Veteran mountain bike racing fans will remember the name Dustin Adams. In the early 2000s, the Canadian was tearing up the North American pro downhill circuit, winning a pair of national championships, and accumulating 10 NORBA podiums and two third place overall series finishes.
Since retiring from racing, Adams has immersed himself in the carbon wheel arena, first working for NOBL and then moving on to form his own venture, We Are One, which launched on June 1 this year. The Kamloops, British Columbia-based company is going after the trail/all-mountain market, offering 29er and 27.5 carbon wheel options.
Besides offering decent price points ($1625 per wheelset with Project321 hubs or $1200 with Hope hubs), We Are One’s primary hook is that all their products are made in Canada. “No offshore business or funny sticker company shenanigans,” is the way Adams puts it.
Mtbr just took delivery of a 29er test set, and while we’ve yet to log any trail miles, these composite hoops were impressive out of the box. Total wheelset weight is 1890 grams including valve stems (890g front, 1000g rear), which compares well to other test hoops we have in the garage right now. Just for kicks we also weighed a just received set of Stan’s ZTR Crest XC alloy race wheels, and they were only 60 grams lighter — and far narrower.
At first glance, The Agent 29 is an understatedly good looking wheelset with a noticeably shallow depth that’s designed to withstand all levels of abuse. They have a 30mm internal width, are 25mm deep, and have a 3.5mm rim lip to bolster impact performance. The rims are strung with top end Sapim Race double butted spokes, 32 front and rear. Hubs are from California-based Project321 (which is about to move to Bend, Oregon), and have 216 points of engagement and a magnetic pawl system that gives the rider the choice of loud or quiet settings. (We opted for quiet.) Also note that the Hope hubs have 44 points of engagement, but lower total wheelset price by $425.
“The proprietary layup and material for our Agent rim have been carefully selected and engineered for maximum durability without having a harsh ride feel,” explains the We Are One website. “If you’re riding the local trails one day and the chairlift in Whistler the next, the Agent lineup has you covered.”
The Agent are built around what We Are One calls its trifecta of design where the shallow 25mm rim depth is designed to give a positive ride feel on the trail while being supported by a stout 3.5mm rim lip. The Agent’s rim lip construction is specifically engineered to withstand impacts, while the broad internal rim width of 30mm allows you to run 2.35-2.6 tires. Spoke holes are angle drilled at 5 degrees to help increase nipple engagement while decreasing fatigue.
The Agent wheels also utilize a hookless bead to ease tubeless set-up and lessen the chance of burping. We Are One claims that tires will easily mount without levers and inflate tubeless with a standard floor pump. We’ll let you know if that bears out when Mtbr publishes its full review in a month or so.
The company itself has an interesting take on business. Of course they opened up shop to make money, but as the name indicates, they’re trying to start a movement of sorts.
“[We’re] creating ‘The Movement’ because we wanted to define the reason behind We Are One,” reads a mission statement on the website. “Our company wants to develop grassroots riders, bring mountain biking to a new generation of riders, and help communities grow through cycling. We want to plant ‘The Movement’ pillars in local riding communities that support and share our vision and empower them to share it with others.”
They also have an impressive in-house set-up that includes a fully operational machine shop, which allows them to make all of the parts that go into their molds. “When you start from the ground up, it is imperative to understand your manufacturing needs to produce finished ‘out of the mold’ quality products,” explains Adams. “Nothing we manufacture can be hidden, sanded, painted over or filled. With our rims being naked, it allows only the best to make it to market.”
We Are One also utilizes a CNC cutting machine to replicate layup schedules. This is said to boost consistency and results in minimal fiber disturbance, which makes for better quality rims. All layup schedules are claimed to be +/- 10 grams and they have an in-house testing lab to insure quality control start to finish.
Finally it’s worth noting that the wheels come with a fairly robust guarantee that reads in part, “If you break them, smash them, have any problem at all….. No questions asked we will replace the rim, for the first [5 years] to the original owner.”
To learn more about this fledgling company and their new wheels head to weareonecomposites.com.