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  1. #1
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    Arch EX or Flow EX for lighter rider

    Hi all,

    I know Arch EX vs Flow EX has been well discussed, but many comments are from 230-250lb riders. At 165lb, ready to ride, that advice is less relevant for me.

    It's time to upgrade the noodly stock wheels on my 09 Trance X3 (XM117 on Formula 15/M485 hubs). I've narrowed it to Arch EX or Flow EX on Hope Pro 2 Evos but can't decide which rim.

    I am an increasingly aggressive trail/AM rider, and like to hit as many 2-3 ft jumps/drops as I can. I push myself to go bigger each time I ride (so need wheels that will handle this), but I'll never have the b*lls for the biggest freeride/downhill features. I like to climb as well, but I'm not a racer. In case it helps I currently run 2.1 Nevegals, am looking at 2.35 High Rollers, and intending to try tubeless with the new wheels. Sing out if more background is required.

    Given my weight, will Arch EX handle anything my Trance X can, or is Flow EX a better fit for the frame? There seems little point pushing extra rotational mass if the wheels are burlier than the frame, but I don't want the frame to be under-wheeled for its capability (if that makes sense).

    Are there any other things I should be thinking about when choosing between these two rims?

    Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.

  2. #2
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    Arch EX. I had Crest and they were noodles. I weigh 165. My nephew built a 5" trail bike and it has Arch EX; he weighs 150.

  3. #3
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    2-3 foot drops and looking for more? Even at 165, I'd be going with the Flow EX. In reality, you probably won't break the Arch, but IMO when you are pushing it and hitting the drops a little bit of extra weight is worth the peace of mind.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    2-3 foot drops and looking for more? Even at 165, I'd be going with the Flow EX. In reality, you probably won't break the Arch, but IMO when you are pushing it and hitting the drops a little bit of extra weight is worth the peace of mind.
    Bingo, I'm about 170-175 and on my am/trail bike I'd never feel comfortable with less than flows. Now if you're ok with blowing up a rim from time to time and rebuilding then you can run Arch's bit I like that peace of mind and to me not worth the small weight savings for a AM oriented bike.

  5. #5
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    forget about strength and weight. what size tires do you want to run? up to 2.3ish i say arch, anything over flow.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    forget about strength and weight. what size tires do you want to run? up to 2.3ish i say arch, anything over flow.
    This, with what it sounds like you will be fine on the Arches. My thinking is if you have to ask get the Arches.
    Whats this line for?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    forget about strength and weight. what size tires do you want to run? up to 2.3ish i say arch, anything over flow.
    Point noted but from what I've read recently, on this forum and elsewhere, I'd be happy to run the tyres I mentioned in my original post on either rim.

    Quote Originally Posted by e-luder View Post
    My thinking is if you have to ask get the Arches.
    If I had experience with many different rims I might not need to ask. Since that is not the case I thought I would consult the expertise here in the forum.
    I would appreciate you qualifying that statement. Are you suggesting I should get the lightest rim and hope for the best? That the Arch EX is strong enough for my specified weight/riding style? That if I need to ask then I must not be "hardcore" enough for Flow EXs?

  8. #8
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    Arches would probably be durable enough, but I'd go with Flows for the extra width in your case. A wide rim is bliss with wide tires, especially when dropping in case you land badly. With narrower rims the tire can fold more easily.

    Syncros just came out with rimsets that have wide and light rims. Carbon is another option. If these are not feasible, then you just need to deal with the weight of Flows or similar burly rims.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jono.r View Post
    If I had experience with many different rims I might not need to ask. Since that is not the case I thought I would consult the expertise here in the forum.
    I would appreciate you qualifying that statement.
    Advice on the internet comes in all forms man. Im not trying to be a bully, I just thought you could read between the lines. Keep in mind I did quote a statement that referenced to your tire size and thought my statement was qualified by that. Sorry it offended you.

    Quote Originally Posted by jono.r View Post
    Are you suggesting I should get the lightest rim and hope for the best?
    No, neither rim you're talking about is close to the lightest rim and both are strong.

    Quote Originally Posted by jono.r View Post
    That the Arch EX is strong enough for my specified weight/riding style?
    Yes, it is. Stan himself calls it an aggressive trail rim.

    Quote Originally Posted by jono.r View Post
    That if I need to ask then I must not be "hardcore" enough for Flow EXs?
    Most people that want flows know they want flows, its not because they think they are, or are more hardcore (ok with some it is ). Its because they want more volume and dont care about the weight penalty.

    Both are fine rims, you can't really go wrong with either one for "All Mountain" riding. Just think of the Flow as going all in. The Arch is the middle ground, most likely wider than what you got and lighter than the Flow. Neither of these rims are narrow.

    I thought we could have fun in here and the 29er forum was for serious talk.
    Whats this line for?

  10. #10
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    what about wtb frequency i23 tcs rims/wheels?
    roccowt.
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  11. #11
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    @e-luder. No offense taken, and perhaps my reply came across wrong. Asking about being hardcore enough wasn't facetious, nor defensive. That question is the point of my original post, I don't want to push a heavier rim if it's overkill for my needs (who would?), but I'm happy to do so if I need the extra rim strength. Whether I need to extra strength is what I am unsure about.
    There are many lighter rims, I was referencing Arch EX v Flow EX. I can get a good deal on hope/stans shipped to New Zealand. It's difficult and/or very expensive to get more exotic wheels down this end of the world.
    Thanks for the tips, I appreciate them. I'll chalk your vote up for Arch EXs.

    @Saul. Thanks but I can get almost 3 sets of hope/stans for the price of the cheapest syncros I found (xr1.5)

    @zarr. Thanks for the suggestion, but I haven't found anywhere that ships i23s to New Zealand.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jono.r View Post
    @zarr. Thanks for the suggestion, but I haven't found anywhere that ships i23s to New Zealand.
    Try CRC Im sure they ship to NZ

    WTB Frequency i-23 Rim 26" 2013 | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com

    WTB is quality and cheaper than ZTR.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liternit View Post
    Try CRC Im sure they ship to NZ...WTB is quality and cheaper than ZTR.
    i23 does seem a good alternative to Flow EX, but I can get a better deal on the Stans rims through Merlin Cycles.

    CRC does have a reasonable deal on Sun Ringle Charger Pros. How do they compare with Hope/Arch EX or Hope/Flow EX? I gather Sun Ringle makes the Stans rims, and that they use the same BST. Any experience with the Charger Pro hubs vs Hope Pro 2 evo?

  14. #14
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    Hopes hands down for durability and bling, which are the two most important factors when choosing a hub.
    Whats this line for?

  15. #15
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    ...for what it's worth, I run a trance x3 with a Sektor 150 fork and 190x50 RP23 on 2.35fr 2.1rr Nevegals. I have both the old Flows and the new Flow EXs. The Exs are excellent! I find I can run lower pressure - 18Fr 21RR (with latex tubes!) and handle some pretty big drops. Weight-wise the difference is small. The old Flows are on XT hubs with rev spokes. The Flow Exs are on XT hubs with PG DT spokes. The Exs are the surest wheel I have run for semi-downhill bashing. I wouldn't go near the Archs - too narrow and light! Oh, and I am 70kg - woteva that is in pounds. All up, the bike weighs 12.6kg with the old flows and 12.9 with the EXs (including pedals) - there is no carbon on this bike!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by twyeld View Post
    ...for what it's worth, I run a trance x3 with a Sektor 150 fork and 190x50 RP23 on 2.35fr 2.1rr Nevegals. I have both the old Flows and the new Flow EXs. The Exs are excellent! I find I can run lower pressure - 18Fr 21RR (with latex tubes!) and handle some pretty big drops. Weight-wise the difference is small. The old Flows are on XT hubs with rev spokes. The Flow Exs are on XT hubs with PG DT spokes. The Exs are the surest wheel I have run for semi-downhill bashing. I wouldn't go near the Archs - too narrow and light! Oh, and I am 70kg - woteva that is in pounds. All up, the bike weighs 12.6kg with the old flows and 12.9 with the EXs (including pedals) - there is no carbon on this bike!
    Good to hear about the ol' Flows.I got 2 26er sets and a 29er set to build up.
    I did hear the WTB i23's are good too...maybe I'll get some too.
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by zarr View Post
    Good to hear about the ol' Flows.I got 2 26er sets and a 29er set to build up.
    I did hear the WTB i23's are good too...maybe I'll get some too.
    There is hardly any difference in the rim weight between the old flows and the exs.

    I run x-mark 2.25 and 2.1 on the old flows. So, most of the weight difference is in the Nevegal tyres and PG spokes. I built these wheels myself - pretty easy, although they needed tightening a couple of times to settle in - and they need to be really tight!

    I looked at the i23s and nearly went that way - but I just couldn't get past the extra width of the Flow EXs, and I am glad I did. Like I said, with PG spokes and Nevegal 2.35+2.1, they are the surest wheels I own.

    I still use the old flows for serious AM - just not for drops (espesh with the rev spokes!).

  18. #18
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    Hi all, time for an update. In the end I opted for the Flow EXs. Not as light as the Arch EXs but ~200g won't ruin my day, and I was enticed by a number of positive comments (here and elsewhere) about wider rims. Thanks for all the advice, I've really appreciated your thoughts.

  19. #19
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    jono,
    How are they working out for ye? Have you had a chance to compare rides between Arch EX and Flow Ex?

  20. #20
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    I am a bit late for the chime in but, I love my flows, 200 grams even in rotational mass is not much. I think the average weight wienie would be better off skipping the chips than spending money on the lightest new gadget. My upgrade and wider tires made a world of difference. When I want to save 200 grams I'll blow my nose.

  21. #21
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    They're working out very well indeed, I'm pleased with my choice. I haven't had a chance to try arch ex though so can't offer any comparisons.

  22. #22
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    I just had the same dilemma, I weigh 195 and couldn't decide on the flow ex vs arch ex. I decided that I prefer durability over weight so I went with the flows.

    If I was your weight I would probably go with arch Ex, unless I thought I was going to be doing drops bigger than 3 feet on a regular basis.

    What I've found with Stans/hope wheels is that you MUST true them after the first couple rides. From what I've read its because the rim is just slightly bigger in diameter than a typical rim to ensure that the tire is air tight, so when you put a tire on it slightly compresses the rim and loosens up the spokes.

    I rode my wife's Crest rims for a few weeks and one of the rear spokes was completely loose, I trued them up myself and they stayed straight as an arrow afterwards despite some heavy use (but with a very conscious effort to keep straight in the air and when landing big jumps).

    From what I've read lately this appears to be the best place to get the hope/stans wheels, plus you actually get to choose the hub color!!! Hope Hoops Pro2 Evo 29er Arch Ex Wheelset | Wheels MTB | - Cycle Sports UK

  23. #23
    unrooted
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    $367 for the Hope/flows with black hubs here:Hope Hoops - Rear - Pro2 Evo - 29er | Merlin Cycles

    Took two weeks to get to California for me, but when I ordered my wife's crests through the same place it took a week.

    I initially had ordered the Arch's through wiggle for $383 but it took over 2 months for them to ship, but I decided last minute to cancel and get the flow, which I bought the Straight pull for no better reason than I think they look cooler and MAYBE they are slightly stiffer (doubt that one though!!!).

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