We Are One Composites Carbon Wheels – Long Term Review

We Are One Wheels

We Are One Composites Convert rims on Industry 9 Hydra hubs

The first thing to say upfront is that Chasing Trails is proud to supply We Are One wheels & rims. So you’d expect a good review! Being small, Chasing Trails can sell the stuff we ride and aprove of.
Once I’d seen the quality, design and attention to detail in these carbon rims they were the on list of approved products! I’ve been riding the Converts for seven months at the time of posting. The Converts handle medium-large to plus tyres & take a recommended range of 2.5 to 3.0″ tyres. Internal width is 35mm.
There are models to suit most off road riding from gravel to downhill and a 26″ dirt jump rim #26aintdead and all that!

Carbon rims are harsh aren’t they?

If you’ve ridden carbon rims in the past, you might have found them a bit (or a lot) harsh. Most people take this as a sign that they’re also efficient, but a harsh ride often means energy is being lost, which slows you down and tires you out. XC racers realized this in relation to tyre pressures a good few years back (60psi is slower than 30 off road). Some manufacturers have made their rims more flexible, but you want compliance and stiffness combined. Carbon isn’t hugely difficult to make things out of, however it takes expertise to do it well & Dustin Adams went from riding pro downhill to lots of bike industry experience to starting We Are One in order to do things his way.
The reasons for the ideal ride characteristics are that the rims are stiffer laterally (sideways) than most other rims but more compliant radially (vertically). I found this noticeable on the first ride, but not in a way that took any getting used to. They just felt ‘more right’. Comfort and tracking is often thought of as an either/or, but We Are One achieve both extremely well.

In the 6 months I’ve been riding them they’ve been comfortable, fast, strong, and the bike goes where you point it. Equally important, I’ve not had to do any maintenance, they were true from new and they’ve stayed that way.
We Are One Composites Convert carbon MTB rim
As with any product I’m sure they’re not totally indestructible but they do inspire confidence. When riding I’m not thinking “careful, these are carbon”! I’ve seen other reviews where testers have messed up landings on decent size jumps and been sure that they were going to have to walk home – then checked & no damage, no drama. I have my limits, but I’m happy to get off the ground and nothing to report damage wise.

The quality shows even before you ride. There’s no paint and no finishing needed, the rim comes out of the mold basically done. Some carbon rims have 90% of the build time spent on filling & sanding the carbon before painting. We Are One have worked out the layup to be accurate & repeatable. This gives the visual quality and tolerances of less than 10g in weight between rims.

They’re built with Sapim spokes and nipples only. I’ve pretty much used exclusively Sapim for years now, and We Are One agree. The Sapim Polyax nipples sit much better in a rim than others, and these are also the self locking variety so they won’t work loose. This is superior to threadlock which can sometimes cause problems as well as solving some.

Suffice to say that whether using them on a hardtail or full-sus bike I’ve not managaed to damage them and they’re still running super-true. I found them as easy as any others to set up tubeless too.

Industry 9 hubs

I’ve used Hope hubs for ever. Still no complaints about Hope, they do the job extremely well. The reason these have the i9 Hydra hubs is partly because everyone knows abot Hope, but not so many people have seen the i9, so I thought it would be useful to have them in case customers want to compare.
i9 also do a cheaper hub, the 1/1. The Hydra has 6 pawls and lots of teeth on the drive ring (I forget the number) but this means as close to instant pick up as you’ll get. Although I can live without instant engagement, it’s quite nice in use. They also make a nice ‘swarm of angry bees’ noise! Another feature is that they’re designed with minimal friction so they should be faster. I’m sure this is only noticeable if you’re fitter than I am…
So the seals on the cheaper hubs might be a bit more effective, although I’ve not had to work on the Hydras yet, so it hasn’t been an issue. The bearings are still super smooth. This can be down to bearing quality as much as seal quality so I’m guessing the Hydra bearings are top of the range.
Hubs can be very much personal preference; just ask on a forum what noise people want their hubs to make and ste back…
I’ve been happy with the i9’s and have always been happy with Hope. DT Swiss and Chris King are also obviously right up there, and Shimano’s XTR are not to be forgotten, although they’re not as adaptable to different standards as some of the other brands.

Any non-positives?

There’s always a downside to any product. I can only think of one for these wheels – the cost. Especially compared to alloy. I think the price is competetive compared to other carbon brands, they’re not the most expensive but I can’t think of a competitor for quality & performance.

Prices

Currently, we can build onto your current hubs from £580 per rim including spokes, nipples and build cost.
Wheels start at £1400 for a set with Hope hubs, and you have a choice of Hope, Industry 9, Chris King, Onyx or DT as upgrades, if you prefer. There is sometimes a wait for We Are One items but that’s a small sacrifice for, in my opinion, the best rims available. They come with a solid waranty for peace of mind.
These will be on an online shop page at some point, but you can order by email or phone – which is ideal if you need any advice on which model will work best for you.