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  1. #1
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    Comparison of alloy rims

    I need a new rim for the rear wheel to replace the DT Swiss M520 that replaced the WTB KOM i23 that I bent.

    I spent lots of time comparing different rims and finally put them on the chart to better compare them. I left out rims that were too narrow or wide, or had too low rider weight limit, or that have bad reputation (e.g. hard to make tubeless).

    Red rims are asymmetric and should make stronger wheel for their weight. The line shows where the "average" rim should be.

    Now I'm looking at the 23-25mm rims that are stronger than the KOM was - so it's basically either Asym i23, TRS Race, Spank Oozy 295 or Syntace W30. Syntace is good, but it is so expensive. Asym i23 seems to be an OEM only option? It's width would match the KOM i23 that I have on front wheel.

    Still so hard to select

    Edit: added Sunringle Helix 27, Stan's Flow EX, Pacenti TL28, corrected Spank Oozy 295, TRS Race and TRS+ weights
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Comparison of alloy rims-rims.png  

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    Last edited by arnea; 11-26-2015 at 04:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    Oozy 295 is an excellent rim
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  3. #3
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    How did they KOM i23 rim get damaged?

  4. #4
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    The Sun-Ringle Helix 27 could work also. I just had some WTB Stryker rims replaced with them and they have been bulletproof so far. Its night and day how much stiffer they are. They also are tubeless ready.

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    Good way to review your options. Did you mean the WTB Frequency I23 instead of Asym I23?

    That Blunt SS is quite the outlier in your review.

  6. #6
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    Comparison of alloy rims

    @06HokieMTB - I've read good things about Oozy, but doesn't the lack of the deep centre channel make mounting of tires harder? With usual rim profile I can put the bead to the deep channel during mounting. BTW - I found different weight for Oozy. Then one that is in the chart is from their latest poster for 2016 year rims.

    @Dictatorsaurus - I fell on the fast off-camber downhill going curve that was covered with long slippery grass. I was going too fast and braked. Rear wheel washed out and I fell on the bike and then was thrown on the other side. The wheel was ok first and then slowly bent over couple of hours. The KOM was fine for one year before that.

    @finnlander - I added Helix to the map, but it is bit too heavy compared to the alternatives.

    @OLx6 - no, I ment Asym i23. There is a picture of it here: In Depth: WTBs ASYM Rims But I've seen it only on take-off wheels on ebay and pinkbike.
    Last edited by arnea; 11-17-2015 at 03:58 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnea View Post
    @06HokieMTB - I've read good things about Oozy, but doesn't the lack of the deep centre channel make mounting of tires harder?
    Yes.

    Still recommended, as it's still a great rim. Light, stiff, strong, affordable. I remember the weight being in the 465g range for 650b and 490g range for 29er.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  8. #8
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    Go wide! Why not consider Stans Flow EX? They are 520gms and 29mm wide and super strong. I have a set that's taken heaps of abuse here in Colorado.

    BTW, I have a set of SunRingle Helix27 and they are really well made; very true, very strong. Maybe a little heavy for their width but that's due to the ferrules (which Stans don't have).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    Go wide! Why not consider Stans Flow EX? They are 520gms and 29mm wide and super strong. I have a set that's taken heaps of abuse here in Colorado.
    Flow EX's are 25.5mm wide (internal width: which is what counts). That's about the same as a Oozy 295 (24.5mm internal) or a KOMi25 or Frequency i25.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  10. #10
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    Stans Flow, Easton ARC27 or ARC30.

  11. #11
    Chris Bling
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    I will also vouch for the 295. Awesome rim. I have never had a hard time mounting tires. I have a Maxxis DHR 2 on the back and a WTB Vigilante up front right now. One of my favorite alloy rims...
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  12. #12
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    Did some more searching and found mostly positive experiences about mounting tires on 295.

    About Stan's rims - my understanding is that they were designed for running non-TLR tires tubeless and have a bit larger diameter that makes mounting real TLR tires much harder. That's why I did not include them.

    I'm not considering wider rims because I suspect they are not appropriate for my bike and riding. Frame clearance is one thing, but most importantly I'm quite cautious rider. Cannot afford more injuries. I'm trying to avoid the speeds where extra traction and better cornering of wider rims starts to show off. Bit lighter weight of narrower rims is welcome for climbing.

    Thank you for your suggestions.

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    So you cannot afford more injuries ( who can?) ,so you think less traction while cornering is a better idea. I think your math might be a bit off here

  14. #14
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    Actually it makes some sense to me.

    People adjust their speed to where they feel comfortable. At higher speeds, the crashes can be nastier.

    For myself, I'll buy the smoothest, most awesome rims I feel comfortable paying for and choose to leave high consequence stuff alone.

    Relatively narrow tires can also sit a bit funny on wide rims. I'm only on i25s myself, but those had the sidewalls of my last tires sitting outside the tread. I don't think I could get good clearance around any tire bigger than about a 2.4 in my rear triangle, so it would make no sense for me to get a wider rim than optimal for that size tire.
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  15. #15
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    Clearance issues I can understand....I had to move my front derailluer over a bit because my new 2.4 HighRoller2 rubbed a bit in granny. Limiting traction to be "safer".....not so much.

  16. #16
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    Let the guy buy what he wants. lol
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  17. #17
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    Notubes rims do have a larger diameter than most other rims. Some TLR tires have tighter beads than others and are hard to mount on Stan's rims such as GEAX TNT and Hutchinson Tubeless ready. Those two mount easier on the smaller-more UST sized rims, like the WTB KOM and DT Swiss rims.

    If you bent the KOM in a crash then that is normal. A bend can be made true, but not with even spoke tension therefore it will continue to go bad. Since you damaged it in a crash I don't see any reason why you shouldn't get another one.

  18. #18
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    This is interesting viewpoint, thank you. Must think little bit about this.

    About the "no more traction needed" part. Andrew said it well. I do not feel myself comfortable at higher speeds and not because of the lack of traction, but because of fear of possible consequences. The extra traction comes with cost - either higher weight or more lower durability or extra cost. And I would rather get lighter wheels.

    The wheels are for XC bike with 100mm travel front and rear. We have really flat trails around here (more than 20 meter descents are rare and are considered huge ). Races are mostly XC marathons. Selection of tires reflects this well: Rocket Ron is seen as "really knobby", Thunder Burts and Racing Ralphs are used a lot.

  19. #19
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    Neat graph, how did you come up with where the "average" should be? Is than an actual average of weights/widths or just an arbitrary line you came up with?

    Pacenti TL28?

  20. #20
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    The graph is done with Excel. The average line is called "trendline" and it is calculated by Excel. It's basically best fit for the given set of points, minimizing the distance to the line.

    I left out the Pacenti rims because of several reports indicating they are too soft.

    I asked from WTB about the availability of i23 and they said that it is OEM to Santa Cruz and not available individually.

    Also the weights of the e*13 TRS rims are very confusing. I asked about it from e*13. Some sites list 29" TRS Race rims as 445 gr. I have not found too many reports about TRS rims.

    I most cases I must also replace the spokes because the ERD is different, so this increases the cost a bit.
    Last edited by arnea; 11-22-2015 at 11:10 AM.

  21. #21
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    Not surprisingly, the Velocity Blunt SS also has reports of being too soft and prone to dings. The stats do look too good to be true for that rim - it's an outlier.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnea View Post
    I need a new rim for the rear wheel to replace the DT Swiss M520 that replaced the WTB KOM i23 that I bent.

    I spent lots of time comparing different rims and finally put them on the chart to better compare them. I left out rims that were too narrow or wide, or had too low rider weight limit, or that have bad reputation (e.g. hard to make tubeless).

    Red rims are asymmetric and should make stronger wheel for their weight. The line shows where the "average" rim should be.

    Now I'm looking at the 23-25mm rims that are stronger than the KOM was - so it's basically either Asym i23, TRS Race, Spank Oozy 295 or Syntace W30. Syntace is good, but it is so expensive. Asym i23 seems to be an OEM only option? It's width would match the KOM i23 that I have on front wheel.

    Still so hard to select

    Edit: added Sunringle Helix 27
    Would you consider calculating standard deviation and adding upper and lower control limits to the chart at mean +/- 2 standard deviations?
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    Would you consider calculating standard deviation and adding upper and lower control limits to the chart at mean +/- 2 standard deviations?
    I would gladly do it, but I'm unsure how. I searched for control limits and found examples where it was applied to unidimensional data (one variable changing over time). But here we have two variables. I don't know how to do it. BTW, the Excel file is also in the first post, you can download and play with it.

  24. #24
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    How much do you weigh? Since you've already bent a couple back rims going with something a bit heavier and stronger in the back might be a good idea. I'm around 200 lbs and sub 500gm rims don't last long under my weight. Maybe carbon rims would but they are out of my price range.

    Of the rims you listed in the first post it sounds like the oozy is the best choice.

  25. #25
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    Right, I'm 100kg/220lbs. So probably heavier than most riders.

  26. #26
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    Ok, I added some more rims to the chart. And then ordered Spank Oozy 295 Trail rim and Roger Musson's wheel building book

  27. #27
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    Got the rim yesterday. It looks nice and weights 490 gr, exactly as specified. I wanted to see how easy it is to mount and unmount the tires. I had spare Onza Canis that was very easy to mount on old KOM rim and it was also easy to mount on Oozy 295 rim without tools and soapy water. It felt just little bit harder. I measured the circumference of the tire bead channel on both KOM and Oozy rims. KOM had 4mm shorter circumference, it means that the difference in diameter is ~1.3mm. It seemed that Oozy has little bit bigger bead seat diameter than KOM.

    I must get new spokes, because the ERD of the new rims is different. I'm trying to decide between Sapim Race and Sapim D-Light. I've been using D-Lights for two years now. Only problem was with the the KOM rim that I bent. I'm not sure if Race spoke would have helped to avoid the bend? I'm using same D-Lights with the M520 rim and the wheel has stayed is straight. Same with front wheel that still has KOM.

    Also must decide if I will reuse the Sapim alloy Polyax nipples, or go with the brand new brass Polyax nipples. Some people advice against reusing alloy nipples.

  28. #28
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    If you go with the Sapim race, may I suggest the Sapim force. The difference is about about 14 grams.
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  29. #29
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    Any updates on the spokes & nipples you went with? How did they ride?

    I'm still tossing up between ARC 24 or 27... Might even go 27 F & 24 R... Also considering doing build myself.

  30. #30
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    I went with Sapim D-light spokes. 2.0-1.65-2.0. What I gathered from experienced wheelbuilders is that even Revolution spokes are sufficient for heavy riders, when the wheel is well built and maintained (which I plan to do). Main advantage of the thicker spokes is that they do not wind up so easily during the build. D-lights have a nice property that only the threaded portion is butted. So if you get a spoke that is little bit too long, you cannot bottom out the nipple during the tensioning. I had a situation on the drive side where 288mm spoke would be flush with the bottom of the nipple head slot and 290mm spoke would be flush with the head of the nipple. With D-lights it was safe to go with 290mm spokes.

    I used Sapim Polyax Brass nipples that I already had. Mostly because Roger Musson suggested brass in his book. The Polyax head allows nipples to turn in the hole, so they are in line with spokes and the spoke is not bent where it enters the nipple. I spent three evenings building the wheel and I think it came out good.

    BTW - I found excellent spoke length calculator Spokomat (Radtechnik fr Profis - http://radtechnik.awiki.org). It has two unique features - it calculates spoke elongation (almost 1mm in my case) and resonance frequency of the spoke. If you can measure the spectrum you when you pluck the spokes you can find out what is the tension of the spoke. In my tests with Park Tool tensiometer it was very accurate. Also the spoke length elongation calculation seemed to be accurate.

    I haven't ridden the wheel yet. We have -20C here at the moment, waiting for the spring.

    The ease of tubeless setup of the Trail295 was comparable to KOM (which is excellent IMHO). The lack of single big centre channel did not pose any problems when putting the tyre on the rim. I tried X-King 2.4 Protection and Onza Canis 2.25 tyres. I had compressor at hand and there was no problems mounting the tyres. I tried both the 25mm Kapton tape (two layers - one layer on one side and second on other side) and 30mm WTB tape (looks same as Stans tape - one layer). Both worked same way - without sealant the air was leaking from the bead (it took about six hours to make the tyre flat). Left the WTB tape on. I used four layers of self-amalgamating butyl tape under the valve head (DT Swiss tubeless valves) that moulded into nice fillet that conformed exactly to the unusual shape of the Trail295 rim. No leak from the valve.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Comparison of alloy rims-readytorun.jpg  


  31. #31
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    Thanks for the detailed write-up - lots of useful information in there.

  32. #32
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    Updated the chart with some new rims. Pink ones are asymmetric. DT Swiss has some interesting rims: very light asymmetric XR361 and XM421.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Comparison of alloy rims-rms.png  


  33. #33
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Thanks for adding those.

    Is everything on the chart a 29" rim?

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  34. #34
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    Yes, I believe so. But of course it is possible that I've picked up some erroneous information.

  35. #35
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    Good thread.

    You'd think that asym type rims, in theory, could make for a much nicer wheel, yet they are relatively rare.

    Spoke to the folks at Stan's some time ago about this and was told they looked into it but for practical purposes it didn't make that much difference.

    I do recall Bontrager use to make asym style rims - a Mustang I think. I ran that rim for a few years with good results.


    Just to add to the data base, Stan's stuff is good and have been running it for years with no problems as long as you stay away from UST beads.

    The DT Swiss EX 471 is utterly bombproof, so if a bit of extra weight is not an issue, that's the rim I'd run.


    A few other observations I'd like to add to the discussion...

    I find alloy rims on a 275 bike plenty stiff, and they seem to absorb trail chatter better than carbon.

    On a 29er, I've found carbon to be better for the purpose of lateral stiffness, but I've yet to run a Boosted 29er, and maybe that bracing would be enough.

    Wheels only need to be stiff enough.


    So, for those who've built up Dt Swiss rims, is it necessary to use their nips and washers? Any downsides or benefits to there somewhat proprietary setup?


    This past summer I snapped a spoke on a trip out west while park ridding - early in the trip. The wheel was being ridden really hard, so I didn't want to chance not getting it fixed. Stopped by the pit at the base of the hill. In a half hour the shop had it completely repaired. Something to be said for common, non-proprietary parts. Was running a King hub and Flow Ex rim.


    I think if I had a wheel set built right now I'd go with Dt Swiss, with an Ex 471 out back and a XM 421 up front. Or maybe a Flow Ex out back and an Arch mk3 up front. That said, my current Arch mk3 out back (built by Pete) is holding up very well.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    So, for those who've built up Dt Swiss rims, is it necessary to use their nips and washers? Any downsides or benefits to there somewhat proprietary setup?
    I haven't built with DT Swiss rims, but read from their site that you must use the washers to get the warranty, but you can use other nipples. If you do the repair you can use some other nipples if the originals are not available.

    Edit: and the stated rim weight includes the weight of the washers but not nipples. So it's apples to apples comparison with other rims.
    Last edited by arnea; 12-18-2016 at 10:43 AM.

  37. #37
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    I've used the following rims, most on your list.
    DT Swiss EX471 and XM481, by far the strongest and the washers work great on the XM481,still going strong on the 481. No longer using the 471,too narrow.
    Velocity Blunt35, softer easy to ding but still a nice rim if you want a softer feel. Not welded ,not as durable.Using as a front only now
    Stans FlowEX strong rims, works great with Schwalbe tires, other tires, not so much, just too narrow for my preferences.No longer in use
    WTB Asym i35 strong rims,ASYM makes a nice offset to correct the dish. Not welded. These are my newest,so time will tell.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    A few other observations I'd like to add to the discussion...

    I find alloy rims on a 275 bike plenty stiff, and they seem to absorb trail chatter better than carbon.

    On a 29er, I've found carbon to be better for the purpose of lateral stiffness, but I've yet to run a Boosted 29er, and maybe that bracing would be enough.
    I use alloy rims for the most part unless you count Shimano's alloy/carbon laminate as a carbon rim, which I don't, I say it's a hybrid but that's not really important. I have ridden some of ultra stiff carbon rims on the market and though I'd agree that good alloy ones are stiff enough that I'm not losing my line, I do prefer the added stiffness and lighter weight of a carbon rim. I just can't justify shelling out that kind of money for something that I'll inevitably smash & crack on a rock at some point. As for trail chatter it's not something I care about, I notice it but it doesn't bother me, I rode a hardtail for 25 years and now that I'm on an FS bike everything feels comfy.

    Regarding 29ers and boost, I've ridden 29ers with & without boost with the same rims and I still think it's BS. The difference is marginal and they still feel like noodles unless I use a really stiff carbon rim. Now that geometry & handling has been sorted out, my main gripe with 29ers is that the wheels & tires don't last unless they're unacceptably heavy or expensive. Carbon rims ain't cheap and 29" tires with strong enough casings are in the 900-1000g range.

  39. #39
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    Time to update the chart again. Quite a lot of new rims. Some rims have changed drastically (most notably e*13 TRS rims).

    Playing with the idea to get rid of the remaining KOM i23 and replace it with something wider.

    Edit: updated the chart. B.O.R. XMD333 was so light that it was outside the chart If you are looking for lightweight XC rim then this is probably it. Mavic has some inexpensive 27mm UST rims. 827 is welded, others are sleeved.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Comparison of alloy rims-rms.jpg  

    Last edited by arnea; 01-13-2018 at 06:39 AM.

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