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  1. #1
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    New wheelset for Mukluk or new bike?

    Should I get a cheap/midrange 29er or build a 29er wheelset for my Mukluk?

    My 2013 Mukluk 3 is the first bike I've owned that's really nice. I love this bike. I ended up riding it as a trail bike all summer last year, but I'd like something a bit lighter/easier to get up hills.

    I bike for the fun of it and am not super serious about it. I'm not extraordinarily weight conscious, but my Muk has Holy Rolling Darryl rims and 4.0" tires. I can't help but think 29er rims/tires would make it much more nimble.

    I'll end up riding dirt trails, gravel, a bit of single track, and might do some bike packing. I live in Alaska, so the outdoors beckons.

    Should I build up a 29er or 29+ wheelset for the Mukluk? Cost is a consideration here. My LBS says a 29er wheelset will run ~$600 and a 29+ (Rabbit Hole and Knards) will run ~$850).

    Either of those wheelsets is cheaper than a new El Mariachi or Fargo, which was what I was thinking originally. But then my wife reminded me that I am not allowed to spend 100% of our money on bicycles...

  2. #2
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    build a 29+ wheelset. beauty of the mukluk!

  3. #3
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    Yep, that's certainly a thought. I've never ridden a 29+ bike — or a 29er, for that matter. I'm not sure that a 29+ is different enough from the 26"x4" I've already got. Not saying it's not, I really just don't know.

  4. #4
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    Here's my titanium Mukluk with 29"er wheels. Loved it this way. I highly recommend trying it. I am also looking at a 29+ set up when better tires are out.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New wheelset for Mukluk or new bike?-fat-bike-wheels-7-12-003.jpg  

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  5. #5
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    Ask yourself how much weight you'll really save going with a 29er set of wheels. We talk about how heavy fat bikes are so out of curiosity I weighed my Lynskey Stratus against my Lynskey (full suspension) FS-120 bike. I was surprised to see the Stratus was only 4 lbs. heavier and that includes the rear rack I have on it. Granted there is a rotational mass issue of the wheels but if a person is only fixated on the overall weight, it's not that significant. Heck, I'm sure most of us have more than that weight gain at our waist lines. Food for thought .... ignore the weight, ride and enjoy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkramer View Post
    Ask yourself how much weight you'll really save going with a 29er set of wheels <snip>
    I've given thought to this too, which is why I'm thinking 29er rather than 29+.

    So I did some quick math. A pair of HRD rims and lightweight Husker Dus is about 9.2lbs (2,100g) for the pair (not including spokes and hub). A pair of Rabbit Holes and lightweight Knards is 7.4lbs (1,679g) for the pair.

    So it's about a pound per wheel. I'm not worried about the total weight so much as the rotational mass. I really don't know how much of a difference this would make or whether it's worth the cost to me.

  7. #7
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    Wheels are always a good upgrade, given the choice of building good wheels for a bike I like or buying another bike, the money and benefit analysis usually leads me to a new set of wheels.
    The most expensive bike in the world is still cheaper than the cheapest open heart surgery.

  8. #8
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    I am running a Muk 3 with a 26+ Dirt Wizard 2.75 on a Marge lite in the back and I had a 29 inch Rabbit Hole mounted to a 135mm front hub that I run a Knard on up front.
    So its a little of a budget option for you. The rear has been surprisingly sold when run around 12-15psi. These new platforms are great for hybrid fun. enjoy!
    Gotta love Surly for being creative
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  9. #9
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    My issue is that $600 or $800 is doable but it's probably my bike equipment budget for the year. So I'm waffling a little, and I don't want to spend that and regret it.

    But if I hate it, at least here in Alaska, there should be a good resale market for such a wheelset, since there's a lot of folks in my position looking to get a bit more out of their Mukluk frame.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by paynetc View Post
    My issue is that $600 or $800 is doable but it's probably my bike equipment budget for the year. So I'm waffling a little, and I don't want to spend that and regret it.

    But if I hate it, at least here in Alaska, there should be a good resale market for such a wheelset, since there's a lot of folks in my position looking to get a bit more out of their Mukluk frame.
    I totally understand the $$ thing, we're hoping to buy a house at the end of the year so bike expenses need to kept at a minimum. If the wheel set will eat up you bike budget for the year, I'd make darn sure that the drivetrain and any personal gear(helmet, shoes, warm stuff) will make it through the season before building the wheels.

    Since you list dirt trails and singletrack as separate items in your original post, I'm going to assume that the dirt trails are multi use and maybe a softer surface than typical singletrack. If that is true, then I'll vote wholeheartedly for the 29+ wheels. If not, I still vote for 29+ mostly because I hope to build a set for my muk too! Another route to explore would be some of the new slightly wider 29er rims and use a nice big schwalbe tire to split the difference between the two then maybe try some 29x3 tires next season.

    Good luck with your decision and let us know what route you take(literally and figuratively.)

  11. #11
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    yes, I was thinking of dirt and singletrack as different. There's a lot of dirt/gravel multi-use trails around Anchorage that are just great. Easy to get to and fun for the (reasonably) inexperienced like me. There's also a lot of paved trails that connect pretty much the whole town, too. It's a great city to be a cyclist.

    And to my earlier "back of the envelope" math, I was using Husker Du as the comparison — but I don't have Huskers on hand right now. All my fat tires are quite a bit heavier. So my weight savings will be larger, even with 29+.

    29+ is probably better on rooty trails, right? And I'd rather avoid getting a new fork for simplicity's sake, and 29+ will provide a bit of squish without a real suspension.

    Sounds like I've talked myself into 29+. Now, to talk the wife into paying for it. (She's actually forced me to get a fat bike in the first place, so I'm not foreseeing any problem.)

  12. #12
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    New wheelset for Mukluk or new bike?

    Most inexpensive way to go would be this wheelset from OnOne.

    http://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/WPOOFATN...eelset-29-inch

    Throw in a couple Chunky Monkey tires and your rolling for around $300.

  13. #13
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    Nextie makes a 35mm carbon rim you can run 29 or 29+ tires on. it is what i am building for my muk. Going all out with I9 hubs but you could use a surly on the front and a hope on the rear to save some cash. Don't have much faith in the salsa branded hubs. In Ak or where I am in Montana you break a freehub it's a long walk out with Griz bears around... Those on ones look like a sweet deal.

  14. #14
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    The OnOne wheelset certainly is interesting.

    Wait, what's this about Salsa hubs? My Mukluk was a complete bike so I didn't make specific component choices. I've never had anything built up custom before... I wouldn't have really thought about which hubs to choose.

    And we Alaskans don't worry about bears. Bears worry about us.

    (Kidding, of course. Bears are scary but are generally held at bay with a bell on the bike, which adds a jaunty jingle to the ride as well.)

  15. #15
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    Griz in the lower 48 are way meaner!! Less berries down here? And no crow berries!

  16. #16
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    I went for a 29+ Surly Rabbit Hole wheelset w/29X3.0 Knards on my 2014 Mukluk which has an alternator drop out which makes the needed clearance available. I used identical hubs to the ones that came with the original 26" wheelset. I still use my 26" wheelset when I expect to encounter lots of sand. But the 29+ is great for most other surfaces for me so far.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New wheelset for Mukluk or new bike?-img_0500.jpg  


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfiles View Post
    I went for a 29+ Surly Rabbit Hole wheelset w/29X3.0 Knards on my 2014 Mukluk which has an alternator drop out which makes the needed clearance available. I used identical hubs to the ones that came with the original 26" wheelset. I still use my 26" wheelset when I expect to encounter lots of sand. But the 29+ is great for most other surfaces for me so far.
    Thanks! That looks exactly like the setup I'm thinking of! Sounds like you're enjoying it. The more I think about it, the more this looks like the way to go instead of a new bicycle.

  18. #18
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    If your riding smooth trails then the 29x3 Knards look to be the way to go. I'm debating this at the moment as well but I don't think theres going to be enough volume to provide the cush required for our terrain. I think I will try and pickup the Husker Du's when they are available and stay with the Holy Rolling Darryl. Will look at the cheap carbon rims some time down the road as well. Would be interested in some 29x3 ride reports that compare them to the 4' in rough rocky conditions.

  19. #19
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    New wheelset for Mukluk or new bike?-img_0516.jpgNew wheelset for Mukluk or new bike?-img_0513.jpgYeah, that's always going to be an individual decision. In this terrain I ran my Knards at 12/13PSI. Worked for me. 29X3 or 26X4 - It's all a trade-off. Factors for me are 1. How much climbing do I have to do and 2. Will there be sand. Pictured is a ride that included 3,335' of climbing. I picked Knards on RH rims for this ride that got even rockier.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New wheelset for Mukluk or new bike?-img_0515.jpg  


  20. #20
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    New wheelset for Mukluk or new bike?

    I built a new wheelset for my Muk,, I went with Hope Fatsnow hubs so that they would match what I'm running in Fat mode. And I used Stan Flow EX rims, hopefully they are wide enough to run a 29x3" tire if I ever feel inclined. Currently I'm setting the bike up for a four day bikepacking trip down the lost coast of California. Here's a couple pics. and one with 2.4 Ardents

  21. #21
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    After much soul-searching and chatting up the bike shop folks, I ended up going Rabbit Hole and Knard 29x3".

    Just put 'em on the bike today but probably won't ride tonight. I did a quick circle in the driveway and I think I'm really going to like this setup.




  22. #22
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    Out of interest, what're the geometry differences between a Mukluk running 29er wheels, and an El Mar? I assume it won't be hugely different.

  23. #23
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    New wheelset for Mukluk or new bike?

    Guess I should have read to the bottom.


    In homer lots of folks go 29+ on fatbikes. You can still air down and go on the beach if you want. Most are running rabbit hole and knard. I am just getting back into this but that is what I will do. I am having fun on my stock nates still. I might put on some old endo's today just for summer use.


    Salsa Mukluk 3 I love it!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratherbeintobago View Post
    Out of interest, what're the geometry differences between a Mukluk running 29er wheels, and an El Mar? I assume it won't be hugely different.
    I imagine the weight difference would be more noticeable than the geometry differences, but I don't really know. I didn't put the 29+ on a scale, but it's still not as lightweight as most trail bikes.

  25. #25
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    I had Angry Catfish in Minneapolis build me a set of 29+ wheels using Velocity Duallies, Industry Nine hubs, and 29x3 Knards. I'm hoping to give them a good ride later this week on some gravel roads as well as some pretty sandy forest roads and trails.










    There could very likely be a Bluto in the not too distant future...

  26. #26
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    I've put over 100 miles on this setup now and I LOVE it. I'm starting to think of the Muk as a 29+ that's fat-tire capable. The only issue I've had is since I moved the alternators back, which I didn't need to do, the adjustment screws loosen up and creak when I pedal sometimes.

    This is definitely my favorite bike!














  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2whl-hoop View Post
    I had Angry Catfish in Minneapolis build me a set of 29+ wheels using Velocity Duallies, Industry Nine hubs, and 29x3 Knards. I'm hoping to give them a good ride later this week on some gravel roads as well as some pretty sandy forest roads and trails.










    There could very likely be a Bluto in the not too distant future...

    Hey - this bikes looks super sweet! I'm looking to do exactly this with my mukluk 3 (and potentially at ACF as well, though I'm keeping my eye out for a used wheel set)...

    I was hoping to ask a few more questions about the wheel build:
    - is this 135mm in the front and 170mm in the back?
    - And do you know if the rear wheel 170mm hub was offset at all?

    Thanks much man!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ytkuf View Post
    Hey - this bikes looks super sweet! I'm looking to do exactly this with my mukluk 3 (and potentially at ACF as well, though I'm keeping my eye out for a used wheel set)...

    I was hoping to ask a few more questions about the wheel build:
    - is this 135mm in the front and 170mm in the back?
    - And do you know if the rear wheel 170mm hub was offset at all?

    Thanks much man!
    Thanks, I had a lot of fun on it this summer! I just recently put the stock wheelset back on. I want to do some trail riding with the 26" wheels to get a better comparison before the snow flies.

    The hubs are 135mm front and 170mm rear. I think the rear is centered, but the front is offset.

  29. #29
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    How is the bottom bracket height on a Mukluk with 29+ tires?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by seat_boy View Post
    How is the bottom bracket height on a Mukluk with 29+ tires?
    Oh, it's roughly 17 feet off the darn ground.

    I don't have the 29+ wheels on there at the moment (it's winter and I live in Alaska) or I'd measure it for you. But it's noticeably higher than the 26" HRD wheels with 4" tires..

  31. #31
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    I have my 26 inch wheels on also, so I can't measure either, but this leads to a geometry question I have.

    One thing I noticed after trail riding both the 29+ and the 26s this fall was that going down a steep trail with some root ledges my center of gravity felt too high with the 29+ and it seemed like I was about to go over the bars. With the 26" wheels it just felt stable and could put the front wheel wherever and had none of the about-to-endo feeling. I assumed it was an issue with the Mukluk's geometry not being designed for 29+, but when I was comparing specs recently, I saw that the Mukluk and Krampus both have a 60mm bottom bracket drop. Does this mean that the bottom bracket height on both bikes is the same with 29+ wheels? If so, what other differences could lead to the high COG feeling I had with the bigger wheels? Would extending the wheelbase by by moving the alternators back help alleviate this?

    Two other differences I noticed right away after going back to 26 were: 1. more pedal strikes on techy single track, and 2. better climbing with the 26, but this could have something more to do with the effective lower gear ratio of the smaller wheels..

  32. #32
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    Yes, if two frames have the same BB drop and the same wheelsize, they'll have the same BB height. Which I guess answers my question about the Muk with 29+ wheels!

    Quote Originally Posted by 2whl-hoop View Post
    I have my 26 inch wheels on also, so I can't measure either, but this leads to a geometry question I have.

    One thing I noticed after trail riding both the 29+ and the 26s this fall was that going down a steep trail with some root ledges my center of gravity felt too high with the 29+ and it seemed like I was about to go over the bars. With the 26" wheels it just felt stable and could put the front wheel wherever and had none of the about-to-endo feeling. I assumed it was an issue with the Mukluk's geometry not being designed for 29+, but when I was comparing specs recently, I saw that the Mukluk and Krampus both have a 60mm bottom bracket drop. Does this mean that the bottom bracket height on both bikes is the same with 29+ wheels? If so, what other differences could lead to the high COG feeling I had with the bigger wheels? Would extending the wheelbase by by moving the alternators back help alleviate this?

    Two other differences I noticed right away after going back to 26 were: 1. more pedal strikes on techy single track, and 2. better climbing with the 26, but this could have something more to do with the effective lower gear ratio of the smaller wheels..

  33. #33
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    I have my Hugo 52 rims and I have a little more to save so I can get my i9 hubs but now I'm kind of second guessing it because of the higher COG I think it only a little bit but I am not sure on that 100%...

    After seeing the new Pivot fat bike that can run most any wheel size you want, it got me thinking about our Mukluk's.
    I remember reading back when I was looking to buy my Muk that Salsa had on their site that the Mukluk can't run 27.5 or was it 27.5 + I for one am old and can't remember
    but if the reason was because of just bottom bracket height the the problem is solved by using a thicker bottom headset cup to raise the front of the bike about an inch (would change the stack on the top of course ) then make a new rear alternators that have a lower rear thru axle raisING the rear of the bike.

  34. #34
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    As far as the high COG goes, I should clarify that it only was a problem once, on a steep, rutted downhill. Unless you're riding really steep, techy stuff, I wouldn't get too hung up on it. The geo numbers are very similar to a Surly Krampus, and their riders don't seem to complain about it, so it could also be a issue with my riding technique. On smoother, flowy trails, I loved it. The bike rolled over everything.

  35. #35
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    Oh I know and 29 plus is what 30" outside diameter, it's not that big of a deal to me, I'm going on with my 29er + wheelset, but I'm also thinking about the 27.5 + format as I said above. 27.5 + is going to be the next big thing in the mtb world, full suspension of course.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by paynetc View Post
    Should I get a cheap/midrange 29er or build a 29er wheelset for my Mukluk?

    My 2013 Mukluk 3 is the first bike I've owned that's really nice. I love this bike. I ended up riding it as a trail bike all summer last year, but I'd like something a bit lighter/easier to get up hills.

    I bike for the fun of it and am not super serious about it. I'm not extraordinarily weight conscious, but my Muk has Holy Rolling Darryl rims and 4.0" tires. I can't help but think 29er rims/tires would make it much more nimble.

    I'll end up riding dirt trails, gravel, a bit of single track, and might do some bike packing. I live in Alaska, so the outdoors beckons.

    Should I build up a 29er or 29+ wheelset for the Mukluk? Cost is a consideration here. My LBS says a 29er wheelset will run ~$600 and a 29+ (Rabbit Hole and Knards) will run ~$850).

    Either of those wheelsets is cheaper than a new El Mariachi or Fargo, which was what I was thinking originally. But then my wife reminded me that I am not allowed to spend 100% of our money on bicycles...
    Hola Paynetc,

    +1 to the 650B+ option!

    Saludos,
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  37. #37
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    I have a 2014 Mukluk 3 with the stock white 26" wheels and stock tires. What is the approximate weight savings converting to set of velocity dually 29" wheels with Knard 3.0 tires? I would likely use Hope hubs.

    I like the bike in its stock configuration with the 4" tires, and am also considering simply upgrading the stock wheels/tires to save weight. I love being able to climb anything with the 4" tires, and also like the ability to flatten out ruts in the trail by simply riding over them with my 4" tires. How much of this is lost when converting to 29+/3" tires?

    Thanks.

  38. #38
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    I have never weighed them, but when I switched back to the 26" wheels I could feel that the 29" wheels were quite a bit lighter.

    I recently had the shop lace up some Marge Lites to my stock hubs. I kept the stock tires and tubes, so there is potentially even more weight savings to be had, but I think this is by far the most bang for the buck. If I was just using the bike for trail riding I would go with the upgraded 26" wheels. I think the bike handles better with the smaller wheels.

    If you are planning longer rides or bike packing, then maybe the bigger wheels make sense, but if I was to do the whole thing again, I probably would not do the 29+ wheels. For what I spent on the 29+ set-up I could have spent about another $200 and gotten a complete, leftover El Mar, but at the time I figured a second wheelset would be easier to explain to the wife than a new bike , and I liked the idea of one do-it-all bike.

    I don't mean to discourage you from the 29+, but I think it's worth it to evaluate how you plan on using them.

  39. #39
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    Thanks, 2whl-hoop. I appreciate your thoughts and insights. I really love the bike as is, and but just wanted to take some weight off the wheels and tires, and was considering the 29+ as an option rather than replacing or drilling my existing wheels. I'm going to look into a set of lighter 26' rims and tires. Thanks again.

  40. #40
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    Was it a simple swap or did you have to change any drive/cog components?

  41. #41
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    I bought the Northpaw 29+ wheelset used, but right now it's on sale new for $499.

    http://schlickcycles.com/collections...elset-gunmetal

    I LOVE my Mukluk in 29+ mode. It's the bike to use if you want to go exploring. Great for stringing together those trails where you need to do some roads in between. Also makes the Muk a fantastic commuter.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc1 View Post
    Was it a simple swap or did you have to change any drive/cog components?
    Simple swap. I originally just moved the cassette and discs from one wheel-set to the other, but this spring I bought another cassette and discs to make it quicker to swap wheels.

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