Review: Zero Two Trail carbon wheelset

A wheelset is likely the most impactful upgrade available to you. The change in rotational weight, rim width, vertical stiffness and lateral compliance will influence the ride quality and performance of your bike significantly. The all-new Zero Two carbon fiber wheelset is well priced, weighs in and around where a sturdy trail or enduro wheelset should and checks all the other on-trend spec boxes. I put them through a cumulative 15 hours of proverbial trail hell with plenty “hucking and bucking” to gauge their ride quality and durability.



THE TECH

The wheels are exclusively available in 29er with either a 27mm or 31mm inner rim diameter and all configurations including Shimano and XD bodies. The total weight is 1 792grams. 28 pillar wing spokes lace the front and rear asymmetric rim profile wheels up. This wheelset is aimed at the trail, enduro and E-Bike markets.

Like most reputable carbon fiber wheelsets, the Zero Two wheels include a manufacturer’s warranty and crash replacement policy with the purchase price, which, we would add, is super competitive at R15 500 for a complete set. Most carbon fiber rims use a pretty similar base material but the design, choice of resin, workmanship and overall fabrication process impacts significantly on the final product. Any carbon fiber wheels at any price point can and will break if you go off -line, hit a stray square-edged rock or go too low on psi — the same naturally applies to alloy rims. I recommend always looking for a wheelset that offers a replacement policy, like Zero Two, because rocks have no regard for price points and stuff happens on the trail.

If you are making the move from aluminum wheels to carbon I recommend you consider making a few changes to your suspension settings to get the best performance out of the new wheels. You may need to wind off a couple clicks of compression and if the new wheelset is lighter then add on a few clicks of rebound – that’s for both the fork and shock. A few small tweaks to these damping settings will help you get the best performance from your investment. Lastly, using an accurate tyre pressure gauge and checking psi before every ride is absolutely crucial for wheel longevity and performance.



ON THE TRAIL

These wheels certainly rip down the trail and that high stiffness factor of carbon wheels is very much a contributor to that rolling speed. The trail feedback is sharp and crisp. Every force applied to the bars is directed through to the front wheel without any vague steering wallow. A calm and chilled riding style will not yield the most from a stiff wheelset and that is very much the case with these Zero Two’s. They come alive and reward an aggressive riding attitude. These wheels go exactly where you point them so you had better be accurate and hang on tight.

Yes, the freewheel engagement is marginally lower than on the richer wheelsets but I had no problems ratcheting up techy climbs. From a brute strength point of view, I couldn’t fault them when hucking off drops or smashing through square edges. No burping, loose spokes, tyre cuts or the like.



SUMMARY

The Zero Two Trail wheelset is stiff, predictable and fast. They seem to be a good value for money offering backed by a big reliable distributor.


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