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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Thoughts about carbon wheels on a hardtail

    I agonized over what wheels to get for my hardtail. There are plenty of threads on the advantages of carbon wheels, but because I own a hardtail, a big concern was whether carbon wheels would make the ride too harsh.

    The WTB i29 wheels that came on my carbon Honzo weren't bad in terms of ride quality but were boat anchors at almost 2300g. Last year I bought some 26mm internal DT swiss wheels which were 1650g but felt surprisingly harsh compared to the i29s. The ride quality did improve when I switched from a 2.25 Ardent to a 2.35" Ikon though (which barely fit in the frame by the way).

    Recently I bought some Reynolds TR309s (30mm internal) wheels. I mounted them with a 2.35" Forkaster in the front and a 2.3" Agressor in the rear. Initially the ride was kind of harsh but I dropped the pressure to around 15-17psi (I'm 145lbs) and the ride quality is now comparable to the i29s at 20psi. They actually feel less harsh than the DT swiss alloy wheels with narrower tires, which kind of surprised me.

    So from my experience I'd say that the volume created by a wider rim is probably more important than actual rim material in terms of ride quality. That means if you want to balance weight concerns with ride quality, it might be better to go with wider carbon rim than a narrow aluminum rim on a hardtail.

    Of course there are a bunch of other advantages of carbon. There is no doubt my wheels are much more responsive but I'd also say there is a more noticeable increase in pedaling efficiency when going from my locked out full suspension bike to the Honzo than going to from alloy to carbon wheels on the Honzo.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: CCSS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Iím running Nox Farlows on my rigid Black Cat SS, and Bontrager Line Pro 40s on my rigid SS Waltworks. More compliance with the Line Pros because of the 28 spokes vs 32 with the Nox. Running 3.25s on the WW and 3.0 & 2.6 on the Black Cat. Rubber makes the biggest difference...

  3. #3
    This place needs an enema
    Reputation: mikesee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    If you want to get rid of that harshness, have your current rims re-laced with Berd spokes.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I build with Sapim Lasers and have not experienced harshness with CarbonFan rims.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Lone Rager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    I don't have any experience with carbon rims on HTs but I haven't found carbon rims to ride harsher on road bikes or FS mtbs. As far as pressure vs width, it IS pressure vs width as the ride and proper pressure depends on tension in the the tire's side walls. Tension is due to so-called hoop stress which is proportional to installed carcass width. Wider rims will increase installed carcass width for a given tire. Volume is irrelevant except that it happens to also get bigger with wider tires.

    To compare tires of different widths, measure the installed width of the carcass and set pressures proportionately.
    Do the math.

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