BONTRAGER LINE PRO 30 WHEEL
Review by Bobby Langin Jr.
Photos by Cole Gregg
When I had the chance to review the new, redesigned Bontrager Line Pro 30 wheels I was a bit excited to be honest, but maybe I should back up. Let me start this review by saying that I break things. My body, my bike, my pride, the list goes on, and most of these items have been broken more than once. I took some time off the bike as a result, and tried to do what adults do by avoiding risks. I guess my bones and wallet were feeling weird after being whole for so long, so in the beginning of 2019 I jumped back in the saddle and picked up a Trek Slash 9.8, equipped with the previous generation Bontrager wheels. My first experience with the old Bontrager Line 30 Carbon wheels was on that bike and to be honest, it was less than stellar. This is why I was so excited to try the new ones out.
My new bike made me feel fast, so naturally I decided to enter a race— my first in five years. The first run on practice day resulted in my first broken wheel. Little did I know I would break three more that year. In the end I went through one front wheel and three rear wheels in one year’s worth of southern California riding.
All this to say, my frustration and anger with Bontrager was real. I am not some paid reviewer afraid to critique a product, so that may lead you to ask, “Why did you even ride these wheels after that much bad luck?” Well, Bontrager offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects, a two-year warranty against rider defect and a great replacement program for what may come after those initial two years. I definitely took full advantage of those policies, and since I owned ‘em, I may as well review ‘em!
If you are like me then you probably think it is nice knowing there is a warranty, but that isn’t enough to make me want to buy more wheels to break. In reality, what made me purchase another set was the advertisement for the new, improved Bontrager LinePro wheels that showed them in a guillotine-like device. I had to try and prove them wrong. There is no way could they have made that big of an improvement, right?
A few months ago, you may have seen a really cool Dissected Feature showcasing the technology and features of the new wheels, which you can see here. After watching that video I was anxious to give them a try.
Bontrager developed a machine to take wheel testing to a whole new level. The Eriminator drops an anvil onto the rim in order to simulate a true wheel impact on the trail. Thanks to the changes made to survive that test, Bontrager is going so far as to boast that the Line Pro 30s are stronger than any other wheel they’ve tested!
In this review I’ll focus less on the tech and more on how they performed, but we’ll touch on a few key improvements to the Bontrager Line Pro 30 wheels first. Bontrager started with a new 4.64mm thick hook and bead design to help withstand impacts and reduce pinch flats. Bontrager’s engineering team worked their OCLV carbon layering to provide the wheels with the right amount of stiffness and strength while keeping weight to a minimum. The new wheel design also moved to a shallower 27mm rim depth to allow for more compliance, which is a nice improvement from the previous wheel design. While that may seem counterintuitive, just enough compliance is key to keeping the wheel tracking down the rider’s intended line. This is particularly key when hitting unforeseen square-edged rocks that can send you off course. In my case going off course means heading straight into SoCal giggle weeds (aka cacti).
The new Bontrager Line 30 wheels come in either Elite or Pro model offerings. Both use the same rim, but have some different spoke and hub choices to cut the cost. I bellied up to the bar with the big boys and chose the Pro model. After all, I did say I was getting weirded out by my wallet weighing me down after not riding for a few years. Luckily the Pro level wheels are still reasonably priced at $1,299.
Bontrager’s Line Pro 30 wheelset comes with DT Swiss Competition Race spokes as opposed to the J bend spokes found the Elite wheels. Both the Pro and Elite models come with the Bontrager Rapid Drive 108 rear hub. With just 3.3 degrees between engagement points, there’s almost no slop when transitioning into a pedal stroke. As for weight, they are pretty darn light for an abuse taking trail wheel, coming in at 810g for the front and 950g for the rear on the Pro model and 890g and 1,000g for the Elite. Neither version has a rider weight limit so us dad bod guys can get out and put a thrashin’ on ‘em. That also makes them a great choice for riders with heavy packs on all day epics or for all you eMTB riders out there.
I set up the wheels on my 2019 Trek Slash 9.8 and wondered at what point down the trail they would break and where I’d be hiking from. I opted out of the Maxxis DH casings I typically run, in favor of the Assegai 2.5 and DHRII 2.4 with their Double Down casings. I did not have much confidence, especially since I also moved to lighter casings and dropped a couple PSI from my normal pressures.
I figured I’d test out that warranty right away and was hellbent to destroy some wheels by setting out for the rockiest trail I know. It didn’t take long to notice these new wheels are a bit more supple and forgiving on the chatter. That translated directly into more confidence on the straights at speed and in corners providing some good traction.
I decided I needed to step it up a bit more by taking some harsher line choices. I fully expected failure as I plowed straight into rocks, but aside from some pings and smacks, the bike kept rolling. Even after months of abuse and poor line choice these wheels have stayed true and survived blows that would have left the previous design in scattered pieces.
It took me a few runs worth of hate-filled riding before I took my foot of the gas and started focusing on fun and riding. The next several months were spent getting my ass back in shape, riding with friends at the bike park, dirt jumps and trail rides. While I noticed a big difference in the compliance vertically, there was a lot more that impressed me about the wheels. Pedaling and efficiency were pretty impressed and I liked the Rapid Drive 108 hub quite a bit. The engagement isn’t Industry Nine level fast, but I’m able to ratchet pedal and baby crank through rock gardens or off ledges without any issues.
The Wolf’s Last Word
After three sets of tires and countless runs down a so-called suicidal trail, my Bontrager Line Pro 30 Carbon wheels are still intact. I’m still running no Cush Core (Bontrager says it voids the warranty) and I have just enough tire pressure to avoid ripping the tire off the bead while slapping tacky corners. I’ve thrown in the towel on trying to break these. Bontrager did it right with redesigning these wheels and have officially won me back. They’ve handled everything I could throw at them, which is no short order. The new Bontrager Line Pro 30s ride better, offer more comfort and traction, look slick and still come with a warranty I know I can depend on, but likely won’t need to use anymore. Here’s to second chances.
Signed a mid-thirties self-proclaimed “slow Pro.”
– Bobby Langin | Proud father, husband, founder of Langtown Racing Academy and a mid-pack finisher.
Line Pro 30 – $1,300
Line Elite 30 – $900
Line Pro 30 – 1760g/set
Line Elite 30 – 1890g/set
Look dang good!
Value for carbon wheel
Stiff in the corners
They proved me wrong (which is actually a good thing)
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