1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
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    Do front and rear rims need to be the same?

    I would guess they don't really, as they're just wheels, but I seem to notice people have sets. Is this because it's cheaper as a pair or is there some other reason? I ask because I just pulled the trigger on an alfine hub with DT Swiss 4.2d rim from wiggle, and am wondering if I need to worry about building a matching front wheel, or can go with whatever I can find a good deal on. Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Picture Unrelated
    Reputation: zebrahum's Avatar
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    There's no reason you need to match front and rear wheel/hubs/rims. They can be different if you want them to be.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  3. #3
    usually cranky
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    mix and match. i wont judge.

  4. #4
    Professional Speed Bump
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    They absolutely have to match! Otherwise, your bike will go sideways!

  5. #5
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    They absolutely have to match! Otherwise, your bike will go sideways!

  6. #6
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    mostly aesthetics, combined with the fact that wheels are often sold in pairs that are cheaper than buying each wheel individually. but if you're buying used or looking at sales and discounts through retailers, sometimes you'll find deals on a single wheel and will end up with mismatched sets.

    one bike i have is also mismatched because of function--it's purpose is for riding in the rain, so i decided i didn't want rim brakes. the frame didn't have disc mounts (kilo tt, a track frame), so i made it a fixed gear rear with a new disc fork and a disc brake front wheel. you don't get fixed/disc pairs unless you get custom built wheels.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    There's no reason you need to match front and rear wheel/hubs/rims. They can be different if you want them to be.
    +1 as long as they work with your brakes. If you have rim brakes, your rims need to be compatible. If you have discs, you need disc wheels.
    GregRidesTrails.com--An informational and instructional mountain bike blog.

  8. #8
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    just make sure the rims are facing in the proper rolling direction.
    They do make bi-rotational rims, but they're UBER expensive - and only work in pairs
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  9. #9
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    There are reasons for matched....

    sets. The primary is performance. Wheels built with different components or with different purposes in mind can feel, ride and perform quite differently from one another. A buddy of mine had a stock set of Bontrager Rangers with shimano hubs on his ride. He buggered the front wheel and picked up a Rhyno Lite/XT front for a killer price. But then couldn't figure out why the rear of the bike felt like it was loose in agressive turns all the time. The answer of course was the stock Ranger wheel would flex more. Not really that noitceable with the matched set as they pretty much performed the same. But quite apparent with the stiffer Rhyno on the front. He picked up the components and I built up a matching Rhyno/XT wheel for the rear for him, and the feeling went away. And before anybody jumps in with build quality, etc., the hub was properly set up and adjusted and the spoke tension was spot on for the Ranger, they'd been re-worked shortly after he got the bike. The two wheels just performed differently.

    So yeah, there can be reasons for running wheel "sets" rather than mixing and matching. But as long as you stay with similar wheels it likely won't matter. One thing that can be VERY noticeable though is the differense between a factory (or stock) machine built wheel and an after market hand built wheel. So it's not just for aesthetic reasons that many people ride "wheel sets" rather than mix and match. If you ride hard in demanding terrain there can be quite a noticeable difference in wheel performance. Just depends on you.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    just make sure the rims are facing in the proper rolling direction.
    They do make bi-rotational rims, but they're UBER expensive - and only work in pairs
    this might be a dumb question... but how do you know which is the proper direction?

  11. #11
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    Quote Originally Posted by OSOK
    this might be a dumb question... but how do you know which is the proper direction?
    Not a stupid question at all...
    One thing to look at is the rim-joint. Look for the striations in the grain as the positive end will naturally be your leading edge.
    As the rim material is extruded from from the die, it is in a semi-plastic state. As it cools, the molecular structure will have a tendency to align to the Earth's magnetic lines of flux.
    This is why the best rim companies align their extruders and rollers to magnetic North/South. Lesser companies use the older method of polar North, which obviously is not quite the same and leads to a slightly inferior rim. The worst companies don't even follow any rational and while you may get lucky, it's very often hit and miss.
    Still, some companies like Mavic (), use "innovative" methods in their arrangements, such as the proprietary 33 1/3-degree offset - purportedly to offset the Coriolis effect. While well intentioned, this means there has to be a rim production facility for each hemisphere, which undoubtedly increases production costs which is passed on to you, the consumer. Not to mention, riders living between the tropics of Capricorn/Cancer will see even less 'benefit' towards the Equator as the Coriolis-effect is, of course, is diminished and eventually reversed.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by OSOK
    this might be a dumb question... but how do you know which is the proper direction?
    Hit highdell over the head with the rim. If it makes a "bong" noise, it's aligned right. If it's more of a "bing" noise, you need to put them on the other way.

    Seriously, though...

    Everything that posters who aren't screwing with you have said is true. Two of my bikes have mismatched sets right now, in fact, and the front and rear wheels on my commuter aren't even the same size. No adverse effects.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    mix and match. But have the rims be appropriate to your type of riding.

    I have WTB laserdisc Freeride rims in the rear. They are laced with DT comp spokes and XT hub.

    I have DT 5.1 in the front (trail/free ride) rims laced with DT comp spokes and Hope pro II hubs.

    I chose the rims for its durability and width. Weight came second. The spokes are just good quality stuff. The rear XT hub is the highest POE hub for the price. The front Hope Hub allows me to quickly go from 9mm QR to 20mm TA.

    No one notices my wheelsets are different since I ride so fast. :P

    I built my rear wheel and bought my fronts.

    So whatever..
    Just get out and ride!

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