Need Spokes recommendations for Light FR/Heavy Duty AM wheels- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Need Spokes recommendations for Light FR/Heavy Duty AM wheels

    Here's the lowdown, I bought a Santa Cruz Butcher a couple months back and I want to build it into a reasonably light (32 - 33lb w/ RC4 and Fox Float 36 180) bike that will handle burly AM trail riding and some free ride- probably nothing bigger than ladder 6 foot drops. This is also my park bike- I'm hoping to make it up to Northstar at LEAST 6 riding days next year. I currently weigh 185-190.

    This is what I'm currently looking at for a wheelset, but I'm not sure which spokes to go with:

    Mavic EN521 Rims
    DT Swiss 440 Hubs (110 x 20mm front, 135 x 10 rear)

    Onto spokes, here's where I'm having the proble! I've seen many AM wheels and some FR wheels built with DT Swiss Competition 2.0 spokes- these are a little bit lighter and still appear to be reasonably strong. My other option would be the DT Swiss Champion 2.0 spokes- but I'm wondering if this is overkill for the type of riding I do...?

  2. #2
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    I would say go with the champions. If you've worried about the weight, I would think that would outweigh having to replace broken spokes. Plus the added weight really wouldn't be too significant.
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  3. #3
    Err
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    I build a lot of wheels and almost entirely for FR and DH. You'll have no issues with DT Comps and they come in at a reasonable price point. They are plenty strong and built up a nice stiff wheel. I'd go that route or Wheelsmith Double Butted which can sometimes be found for a better price and in my experience are very comparable to DT Comps.

    FWIW, wheels can be built to withstand the type of riding you describe with much lighter spokes but you'd need to find a wheel builder who is experienced in working with them. I have a few wheelsets with Revolutions, Aerolites, and Sapim CX-Rays that hold up just fine. But it takes a delicate touch to build them strong. Point is, DT Comps are not really pushing the envelope for light spokes and are a great option to build a strong but light all-around wheelset.
    Last edited by Err; 10-20-2010 at 10:33 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Err
    I build a lot of wheels and almost entirely for FR and DH. You'll have no issues with DT Comps and they come in at a reasonable price point. They are plenty strong and built up a nice stiff wheel. I'd go that route or Wheelsmith Double Butted which can sometimes be found for a better price and in my experience are very comparable to DH Comps.

    FWIW, wheels can be built to withstand the type of riding you describe with much lighter spokes but you'd need to find a wheel builder who is experienced in working with them. I have a few wheelsets with Revolutions, Aerolites, and Sapim CX-Rays that hold up just fine. But it takes a delicate touch to build them strong. Point is, DT Comps are not really pushing the envelope for light spokes and are a great option to build a strong but light all-around wheelset.
    This man knows what he is talking about...

    He has built me many wheels and so far all of mine have been with Comp spokes. I weigh the same as you and hit fairly large gaps and drops and often case them. I have never had a spoke break yet. Also I have been using the aluminum nipples that come with them with no issues. Both are great ways to save weight for AM/FR duties.

    If you want a lighter option I would go with Hope hubs laced to Stans Flow rims. The flow rims only weigh 470 grams but i have been riding mine for a year on my AM bike and they have held up perfect. Last weekend I rode porcupine rim in moab which is pretty rough. I wanted to test the flow rims so i went down the nastiest lines as fast as i could. I hit a few 4-5 foot drops to flatish rock landings too. I can't seem to even get them out of true.

    This could all be due to what Err said though, make sure you have someone who is good at wheelbuilding lace them for you.

  5. #5
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    The Hope's definitely look nice and are pretty damn affordable! However, I've read too many reviews/stories of people having problems with the rear cassette. I'm not a Clyde but I do weigh 190lb and I tend to put some very heavy torque on the drivetrain during normal AM/XC riding. If money wasn't a big deal, I'd probably go with Chris Kings, but the DT Swiss 440s seem to shine in the area of reliability and strength, and they still come in at a reasonable weight- I'll also be saving a couple of bills compared to the CKs.

  6. #6
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    The hopes will be just fine. . . Hope started to issue a stronger spring foe their hubs. I got them in my rear hub and so far no issues. I'm on 2 years with this hub after the rebuild. The rep told the bike shop they had a batch of bad springs or something. Plus the hub sound let's people k now your comming

  7. #7
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    I have been on the same set of hope's for 3 years now. They have been flawless. I weigh 185 w/o gear and am a total hack.

  8. #8
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    Are you guys doing a lot of pedaling up hills with high loads of stress on your drivetrain? Lots of steep fire roads in NorCal, I'd prefer to have a low maintenance hub/casette that won't buckle under the stress.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haus Boss
    Are you guys doing a lot of pedaling up hills with high loads of stress on your drivetrain? Lots of steep fire roads in NorCal, I'd prefer to have a low maintenance hub/casette that won't buckle under the stress.
    I guess i haven't read up on all the problems hope hubs are having. What do you mean by saying they will "buckle under stress"?

    The only problem i have heard of was the slightly softer cassette body that can score a little if you use non aluminum bodied cassettes. Again i have 3 years on them and the scoring is minimal and not nearly enough to cause any problems when riding.

    I should also add that my wifes bike has had them for 2 years, my dads for 3-4 year, and my brothers for 2 years. Out of all of us my dad rides the most (4-5 days a week) and he weighs around 220 and does strictly XC up long fireroads and rough twisty single track. He did have to replace the cassette body this year. I think they cost $40 bucks so even then you are still coming out on top.

    It definately sounds like you are against them and won't have piece of mind if you do get them so i would probably go with your original plan. I understand what its like to not fully trust something (wether its founded on actual experience or not) and it does effect your ride eventually even if it is only mentally.

  10. #10
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    I'll let you know in a month or two
    I'm seriously considering the Stan ZTR rims after they were mentioned and I did some quick research on them- seems everyone loves em. I could end up with the hope hubs, they are definitely a bargain for the price, we'll see, I've still got plenty of time to change my mind several more times. However, I think I found a buyer for some speakers I'm selling so I may be getting my new Fox 36 Float 180 and wheels sooner than expected!

  11. #11
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    Haus, you're in Fairfax aren't you? Go have Josh or Brian at Fairfax Cyclery build you up a set with comps. I've got a set that Josh built me in 02 that I'm still rocking, riding the same trails that you list as favs in your profile + Northstar, Pacifica, and Mammoth.

  12. #12
    Now with More Wood
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    Just to pitch in on the Hopes - I've had my Pro 2 rear hub for nearly 3 years now, it's been on 2 different bikes during that time. I ride DH/FR, some moderately big stuff. Apart from the old issue with the small leaf springs (that provide the tension for the freehub pawls) that would regularly break and require replacing (which you can do yourself in 2 minutes without even having to remove the cassette), these things are dead solid. And yes, the latest batch of replacement springs does seem to last much much longer. Very easy to maintain, feel very solid on the bike, good engagement (although not the "best", if you are one of those guys who will be looking for absolutely instant engagement), and the sound is pretty cool too...
    You should run them with a cassette that has a spider (carrier) though, to avoid the cassette eating into to the freehub.

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