Tag Wheels Review

Reviews

The Tag Wheels review was a victim of our hacker attack, here it is again, enjoy.(Ed)

TAG Wheels, FRX5 is a relatively new product that I noticed at Sea Otter last year. They are a one-piece wheel made from a composite material that looks like, well plastic. Their recommended applications are freeride, downhill, all mountain, dirt jumping, and urban riding.

$1120 MSRP($949 Introductory Offer). Here are the specifications.

Testing Grounds: Fullerton Loop, Santiago Oaks

Special thanks to my riding bud Rye H. for taking pics.

Tester: That’s me. I’m 5’10? 160lbs. These wheels were hooked up to a Santa Cruz Heckler with Manitou Minute 2 fork and rear Manitou Swinger 4 way rear shock. The wheels definitely pushed the fork to it’s limits.

Weight: As I stated in my first impression, these wheels are heavy. Here is a weight comparison to other wheelsets, all of which are specific to downhill and freeride(total wheelset weight):

Tag FRX5- 3756g (8.28 pounds without QRs)

Mavic Deemax- 2450

Transition Revolution- 2750g

Sun Ringle A.D.D.- 2438g

To give you an idea, Deemax are used by many of the best freeriders in the world. At almost 1,000g more, these wheels are obviously built for the most serious abuse.

Tires/Tubes: I used WTB Motoraptor 2.4 front and rear. I’ve never used a wheel that was easier to get a tire onto. The composite material is slick and makes sliding a tire on by hand very simple. Just be sure to buy Schrader tubes that have a long valve neck since the wheel is pretty thick. It was tough getting the pump head on the valve to inflate them but I managed it with minimal trouble.

Hubs: Tag uses DT Swiss 440 Freeride hubs which come in many different sizes to fit your ride. Also they have the option of QR or thru axle. Most people who will use these wheels will most likely opt for the thru axle for the added strength. The quick releases on the wheels I had were top notch and the ergonomic handle was easy to pull in and out. All hubs are disc specific.

The ride: Okay I’ll comment on climbing, only briefly, since one of the applications was all-mountain. If you do chose to use these for regular hill climbing you’ve probably got a couple screws loose. You better have godly climbing stamina or be a glutton for pain. Climbing shimming…on to the good stuff.

Negotiating steep sections was made easy by the FRX5s as their weight keeps them rolling through dips, and boulders. At the top of this particular section I had to do a stoppie and move my rear wheel into place for the descent. The added weight makes moving the bike around a bit more difficult but not much. Once you get these wheels rolling they go over anything. The thick rim flanges are made to combat pinch flats and it must work because I never had one. In fact I had so much confidence in the wheels I didn’t even bring a spare tube along(not recommended).


The biggest drop I hit on these trails was 5-6 feet. You have to be careful on any wheelie drops or slow speed drops as the front wheel will immediately search for the ground. As long as I kept my weight back I was fine.

Solid is the word that kept popping into my head as I dropped these. My bike or fork would have broken long before the FRX5s even came close to their limits. I’d be comfortable saying you could take these on world class downhill courses and be happy with their performance.

Downhills are where these wheels shine. The weight penalty might slow you down if you’re a pure racer but they get up to speed surprisingly quickly and stay rolling thanks to smooth DT Swiss hubs. As for flex there wasn’t any. At no time did I hear my front rotor rubbing against the pads in turns. This always happens with my regular wheelset. The composite design even has a bracing in the middle of every spoke for added rigidity and it sure shows.

I also found the strength and burliness of these wheels to be an asset while running through several berm sections. The weight of the wheels helped to dig in through the sand and push into the next sections. Whipping the rear end out was also surprisingly easy. It does take more effort than a lighter pair of wheels but I was very happy that I still had a lot of maneuverability while in the air.

Durability: There is no question about it, these are some of the most durable wheels every made for mountain biking. Ballsy statement you say? I dare you to try them and say different. Their lateral strength is highly impressive and they are simply bombproof. The durability and strength of these wheels is what sets them apart from other wheelsets.

There are no spokes so your wheels will never go out of true. You will have almost no pinch flats. The hubs are super smooth and roll willingly. Also the freewheel is virtually silent except for a very faint clicking. I really liked that since some freewheels can be exceedingly noisy. I want to hear the trail not my bike.

After the testing I had it in my mind that I could do nothing to hurt these wheels but I did find that they are not scratch resistant. At one technical turn section my rear wheel slipped off a rock at speed. It was one of those falls where the bike takes all the punishment. I expected to see a large chunk removed from the wheel but, as you can see, I barely scuffed it. Unreal. If that was my regular rim it would have been ugly.

The cool factor is a plus too. I had some guy stop us on the trail and ask me what I was riding. His words were “Those are f*****g awesome!?. Everyone else we rode by was staring at them too. I absolutely loved the look of them. It was like being riding Mags all over again. Smell that nostalgia? Mmmm.

Conclusion:

After riding these wheels I’d have to disagree with their ability to be an all-mountain wheel. All-mountain implies an adequate ability to climb and these wheels don’t have that. I think that was more an effort to wrangle more riders into TAG’s sales demographic. I do, however, think these wheels are perfect for freeriders, downhillers(more recreational than racing due to the weight), dirt jumpers and urban riders. All of these disciplines demand bomb-proof components and Tag wheels fit the bill.

Ya $949 is a lot of green, but the FRX5 is a wheelset that will last you for life. The only maintenance they’d require would be the hub, if and, when you run into any problems. The simplicity and durability of the wheels are unrivaled by any other on the market. Innovation in design is a large reason mountain biking is flourishing and it’s great to see a company like TAG Wheels come out with a product that is fresh and well thought out. If you need a wheelset that can stand up to any abuse and last you a lifetime, go with the FRX5.

RL Policar

RL Policar is an avid mountain biker and the Editor In-Chief of MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com. Between the two sites, he's published well over 4,000 articles (and growing).

https://www.mtnbikeriders.com

4 thoughts on “Tag Wheels Review

  1. As much as I liked seeing it last year at Sea Otter, I have also ordered 3 pairs for my Dirt jump bikes. The wheelset are simply the most rigorous and probably the most toughened wheels I had ever rode on. Thumbs up for Tag Wheels-

    Greetings from Copenhagen,Denmark.

  2. Do you have any contact info for this company I know they went under but I want a set of these for my GT….any info would be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Tom

  3. I have 2 sets, one used and one brand new….. The rims are sick bomb proof i have been reeding all the blogs and all kinds of reviews anout the Tag FRX5’s Let me just say this to you…. if your into world class competition racing stick with traditional wheels. but if your like me and jump off loading docks, ride down 6 flights of steps, crash through thick brush and briar’s, downhill in steep rock quarries and just plain o’l drop off a building then keep looking for them……! they come around once and a while. Look on craigslist ebay. I put a post on yahoo questions answers and some guy came back to me with a pair. I didn’t get them from him because i had found a pair from my local bicycle center they put me intouch with a rep. who sold them to bike shops. My second pair was just plan luck they were in the window of a shitty bike shop full of dust…. Don’t give up ask God to bring you a set.

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