We Are One
Words & Photos by Drew Rohde
A few months back we got a stealthy Pyga Stage Max to review. On that bike was a pair of shiny carbon wheels made by a brand we’ve been hearing about for a long time! We Are One is a carbon rim manufacturer focused on creating the best carbon wheel possible. Assembled by hand in Kamloops, British Columbia, their nude wheels have earned them a dedicated following. We Are One takes pride in the manufacturing process, with a level of quality control that can only be achieved in hand-made, small batch production. They’re so confident in their product they even offer a no questions asked, lifetime warranty. Thanks to the Pyga North America crew’s fine taste in spec, we were able to spend some quality time on We Are One’s Insider wheels.
The Insider rims are billed as We Are One’s lightweight trail rim that can still take a beating. Like all We Are One wheels, they are beautifully naked, showing off all the fibers that were placed with care. Beyond aesthetic design, the theory is that by leaving the rims naked, avoiding sanding and other cosmetic treatments, We Are One reduces the possibility of compromised fibers.
They also use a proprietary bladder technology that utilizes high pressures to smooth out any wrinkles in the internal structure. The tight tolerances combined with woven and unidirectional fibers are designed to balance strength and ride quality while minimizing the chance for failure. We Are One are so confident in their process and products that they offer a no questions asked lifetime warranty.
Like the rest of their wheels, customers can go to We Are One’s website and pick which wheelset/hub combo they’d like. If you’re a diehard DT fan, or want to go exotic with an I9, Chris King or Hope hub, just click the button and you got it. You also have the freedom to choose spokes, driver body, decal colors and even the ratchet system. All the options ensure you’re getting exactly what you want, another bonus of supporting a small, handmade company.
When we first saw the wheels on our new test bike we were stoked. Not only because we’d been getting asked for our opinion by so many people, but because they looked damn good! The almost wet, naked finish makes them a standout against the many matte frames and wheels on the market. This did lead to some issues however. When we swapped tires we found the OE rim tape was garbage and unusable after removing the tires. Then we had some issues getting rim tape to stick to the wheels well enough to keep them airtight. We also didn’t love the We Are One decals as they seemed a bit cheap and also started to peal pretty quickly.
Moving on to the performance of the Insiders, these wheels are ready to party. The Stage Maxx is a shorter travel trail bike so it certainly wasn’t going to give these wheels any comfort when the going got rough. We charged through lots of rocks and small downed trees while building some new test tracks. The wheels held up to lots of guinea pig runs and rock garden smashing under multiple riders. We Are One’s Insider wheelset offered great durability and held spoke tension throughout the review period, never giving us any issues. We even dropped PSI in the tires to see if we could get them to burp or squirm. The wheels are stout yet offered a nice ride overall.
We Are One’s rim profile design lends these rims well to trail riders looking to easily customize their dream wheel while remaining affordable and easy to build. With a 27mm internal width, we’re sure some won’t be thrilled, but remember they are more of an XC/ trail wheel than their Agent or Outlier rims. Even so, we ran these hoops with some beefy 2.35 and 2.5 tires with ease. They held up to aggressive riding on a short travel bike that didn’t do them much favors.
The Wolf’s Last Word
If you’ve been on the fence about trying carbon wheels, chances are it’s one of two reasons – cost or durability concerns. While $1,300 isn’t exactly cheap, it’s a great deal for hand made carbon wheels built by riders who are passionate about their craft. And, the no questions asked lifetime warranty should lessen any fears of investment and let you know We Are One is certain their product will last.
Our first experience on We Are One wheels has been a good one overall. While the ride isn’t necessarily something that’s revolutionized the way we ride our bikes, they’re another great option that’s worth checking out. They don’t ride quite as well as Spēd Precision’s tuned wheels, but aren’t far behind the new Crank Brothers Synthesis wheels either, which are both some of our favorites on the market. We Are One has quickly gone from being a brand we’ve only heard about when being asked for input by other riders, to being a brand we suggest riders check out if they’re in the market for some new spinners.
Weight: 29” 1,715g
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Hand Made in Canada
Beautiful Nude Finish
No Question Lifetime Warranty
Rim Tape Issue
Cheap Decals Pealed Off
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