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  1. #1
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    How much can rim choice change ride characteristics?

    I have mavic xc717 rims built onto chris king ISO hubs - 15mm front axle using converter for standard ISO front - and am using these on a long-forked hard tail mountain bike. I've noticed that going faster on rougher terrain the bike feels a bit 'squirrely' in that the front feels like it's getting deflected quite a bit and struggling to hold a line and there seems to be a lot of vibration and knocks felt at the bars.

    It has occurred to me that perhaps changing to a more substantial rim - e.g. mavic xm719 - would give the bike a more 'planted' ride feel.

    I'd be grateful if anyone with knowledge/experience in this area could advise.

    Many thanks

  2. #2
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    There could be several factors:
    - vibration and knocks felt at the bars - is the fork set up correctly, does it need servicing?

    A "long-forked hard tail" might mean you don't have enough weight on the front wheel.
    Geometry and fork setup and cockpit setup could all cause this.
    What front tire pressure are you running? Deflection and vibration could be related to high tire pressure.

  3. #3
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    How much can rim choice change ride characteristics?

    What tires are you running? A large volume tire on that rim could be part of the issue. If you rebuilt them, I would do so with the WTB Frequency I23 which is wider and will be stiffer with little weight gain.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  4. #4
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    Re: How much can rim choice change ride characteristics?

    This sounds more like a fork setup issue to me than a rim width issue. Or tire pressure is very high. My experience is that chatter felt at the bars is usually due to fork settings. Slow down the rebound and see if it feels better before buying a new wheel set.

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  5. #5
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    A rim change (to a modern wide rim) would result in a huge ridiculous difference in handling. The bike would feel better in every way. The 717 is just far far too narrow, road bikes on 23c (less than 1.0) tires use that sort of rim.

  6. #6
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    Thanks all for the replies...

    @fsrxc - Frame is a cove hummer and fork is less than one year old, RS sektor coil 140mm, which seems ok to me. Running around 25psi in a conti mountain king v2 2.4in on front and same tyre on the back with around 30psi. I do run a relatively short - 70mm - so maybe that's keeping my weight too far back.

    @CDMC - the tyres I'm running - conti mountain king v2 2.4in - do look a bit balloon-like on the rims - maybe they're too large volume for the rim?

    @darinmg - will go over rebound settings - thanks.

    @One Pivot - that was my line of thought

  7. #7
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    I am running conti MK v2 2.4 on 23mm rims right now and I feel a difference from my previous 19mm rim (on my Soul). Not huge, but definitely more stable / planted. My bikes are Cotic Soul with a REV 130mm and Evil Sovereign with a FOX 140mm. Same tire in the front but Easton Haven on the Evil. Max pressure I run is 21 psi on the racesport and protection versions. I weigh around 130lbs.

  8. #8
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    Can you tell me which 23mm rim you're running now and which 19mm rim you were running please?

  9. #9
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    Definitely going to something wider like a Stans FlowEX or even ArchEX would make a huge difference, especially in how tyres feel and what pressures you could run. Won't even mention what going to wider and carbon might be like

    Also, if I'm reading this right you somehow have converted a 15mm TA fork to use in a standard 9mm vertical dropout, is that right? If that's the case then you'll feel a huge improvement if you go to a fork that uses a TA, huge, huge difference.
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  10. #10
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    Wider rims are definitely better, but it looks like you have some other problem with your bike if you feel vibration and knocking at the bars.

    Is it a spring fork? There could be play in the stanctions.

    You could have a loose headset. You might need another spacer of the fork tube is topped out in the top cap.

    A wider rim will not solve vibrations and knocking, but right now the internal rim width of your rim is 17mm. You could go up to an Arch EX 21mm internal width, WTB I23 23mm internal width. Both significantly wider, but the Stan's has lower sidewalls which also improves the ride. Also note these two rims have different bead diameters. The WTB rim works tubeless ideally with a UST or WTB TCS tire, and other tight fitting tubeless ready tires may work. The Stan's rim has a significantly larger bead diameter so it works best with tube-type tires and tubeless ready tires.

  11. #11
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    Agree with most everything said, and would look towards a wider rim for fat tires.
    Took a tubed Rampage to burp on a narrow rim before realizing the potential for disaster.
    Now use Flows, and a set of P-35's, always roll fatty's (f-2.4 / r-2.2+), and feel it helps.
    High PSI does cause deflection, and on a narrow rim, (IME) you can't run a lower PSI without tire squirm. YMMV
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  12. #12
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    As one pivot stated......that rim you are using is very, very narrow for mountain biking. Like 1989 narrow. As long as everything else is fine......headset, fork, you will feel an unbelievable improvement in handling and feel with a wider rim, higher volume tire, and lower pressure.

  13. #13
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    How much can rim choice change ride characteristics?

    Therewillbemud, the 23mm rim is the carbon Light Bicycle wide. I now have 6 of those. The 19mm are Stan's ZTR Olympic.


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