive option. Read more about how the TR32 set themselves apart in our review.

Race Face Aeffect R

Race Face Aeffect R

Not wanting to shell out for extra fancy wheels shouldn’t mean you don’t have quality options to choose from. Race Face delivers excellent alloy construction without sacrificing quality or performance. The Aeffect R may not win you any KOM’s but, with steel axles, they’re tough enough for whatever abuse you throw at them on the way back down. Quick, 10-degree engagement, easily replaceable j-bend spokes and a solid price make the Aeffect R performance wheels at an affordable price. Read more about Race Face’s alloy experiment.


Light, fast and tough, ENVE’s M5 is the California brand’s cross country offering. Weighing in at under 1,400 grams and outfitted with Industry Nine’s ultra-quick Hydra hub, the M5 is lightning quick up climbs and out of corners. The rims are hookless, tubeless-ready and with a 25-mm internal width well suited to most XC tires. The 24-spoke race wheels aren’t inexpensive but they are covered by ENVE’s lifetime incident protection. Read more about the M5 wheels.

Industry Nine – Trail 270 Hydra

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Industry Nine takes a different tact with its line of alloy rims. While I9 does offer carbon fibre rims, its aluminum options are just as high-end. The Trail 270 Hydra’s are do-it-all wheelset that are tough enough for trail riding and, at 1,580 grams for 29″ set, light enough for cross country. They combine low weight with the stiffness of carbon fibre and ride quality of alloy. Industry Nine’s distinctive direct thread alloy spokes make this combination possible in a 24-spoke wheel, though a 32-spoke option is available for more serious sending. Add in the lightning-fast Hydra hub, with its 0.52-degree engagement, and the Trail 270 proves aluminum isn’t the inferior rim material. Plus, if you ever do damage these rims, they won’t become another piece of carbon fibre in the landfill. I9’s environmental commitments don’t stop there. The brand uses green packaging for its shipping materials wherever possible, too. Industry Nine Trail 270.