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  1. #1
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    Stick with OEM wheel set or upgrade?

    I have a Giant hardtail 29er that came stock with the Giant S-XC2 wheel set. I'm thinking about upgrading the wheel set to the Azonic Outlaws. I'm a bigger dude (e.g., 250-ish pounds decked out with ride gear). I'm pretty sure I've felt my Giant wheels flexing a bit on rougher trails (e.g., rocky stuff). So, what do you think? First, how good is the stock Giant wheel set that I already have? You think it's good enough for someone my size? Do you think the Outlaw upgrade would be worth it, and make a noticeable difference? For someone my size, do you think the Outlaws would be a good choice, or do you recommend something else? Thanks for any input you guys/gals wish to share!

  2. #2
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    I'm 255lbs no gear, and ride an Anthem X29er. I went with Flow rims (36 count) and Hope hubs. Cost was around $900. Was worth it to me, and I can definitely feel a difference. My OEM wheels were Giant P-XC29-2.

    How much are the Outlaws going to cost you? I think that at our size, 36H vx 32H is a better option for rims, but that's just my take on it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    I'm 255lbs no gear, and ride an Anthem X29er. I went with Flow rims (36 count) and Hope hubs. Cost was around $900. Was worth it to me, and I can definitely feel a difference. My OEM wheels were Giant P-XC29-2.

    How much are the Outlaws going to cost you? I think that at our size, 36H vx 32H is a better option for rims, but that's just my take on it.
    In what ways did your specific, newer wheel set-up provide substantial, positive differences?

    Those Outlaws would be in the high $300 range. Looks like I could have the same type of wheels built that you mentioned above for around high $700 range. That's expensive, but I got no problem paying a premium if it really is worth it.

    Do you ever notice any substantial wheel flex with your newer wheels?

  4. #4
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    Re: Stick with OEM wheel set or upgrade?

    I recently replaced my stock wtb wheelset with a custom set from crc. I went with Hope Pro2 hubs and mavic 823 rims. A little overkill for me, but I wanted something very stiff and strong. Cost me about $550 shipped.
    Very very good upgrade. Absolutely love them. Felt tons of wheel flex with my old set, and never feel it now. Other huge benefit to me with this upgrade is the UST rims. I'm rjnning tubeless with UST tires as well. Awesome combo.
    This is on a burly 6" giant reign used as my do it all bike.

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2

  5. #5
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    I finally upgraded the stock Giant P-XC29-2 wheeelset on my 12' Anthem X29 1. I went with stock Stans ZTR Crest 29 wheelset and am very happy with my choice. I'm lighter @170# geared up but the Stans Flow wheelset would be a good consideration for you. The Stans feel much stiffer than the stock wheelset and have held up well for my riding style out in NorCal.

  6. #6
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    I'd go with Stans (non-EX) Flow rims or WTB i23 Frequency rims. 32 hole and brass nipples will be fine for you. You're big enough to tear up freehubs once you get strong enough, so I'd go Hope Pro II hubs at a minimum, or maybe DT Swiss 350 hubs. They are the lowest priced hubs that are consistently known for being pretty reliable. There may be some newer hubs around that some are having good luck with, but not enough reliable feedback around for me, though YMMV and some may disagree. For spokes, I'd go with quality brand (DT Swiss, Wheelsmith, or Sapim) double butted, no smaller than 14/15/14 (2.0/1.8/2.0). That would be a solid, reliable, tubeless ready wheelset that would be convertible to several axle standards making it a solid investment for years to come.

    If you want to spend a bit more, you could go with Chris King, Hadley, or DT-Swiss 240s hubs, but not necessary unless you wanto to and have the budget. If you want to spend a lot more, you could consider some carbon rims, but that's getting quite abit more and not really in line with what you're riding.

    Not really a fan of Outlaws since I watched a friend fold one on a nothing jump. Anecdotal evidence for sure, but when there are other alternatives that I haven't seen that happen to, I just prefer to use those alternatives.

    JMHO.

  7. #7
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    UPGRADE, for sure, stock GIANT wheels are heavy pigs, won't talk about the low end ones I'd go with the Hope Pro2 EVO hubs/Stans FLOW wheels off Wiggle for about $380 shipped to the US instead of the Azonics though.
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  8. #8
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    Email Larry at Ghisallo Wheels - Custom Wheels for pricing.

    I got my Flows with CK SS hub (with 14g 36 DT spokes front and rear) for around $750 including shipping to Canada (and I believe Flows are still on sale). It would be much cheaper with Hope hubs.

    Wiggle was having a wicked sale on Stans/Hope last year (late summer/fall ish), but I don't see it on their page any more. Only Stans/Hope they have are 26" wheels.

    BTW, no problem with Flow/CK/36h for me, 220 lb in my ginch, on rigid with lots of air time.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dshoe70 View Post
    In what ways did your specific, newer wheel set-up provide substantial, positive differences?

    Those Outlaws would be in the high $300 range. Looks like I could have the same type of wheels built that you mentioned above for around high $700 range. That's expensive, but I got no problem paying a premium if it really is worth it.

    Do you ever notice any substantial wheel flex with your newer wheels?
    No flex. That's all I was looking for. At my weight, dropping ounces of the bike is lame. I just wanted a nice stiff wheel set that didn't deflect or flex, and that's what I got.

  10. #10
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    Oh, you guys are really driving it home here! You can’t imagine how much my desire has grown in about the last 24 hours. I’ve read and learned enough now to know I’m ruling out the Azonic Outlaws. A lot pf people say they’re great, and I’m sure they might be, but I want to go with something “better” than that now. So, here’s what I’m thinking:

    Rims = Stans ZTR Flow EX 29er 36-hole, Sun Ringle MTX 33 36-hole, or Mavic TN 719 36-hole

    Hubs = Hope Pro 2 Evo, or perhaps an equivalent Hadley “upgrade”

    Spokes = DT Swiss Super Comp (triple-butted, 2.0/1.7/1.8)

    Nipples = DT Swiss 12mm (alloy or brass)

    What do you think about the above? What would be your preferred choice on the rims? A lot of positive vibes exist on the Mavic EX 823 rims, but I don’t think they come in the 29” flavor. Worth it to upgrade to Hadley hubs, over the long run? What about my spoke choice; good or bad? Someone mentioned beefier spokes, yet. What would be the best alternative there? How about the nipples? Go alloy or brass? 12mm good, or look at 16mm instead?

    Again, for reference… I’m about 6’1.5”. I weigh 250-ish pounds decked out in ride gear. I ride a hardtail 29er. Most of my riding is XC, with some mild-to-moderate, dedicated trail riding mixed in. I never get too wild-n-crazy. I don’t do any jumping or thrashing around, and don’t plan to either with this particular bike.

    Now, here’s a huge question (or two)… So, first of all, please feel free to call me an idiot if you want! I can take it… So, I bought a new fork for my bike at the start of this year. It’s a nice RS Reba RL Solo Air. I love it so far. I have no intention of having to switch forks, again. With that said, the new Reba was purchased for my OEM wheel set, which uses a 9mm QR hub. So, if I get a new, “custom” wheel set upgrade, then it’ll have to be for a 9mm QR front end.

    Now, the number one main reason why I want a new wheel set in the first place is to get something beefier and stronger, based on my body type and my style of riding. And, I know I have a disadvantage by being limited to a 9mm QR front end.

    Then comes my question (or two)… Is what I’m thinking here even worth it? Do you really think I’ll notice a vast improvement in stiffness and ride quality, given a super nice, new, sturdier wheel set but still being “limited” by the 9mm QR front end? In other words, would you still consider doing what I’m thinking about doing here?

    For more reference… Eventually, I want to get an FS 29er, too. I’m considering building one from frame-up, also. Would my money, time, and energy be better spent leaving my current hardtail wheel set alone, and putting it toward the new FS 29er build instead? The FS 29er build will have a super nice wheel set (and thru-axle front end) regardless. And, my hardtail 29er isn’t ever going buh-bye; I love it too much. So, I guess the question really becomes… Is it going to be worth +/- $700 - $800 to put a new wheel set on the hardtail, based on all of the info I’ve provided in this thread? Again, what would YOU do?

    P.S. – Sorry for this long-winded post here, but I’m digging deeper for more good info; especially since I’m now thinking seriously about spending a lot on a nice, new, custom wheel set for my current bike (and I want to feel as justified as possible for it).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dshoe70 View Post
    ...Again, for reference…I weigh 250-ish pounds decked out in ride gear. So, if I get a new, “custom” wheel set upgrade, then it’ll have to be for a 9mm QR front end.
    Full stop. I would not spend money for a custom wheel that uses a 9mm front QR. At our weight, definitely not.

    Edit: to clarify, if you can swap the 9mm to 15/20mm for future use on the front hub, then I'd go for it, but if you are stuck with the 9mm option only, then I wouldn't.

  12. #12
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    I say YES, you'll notice a difference between the stock wheels and a nice set like Pro2s/Flow even only using a 9mm QR. I suggest you go with something stock and cheaper (you may be heavier, but you say you don't get air and don't ride crazy on the HT, so don't need 36h wheels), like the Wiggle wheels for about $400 and save the extra 300 or so $$ for the to be FS. This way you'll have a nice wheelset (which I personally think would be a very nice set) you could transfer over to the FS or back and forth between FS and HT. You'll be amazed at how your HT will feel and ride on these wheels compared to the tanks they come with

    Not sure how much research you've done and what you've found out, but the Pro2 hubs can swap between 9mm QR, 15mm QR, 20mm QR and even the Mavic 24mm, so no matter what fork axle option you have it's as easy as swapping end caps pn the hubs, takes about a minute.
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  13. #13
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    So, basically what you’re saying is go with the pre-built (although supposedly hand-built) wheels from Wiggle. They use the Hope Pro 2 EVO hubs, which are supposedly decent hubs for the money. You get your choice of rims, from a lot of about six or seven different ones. I could choose Stans ZTR Flow EX 29ers as my preferred option, too. Unlike what I was originally thinking, they’d be 32-hole instead of 36-hole. But, for my “mild-to-moderate” riding style, 36-hole is not really warranted or necessary. I didn’t see on Wiggle what kind of spokes and nipples are used, but let’s assume they’re good enough though. And, I could have a full, new set of these wheels for +/- $400ish; cutting my original custom build estimate just about in half. And, this scenario would be deemed as substantially better than the OEM Giant S-XC2 wheel set that came on my bike? And, we’ve confirmed that the Hope hubs would be easily swappable between 9mm QR, 15mm thru-axle, and 20mm thru-axle, like JK suggested? AND, we just basically agree that this scenario would be an all-around great opportunity/deal for my current situation?

    Have I summarized all of this correctly?

  14. #14
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    I think you have. My rims are Flow vs Flow EX and I don't know what the differences are. My Hopes are convertible on the front, although they are currently in a 15mm configuration and I don't see that ever changing. I have 36H rims, but that was my preference.

    I think you'd like them quite a bit more than the OEM offerings. One thing to keep in mind is that the wider Flow rims will give you a bit bigger tire than what they would be on the OEM wheels, which is good.

  15. #15
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    Yes, you've summed it up well. The spokes they use Sapim Sprint spokes according to the literature on the site - I've measured them on the "XC" wheels and they're triple butted 2.0-1.7-1.8, on the "FR" they're double butted 2.0-1.8. Difference between the Flow and FlowEX, Just look at the Stans rim page with their various rims and it'll be obvious. Just remember to order the FlowEX 29er and not the "Normal" Flow which is the 26" version.

    If you're worried about them, not if you ride as you've described. I have 3 guys running the 26er Flow/Pro setup from Wiggle and 1 guy running Crest/Pro2 29ers also from Wiggle and they're holding up fine. Guy riding the Crest only weighs about 165lbs, the guys on the 26ers range from about 200-230lbs. I personally have been running Pro2/Flows for the last 4+ years and more recently beating on a Crest/Pro2 front for an experiment, I can weigh anywhere from 175-195lbs ready to ride depending on what I'm packing
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