Advice on Light Trail Wheels / Tires- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Advice on Light Trail Wheels / Tires

    Hi, I am building up a SC Blur to be a light trail style bike. This will be my first "modern bike". Putting a 120mm fork on it and a dropper. I am just getting back into the sport after a long hiatus and don't know jack about the current state of wheels, hubs, tires, etc.. My current bike is a 2005 Epic.

    I am looking around for deals on wheels in the 500 - 700 range, and don't mind going second hand provided they seem to be in good shape. I am thinking of something in the 27mm inner rim width range. Lightweight is nice but I also want it to hold up and have some stiffness. I think I would probably favor Points of Engagement over weight if I had to pick, but again I am new to all this tech.

    I would probably put a 2.3 - 2.4" tires on there. I currently have XR4's on my 26er which I really like. But would love to get recommendations on tires as well.

    Thanks a ton for any recommendations!

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    Morsa rear and xr5 front. Faster and more grip.

  3. #3
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    I'd suggest you go at least 30mm inner(Nino runs this) and 35 is better. XR 2 or 3 tires are light with flexible 120 tpi sidewalls. They're designed with high volume and rounded tread patterns aimed squarely at taking advantage of wide rims and lower pressures to give you a larger footprint.
    Not geo on the leading edge for the travel.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Not geo on the leading edge for the travel.
    What does this sentence mean?

    30 - 35mm seems wide, I am glad I asked, as I would have figured those are enduro widths and would get heavy. I don't race and I while I have never broken a wheel I have popped a number of spokes and had to retire some aluminum ones before, but they were cheap OEM wheels.

    I do currently have an old XR2 on my rear on the 26er, but it doesn't have any knobs to speak of for rough traction or cornering so its interesting to hear those recommended. I think one thing I like about my XR4 up front is the aggressive tread, I can really lean into my turns.

    I did see these on PinkBike with XR2's mounted, but not sure I want carbon...
    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2806815/

    Thanks for the help.

  5. #5
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    Dont listen to eb1888, he literally recommends 35+mm rims and XR2's to anyone who asks, no matter what. DH? 35mm and xr2's! Already have 35mm rims and xr2s and hate them? 35mm and xr2's anyway! Its a really bad recommendation that doesn't make much sense.

    The new DT rims are great. I really like the raceface ARC's. 30mm rims are getting popular, but you do need to be mindful of tire choice, and I wouldn't go smaller than a large 2.4 on them, or bigger. I run 25mm out back and 27mm up front and love it.

    Theres not any big brand name hubs that suck, I think. I prefer higher engagement as well, so I skip the usual recommendation of DT swiss hubs.

    Another option.. you can now get bontrager carbon wheels for $899. It pushes your budget a little, but you get carbon, quality build, lightweight, and 108 pts of engagement... plus a pretty crazy warranty. The aluminum ones are cheaper but share the same hubs, thats a decent way to go too.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Dont listen to eb1888, he literally recommends 35+mm rims and XR2's to anyone who asks, no matter what. DH? 35mm and xr2's! Already have 35mm rims and xr2s and hate them? 35mm and xr2's anyway! Its a really bad recommendation that doesn't make much sense.

    The new DT rims are great. I really like the raceface ARC's. 30mm rims are getting popular, but you do need to be mindful of tire choice, and I wouldn't go smaller than a large 2.4 on them, or bigger. I run 25mm out back and 27mm up front and love it.

    Theres not any big brand name hubs that suck, I think. I prefer higher engagement as well, so I skip the usual recommendation of DT swiss hubs.

    Another option.. you can now get bontrager carbon wheels for $899. It pushes your budget a little, but you get carbon, quality build, lightweight, and 108 pts of engagement... plus a pretty crazy warranty. The aluminum ones are cheaper but share the same hubs, thats a decent way to go too.
    Yeah that link below is for some take offs of those entry level carbon Kovee's and comes with tires for $700, but as a second buyer I wouldn't get that killer warranty. I think to get the 108 POE its an additional upgrade, but only another $30. I may just think about a budget boost, thanks for the recommendation.

    Speaking of RF, do you think the RF Turbine R's are too wide and heavy at 30mm? There is a set of these available second hand with Maxis 2.5's mounted at for 600CAD. Thinking that is a heavy setup for a XC / light trail bike, but that wheel gets great reviews and has plenty of engagement.

  7. #7
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    The turbine R's are pretty light, about 1730g for a 27.5 set. I think anything around 1800g is plenty light for a trail wheelset. Those wouldnt hold you back at all.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MillerC View Post
    Morsa rear and xr5 front. Faster and more grip.
    Something like this is pretty popular - Morsa/Mezcal/XR2 rear XR4/XR5 front. I've seen a lot of flats with the XR2 on the rear though.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    The turbine R's are pretty light, about 1730g for a 27.5 set. I think anything around 1800g is plenty light for a trail wheelset. Those wouldnt hold you back at all.
    Great good to know, sounds like those may be the ticket if I can get them. Thanks for the input!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    Something like this is pretty popular - Morsa/Mezcal/XR2 rear XR4/XR5 front. I've seen a lot of flats with the XR2 on the rear though.
    Yeah I have XR2 on the old bike now but they are 2.1 and really could be wider. I lose traction on climbs occasionally. Although these have tubes in them so the pressures are a little higher.

    The wheels I am looking at second hand come loaded with 2.5 Minion DHF / DHR, which seem to be a good starting point, but I would likely consider going down to 2.3 in the back.

    Thanks for the help!

  11. #11
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    I ran XR2's in 2.2, and they're still small and have no traction. I ran them tubeless at 22-30psi and they have no traction. I felt a little better about the XR3's, but not really.

    Minions are a staple for hard riding, but they're not very fast or light tires. Its a beefy enduro tire. If they're included id definitely give them a try, but you might find yourself really fighting the drag of the DHR out back. Its a slow tire.

  12. #12
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    For $700-800, you could easily get a set of I9 Trail 24s or 270s with Torch hubs second hand, depending on size. 29s easier found than 27.5s. Many folks are upgrading to I9s with Hydra hubs, so good deals can be had on the I9s with the Torch hubs, currently.

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    Interesting, what app is that?

    Are those better than Turbine Rs or are you suggesting this as they are a little less than 30mm inner width?

    Thanks!

  14. #14
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    I only recommend what I'm using that works.
    That's how a recommendation works. Other combos can also work.
    You're in VA so your terrain if hardpack with loose can use the setup I listed.
    If loamy it won't work. If muddy it won't work.
    All the guys crapping on the suggestion haven't run the tire on wide rims on hardpack with loose.
    When we all ran 19-21mm rims large knobs was how you got traction.
    With wide rims you get more traction with lower pressure to make the tire create a bigger footprint as it flattens out and can conform to the trail surface. The smaller lower knobs of the XR2 can work with the bigger footprint. Lighter faster rolling tire. Faster bike. May need inserts to get the pressure down as low as possible.
    After that then move to bigger knobs if you're not getting enough traction.
    Or you can go with the past.

    The geo problem is the 69* head tube angle.

    https://us.yt-industries.com/detail/...Category/73664
    Better geo. But maybe rear flex.

    Edge geo.
    https://www.cotic.co.uk/product/flareMAX#sizing

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    I ran XR2's in 2.2, and they're still small and have no traction. I ran them tubeless at 22-30psi and they have no traction. I felt a little better about the XR3's, but not really. .
    This is what I'm pointing out.
    I've run the XR1 2.2 in 2014 before they made it the XR2 2.2 on a 30mm rim at 14psi front down to 11 psi. 18psi rear. It won't give you traction at high psi on a skinny rim. At the low pressure it was designed for on a wide rim it was designed for of course it's going to perform differently. 11psi is too low because of rim hits for me. But the traction was great. I haven't used an insert yet.

  16. #16
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    They (xr2's) flatten excessively on 28mm rims, that's pushing the knobs down and losing cornering ability. It's not the magic huge tire you make it out to be. It's a very mild and quick xc tire, at any pressure.

    If you can run a 2.2 at 18psi, were not riding the same sort of trails.

  17. #17
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    Hunt wheels have 25 & 30mm ID wheelsets for around $500 usd (29er) that are roughly 1650g & 1850g respectively. Hubs have ~5 engagement from memory (6 pawls).

    Im running the new XR3 2.4 on 29mm rims and it runs small (2.35 measured) but it is very fast rolling with its small square knobs and holds corners well. Running 2.4 XR4 up front and it is much bigger in comparison.

  18. #18
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    I'll throw in my two cents just because. You can (i have) bought I9 Trail S wheel set. You get the Hydra hub which has some pretty insane engagement, Reynolds alum rim i28, straight pull steel spokes all under 1700r for 29er set. Little over your intended budget at 1.000.00 but if you deal with your LBS prolly get 15-20% off.

    Couple that with some tires suited for your terrain and you have a quality set up. I use a Nobby Nic and Magic Mary in SWPa. 2.35's and they blow up nicely with the tread 1mm wider than the sidewall.

    Since you're on a BLUR you may want something lighter and more XC like a Rekon and Forekaster.

    Just checked I9 website- $975.00 and 1690 gr for 29er

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by damdam5 View Post
    Interesting, what app is that?

    Are those better than Turbine Rs or are you suggesting this as they are a little less than 30mm inner width?

    Thanks!
    That was a local listing on FB marketplace. You can check near you and on Craigslist. I9s are premium wheels. Much better than RF. MSRP new $1200+.

    I'm just recommending them because they are great wheels, and they just happen to be 27 mm inner width, which is what you're looking for.

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  20. #20
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    I just got a set of I9 1/1's laced to Spank 250's for... like $640 I think from Colorado Cyclist. That was with silver comp spokes and brass nipples (I will pay more for butted spokes, NOT for black though!). So far they are fantastic, and my last wheelset from them went without maintenance for 4 or 5 years before I sold it, so I am not worried about lengevity. Oh, and I actually have Bontrager tires on, XR3 up front, XR2 rear. Odd, the 2.35 XR2 comes in at 2.45" measured, the 2.4 XR3 measures 2.35". But still, I can't really get them to slip, so all is good I suppose.

  21. #21
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    EIE i29 carbon wheels are in the $700-900 range depending on which DT Swiss hubs you go with. 1500-1600g range. They are bomb proof for my Trail riding at 185-190 pounds.

  22. #22
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    I run Race Face Next SL wheels (1597 measured) with a Racing Ray in front (655g) and Rocket Ron (637g) on the back.

    What a difference it made climbing from a 2000g wheelset and 800g tires. Plus they roll super fast.

    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  23. #23
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    Wow, these are all great recommendations. I checked my rear on the 05 Epic and its at 18.5mm inner rim on 420SL's at over 1800g on a 26er. That could have something to do with the XR2's (2.1") slipping on me, still will try something different out back based on that experience. I think anything I get nowadays is going to be a world of difference! I am ~170lbs so while I will sometimes smash into some rocks at speed I am not really coming in with a lot of force.

    I did see that I9 now has a new $750 Trail 27mm offering so that caught my eye. I will also check out Colorado Cyclist. I think I would want more POE than the DT Swiss 350 offers. Thanks so much for all the tips!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    I'd suggest you go at least 30mm inner(Nino runs this) and 35 is better. XR 2 or 3 tires are light with flexible 120 tpi sidewalls. They're designed with high volume and rounded tread patterns aimed squarely at taking advantage of wide rims and lower pressures to give you a larger footprint. Not geo on the leading edge for the travel.
    Jesus, 35mm inner for 2.3-2.4 Bonti XR tires, are you nuts. What is it with you and cooky cutter advice on rims no matter what. Someone could ask about a road bike and you'd post 35mm inner is best.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by damdam5 View Post
    Hi, I am building up a SC Blur to be a light trail style bike. This will be my first "modern bike". Putting a 120mm fork on it and a dropper. I am just getting back into the sport after a long hiatus and don't know jack about the current state of wheels, hubs, tires, etc.. My current bike is a 2005 Epic.

    I am looking around for deals on wheels in the 500 - 700 range, and don't mind going second hand provided they seem to be in good shape. I am thinking of something in the 27mm inner rim width range. Lightweight is nice but I also want it to hold up and have some stiffness. I think I would probably favor Points of Engagement over weight if I had to pick, but again I am new to all this tech.

    I would probably put a 2.3 - 2.4" tires on there. I currently have XR4's on my 26er which I really like. But would love to get recommendations on tires as well.

    Thanks a ton for any recommendations!
    It'll depend on where you're riding, but I really like 2.4 XR4 F / 2.3 XR3 r combo.

    I've run this combo on the last two 30mm inner rim wheelsets I had. When I went with new wheels I went down to 27mm. More than enough for 2.4 and smaller tires.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    They (xr2's) flatten excessively on 28mm rims, that's pushing the knobs down and losing cornering ability. It's not the magic huge tire you make it out to be. It's a very mild and quick xc tire, at any pressure.

    If you can run a 2.2 at 18psi, were not riding the same sort of trails.
    You're in the Bay area and the OP is in Virginia. I ride in SE MI and Phoenix. We all ride different terrain. So the tires are going to perform differently.
    I'm not making a recommendation for where you ride. I'm suggesting for the lower speeds from shorter downs in Virginia. It's not a fits everything rec.

    But your flattening for no traction doesn't apply to any of the XR2s I've run since 2014 on 30mm rims. 2.2s, 2.35s or 2.6s. I've never seen it. Did you test all the widths on 28mm rims? Tell me about it. Flattening the tread out into a bigger footprint and more ground contact is how you get more traction in cornering and climbing.

    Where you lose traction in cornering is when the sidewall folds over from too skinny of a rim and low tire pressure. That puts the sidewall on the trail surface with no tread. And a quick slide out.

  27. #27
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    Just give it up, eb1888. Nobody takes your advice seriously. It is utterly absurd.

  28. #28
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    Cant take his advise seriously when he cant even understand that there is more than wide rims when it comes to cornering tractions

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  29. #29
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    Nobody. Well you two guys. That's nobody.

    Nino Schluter runs 30mm as a race weight rim wheel. Maybe to you two guys that's nobody.
    To everyone else he's the current XCO World Cup champion.
    https://www.redbull.com/us-en/nino-schurter-bike-check
    "Wider rims and wider tires certainly is the most significant change this year. We run a 30mm inner width rim from DT Swiss combined with 2.4 inch Maxxis Aspen tires. Nino feels this is the way to go."

  30. #30
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    Nino is fast because nino is fast. His sponsors happen to put him on dt 30mm rims. It's weird how often you bring him up too. He's a very high level professional racer, he's just fast.

  31. #31
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    He's faster than I am. And he can run any width rim DT Swiss wheel he wants.
    He chooses to be able to win.
    I bring up his choice because it carries far more weight than your opinion.
    Accept to you. You know better. The definition of an idiot.

  32. #32
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    He should be on xr2's and 80mm rims. He'd be even faster!

  33. #33
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    Sounds like another well thought out opinion. Help him out like you're doing here.


    The 2.4 Aspen he runs has 170tpi sidewalls. I don't see it for sale.


    Advice on Light Trail Wheels / Tires-aspen-170.jpgClick image for larger version. 

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    So the XR2 2.35 or 2.6 120tpi could be a good high volume very rounded tread pattern tire for the rest of us.
    35mm inner for the OP and low pressure would be something trying to get close.

  34. #34
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    50mm rims with a 2.6 XR0, simply unbeatable.

  35. #35
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    No 2.6 XR0.
    Trek does make a XR2 3.0. Guess which rim they spec for that tire on the Stache. 50mm.
    SUNringle Duroc 50 SL,
    You guys are so good at helping out Nino .
    For sure Trek needs your expertise in rim selection.

    50mm for the 3.0 means less for the XR2 2.6, 40mm.

  36. #36
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    Thanks again for all the ideas on this thread. I may have found a decent deal on a set of unused take offs. Bontrager Kovee Elite 30's at $750 with XR3's mounted. These seem a little heavy for carbon but a good price and I like that they are simple black and also not as audibly loud apparently as other hubs. I've read that these aren't as compliant as they could be so that would be the hesitation, if any. Don't want to beat my old bones up too much and I am only 170 lbs.

    Tire wise, I would probably replace the front with a XR4 and keep the other one when the rear wears out.

  37. #37
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    I have some experience on the first generation Bontrager Carbon wheels. They weren't their XC kovees. But I could literally not get rid of them fast enough.

    The carbon felt dead and harsh to me, the rear freebody would get sticky and skip no matter how much I cleaned them. The spring in there was just too light. Removing tires from the rim was harder then a fat bike. I don't know if it is the hook, the plastic rim stri p or just the combo of an SE4 that it came with, but it took me stomping with my heels in dress shoes to break the bead.

    Maybe the have improved, and maybe the lighter carbon in the Kovee gives it some life, but I was not impressed.

  38. #38
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    Dag, too late for me, I pulled the trigger yesterday on those. From what I understand the second generation is not as deep and therefore less harsh -- at least I hope so. Interesting about the hub, I will be on the lookout for skips, not sure I will be able to tell though, given what I am used to is way courser, 18 POE I think.

    I will report back once the bike is built, but given I am changing everything at once I don't think I will be too helpful in evaluating the wheels in isolation.

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