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  1. #1
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    Custom Wheel Builder Recommendation

    Looking at upgrading my wheelset in the not too distant future and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations on a good online wheel builder. I kind of like what Fanatik Bike has going on with there website, where you can pick what you want online and order, but there's is the only website I've found. I'd also like to maybe find one in North Carolina if I can to save on shipping. Who do you all like to use for custom wheelsets, and what's a good hub/rim combo to go with? I was thinking of going with DT350 hubs with DT Swiss M542 rims. Would a rim with a 35mm internal width work well with 2.8" tires (currently running 41mm IW rims that came on my bike). Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
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    https://www.lacemine29.com/

    I like 35mm rims and 2.8" tires. Good combo.
    I like turtles

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    I second fanatik - got my DT swiss with Hope hub from there - build looks great.
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    https://cyclewheelsusa.com/

    When I was pricing my wheelset out, he was on the lower end of everyone else and had good reviews. Decided to try him out and couldn't have been happier. Wheels came out perfect and they're still holding true 200+mi later. Very communicative and a really nice guy that doesn't charge an arm and a leg.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    +1 for LaceMine29 (mikesee here on MTBR). If you already know exactly what you want with regard to hub, rim, spokes & nipples, tape and the rest, then all you need is a good assembler. OTOH if you seek wheel component & construction advice based on locale, use, rider weight, riding style, etc. then what you want is a wheel building Zen Master. You want someone who's built thousands of wheelsets and understands the nuances of wheel dynamics.

    Mike at LaceMine29 is in the latter category. For me, Mike's pricing provides exceptional value. I suggest you talk with him. Mike will ask you important questions before answering yours.
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    If i32 (widest rim offering is Duroc35) will work look at bicyclewheelwarehouse, you won't find a better price (they have 20% off >$299 with free shipping/tape/valves)

    Edited to add they offer ARC35 in 27.5

    Otherwise look at Speedgearbikes. I think his quotes are a bit lower than Fanatik.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelly_NH View Post
    Dave is a legend. He will do a great job at a reasonable price.

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    Wow, thanks guys. Looks like I got some research to do.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramsdude47 View Post
    Otherwise look at Speedgearbikes. I think his quotes are a bit lower than Fanatik.
    2nd this, he does a great job and very reasonable!!

  12. #12
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    Long time Bay Area rider here but I get all my custom wheels from Colorado Springs. My guy Chris Murray is a master builder with years of experience and expertise with carbon rims too.
    His modest fee covers his labor and also 2-day FedEx delivery.
    He can source any parts you desire. Plus he will work with you to specify the perfect wheels based on your actual requirements.
    Give him a call or fill out his on-line form to get the process started.

    https://www.elevationwheelcompany.com/#/

    You will love the new wheels and they will stay perfect for a damn long time.

    Just sayin'

    -SHIF

  13. #13
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    Hired Dave Thomas at Speedreem to build 3 wheelsets over the past 6 years. Two 29r wheelsets mated to aluminum and CF and one 27.5+ aluminum rim wheelset. His pricing is more than fair and turnaround times are fast. Not once have any of the cited wheelsets needed to be trued, but I yet to taco a wheelset.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    2nd this, he does a great job and very reasonable!!
    Looks like Speedgearbike.com has really good prices. Looking into the RF Arc35 rims with the I9 101 hubs, his price is very reasonable. Anyone have any opinions on the Arc35 rims? Are they known to be durable? Also, it says he uses Sapim Race Spokes, where most others seem to be using DT Swiss spokes. Anyone know if the Sapim spokes are any good?

  15. #15
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    sapim spokes are very good

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MX9799 View Post
    Looks like Speedgearbike.com has really good prices. Looking into the RF Arc35 rims with the I9 101 hubs, his price is very reasonable. Anyone have any opinions on the Arc35 rims? Are they known to be durable? Also, it says he uses Sapim Race Spokes, where most others seem to be using DT Swiss spokes. Anyone know if the Sapim spokes are any good?
    I've got RF ARC30 off-set, ARC40 and ARC45 rims -- they're good. In fact yet another wheelset employing ARC40 off-set rims are scheduled to arrive at my place today, that's how much I like these rims. Sapim spokes are excellent.
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    Sweet!!! Looks like the arc35 rims w/ I9 101 hubs for $638 from speedgearbike.com might be the best I can do. Still waiting to hear back from lacemine29 to see what they come up with. I filled out his form online to see what they recommend.

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    cyclewheelusa has the I9 101 hubs w/ RF Arc35 rims, black Sapim spokes with black brass nipples, tap, and tubeless valve stem for $594 and free shipping. That's about the lowest price I can find on what I want, but I'm wondering why they're so much cheaper. Other places like fanatik and lacemine29 were almost $200 for a comparable setup. Anybody got any ideas? I don't want to order the cheaper sets and wind up with inferior build quality.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MX9799 View Post
    cyclewheelusa has the I9 101 hubs w/ RF Arc35 rims, black Sapim spokes with black brass nipples, tap, and tubeless valve stem for $594 and free shipping. That's about the lowest price I can find on what I want, but I'm wondering why they're so much cheaper. Other places like fanatik and lacemine29 were almost $200 for a comparable setup. Anybody got any ideas? I don't want to order the cheaper sets and wind up with inferior build quality.
    Your concern is in the right place -- build quality. It's not just the components, it's how they're assembled. It's a deep understanding of wheel dynamics that makes a great wheel. Experienced wheelbuilders have earned the right to charge an appropriate fee for their expertise.

    Lowest price is not always the best value. We each have to make our own way on this.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MX9799 View Post
    cyclewheelusa has the I9 101 hubs w/ RF Arc35 rims, black Sapim spokes with black brass nipples, tap, and tubeless valve stem for $594 and free shipping. That's about the lowest price I can find on what I want, but I'm wondering why they're so much cheaper. Other places like fanatik and lacemine29 were almost $200 for a comparable setup. Anybody got any ideas? I don't want to order the cheaper sets and wind up with inferior build quality.
    Every year -- and I mean *every* year -- there are new online shops that pop up and promise quality at bare-bones prices.

    Usually within a year they're gone. Why? Because you can't keep a business afloat if you don't turn a profit.

    And if that business isn't afloat, whom do *you* turn to for service or warranty support on your wheels down the road?

    I pay myself a living wage. I don't make much money building wheels -- no one does.

    I respect your desire to save money in ways large and small. I hope you respect my -- and other longtime wheelbuilders -- desire to earn an honest living.


    P.S. the bogus hyperlinks being suddenly added to every post are annoying.

  21. #21
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    Cyclewheelsusa and speedgearbike both offer quality builds at affordable prices. I got a set from speedgearbike and its flawless. Both are smaller time builders with great reviews and quality and amazing customer service. They have also Both been around for a while.

    I wouldn't pay more just because the owner of a company comes in here and tells you to, but that's just my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Every year -- and I mean *every* year -- there are new online shops that pop up and promise quality at bare-bones prices.

    Usually within a year they're gone. Why? Because you can't keep a business afloat if you don't turn a profit.

    And if that business isn't afloat, whom do *you* turn to for service or warranty support on your wheels down the road?

    I pay myself a living wage. I don't make much money building wheels -- no one does.

    I respect your desire to save money in ways large and small. I hope you respect my -- and other longtime wheelbuilders -- desire to earn an honest living.


    P.S. the bogus hyperlinks being suddenly added to every post are annoying.
    Didn't mean to offend anyone or start an argument here on prices in this thread. I respect any person's right get what they think is fair compensation for their work. This is the first time I've ever been in the market for a custom wheelset, and to be honest, the large difference in prices was surprising to me. A couple hundred bucks isn't going to make or break me, but I also have an obligation to put my family's financial needs before my own, so I do have a decision to make in the near future, and I was just looking for some information so I could make a well informed decision.

  23. #23
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    Dusty @ Hubsessed Cycle Works has kept rolling straight w/ 9 sets of hoops from 650b to 29er to the ever elusive 22" bmx hoops I am running on my jump bikes. coming from a 215lbs rider (before breakfast tacos) who can knock a steel ball out of true and has cracked countless carbon hoops, stripped hubshells and exploded sprag clutches, Dusty has been able unscrew my situation(s). its not always about what you want, what you need is just as important....

  24. #24
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    Speedgear Bikes has been around a very long time and I trust his builds and his ability to warranty what he has sold for years to come, no doubt in my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    Speedgear Bikes has been around a very long time and I trust his builds and his ability to warranty what he has sold for years to come, no doubt in my mind.
    Agree on Speedgear Bikes. Got this set recently and Wayne was really helpful and quick to respond.
    Custom Wheel Builder Recommendation-img_0154.jpg

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    Another happy speedgearbike customer here ... Wayne is legit.

    Custom Wheel Builder Recommendation-img_4184.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gurpil23 View Post
    Agree on Speedgear Bikes. Got this set recently and Wayne was really helpful and quick to respond.
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    You sir, got the same Wheelset build that I did, and its been excellent.

    Had mine build with d-light spokes and a 36t Ratchet.

  29. #29
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    Speedgear is doing a Hydra/Nextie set for me me right now with d-lights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by supermoto65 View Post
    Another happy speedgearbike customer here ... Wayne is legit.

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    What hubs did you go with? I can't decide if I want to go with Bitex or spend more money. If my Pike was boost, I would get the I9 101's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RiderofPA View Post
    What hubs did you go with? I can't decide if I want to go with Bitex or spend more money. If my Pike was boost, I would get the I9 101's.
    I know it kinda sucks to get mismatched but maybe a 101 rear with a Bitex front or maybe a 101 rear with a older Torch front if one could be found and prolly pretty likely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poprockz View Post
    You sir, got the same Wheelset build that I did, and its been excellent.

    Had mine build with d-light spokes and a 36t Ratchet.
    Nice. Got cx-rays for this one. Now waiting for the thaw to be over and finally be able to give them a spin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RiderofPA View Post
    What hubs did you go with? I can't decide if I want to go with Bitex or spend more money. If my Pike was boost, I would get the I9 101's.
    Bitex. Working well so far.

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    rims

    xxx
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Custom Wheel Builder Recommendation-20190408_184457.jpg  

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    Wound up going with a lacemine29 wheelset. Stan's Baron hoops with DT 350 hubs. Went ahead and got the 36T ratchet upgrade on the rear hub as well. Pretty happy with how they came out, and now I can't wait to get them in on the trail this weekend.

    Custom Wheel Builder Recommendation-img_4383.jpg
    Custom Wheel Builder Recommendation-img_4384.jpg
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by MX9799 View Post
    Wound up going with a lacemine29 wheelset. Stan's Baron hoops with DT 350 hubs. Went ahead and got the 36T ratchet upgrade on the rear hub as well. Pretty happy with how they came out, and now I can't wait to get them in on the trail this weekend.

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    nice! did you end up with a new cassette as well?

    can't wait to see how these are compare to the duroc 45!!

    what do you plan on doing with those old wheels?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tweeder82o View Post
    nice! did you end up with a new cassette as well?

    can't wait to see how these are compare to the duroc 45!!

    what do you plan on doing with those old wheels?
    Yeah, there's a whole new drivetrain on the bike as well as a new wheelset. I had some money burning a hole in my pocket, and came down with a serious case of upgradeitis, so I got a new wheelset, entire new drivetrain, and a new bike yoke dropper. The KS Lev SI started getting mushy after only a few rides, so I bought a new one and figured I'd either get the KS fixed and keep it as a spare, or just try to sell it.

    The new wheels were slightly lighter than the duroc45's (110 grams lighter to be exact), and to be honest, I can't really tell all that much of a difference just yet on the bike. I do only have one ride on them on a pretty easy trail though, so maybe I'll be able to tell a difference when I get them onto some rougher and faster trails. I will say that they are a ton quieter than the duroc45's. I didn't think the duroc SRC hubs were necessarily noisy, but the DT350 hubs are darn near silent. Matter of fact, when I'm on the trail and not pedaling, I can't hear the hub at all over the tire noise. That's one thing I think we'll take some getting used to, because I think my mind kind of unconsiously got used to using the hub noise to help determine how fast I was going. It felt weird not hearing the hub noise change on descents as my speed changed, but I also didn't have any problems overshooting corners or anything.

    The biggest difference was felt with the new Sunrace 11-46 cassette and eagle 12 speed chain. This setup shifts so smoothly and crisp, and the gear spread seems much better than the stock Sunrace 11-42.

    I'm going to try to sell the duroc45 wheelset if I can fairly easily. If not, I guess I'll put some cheap tires on them and keep them as spares. I did find a dent in the side of the rear duroc45 rim that I didn't know was there when was cleaning them up. Don't know when it happened, but the tire was still holding air just fine even the though the side of the rim was bent up pretty good.

  38. #38
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    I've gotten two sets from Colorado Cyclist and have been happy with quality and price. Lead times are around 2 weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MX9799 View Post
    Yeah, there's a whole new drivetrain on the bike as well as a new wheelset. I had some money burning a hole in my pocket, and came down with a serious case of upgradeitis, so I got a new wheelset, entire new drivetrain, and a new bike yoke dropper. The KS Lev SI started getting mushy after only a few rides, so I bought a new one and figured I'd either get the KS fixed and keep it as a spare, or just try to sell it.

    The new wheels were slightly lighter than the duroc45's (110 grams lighter to be exact), and to be honest, I can't really tell all that much of a difference just yet on the bike. I do only have one ride on them on a pretty easy trail though, so maybe I'll be able to tell a difference when I get them onto some rougher and faster trails. I will say that they are a ton quieter than the duroc45's. I didn't think the duroc SRC hubs were necessarily noisy, but the DT350 hubs are darn near silent. Matter of fact, when I'm on the trail and not pedaling, I can't hear the hub at all over the tire noise. That's one thing I think we'll take some getting used to, because I think my mind kind of unconsiously got used to using the hub noise to help determine how fast I was going. It felt weird not hearing the hub noise change on descents as my speed changed, but I also didn't have any problems overshooting corners or anything.

    The biggest difference was felt with the new Sunrace 11-46 cassette and eagle 12 speed chain. This setup shifts so smoothly and crisp, and the gear spread seems much better than the stock Sunrace 11-42.

    I'm going to try to sell the duroc45 wheelset if I can fairly easily. If not, I guess I'll put some cheap tires on them and keep them as spares. I did find a dent in the side of the rear duroc45 rim that I didn't know was there when was cleaning them up. Don't know when it happened, but the tire was still holding air just fine even the though the side of the rim was bent up pretty good.
    interesting... hub sound to me sounds really good but I can see how a quieter ride can be nice. especially when you can actually hear the tire/turf interaction. maybe they need to make a hub that has quiet/loud switch

    yea i saw that thread on the 12 speed chain on the 11 speed cog... is the 11-50 (11speed from sunrace) not compatible with the GX derailleur?

    did you upgrade the chainring to 32T? if so what brand? did you have to or did you choose to change the cranks?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by tweeder82o View Post
    interesting... hub sound to me sounds really good but I can see how a quieter ride can be nice. especially when you can actually hear the tire/turf interaction. maybe they need to make a hub that has quiet/loud switch

    yea i saw that thread on the 12 speed chain on the 11 speed cog... is the 11-50 (11speed from sunrace) not compatible with the GX derailleur?

    did you upgrade the chainring to 32T? if so what brand? did you have to or did you choose to change the cranks?
    I've never been bothered by hub noise either. Matter of fact, I think some hub noise is a good thing as most of the trails I ride are shared with hikers and equestrians, and some hub noise lets people and/or horses know you're coming down the trail from some distance away. I chose the DT350's because of their reputation for being mostly bulletproof and ease of maintenance (you can assemble/disassemble them very easily and quickly with no tools; It's true, I tried it before I mounted my tires and put them on my bike). Them being quiet doesn't bother me any, it's just different than what I'm used to and it's something I'll have to get used to. For right now, it just seems weird not hearing any hub noise while going downhill or not pedaling. I'd imagine not hearing any hub noise will soon not even cross my mind.

    I've read the Sunrace 11-50 11-speed cassette will work with the GX derailluer, but I went with the MX8 cassestte because I really don't need a 50-tooth gear for 99.9% of the riding I do, and it's a bit lighter as well.

    I did go with a 32T chainring. I went with SRAM GX Eagle Boost DUB cranks with the Eagle chainring and a new SRAM DUB bottom bracket. The chainring/chain interaction seems to be much quieter than the stock NX crank/chainring that came on the bike.

    At this point, I honestly think the Eagle chain does shift better/faster/smoother than the 11-speed chains, but I will say that it's been a while since the cassette that came on this bike was brand new, so that could have a little something to do with how I remember the 11-speed chains shifting.

  41. #41
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    From SpeedGear bikes - Just ordered a set of RF ARC35 28 spoke w Bitex hubs, added Terrene McFly 27.5 x 2.8 tires.
    Wayne was very helpful and took the time to answer all questions and provided some needed guidance.

    Look forward to getting these wheels on the new bike.

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