e*thirteen completely overhauls its whole MTB wheel range

Remy Metailler doing a jump on a bike in a forest
(Image credit: e*thirteen)

e*thirteen has released a load of new alloy and carbon wheels covering all disciplines from downhill to downcountry, with some e*spec e-MTB optimized versions too.

The brand says the new wheels are a complete redesign whilst retaining the best features from its existing best mountain bike wheels. All aspects of the wheel has received attention from rim profiles to hub serviceability, with testing and development input from the likes of Aaron Gwin and Dakota Norton.

The range is broken up into four categories based on the riding they are intended to be used. The Grappler range covers downhill and enduro, Sylvan takes care of all-mountain and the Optimus is aimed at downcountry and trail riding. For motor assisted riders, the Sylvan and Grappler Enduro both come in e*spec e-MTB wheel options too.

Let's take a closer look at the new wheels.

e*thirteen Grappler Race Carbon Enduro Wheels

e*thirteen Grappler Race Carbon Enduro Wheels (Image credit: e*thirteen)

e*thirteen Grappler wheels

The Grappler wheels are aimed at gravity riding and includes alloy and carbon wheelsets for downhill, enduro, and e-enduro.

Starting with the Grappler Race Carbon Enduro wheels, e*thirteen has used a high-modulus carbon fiber construction which is said to be stronger than the previous LG1 Race Carbon wheels. They have a hookless design with a 30mm internal rim width and feature a six degree freehub engagement which e*thirteen claims to balance quick response and pedal kickback. The alloy wheels substitute the carbon rim for an alloy rim but uses the same hub. Both enduro wheels are built up using 28 Sapim D-light spokes.

The Grappler Race Carbon Downhill wheels also use a hookless rim design and increases the spoke count to 32 front and rear, using Sapim Race spokes. The Grappler DH rear hub features a unique integrated 7-speed cassette / driver. By integrating the cassette, e*thirteen could design the hub with a wider drive side flange which allows the wheel to be built with equal spoke lengths and tension on both sides. The nickel plated cassette is included with the wheels and gives a 266 percent range with a close range  9-24T block. The Grappler DH hub also features a six degree freehub.

The Grappler Race Alloy Downhill wheels feature the same downhill specific hub but builds the wheels up with a welded 6069 rim which are claimed to be 228 percent stronger than earlier LG1 Plus models.

The Grappler wheels are available in 29 and 27.5 sizes, Boost or Super Boost width, and are only available individually so you can mix and match based on your preferred wheel configuration. Grappler Race Carbon price range starts at $679.95 (front) and 799.95 (rear) while the alloy versions are priced at $309.95 for the front and $399.95 for the rear. The Grappler Race Carbon Downhill wheels cost $789.95 / £699.95 up front, and $999.95 / $889.95 at the rear. The alloy downhill wheels cost $319.95 / £289.95 and $509.95 / £459.95 for the front and rear.

e*thirteen says the Grappler wheels are designed to be paired with its Grappler and All Terrain tires.

e*thirteen Sylvan Race Carbon wheels

Sylvan Race Carbon wheels are designed for aggressive trail bikes or all-mountain machines (Image credit: e*thirteen)

e*thirteen Sylvan wheels

The four wheel Sylvan range consists of carbon and alloy MTB and eMTB wheels and feature e*thirteen's first asymmetric rim. The idea behind asymmetric profiles is that it evens out spoke tension for a stronger, more balanced wheel. e*thirteen says that the low profile rim increase compliance, absorb impacts, reduce fatigue, and improve traction. It features a 30mm inner diameter and a hookless design. 28 Sapim D-light spokes attach the rim to e*thirteen's Race SL hubs which have a 4-pawl, 3-degree engagement for snappy acceleration.

Wheels come in both 29 and 27.5 sizes with Boost and Super Boost spacing options. Alloy wheels start at $299.95 /  up front and $409.95 / £ at the back. Carbon will cost you $699.95 / £629.95 and $859.95 / £769.95 for each end. If you need Super Boost, add $10 / £10.

e*thirteen Optimus Race Carbon trail wheels

The Optimus wheels are aimed at lightweight trail bikes (Image credit: e*thirteen)

e*thirteen Optimus wheels

e*thirteen's Optimus wheels feature a narrower 28mm inside-width hookless rim which shaves a little weight off compared to the Sylvan, giving a lighter weight wheel for long downcountry missions without sacrificing trail toughness. The alloy version has the same rim dimensions but is said to have 166 percent higher impact resistance than previous generations of XCX Alloy rims. The wheels feature the same Race SL hub as the Sylvan and only come in a single 29er Boost fitting.

The alloy wheels are priced at $289.95 / £259.95 for the front wheel and $409.95 / £369.95 for the rear while the carbon wheels cost $709.95 / £629.95 for the front and $869.95 / £769.95 for the rear.

Remy Metailler doing a jump on a e-MTB in a forest

e*thirteen has also released e*spec versions of the wheels with tougher builds and hub internals (Image credit: e*thirteen)

The e*spec Grappler and Sylvan e-MTB wheels are built with a e-MTB specific e*spec rear hub. E-MTB's are notoriously hard on rear hubs due to the higher drive torque and bike weight. To combat this e*thirteen has equipped its e*spec wheels with an oversized hub shell, large 6808 bearings, a steel axle, and 32 spokes. The Grappler Carbon and Alloy e*spec wheels also feature reinforced rims too to handle heavy e-enduro riding, while the Sylvan e*spec wheels are designed for lightweight e-MTBs and use the same rims as the standard wheels.

Currently all the wheels are only available with an XD driver, although e*thirteen says that Shimano Microspline and HG freehub options will be available soon.

All the wheels come with tubeless tape installed, a tubeless valve, three spare spokes and three spare nipples. Carbon rims are covered by e*thirteen's Lifetime Guarantee and the alloy versions are covered by a five year guarantee.

If you prefer to do your own wheelbuilding, e*thirteen can sell you all the rims separately. Prices start at $509.95 / £449.95 for the carbon rims and $109.95 / £99.95 for the alloy rims. 

To see the full range, head over to Ethirteen.com.

Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. Based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK right on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.


Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg