Almost any company can build a nice set of $1000 wheels. The real trick is building a nice set of $400 wheels, and that is what Azonic set out to do with their Outlaw 29er wheelset.
The Outlaw 29er wheelset is built for anything you can throw at it. It features wide-profile, welded-and-pinned, 7075 aluminum, double-wall rims. The rim bed measures 20 millimeters, and the wheel is laced with 32 spokes to the alloy hub.
The front hub is convertible to fit standard quick-release setups or 15- and 20-millimeter thru-axle designs. The included adapter kit can easily be swapped out by hand. The rear hub comes standard with 135-millimeter spacing, but can be converted to a 142- x 12-millimeter thru-axle. The front wheel weighs 2.3 pounds and the rear weighs 2.75 pounds.
Field test results:
While many manufacturers stress light weight as the main selling point for aftermarket wheelsets, Azonic takes a different approach. They put the emphasis on affordability and durability, which is not surprising for a company rooted in downhill racing and slopestyle.
Cheap wheels are an easy way for manufacturers to cut corners when spec’ing a bike, but the woes of poorly made wheels quickly become apparent when they are pushed to their limits on the mountain. While the Outlaw wheels are not the lightest, they are designed to appeal to riders who are hard on parts or ride in especially rough terrain. If you find yourself constantly truing or breaking spokes on your standard wheelset, at $400, the Outlaw wheelset is a great replacement option.
We installed the Outlaw wheels on one of our carbon hardtail cross-country rigs, a bike that had seen wheels costing six times the price of the Outlaws fail two rides into the test period. With the Azonic hoops installed, it was clear that they were not six times less of a wheel as far as ride quality, and we had no problems throughout the test period. The wheels felt laterally stiff sprinting out of the saddle and while cornering hard. The hubs spun smoothly and freely without developing any play. In short, they just worked.
The Outlaw wheels aren’t going to be a cross-country racer’s secret weapon on the starting line, but they are a solid option to keep your rig rolling tough or as an affordable, durable wheelset for weekday training rides.