Roost i33EN Wheelset

Roost i33EN Wheelset

Words by Justin Serna | Photos by Cole Gregg

Carbon wheels have long been the “pimp my ride” solution for most mountain bike enthusiasts. Nothing says, “I take this sh*t serious,” like a set of sexy carbon hoops. One reason for this status factor is the exorbitant cost most brands charge for their wheels. Currently there are carbon wheels available from countless brands. You can find a carbon wheelset online from questionable Chinese brands, established component manufacturers and bike brands or even small, niche American companies who hand-make their wheels here in the States. It’s definitely a saturated market, but during our years of testing bikes and products, few things can really change the ride of your bike as much as wheels. Not all carbon wheels are created equal and we were excited to try these new Roost wheels.

Roost is based in Boulder, Colorado and they off three different and very distinct wheelsets: the i27XC, i31AM and the gravity focused i33EN. We tested the i33EN, which are built around a 33mm internal rim width, 38mm external and heavier duty Enduro layup meant to withstand the rigors of racing and aggressive riding.

Roost i33EN Wheelset

THE LAB

Roost’s rims are manufactured in Asia before being shipping to Boulder, CO. Once they arrive at Roost HQ they are laced and trued using the Holland Mechanics OT before a detail oriented quality control check where tension is finalized by hand. The goal is to deliver customers an evenly tensioned and perfectly true wheel.

What’s really impressive is the fact these wheelsets are available for $900 in 27.5” or 29” with Boost as well as Non-Boost spacing options. Roost offers them with your choice of a Roost 150t engagement free hub or the tried and true DT Swiss 350 or 240 hubs.

The high modulus, pre-preg carbon fiber layups ensure a high strength to weight ratio and the reinforced nipple beds with a curved carbon strip ensure that each nipple is equally strong, despite the spoke pull angle. Every wheelset comes with a 1-year manufacture’s defect warranty and a lifetime crash replacement at $225 per new hoop.

Roost i33EN Wheelset

The Dirt

Did anyone catch the price on these wheels, $900! I’ll be honest I was a bit skeptical when I heard I would be riding a set of $900 carbon wheels on an insanely sketchy lava rock strewn gravity trail named Stalin’s Staircase, but much to disbelief the affordable wheels had just the right amount of stiffness when tracking through tight rock gardens and plenty of compliance on the several huck-to-flats I encountered.

The dirt has been rather amazing in Central Oregon and the trails have been exceptional for so early in the season, so I thought I would head out on a trail ride just to see how the 29” i33EN Roost wheels faired in a tamer environment. Again I was pleasantly surprised at how balanced the wheels felt cornering at high speed as well how quickly the 29” wheel accelerated out of some very tight corners. Riding smoother flow trails like Bend’s famous Whoops trail, allowed me to focus less on line selection and holding on, and more on lateral stiffness in berms and how they’d handle landing jumps and pedaling efficiency.

Roost i33EN Wheelset

After plenty more rides on Bend’s jump trails and some lava-laden rocky trails out east, my last test would put the wheels to the test on some of the steepest and rowdiest riding in the PNW. I swapped tires to a set of Maxxis Minion DHF & DHR tires and drove a couple hours to a secret zone. I was anxious to see how Roost’s i33EN $900 wheels would handle some of the steepest trails I’ve ridden. It had rained just before we arrived and the off camber, exposed roots and the gnarly drop-ins all challenged the limits of available traction. Roost has made me seriously evaluate my perspective on performance relative to price tag.

These wheels rode extremely well in a variety of conditions and at only $900 you will have plenty of money left over to go on that bike park trip you’ve been planning. That is of course, if you were looking at making a $1,400+ investment on carbon wheels to begin with.

Roost i33EN Wheelset

The Wolf’s Last Word

Upgrading your wheels is probably one of the most significant changes you can make to your bike’s performance. Knowing that you can now boast about your carbon wheels and their performance for $900 makes it even better. Regardless of the cost, Roost’s i33EN wheelset did not disappoint.

Like most brand’s wheels, they are made overseas but are assembled and fine-checked at their Boulder, CO headquarter. You can also rest assured knowing that if you do have an issue they’ve got a customer service and warranty department ready to take your call. Plus that lifetime crash replacement policy isn’t a bad deal either. We definitely give these wheels a solid thumbs up. They don’t quite offer the finely tuned performance as some other wheels like Spēd Precision, but they do offer a very capable and confident ride at a fraction of the cost! We’d gladly keep these on our bike if we didn’t have to give them back.

Price: $900
Weight: 1,925g (29in – i33EN)
Website: roostwheels.com

We Dig

Wheels are Staying True
Not to Stiff
LifeTime Crash Replacement ($250)

We Don’t

Only One Year Manufacturer’s Limited Warranty

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