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  1. #1
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    I9 ultra lights vs. I9 XC with arch rims…

    So I thought I had my mind made up to go with a custom I9 build. Their XC wheelset built with stans arch rims. That wheelset would come in somewhere around 1610 gr.

    Now I’m contemplating the stock ultra light wheelset with ZTR355 rims and slightly thinner spokes (.90” vs. .100”). They have a real world weight of 1470gr according to competitive cyclist.

    I’m about 170lbs with gear and these are going on an ’06 specialized epic marathon. I ride mostly trail XC stuff in northern NJ. I can come across some rocky downhills with baby heads here and there. These will be my everyday wheels. If it makes a difference I’m thinking about upgrading to a 15mm fork lower.

    I guess my question is am I giving up much stiffness or resiliency for saving 140 grams with the ultralights? I know lighter wheels can make a huge difference but is the trade off worth it in this case. I almost feel like I should be taking advantage of my weight and using the lighter wheelset…

    Also the ultra lights are in stock and would be slightly cheaper than an XC arch custom build. But the wait and slight price difference is not as important as choosing the right wheelset…

    Thanks for any input / experience you can share….

  2. #2
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    I've got almost a full season on my Ultralights. They've held up great. Stiff, fast and responsive. I'm about 160lbs kitted out. I will say tho, I'm not that hard on my wheels; I have a fairly smooth riding style. If you are hard on your wheels, I'd go with the Arches. The xc wheelset's thicker spokes will be better for longevity and stiffness. But if you can make your bike dance through a minefield of babyheads-go Ultralite. The weigh difference definitely adds to the bike's responsiveness.

    Do get the 15mm hub end caps. The hubs on the two wheelsets are the same and it's an easy conversion from 9mm to 15mm. The QR15 makes a huge difference in front end tracking ability.

  3. #3
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    thanks for the feedback kitsuma. I figure with my weight and my riding style I should be ok with the ultralights. Plus I figure I would always get the hubs re-laced if the ZTR355 does not work out for me. But that would require new spokes also as the arch has a different ERD.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
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    As I was riding my rocky trail and hearing rocks bounce off the sides of my rims today I feel like I should go with the XC / Arch option. I'm not racing and if I do next year it will only be a few. Also I'm thinking since I'm investing the the stiff 15mm set up I should use a stiffer wheel. Of course I'm sure I'll change my mind soon.

    The new post about I9 vs King custom is interesting also since that's a route I thought of also. It mentions how the kings are better in the rain / mud. In northern NJ we get plently of that come spring....

  5. #5
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    If you like to race XC, go with the ultralites,otherwise stay away from the 355's and the '90 spokes,my wheel builder hatted building up the 355(to much variation in spoke tension) and after I lost interest in racing my 07 S works epic(at the time I was about the same weight as you) I switched to '100 spokes and DT Swiss 4.2D's.Yes they spin up slightly slower,but turn way better.If you have heaps of cash look into DT Swiss carbon rims.Or maybe just a set of 4.2D or heavier Stans and a lighter set of tires.

    A foot note to this is, My girl friend has been racing XC competitively on her '90 spokes and 355 for three years now,(And trains on them too) they have had one minor trueing and no issues,so they are reliable if you are light and don't thrash them.

  6. #6
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    Thanks again for the feed back guys. I’m leaning towards the XC with arch rim. Right now I’m using crossrides, tubes, navigals with a 11-34 XT cassette. I figure switching to the I9 XC rim, light tubeless tires and an XTR 11-32 cassette should save me at least a pound off my spinning parts. I should notice that included with more stiffness…

  7. #7
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    That sound like a good choice,
    If you had your heart set on 355's you could run them with '100 spokes as I reckon the lack of lateral stiffness in the ultralites is mainly in the spokes and not the rim( my wheel builder proved this by twisting a couple of spokes on the initial ultralite build)

    It sounds to me that you don't need UST tyres
    Unless you are down hilling or ride very rocky trails you just don't need the heavier side walls.

    I have tubelessed up a sh*t load of wheels and tyres
    My preferred set up is
    Stans yellow tape
    DT Swiss valve( stan's is lighter but too small and fiddly to use)
    Stans sealant
    DTC Nevagals or Maxxis Advantage tyres

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