XC bikes have evolved a lot in the past few years. Those steep angles and super-firm suspension of a few years ago have been cross-pollinated with Enduro bikes and the result is a new breed of bike: Down-Country.
Down-Country bikes look like an XC bike at first glance but the closer you look the more you’ll see queues taken from Enduro and Trail bikes. Slacker headtube angles and longer travel suspension forks mean those “uh oh” moments don’t turn into over the bar crashes.
The TrailLite is designed for this new breed of bike, but honestly it’s a concept that we’ve been pushing for years. We adopted wide rims way back in 2014 and have been yelling their praises ever since: more grip, more traction, better tyre support, fewer flat tyres, and lower rolling resistance. We’ve proven the concept of wide rims works by having our riders standing on the podium steps at the Whaka 100, Pioneer, Karapoti and many more races.
The TrailLite takes everything we’ve learned from our excellent Flite Version 3 rims, Dial hubs, and 15 years of wheelbuilding experience to remove 160 grams of weight without affecting our lifetime warranty and industry-leading durability.
Lease options are available for New Zealand residents only. More information on leasing can be found here.
It’s no secret that our industry is struggling with the aftereffects of Covid on supply chains however on the whole the availability of our rims has not been affected by Covid-19. We have plenty of TrailLite rims in stock and turn-around should be around 2 weeks for us to build your custom build TrailLite wheelset.
Improvements from the Version 3 Rim
The TrailLite takes the improved ride feel, reduced shuttle-rash, and incredible durability of the Version 3 wheelset and tweeks it for reduced weight.
Differential front/rear rims
The front wheel has most changes from the Version 3. In our 15 years of wheelbuilding and over a decade building high end carbon mountain bike wheels we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Front wheels have an easier life than their rear partner so with the EnduroLite we’ve removed weight from the front rim with a lighter carbon layup and reduced amount of resin.
A custom Dial hub with 24 spokes saves further weight. The wider flanges of the Dial hub ensure the front wheel continues to track and respond with the accuracy you’ve grown to expect from a Flite wheel.
The rear rim is very similar to the Version 3 rim with a very slightly tweaked carbon layup and a 28 hole spoke count. The industry-leading durability (and warranty) of the Version 3 is retained.
These changes result in a wheelset which is more responsive and poppy to ride. The already excellent Version 3 got better.
The 30mm internal rim pairs best with 2.1″ to 2.4” tyres but is equally at home with Trail-oriented 2.5” and upward tyres. If you’re on a bike with up to 130mm of travel and you’re choosing tyres based on their balance of rolling-speed and grip then the TrialLite is for you.
If you’re on a bike with more than 130mm of travel or your go-to tyres are wide, grippy rubbers like the Minion then the 35mm rim of the EnduroLite might be a better option.
Custom Dial Hubs
The TrailLite wheelset rotates around a special version of our Dial hubs. The Dial has been proven over the past three years to be capable of the performance and durability that we expect.
The Dial hubs for the TrailLite are further tweaked for light weight and excellent spoke durability. The wide flange placement builds into a stiff wheel, and the angled flanges and carefully chamfered spoke holes ensure excellent spoke support.
The Dial hubs feature a simple, light-weight freehub body system and have tool-free servicing.
How we Design and Make Rims
Flite rims are built to our specifications using designs, carbons, and resins specified by us. They’re made by a super high quality company with offices and factories in both China and Taiwan who produce rims for a spectrum of brands ranging from smallish companies like ours to some of the industry big-players. We license and borrow some of their tech such as the tubeless bead-seat area because it would be stupid for us to try and re-invent that section of the rim, and we design other aspects of the rim to give us the weight, durability, and ride characteristics that we want. This works really well: We can design how we want our wheels to feel and to ride, and we can leverage the decades of composites experience of our manufacturer.
We demand the highest possible quality from the factory. We have had only one single rim fail our internal pre-wheelbuilding quality-control checks from many thousands of rims – to put that failure rate into perspective we were returning one-third of carbon rims from a famous American brand because they weren’t fit to be built into wheels.
This complete control over materials, process and quality is what made us pursue our own rims rather than rely on other brands. A nice side-effect is that when things go wrong we’re not waiting for approval from head-office for a warranty – we are able to quickly make those decisions our-self so our customers are not waiting weeks or months for decisions and replacement rims. For more on our lifetime warranty and turn-around please see below.
Lifetime Warranty with no bullshit
If you break a TrailLite carbon rim we’ll replace it. It doesn’t matter if it’s impact damage or JRA – we’ll cover it. No fineprint.
The best warranty is the one you never need: since releasing the Version 3 our warranty rate is less than 1%. This incredibly low failure rate is the reason we can offer a lifetime warranty, and why you can trust our wheels.
If a Version 3 or TrailLite rim is cracked it will continue to hold tubeless and be rideable. Tom Bradshaw put this to the test by doing over 3000 vertical meters of descending when he cracked a Version 2 rear wheel preparing for the Mammoth Enduro.
24 hour Warranty turn-around
We prioritise any warranty work and make it the most important job in the shop. We aim to have all warranties dealt with within 24 hours because we know how much it sucks to not ride your bike.
We don’t need to wait for approval from an overseas head-office or wait for special ‘warranty stock’ to be sent out – we just fix your wheel. Fast.
Watch your wheels being built
To share what we do and how we do it, we can now send photo updates of your wheels being built as we handcraft them. How cool is that?!?
We’ve spent 15 years perfecting the science and art of wheel building and creating the secrets of the trade. With these real-time photo updates you’ll get an insight into why that translates into amazing wheels with a lifetime guarantee.
You’ll be kept in the loop with how your decals are made, be able to see your wheels being laced and follow as the wheels are trued to one-tenth of a millimeter (that’s about the width of a human hair, by the way)
These photo updates are available for every wheelset we build whether purchased from one of our excellent retail partners or directly from us.
This is our way of letting you peek behind the curtain and see the skill, effort, and tricks that goes into every wheelset we build.
No Rider Weight Limit
There is no rider weight limit on the TrailLite wheelset, however please read the “Is the TrailLite Right for me?” section.
The TrialLite is not designed for ebike use. We suggest you take a look at our Version 3 or EnduroLite 35mm wheelests which are both suited for ebikes.
Is the TrailLite right for me?
Are you a big, aggressive rider? Are you riding an ebike? Do you prefer to plow through a rock garden rather than find the smoothest line? If you answered yes to all three questions you may find the “regular” Version 3 wheelset to be a better option: The front Version 3 is a stiffer wheel and for big, strong, aggressive riders will track better over rough terrain and through high-speed corners.
If you’re north of 95kg and known for your, *cough cough* creative line choices drop us a note and we’ll talk about whether the Version 3 or the EnduroLite is best for you.
Tyres inserts like Cush Core can be used with the TrailLite but are not required and won’t affect your warranty.
We don’t find that inserts make any difference to impact protection on the Version 3 and TrailLite but to be honest we see so few failures that it’s hard to correlate. What we do find is that inserts act as a volume spacer and will change the way the tyre behaves. Checkout Tristan’s Desk of Honesty to learn more.
After Sale Support
Our commitment to you doesn’t end once we’ve got your money: If you have any questions maintaining or servicing your wheelset we’re here to help. Just get in touch.
Both rims are 26mm deep and have a hookless bead to shrug off impact damage.
Tubeless allows lower tyre pressure, more grip, and less punctures. It’s a no-brainer.
Tubeless rim-tape and a pair of light weight CNC aluminium tubeless valves are already fitted when you pull your new wheels out of the box. Our attention to detail extends to the tubeless valves: serrated lockrings makes them easy to fit or remove and integrated wrench-flats are provided for super-tight valves. The valve cores are removable for easy cleaning or for assistance while installing difficult tubeless tyres. The inner section of the valve is optimised for our rims ensuring an easy air-tight fit.
With all our wheels we offer custom decals. With a range of 35 colours we have almost everything to make your bike all matchy matchy, or if your prefer #blackonblack we’ve got you covered.