Review: We Are One Union 29 Carbon Wheelset

Affordable North America-made wheelset ready for rowdy riding

29er Gear Pro Reviews Wheels
We Are One's Union carbon rims are stiff without being harsh.

We Are One’s Union carbon rims are stiff without being harsh.

Since launching in 2017, We Are One Composites has quickly made a name for itself as a manufacturer of quality carbon fiber rims. Based in Kamloops, British Colombia, the company has rapidly expanded its Canadian-made rim arsenal to cover gravel, cross-country, trail, plus-bikes, enduro, and downhill. I tested We Are One’s enduro-ready Union rims laced to a pair of Industry Nine’s budget-friendly 1/1 hubs and came away convinced by their ride quality and durability.

Related Reading: We Are One carbon wheels first look

We Are One Union / Industry Nine Wheelset Highlights

  • Canadian-made carbon fiber rims
  • Tubeless compatible
  • Available in 27.5 and 29-inch diameters (29er rims tested here)
  • 30mm internal width
  • Laced to Industry Nine 1/1 hubs
  • Hubs feature four-degrees of engagement
  • Weight: 870g front / 990g rear / 1,860g complete wheelset
  • Price as tested: $1,399
  • For more information visit: https://www.weareonecomposites.com/

We Are One Union Wheelset Build

The Union features a 30mm internal width in a hookless rim profile.

The Union features a 30mm internal width in a hookless rim profile.

As mentioned in the introduction, the Union is designed for aggressive trail riding and enduro racing. This carbon rim is up to speed with its competitors featuring a hookless rim profile and an internal width that measures 30mm from bead to bead.

We Are One builds its complete wheelsets around Industry Nine’s lightning-fast Hydra hubs as well as the more affordable 1/1 hubs tested here. Customers can also buy We Are One rims separately to lace into the hubset of their choice.

Industry Nine's 1/1 hubs are fast and affordable.

Industry Nine’s 1/1 hubs are fast and affordable.

I’ve come to appreciate Industry Nine’s hubs for their fast-engagement, adaptability to freehub various SRAM and Shimano freehub standards, and ease of service. The 1/1 hubs might not offer the near-instant .52-degrees engagement of the top-end Hydra hubs, but with just 4-degrees of engagement, these American-made hubs are quicker than more expensive options from Chris King and DT Swiss.

The weight for the wheelset as tested is 1,860g. While not feather-light, it’s on par with other burly carbon wheelsets.


Poise and Precision

The Union is a good fit for any long-travel rig.

The Union is a good fit for any long-travel rig.

A few short years ago, it would have been commercial suicide to market carbon rims based on flex. But times have changed. Professional athletes, as well as many weekend warriors, have realized that there is such a thing as a wheelset that is too stiff.

In designing the Union, We Are One set out to reduce radial stiffness. The Union rims feature a shallow, 21mm-deep profile, combined with a smart carbon layup that results in a degree of engineered compliance.

As a mountain biker on the lighter end of the spectrum (I weigh 155-pounds kitted up), I’ve found that many wheelsets designed to withstand the rigors of aggressive trail riding can feel harsh and unforgiving. Two wheelsets that come to mind are ENVE’s M730 and Bontrager’s Line XXX. In my experience, both wheelsets lack vertical compliance.

This excessive stiffness is most perceptible when riding over successive high-velocity impacts, such as a series of square-edged rocks or root-covered terrain. It’s a noticeable difference that presents itself as chattering off my desired line and pinch-flatting in situations where I’ve been fine on more compliant test wheelsets.

My time on the Union wheelset was spent on iconic trails in Moab as well as my Colorado proving grounds. After several months of rough riding, the company’s claims of radial compliance seem well-founded. The low-profile rim shape quiets trail chatter, allowing me to speed through rock gardens with precision.

The bare carbon rims are beautiful but will show marks from normal use.

The bare carbon rims are beautiful but will show marks from normal use.

I enjoy riding rocky, janky terrain, and I wasn’t gentle with this wheelset. Prior to writing this review, I pulled the tires off to inspect the rims for any visible signs of damage. The rims are free from any cracks and gouges, though the glossy finish does highlight cosmetic battle wounds. Despite a few minor marks and in spite of my misplaced landings and occasional hucks to flat, the rims are still as true as they were the day I pulled them out of the box.

If I had managed to crack one of the rims during testing, We Are One would stand behind them with a warranty that’s free from fine print.


We Are One Warranty

It’s difficult to justify spending a mortgage payment on a wheelset that isn’t backed by a solid warranty. Thankfully, We Are One stand behind its rims with a crash replacement policy that’s as straightforward as they come: if you break a rim while riding, We Are One will send you a replacement rim at no cost. You’re on the hook for shipping, but that’s it. This is applicable for the lifetime of the rim for the original owner.

Now, let’s say something happens to the rim when you’re not riding—maybe you drive your roof rack into the garage or back over a buddy’s misplaced bike at the trailhead. We Are One calls this “vehicular stupidity” and offers a 50-percent discount on a new rim as a crash replacement rim. This seems more than fair to me.

You can read the full warranty here.


Verdict

The Union should be on your shortlist for a wheel upgrade.

The Union should be on your shortlist for a wheel upgrade.

Trickle-down technology is steadily making carbon wheelsets more affordable. There are some carbon wheels that break the $1,000 mark, but very few offer a cut-rate price and a lifetime warranty.

We Are One is able to offer premium, Canadian-made rims laced to American-made hubs for just $1,399. The ride quality of the Union rims is excellent, and they’re backed by a category-leading warranty. If you’re ready to invest in a carbon wheelset, this seems like a no brainer.


Join the conversation: visit the We Are One thread in our Wheel and Tire forums



About the author: Josh Patterson

Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998, and has been writing about mountain biking and cyclocross since 2006. He was also at the forefront of the gravel cycling movement, and is a multi-time finisher of Dirty Kanza. These days, Josh spends most of this time riding the rocky trails and exploring the lonely gravel roads around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.


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