The WTB HTZ i30 wheels are designed to be more durable, tougher, and reliable while still providing a great ride quality for e-bike riders


E-bikes are a whole load of fun, allowing riders to go further, ride faster, and ride more. But that also means they wear through traditional bike parts a whole lot more quickly too, due to increased weight, torque and use. Enter Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB) with its new electric mountain bike wheelset the HTZ i30, designed specifically for the rigours of e-bike use.

With thicker rims, a steel freehub body with e-bike specific design, stronger spokes and built-in heat sinks, WTB claims that ‘all aspects of WTB’s new HTZ wheels were meticulously designed to be the most dependable e-specific wheels on the market.’

Need to know:

  • 20% thicker rims than WTB’s KOM Tough enduro rims
  • heat-treated steel freehub body
  • 6-pawl ratchet system with simultaneous engagement
  • Rear axle sleeve outer diameter increased from 15mm to 17mm
  • Heat sink behind 6-bolt brake rotor

The wheels on electric mountain bikes have to deal with a lot. There’s the heavier weight of the bike and the additional forces that creates when climbing, descending and cornering. Then there’s the forces from the motor-driven drive train. Ever aspect of the wheel from rim to hub and hub internals need to be built to withstand these forces, or at least that’s the view of WTB.

Thicker rims

Constructed from 6069 aluminium alloy with a 30mm inner width, the rims of the new WTB HTZ i30 are 20% thicker than those on the chunky KOM Tough enduro rims, and are designed to withstand some of those additional forces. Asymmetric spoke offset has also been used to add more mechanical strength and stability, while a symmetric outer rim profile distributes force between the wheel and ground on the rim surface evenly.

Other features include an enhanced bead hook and WTB’s On-Ramp feature – a slope between the rim valley and bead lock – both of which are designed to make tubeless tyre installation both quicker and more consistent, and, WTB says, ‘nearly impervious to losing pressure in the event of a broken spoke.’

Wheelsize-wise, you can get the HTZ i30 wheels in 29”,  27.5”and 29/27.5” configurations.

E-bike ready hubs

Rims are just one part of the wheels strength and durability equation, and the hubs on an e-bike have a lot to deal with. The HTZ hub is constructed from a heat-treated steel freehub body, something which has been seen on other eMTB wheelsets. The extra strength inherent in this material greatly reduces the chances of gouging or pawl pocket failure under load.

WTB says its hubs go further than other brands (pun intended) because it’s not just the freehub body that’s been designed with e-bikes in mind. The outer diameter of the rear axle sleeve has been increased from 15mm to 17mm to help reduce axle flex while cornering and pedalling, while still remaining compatible with 12mm thru-axles. WTB has also used stacked, sealed Enduro bearings at the inboard end of the driver body, and included a heat sink behind the 6-bolt rotor mount to provide, it claims, a 10% improvement on heat dissipation on long descents.

WTB goes far enough to put a number on how durable it’s hubs are, claiming that in side-by-side tests with an unnamed competitors hubs, the HTZ hubs completed 40,000 start/stop cycles before failing, while the competitor managed only 2,000 cycles.

The hubs use a six-pawl ratchet system with simultaneous engagement, with 42 points of contact providing 8.5° of engagement. The HTZ comes with XD, HG and MS driver body options.

Thicker spokes

Spokes are the third part of the puzzle, and WTB has opted for thicker 13-guage 2.3/2.0mm single-butted spokes, fitted with the thickest section at the hub to help counteract the effect of those higher braking forces due to bike weight and increased torque from the motor, plus mechanically locking nipples.

HTZ wheels sold in North America will be hand-built at the WTB wheel building facility in California, while those sold in the UK and Europe will be hand-built in Italy. Both use a six-step de-winding process which ensures equal spoke tension and releasing any stresses in the wheels from the building process that could otherwise release while riding.

WTB HTZ i30 range and prices

The HTZ i30 retails at an RRB of $769.90 / €699.90 per wheelset, or $329.95 / €299.95 for front wheels and $439.95 / €399.95 for rear wheels.

HTZ i30 27.5″

  • HTZ i30 x 27.5″  with Shimano HG 11sp (claimed weight: 1405g)
  • HTZ i30 x 27.5″  with Shimano MS (claimed weight: 1411g)
  • HTZ i30 x 27.5″  with SRAM XD (claimed weight: 1376g)

HTZ i30 29″

  • HTZ i30 x 29″ rim only (claimed weight: 1235g)
  • HTZ i30 x 29″ with Shimano HG 11sp (claimed weight: 1456g)
  • HTZ i30 x 29″ with Shimano MS (claimed weight: 1462g)
  • HTZ i30 x 29″ with SRAM XD (claimed weight: 1427g)

And a last word to Mark Weir, WTB athlete and enduro rider turned eMTBer. “E-bikes get you deeper, farther, and faster than a traditional bike,” he explains. “Having strong, durable parts is crucial to not 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.”