Results 1 to 22 of 22
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,401

    Should I upgrade wheels? What makes the upgrade worth it?

    I ride a Trek Fuel EX8 29er. the stock wheels are bontrager Dusters with sealed bearing hubs. I ride XC/aggressive XC/ trail. Basically nothing with drops over 3'. I weigh about 170 with gear. I have yet to cause damage to my current set of wheels (spokes broke or wheel bent). I have been considering getting a nicer set of wheels. I have been looking at the newly updated Bontrager Rhythm comp and elite wheels. My LBS says the Rhythm comp wheels ($600) is not a large enough upgrade to justify the cost and that I would need to look to a better wheel than that to notice enough of a difference. That lead me to the Rhythm elite wheels. I see they have DT swiss internals and straight pull spokes. Other than that what makes these (or other wheels) better and more efficient than mine? The rhythm elite wheels cost about $1k but should be able to get a deal on them. They ar currently on back order but that is not a big deal at this time. I am not limited to Bontrager but like their tubless set up. Stans seem nice too but it seems the hubs would be about the same as mine? BTW I have a 15qr on the front and 142x12 on the back.
    2014 Niner RIP 9
    Full XT
    Rock Shox Pike 140
    Roval Control Carbon

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    14,353
    I could swear I got slightly quicker handling from lighter rims. Some posters swear by rear hubs with more points of engagement.

    If I'm buying wheels aftermarket, I want them to be serviceable. For me, that means availability of spares. So I probably wouldn't buy a Bontrager wheel. There's a whole world of nice rims and hubs out there, and with traditional construction and nice parts, there's zero performance compromise and it's easy to replace a spoke, bearings, a freehub, even an entire rim.

    If you can afford it, you're probably going to do it. So spend your money on something smart, not on a system or other disposable wheel.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: J.B. Weld's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,672
    To me better (expensive) wheels means higher strength/weight ratio, and someone your weight could potentially get away with a pretty light set of wheels. Light wheels do feel quicker to me, mostly during acceleration but I've never put a stopwatch to it so it could be mostly in my head.

    I would be inclined to run with what you have until they become troublesome but if you decide to "upgrade" now I agree with AndrwSwitch's post above. For the money you're willing to spend you could have a great set of rims built with quality hubs and non-proprietary spokes.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,401
    Would a set of Stans arch ex w/ stans hubs be much of an upgrade?

    I also saw same stans on hope hubs at wiggle.com but cannot tell if they are 15qr and 142x12 compatible.
    2014 Niner RIP 9
    Full XT
    Rock Shox Pike 140
    Roval Control Carbon

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    14,353
    They're certainly higher status. Can you find out the weight of your current rims? I think rim weight and width are the biggest contributors to a wheel's handling feel.

    I don't know those hubs. If I were considering them, I'd look for some reviews, and also for availability of the freehub, axles (if applicable) etc.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    2,745
    One option: $399 (today only) http://www.pricepoint.com/Brand/Sun-...r-Wheelset.axd

    Another option is Light Bicycle 30mm wide carbon rims ($380 set delivered off eBay), get a local wheelbuilder ($40 labor per wheel?) to order some Sapim Laser black spokes from Dan's Comp at 95 cents each (total about $43 including) and maybe some Shimano XT-level hubs or DT Swiss 350. Maybe the spokes are too weight weenie-ish for needs, but Dan's Comp has slightly beefier Sapim spokes for dirt cheap, too: Bmx Spokes at Danscomp

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,401
    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    One option: $399 (today only) Sun Ringle Charger Pro 29er Wheelset | Sun Ringle | Brand | www.PricePoint.com

    Another option is Light Bicycle 30mm wide carbon rims ($380 set delivered off eBay), get a local wheelbuilder ($40 labor per wheel?) to order some Sapim Laser black spokes from Dan's Comp at 95 cents each (total about $43 including) and maybe some Shimano XT-level hubs or DT Swiss 350. Maybe the spokes are too weight weenie-ish for needs, but Dan's Comp has slightly beefier Sapim spokes for dirt cheap, too: Bmx Spokes at Danscomp
    I saw that sale today. I don't see that those wheels are 142x12 though
    2014 Niner RIP 9
    Full XT
    Rock Shox Pike 140
    Roval Control Carbon

  8. #8
    Save Jesus
    Reputation: beanbag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    2,706
    Quote Originally Posted by stygz1 View Post
    Would a set of Stans arch ex w/ stans hubs be much of an upgrade?
    No, it would be a downgrade. You'd be taking wheels that are able to run a legit standard tubeless setup, and exchanging them for one that is designed to ghetto rig regular tires in a tubeless manner.

    The Rhythm wheelsets are weaker than yours because they have less spokes.

    The new wheelsets are intriguing due to the faster engaging hubs and reinforced spoke holes. But you should wait a bit for reviews to come in regarding their reliability.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mordock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    94
    Quote Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
    No, it would be a downgrade. You'd be taking wheels that are able to run a legit standard tubeless setup, and exchanging them for one that is designed to ghetto rig regular tires in a tubeless manner.

    The Rhythm wheelsets are weaker than yours because they have less spokes.

    The new wheelsets are intriguing due to the faster engaging hubs and reinforced spoke holes. But you should wait a bit for reviews to come in regarding their reliability.
    Did you mean to quote a different reply? I'd think Arch EXs would be an upgrade. I know it was when I made the switch with a similar ranged bike. Tubeless setup is great with Stans wheels...

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,401
    My Dusters have 28 hole spokes just like the rhythms. But I do not have straight pull spokes....supposed to be stronger. I do see your point on ghetto tubless though.
    2014 Niner RIP 9
    Full XT
    Rock Shox Pike 140
    Roval Control Carbon

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bholwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2,123
    Quote Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
    No, it would be a downgrade. You'd be taking wheels that are able to run a legit standard tubeless setup, and exchanging them for one that is designed to ghetto rig regular tires in a tubeless manner.
    I think highly of your posts, as they're always very informative and helpful. But I'm inclined to disagree with you here.

    The Arch EX / ZTR wheelset is lighter, wider, and of higher / better quality with better hub engagement. Yes, it's not a UST compliant rim, but the Arch EX will work fine with UST and tubeless ready tires from Maxxis, Specialized, and Schwalbe. Geax and WTB UST tubeless ready tires might pose a problem.
    Tire Design & Development Engineer. The opinions expressed in this forum are solely my own.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mordock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    94
    Quote Originally Posted by stygz1 View Post
    Would a set of Stans arch ex w/ stans hubs be much of an upgrade?

    I also saw same stans on hope hubs at wiggle.com but cannot tell if they are 15qr and 142x12 compatible.
    You can convert them with different caps assuming it is the evo2 hub

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bigkat273's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    574

    Re: Should I upgrade wheels? What makes the upgrade worth it?

    The pricepoint/Ringle deal is great if you're on a budget. But if you were considering the higher end bontrager you might as well do a custom build. I have a set of flow ex's/king hubs being built as we speak for my trek stache.
    Here is the thing about equality, everyone's equal when they're dead. - Gavroche, Les MisÚrables

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by stygz1 View Post
    I ride a Trek Fuel EX8 29er. the stock wheels are bontrager Dusters with sealed bearing hubs. I ride XC/aggressive XC/ trail. Basically nothing with drops over 3'. I weigh about 170 with gear. I have yet to cause damage to my current set of wheels (spokes broke or wheel bent). I have been considering getting a nicer set of wheels. I have been looking at the newly updated Bontrager Rhythm comp and elite wheels. My LBS says the Rhythm comp wheels ($600) is not a large enough upgrade to justify the cost and that I would need to look to a better wheel than that to notice enough of a difference. That lead me to the Rhythm elite wheels. I see they have DT swiss internals and straight pull spokes. Other than that what makes these (or other wheels) better and more efficient than mine? The rhythm elite wheels cost about $1k but should be able to get a deal on them. They ar currently on back order but that is not a big deal at this time. I am not limited to Bontrager but like their tubless set up. Stans seem nice too but it seems the hubs would be about the same as mine? BTW I have a 15qr on the front and 142x12 on the back.
    These sound like my stache 8 wheels ,do you the weight ?
    I am thinking of upgrading to arches if there is enough of a weight difference

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,401
    Quote Originally Posted by rainx View Post
    These sound like my stache 8 wheels ,do you the weight ?
    I am thinking of upgrading to arches if there is enough of a weight difference
    No idea of the stock weight.
    2014 Niner RIP 9
    Full XT
    Rock Shox Pike 140
    Roval Control Carbon

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,401
    Quote Originally Posted by bholwell View Post
    I think highly of your posts, as they're always very informative and helpful. But I'm inclined to disagree with you here.

    The Arch EX / ZTR wheelset is lighter, wider, and of higher / better quality with better hub engagement. Yes, it's not a UST compliant rim, but the Arch EX will work fine with UST and tubeless ready tires from Maxxis, Specialized, and Schwalbe. Geax and WTB UST tubeless ready tires might pose a problem.
    I do understand his point on tape vs specific rim strip. The bontrager is more of a wheel system vs "ghetto tubeless" / "make it work". I am not positive on the exact width of my Dusters but they are a wider wheel. I would be willing to bet within a mm or so to the Arch EX. As for Stans hubs I don't know. I can say the Bontrager hub was upgraded in either 2012 or 2013 with sealed bearings and maybe other things.

    I guess I talked myself out of Stans wheels
    2014 Niner RIP 9
    Full XT
    Rock Shox Pike 140
    Roval Control Carbon

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,401
    After a google search I am finding the dusters to be about 28mm wide while the Arch EX is about 25mm. The Flow EX is about 29mm.

    Maybe my wheels are not worth upgrading? It seems I have a good tubeless system, decent width, sealed bearings, 28 hole (weight). Most importantly I am not breaking anything.

    It seems my biggest upgrade after spending hundreds of dollars would be better engament right?
    2014 Niner RIP 9
    Full XT
    Rock Shox Pike 140
    Roval Control Carbon

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    7
    rhythm elite wheels should be lighter than duster and certainly it will have much better engagement with the rapid drive. By the way how much deal can you get for the rhythm elite wheels?

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,401
    About $100 off
    2014 Niner RIP 9
    Full XT
    Rock Shox Pike 140
    Roval Control Carbon

  20. #20
    MTB B'dos
    Reputation: LyNx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    17,921
    Those Bontrager wheels are quite good and reliable, if you really want to do a wort while upgrade I'd listen to the guys saying go a custom build with wider than 30mm rims on some nice hubs OR check out the Syntace W35 wheels, MSRP is $1200 or so AFAIK. I'd consider getting them if I had the $$, have since I first saw them.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
    MTB Barbados
    My Phantom pics

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: traffic002's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1,707
    Why upgrade? Is there anything wrong with your current wheels? I'm about your weight and ride aggressive XC with some all-mountain sprinkled in from time to time. I've ridden 29-ers (rigid single speed) but ride a 26" hardtail right now.

    The biggest benefit I found from upgrading my 29-er wheel was to go to a higher point engagement hub. 16POE to 48POE. Huge difference in pedal kicks and setting up for quick climbs and such. The stock wheels were wide enough and matched properly to the tires.

    On my 26", I've found that weight and rim width and just the build quality of the wheel helps the accuracy and feel of the rear. Lighter (and narrower) rims has a certain "squirt" to each pedal stroke. But the heavier wheels can help carry momentum through rough sections a little better. Narrow rims plus high volume tires gives sort of a squirmy feel compared to wider rims with high volumes.

    But I think I tend to ride faster with the more accurate feel of the wheels vs lightness. So I've been favoring the wide, strong and reasonably light approach.

    Now, I just built up a Stans ZTR Flow EX wheel with Hadley hub. This is going from WTB Free Ride with XTM785 hub. Not a huge amount of difference in the All-mountain ride I did over the weekend. Nor the near bike park like trails near my house (no real roots or rocks challenges) I didn't really feel much difference going from 36POE to 72POE. I did feel the accuracy difference of the new freshly trued wheelset...or is the Flow stronger than the WTB FR?? I think I went from 28mm to 29mm.

    But just food for thought...
    Just get out and ride!

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: moefosho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    1,932
    Things I look at when comparing wheels:
    1. Durability (what good is a wheel if its broken)
    2. Weight (lower weight of unsprung/rotational components helps the bike in every aspect)
    3. Hubs/POE
    4. Stiffness
    5. Looks (gotta look good right?)

    And obviously price is important as well.

Similar Threads

  1. Is this upgrade worth it?
    By Raptrox in forum Shocks and Suspension
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-13-2012, 08:39 PM
  2. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-09-2012, 02:13 PM
  3. Worth the upgrade or not?
    By bassn in forum Wheels and Tires
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-16-2011, 07:27 PM
  4. Replies: 22
    Last Post: 07-01-2011, 02:08 PM
  5. Worth Upgrade?
    By JJ1514 in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-12-2011, 09:04 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •