Weight without skewers 1,600g / Supplied with Skewers
By using an off-centre drilling on the WCS rims Ritchey has been able to reduce the dishing effect and better balance spoke tension on both sides of the wheel, without having to reduce centre to flange spacing. This approach has obvious advantages on the rear wheel where the cassette has to be accounted for, but with disc brakes now commonplace on most mountain bikes it also offers strength and comfort benefits for the front wheel too.
At face value the WCS rear wheel comes within 2g of matching Shimano XTR (the lightest on test) and it’s because Ritchey uses a DT 240 rear hub with a Ritchey sticker on it. But the raw figures don’t tell you everything, because if you factor in the additional weight of a Shimano Centre Lock rotor needed for XTR, the Ritchey rear wheel and conventional rotor actually give a lighter package. The Star Ratchet system in the rear hub is reliable but we’ve had a 240 freeze up in very cold conditions and the aluminium hub body gets notches in it from the cogs on the cassette that aren’t mounted to the spider.
Unfortunately the Ritchey front wheel drags the overall weight of the Ritchey WCS wheel set-up, as the hub can only be used with the associated oversized Ritchey skewer that weighs 76g, 32g more than Mavic’s. Granted the oversized axle may add some torsional rigidity to flimsy XC forks but there’s no getting around the fact that the Ritchey front wheel is 70g heavier than the Mavic Crossmax SLR. Also because there are no springs on the Ritchey skewer to centre it in the dropouts it’s not as quick to get in or out as a conventional setup — something you may want to consider if you’re racing.
At £455 the Ritchey WCS wheelset is good value for money. The wheels are well put together, have the smoothest bearings on test and the OCR technology offers a great balance between ride comfort and stiffness. In fact, if the front wheel were 50g lighter, we’d have scored the Ritchey wheels up a notch. Graphics get tatty quickly though, making this expensive set of wheels look cheap.
MBR RATING: 9/10