New alloy wheelset: Prebuilt or custom?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New alloy wheelset: Prebuilt or custom?

    I'm thinking of buying a new wheelset, and I need some advice.

    Background on me:

    My budget is probably in the ~$500-800 ish range.

    I ride a base model 2018 Kona Process 153 AL 29'er. It came with formula hubs, and WTB STP i29 rims. I see on the Kona forum someone weighed them at 2.4kg.

    I put a slight dent into the rear WTB rim at the one park day I did this year, ironically on one of the green trails. Given the rear tire on my bike is still just an EXO casing DHF (will replace when it wears out), but I'd pumped it over 30psi for the park day.

    I'm an intermediate rider in the PNW (currently riding blues, looking to progress into blacks), and ride regularly, if not frequently (2-3x a month, as I've got 2 little kids at home). I'm roughly 185-190lbs, maybe about 195-200lbs geared up, and about 6'1".

    I'm looking for something lighter weight than the stock wheelset, and more durable as well.

    The question:
    The hard part is I don't know how strong of rims I should really buying, based on my skill/weight/riding patterns. I see some rims I'm looking at say they are for all mountain riding, or others are even classified as full on DH rims, which seems like it could be a bit overkill.

    I've been researching, and I like the looks of the Spank 350/359 rims (both normal, and vibrocore, and the vibrocore tuned versions). Any feedback on these rims compared to other rims in the same category? Like maybe the RaceFace Arc 30/Arc 30 HD?
    Then, as for buying premade, or getting built, I'm not quite sure what the best move is there.

    Currently chainreaction has a pretty good deal on the Spank wheelsets, but I don't know how the hubs they come with compare to other hubs like the DT350 (or other more well known hubs), let alone how prices would compare for custom/handmades with similar rims/hubs. Any feedback there?

  2. #2
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    You can also think about Chinese carbon wheelsets in your price range with Sapim spokes and DT 350 hubs.
    Here's an example of a 34mm asym build.

    Rim Size: 29er
    Series: Standard
    Version: AM
    Finish: Matte
    Weave: 3K
    Spoke Count: 32H/32H
    Hub Type: DT SWISS 350
    Hub Color: Black
    Ratchet: Upgrade 36T
    Front Axle: 15*110mm BOOST
    Rear Axle: 12*148mm BOOST
    Freehub: SRAM XD
    Brake Interface: 6-bolt ( Disc )
    Spoke: Sapim D-Light
    Spoke System: J-bend
    Nipple: Brass Black
    Decal colors: Black

    $790 shipped at 1762g + or - 25g(you can request the light end of the build range)
    https://btlos.com/mountain-bike/m-ca...er=1%2C14%2C37

  3. #3
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    You can get a pretty nice set of Spank 350 Vibrocores laced to Hope Pro 4 hubs for under $600 (before tax/S&H) with the current 'WINTER' coupon code from Colorado Cyclist:

    https://www.coloradocyclist.com/hope...bite-rims-27-5

    Unlikely you'll beat that deal, plus Colorado Cyclist has great reviews/reputation for hand-built wheelsets.
    '19 Yeti SB150
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the information so far.

    Also, I see I forgot to mention my Kona is a 29'er. I've updated my first post to reflect that.

    I'm not really familiar at all with Carbon rims. I've just assumed they were out of my price range, so I haven't looked into them at all. Are the Chinese carbon rims really worth investing in? I hear good things about... some carbon rims... but not so great of things about others.

    Also, I had no idea that ColoradoCyclist did custom wheel builds. I'll add them to the list of custom builders to consider.

    I'm also looking at:

    Speedgearbike
    lacemine29
    daves-wheels


    Are there any other builders that I should be looking at?

    Thoughts on the Spank 350 vs their new "359 tuned" or other similar wheelsets? And I'm not too familiar with Hope hubs vs the DT350. Are they generally considered similar quality levels?

  5. #5
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    I've built with CarbonFan rims and DT350 hubs. No problems after many miles.
    The same manufacturer makes the BTLOS rims.
    Hope is a loud rear hub. You may like that. But not for me.
    Carbon rims are the easiest to build with. They are stiffer and lace up closer to true.
    Much easier than an aluminum rim.

  6. #6
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    +1 on Carbonfan.
    Do the math.

  7. #7
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    +1 for Wayne at speedgear, had him built some wheels for my gravel bike.

    There is also a user here mikesee that has a good following.

    FWIW, I have Spank wheels (SLX hubs) on my Krampus, and so far so good. I do ride more green than blue trails but they seem solid.
    Surly Krampus
    All City MMD
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  8. #8
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    Ok, a few broad strokes questions then.

    Is it generally considered to be a better idea to spend more money on the rim, or the hub?

    Ie, should be stretching to carbon rims, or be more worried about getting a nicer hub instead?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Ok, a few broad strokes questions then.

    Is it generally considered to be a better idea to spend more money on the rim, or the hub?

    Ie, should be stretching to carbon rims, or be more worried about getting a nicer hub instead?

    A good hubset can be re-laced ad nauseam -- like if you crater a rim on a rock, or decide in ~3 years that you want to go wider to fit bigger tires.

    What size tires will you run on these rims?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Thanks for the information so far.

    Also, I see I forgot to mention my Kona is a 29'er. I've updated my first post to reflect that.

    I'm not really familiar at all with Carbon rims. I've just assumed they were out of my price range, so I haven't looked into them at all. Are the Chinese carbon rims really worth investing in? I hear good things about... some carbon rims... but not so great of things about others.

    Also, I had no idea that ColoradoCyclist did custom wheel builds. I'll add them to the list of custom builders to consider.

    I'm also looking at:

    Speedgearbike
    lacemine29
    daves-wheels


    Are there any other builders that I should be looking at?

    Thoughts on the Spank 350 vs their new "359 tuned" or other similar wheelsets? And I'm not too familiar with Hope hubs vs the DT350. Are they generally considered similar quality levels?
    Lots of 29er options from CC (I had assumed your Process was 27.5) this chart is a good resource that lets you quickly compare prices of hub/rim combos- even if you don't buy here, it's interesting to see how different combos are priced.: https://www.coloradocyclist.com/29-i...bike-wheelsets

    And agree with mikesee, my opinion is to prioritize spending on hubs.
    '19 Yeti SB150
    '19 Specialized Chisel

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    A good hubset can be re-laced ad nauseam -- like if you crater a rim on a rock, or decide in ~3 years that you want to go wider to fit bigger tires.

    What size tires will you run on these rims?
    I'm still experimenting with tire sizes. I'm currently using a 2.6in WTB Vigilante in the front. And my Kona won't fit more than about a 2.4in the rear. But I don't think I'll stray outside of the 2.3 - 2.6in wide range. The front a bit larger than the back.

    However, half of the reason I'm interested in a wheelset, is to make it easier to buy a frame only bike in the future (so I can sell my current bike as a complete). So I don't want to get too narrow of a rim on the back.

    Any feedback/insight on good rims in this price range? I see differing reviews on the vibrocore models, does it really make a difference compared to a normal rim?

    I see lots of talk about the DT 350 as a common hub in this price range, but not really sure how most of the other hubs compare to it.

    I do wish that I could work my way into an Onyx rear hub, but realize thats not likely in the cards.

  12. #12
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    Spank doesn't make the Vibrocore rims in widths appropriate to the (2.8 to 3.0") tire sizes I prefer, so I haven't ridden them.

    Worth considering going with a slightly wider rim up front, to match the profile of the larger tire you're running.

    WTB, RaceFace, DT Swiss, and (some) NoTubes rims are great these days.

    I need a really good reason to use other than the DT 350 hubs. They are the best overall compromise of light, durable, easily serviceable, and not terribly likely to need service that are currently available. Also very affordable.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DETarch View Post
    Lots of 29er options from CC (I had assumed your Process was 27.5) this chart is a good resource that lets you quickly compare prices of hub/rim combos- even if you don't buy here, it's interesting to see how different combos are priced.: https://www.coloradocyclist.com/29-i...bike-wheelsets

    And agree with mikesee, my opinion is to prioritize spending on hubs.
    Yeah, thanks for the tip. I have been looking around that their 29'er offerings. And I agree, its nice to see the grid of pricing. It helps me get an idea of normal pricing.

    It does seem that the smart money is likely on the hub. So I'll be looking that way first.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Spank doesn't make the Vibrocore rims in widths appropriate to the (2.8 to 3.0") tire sizes I prefer, so I haven't ridden them.

    Worth considering going with a slightly wider rim up front, to match the profile of the larger tire you're running.

    WTB, RaceFace, DT Swiss, and (some) NoTubes rims are great these days.

    I need a really good reason to use other than the DT 350 hubs. They are the best overall compromise of light, durable, easily serviceable, and not terribly likely to need service that are currently available. Also very affordable.
    Good to know on the hub. I like things that are durable, and easy to work on myself. Sounds like there isn't a huge need to branch out and find something different.

    In terms of rims, what sort of width would you recommend for a ~2.5-2.6in wide front tire? And would that be any different than what you'd recommend for a 2.4-2.5in rear tire?

    Any other good value rims to consider then?

    I appreciate all your help here, as to be honest, I'm pretty lost in the world of mountain bike wheelsets.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    In terms of rims, what sort of width would you recommend for a ~2.5-2.6in wide front tire? And would that be any different than what you'd recommend for a 2.4-2.5in rear tire?

    Even if I'm running 2.6" on both ends I like to run a little wider rim up front, to make accessing the edge knobs easier. Put differently, a wider rim up front can allow better cornering. A slightly narrower rim out back protects the rim better from impacts from all directions.

    The differences aren't huge, but they are there.

    If I were you, running those sizes of tires, I'd likely run a ~30mm rim up front and a 26mm out back.

    Those are basic guidelines, far from absolute, and might change depending on the exact tread patterns, trail type, or rider aggressiveness.

  15. #15
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    On your budget, stick with aluminum rims. Carbon is unnecessary and I'd rather spend the money on good hubs. Modern aluminum rims are excellent, cheap, and the weight savings going to carbon is minimal on a burly trail bike like the Process.

    Yes, Spank rims are great. Can't go wrong either way (vibrocore)

    Yes, Hope and DT 350 are in a very similar category of price, serviceability, durability, and value. There is no wrong choice, but if you like a loud hub, slightly higher engagement, or bling, Hope is your best bet. Alternately if you're looking for a simple and very durable design and aren't concerned with color, engagement, or you prefer a slightly quieter hub, DT's are great. Either should serve you well.

    Frankly there was/is nothing wrong with the WTB rims that came stock on your bike (as far as quality). They're good rims. The fact that you dented one on a Blue trail is a basic fact of mountain biking... Shit happens and stuff breaks. Depending on how bad you dented it it may be fine. Is it flat spotted? Still holding tubeless?

    An unlucky rock strike or mis timed jump/feature is all it takes to bend up a rim. You also sound like you're pretty new to the sport and likely haven't learned how/when to unweight your wheels properly to protect your rims. You also ride in an area that is less forgiving than most and rims should be viewed as consumable wear items with a limited lifespan. Hence it's cheaper to replace a $60-100 aluminum rim than a $200-500 carbon one.

    Mikesee gives great advice, and I hear he builds a great wheel (I build my own), but if I were in your position I would not shy away from a 30mm rim in the back, and a 30-35mm rim in front. There's no down side IMO.

    I'm a bit heavier than you at 215lbs but I prefer a higher volume setup and wider rims give better sidewall support for heavier guys. You can run slightly lower pressures, get a little more grip, etc. Again like Mike said, minor differences.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  16. #16
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    As a sort of plus side, your stock wheels are absolute boat anchors! Shaving weight is going to be very easy. Those are 600g rims with straight gauge spokes and porky hubs. Probably somewhere around a 2500g set of wheels.

    Those are the low end wtb rims. A nicer rim would be more dent resistant, but nothing is perfect. A replacement rim once a year or two is acceptable.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    On your budget, stick with aluminum rims. Carbon is unnecessary and I'd rather spend the money on good hubs. Modern aluminum rims are excellent, cheap, and the weight savings going to carbon is minimal on a burly trail bike like the Process.

    Yes, Spank rims are great. Can't go wrong either way (vibrocore)

    Yes, Hope and DT 350 are in a very similar category of price, serviceability, durability, and value. There is no wrong choice, but if you like a loud hub, slightly higher engagement, or bling, Hope is your best bet. Alternately if you're looking for a simple and very durable design and aren't concerned with color, engagement, or you prefer a slightly quieter hub, DT's are great. Either should serve you well.

    Frankly there was/is nothing wrong with the WTB rims that came stock on your bike (as far as quality). They're good rims. The fact that you dented one on a Blue trail is a basic fact of mountain biking... Shit happens and stuff breaks. Depending on how bad you dented it it may be fine. Is it flat spotted? Still holding tubeless?

    An unlucky rock strike or mis timed jump/feature is all it takes to bend up a rim. You also sound like you're pretty new to the sport and likely haven't learned how/when to unweight your wheels properly to protect your rims. You also ride in an area that is less forgiving than most and rims should be viewed as consumable wear items with a limited lifespan. Hence it's cheaper to replace a $60-100 aluminum rim than a $200-500 carbon one.

    Mikesee gives great advice, and I hear he builds a great wheel (I build my own), but if I were in your position I would not shy away from a 30mm rim in the back, and a 30-35mm rim in front. There's no down side IMO.

    I'm a bit heavier than you at 215lbs but I prefer a higher volume setup and wider rims give better sidewall support for heavier guys. You can run slightly lower pressures, get a little more grip, etc. Again like Mike said, minor differences.
    I am newish to the sport, itís true. Iíve been riding for a bit over a year. In that time Iíve progressed a fair bit. I grew up riding dirt bikes in the desert Southwest, and while I idolized all the motocross guys, I only ever rode natural trails.

    This means I like to think Iím pretty comfortable in most natural/technical trails/features, but Iím still working on getting used to/skilling up on more man made features like jumps and drop type features. Iíve gotten ok on drops (biggest so far are in the ~4-5ft range).

    The wtb is dented, but still holding air when tubeless. It does loose pressure faster than the it did before. But we are talking 6-7psi in a week, instead of 2-3psi. So Iím not overly worried about it (itís not the only reason Iím looking for new wheels).

    I guess I was under the assumption/listening to the hype that better wheels would ride better, either because of increased stiffness, or just lighter. And then was also thinking they may be more damage resistant?

    It sounds like perhaps the smart move is to wait until the wheels are damaged more before finding a replacement.

    Thanks for the info on the rim widths as well. Iíd so far been looking at matched size (~30mm, give or take) sets, but I can see how finding a wider one for the front makes sense. Iíll have to see what options there are in the 30-35mm range.

    I appreciate all the help everyone.

  18. #18
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    Don't get me wrong, building good wheels is a great place to spend your money as far as upgrades go. I highly value good wheels and am pretty picky and spec each component of the wheel to suite the application of the bike it's going on and what tires will be used.

    I'm not/wasn't trying to discourage you from building good wheels, I was simply pointing out that just because you dented a rim, doesn't mean it's the rims fault or that it's bad.

    Had you been riding a tire that wasn't an EXO Minion you likely would have cut the tire when you dented your rim, making it clear you were either riding a tire that was too light, running your tire pressure too low, or that you made a mistake and smashed a rock without unweighting your wheel.

    Does that mean the tire is bad? No, just not up to the task of a 190lb rider on chunky terrain riding an enduro bike. It's not the tires fault, it doesn't know where it's going or what is expected of it. The rider needs to use appropriate air pressure and use the proper equipment or stuff will fail.

    Most likely your tire pressure was a little too low or you got unlucky and caught the sharp edge of a rock. Kona spec'd those rims knowing where/how they were going to be ridden. Long story short, don't blame the rim.

    As One Pivot pointed out, you still have a lot to gain by building wheels. Even stronger and lighter rims, lighter spokes, and lighter hubs that are much more serviceable long term.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Don't get me wrong, building good wheels is a great place to spend your money as far as upgrades go. I highly value good wheels and am pretty picky and spec each component of the wheel to suite the application of the bike it's going on and what tires will be used.

    I'm not/wasn't trying to discourage you from building good wheels, I was simply pointing out that just because you dented a rim, doesn't mean it's the rims fault or that it's bad.

    Had you been riding a tire that wasn't an EXO Minion you likely would have cut the tire when you dented your rim, making it clear you were either riding a tire that was too light, running your tire pressure too low, or that you made a mistake and smashed a rock without unweighting your wheel.

    Does that mean the tire is bad? No, just not up to the task of a 190lb rider on chunky terrain riding an enduro bike. It's not the tires fault, it doesn't know where it's going or what is expected of it. The rider needs to use appropriate air pressure and use the proper equipment or stuff will fail.

    Most likely your tire pressure was a little too low or you got unlucky and caught the sharp edge of a rock. Kona spec'd those rims knowing where/how they were going to be ridden. Long story short, don't blame the rim.

    As One Pivot pointed out, you still have a lot to gain by building wheels. Even stronger and lighter rims, lighter spokes, and lighter hubs that are much more serviceable long term.
    I appreciate the clarification man.

    The hit that dinged the rim, I didn't feel/notice at the time. I noticed it shortly after, as the hit sliced the carcass of the rim in the center, and I got to test how well my sealant worked, and lost a lot of air pressure. I think that like you said, I'm just on the heavier side, and even though I'd pumped up the tires (~5-10psi higher than my normal trail pressures) in preparation for the park day, I clearly just needed a sturdier casing tire for my weight/speed.

    All in all, not a bad thing to learn on the first day at a bike park. And, for what its worth, I plan on having something like a doubledown casing on the back of the bike before I head back to the bike park.

    Most of my riding is normal all mountain riding though, so I don't want to go overboard with a heavy DH set of tires/rims, as 95% of my riding is pedal powered (usually 5-20 mile rides, with 500-2500ft of vertical, a few Saturdays a month).

    So, the WTB rims that I have on there, I hear they are heavy (apparently 600 grams or so). I tried looking them up on the WTB website, but it wasn't clear exactly which set I had, or what type of riding they were intended for. Mostly because I'm not 100% sure how strong of a rim I should be looking for. I see that the vibrocore rims are pretty heavy as well (~560grams a rim I think), but that they also have a pair rated for full DH riding... which I'd assume is more than I need?

    Or because I'm a bit on the larger than average side, should I just use a set like that for everything?

    Thanks again all.

  20. #20
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    I also recommend wayne at speedgearbike. He built me a set of hopes on stans flowmk3 really nice work though after a year I have to replace the rear rim already so I wouldn't recommend those rims. I did ride them pretty hard though.

  21. #21
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    If you're going to ride bike park stuff with any regularity, you may want to consider tire inserts too. Even still you should consider adding it in the rear.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    If you're going to ride bike park stuff with any regularity, you may want to consider tire inserts too. Even still you should consider adding it in the rear.
    I live 40 miles or so from the only bike park in Washington State. That said, I've only been once, and expect that I'll likely ride it 1-2x a year tops, just because life is busy (and its not free).

    So I don't want to over pivot for preparing for the bike park, but I'd like to end up with a wheelset that won't implode if I take it for a few laps at the bike park. Even if I have to put heavier casing tires, or pump up the pressure a lot more for those days to handle it.

    I'm still struggling to find my rims on WTB's website, but the closest I have found, are a full 4mm narrower, and are 597g. Or the Asym version (which I don't have) that is 29mm is also about 600 grams. So it appears that even a quality heavy duty set of rims meant for DH/All Mountain riding rims could drop a bit of weight, and I'm sure a nicer rim would be a bit more durable.

    Are hand built wheels usually more durable than a machine built wheel, or does it make much of a difference? Or is the main advantage that with custom built sets you can more easily mix and match widths/etc?

  23. #23
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    If you have the budget for hand-built wheels, you should get hand-built wheels. Full stop.

    Compared to an OE wheel set, custom wheels are one of the best upgrades you could do. If Dave Thomas is on your radar (Speed Dream/Dave's Wheels), I HIGHLY recommend him. The man is a savant. He's local to me and has built several sets of wheels including a set of Spank laced to I9 101s I just picked up last week.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post

    I'm still struggling to find my rims on WTB's website,
    You won't find them because they're not available aftermarket, it an OE rim only.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

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    I just went through a similar shopping for wheels experience...with a similar budget, skill level, tire widths, and weight. So, was looking at 30mm alloy rims. I'm no wheel expert either, but here are the wheels I narrowed it down to...

    - Industry Nine Enduro S 1/1 - great rep and hubs
    - Custom Build w/ Spank 350 & Industry 9 1/1 hubs - definitely liked the idea of custom to pick my rims/hubs
    - Hunt Trail Wide - seems like the best deal, but sacrificing higher end hubs
    - Dirt Components Rough Country with I9 1/1 Hubs - Their rims on 1/1 hubs, custom made so you can modify to your preferences

    I changed my mind 20 times, but ultimately decided on the Dirt Components wheels primarily because they are local to me (Austin), and they had a really good Black Friday sale. Had my wheels in 3 days after ordering. I only have a couple of rides so far, but happy with them for sure. Good luck...

  26. #26
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    I'm on a 27.5 Gen 2 Process 153 (2018) and also looking for wheel replacement. I'm 215lbs and have 2,500 miles of New England singletrack on my original WTB Assy i29 rims with formula hubs. I've stayed with the DHF EXO Minions (2.5 front/2.3 rear) running tubeless about 20psi front / 22 rear and on my 3rd set (normal wear).

    Rear hub is tired but still kicking after a recent service and I've been through many spoke replacements in the last couple of years. Rims are still true but have a couple of small dents and pretty scarred up from all the bone around here. I have not done any lift serviced terrain...all classic tight and twisty XC terrain with lots of ups/downs and plenty of tech.

    For me rims have always been a consumable so I look for tough and durable alu rims at a reasonable price ($600-ish). I'm not afraid of lacing my own but it's a bit of a pain so I usually go for pre-built sets. Over the last month or so I researched the Spank Vibrocores and they would fit my needs. Not a ton of info on the Spank hubs but they appear to be decent...not as good as DT 350 or Hope but at least similar to the stock Formula's that came on my Process so that should get me another 2-3 years. By then it's time for a new bike anyway!

    Thanks for all the info on this thread...I need to get on with it and get something before my hub fails. Will report back!
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...:thumbsup:

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    If you have the budget for hand-built wheels, you should get hand-built wheels. Full stop.

    Compared to an OE wheel set, custom wheels are one of the best upgrades you could do. If Dave Thomas is on your radar (Speed Dream/Dave's Wheels), I HIGHLY recommend him. The man is a savant. He's local to me and has built several sets of wheels including a set of Spank laced to I9 101s I just picked up last week.
    Thanks for the feedback. I'll check out Daves wheels more closely.

    What exactly makes hand-built wheels better? Or is it just that its easier to get hubs/rims in combinations that are better for your needs than what the manufacturer offers?

    Also, which Spank rims did you get?

    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    You won't find them because they're not available aftermarket, it an OE rim only.
    Well then, that explains it. I was wondering that, but thanks for clarifying.

    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    I'm on a 27.5 Gen 2 Process 153 (2018) and also looking for wheel replacement. I'm 215lbs and have 2,500 miles of New England singletrack on my original WTB Assy i29 rims with formula hubs. I've stayed with the DHF EXO Minions (2.5 front/2.3 rear) running tubeless about 20psi front / 22 rear and on my 3rd set (normal wear).

    Rear hub is tired but still kicking after a recent service and I've been through many spoke replacements in the last couple of years. Rims are still true but have a couple of small dents and pretty scarred up from all the bone around here. I have not done any lift serviced terrain...all classic tight and twisty XC terrain with lots of ups/downs and plenty of tech.

    For me rims have always been a consumable so I look for tough and durable alu rims at a reasonable price ($600-ish). I'm not afraid of lacing my own but it's a bit of a pain so I usually go for pre-built sets. Over the last month or so I researched the Spank Vibrocores and they would fit my needs. Not a ton of info on the Spank hubs but they appear to be decent...not as good as DT 350 or Hope but at least similar to the stock Formula's that came on my Process so that should get me another 2-3 years. By then it's time for a new bike anyway!

    Thanks for all the info on this thread...I need to get on with it and get something before my hub fails. Will report back!
    If I'm reading that right, you have the baseline CR build Process 153 27.5 version? In which case, I'm just on the AL 29'er version of the same bike . I don't think I have quite that many miles on mine though. In terms of wheel spec, I think you have a bit nicer rims (the Asym's), but otherwise have the same hubs/etc. So its good to hear how much life I may get out of mine, coming from a rider with similar size/weight.

    I do seem to run higher pressures though (I seem to need at least 24psi in the rear to prevent squirming) in g outs/higher pressure corners.

    Like you, I couldn't find much, if any information on the spank hubs. So if you get them, let me know how you like them.

    It looks like CRC has the basic 350 vibrocore boost wheelset for a steal of a deal right now ($402 atm). The 350-359 wheelset is not much more than that. So the price premium for handbuilt is there, but not crazy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    What exactly makes hand-built wheels better? Or is it just that its easier to get hubs/rims in combinations that are better for your needs than what the manufacturer offers?

    The ability to specify every detail of the build is one big plus for hand built, but if the builder doesn't spend the time with component prep, stress relief, and tension balance then you aren't much further ahead.

    The main benefit to a hand built wheel is the hand part. Specifically that no shortcuts are taken -- human hands are on every component at every step of the process, which allows the builder to see, hear, and feel not just if everything is right along the way, but to be able to sense if anything is subtly or demonstrably wrong as the wheels are brought to tension.

    ~10 years ago machine built wheels weren't even in the same conversation as hand built, because no care was taken to balance out tension. These days the processes have improved to the point that *some* machine built wheels stand head and shoulders above others. That's good -- competition improves the breed.

    Still, few if any machine built wheels approach the level of precision of hand built when it comes to final tension balance, and that balance is *everything* when it comes to long lasting wheels.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    If I'm reading that right, you have the baseline CR build Process 153 27.5 version? In which case, I'm just on the AL 29'er version of the same bike . I don't think I have quite that many miles on mine though. In terms of wheel spec, I think you have a bit nicer rims (the Asym's), but otherwise have the same hubs/etc. So its good to hear how much life I may get out of mine, coming from a rider with similar size/weight.

    I do seem to run higher pressures though (I seem to need at least 24psi in the rear to prevent squirming) in g outs/higher pressure corners.

    Like you, I couldn't find much, if any information on the spank hubs. So if you get them, let me know how you like them.

    It looks like CRC has the basic 350 vibrocore boost wheelset for a steal of a deal right now ($402 atm). The 350-359 wheelset is not much more than that. So the price premium for handbuilt is there, but not crazy.
    Mine was AL/DL model (no carbon) which at the time was a step up from base. I've heard good things about the quality and durability of the WTB Asym rims but weight weenies don't like 'em. I'm right on the edge of 'squirm' at 20 psi for the trails around here which are not high speed but very rocky and rooty. That pressure provides awesome traction for technical climbs and turns. After 30 years I've learned to ride 'light' and at this pressure I don't get any pinch flats / rim strikes. I absolutely would need to bump up pressure for a day of fast flowy downhill riding.

    I've seen the CRC deals and have been hunting for one of those 'steals' for awhile. Have not found 15 X 110 Front / 12 X 148 Rear with XD drive in a 27.5 and 30mm (ish) internal width for under $600.

    Tis the season for deals so I'm holding out. Just got a dump of snow followed by huge rain so everything is a mess in the woods right now anyways. Time to ski!
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...:thumbsup:

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    Mine was AL/DL model (no carbon) which at the time was a step up from base. I've heard good things about the quality and durability of the WTB Asym rims but weight weenies don't like 'em. I'm right on the edge of 'squirm' at 20 psi for the trails around here which are not high speed but very rocky and rooty. That pressure provides awesome traction for technical climbs and turns. After 30 years I've learned to ride 'light' and at this pressure I don't get any pinch flats / rim strikes. I absolutely would need to bump up pressure for a day of fast flowy downhill riding.

    I've seen the CRC deals and have been hunting for one of those 'steals' for awhile. Have not found 15 X 110 Front / 12 X 148 Rear with XD drive in a 27.5 and 30mm (ish) internal width for under $600.

    Tis the season for deals so I'm holding out. Just got a dump of snow followed by huge rain so everything is a mess in the woods right now anyways. Time to ski!
    Looks like CRC has the vibrocore 359-350 27.5 boost wheelset with XD driver for ~$518 atm.

    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod183456

    And Mike, thanks for the insight into why handmade wheels are typically better. Its good to hear that the machine built ones are getting better, but it makes sense that a handbuilt wheel will have more attention paid to it.

    And in a structure thats primarily held together/strong because of tension, that makes sense why they would last longer.

    So, at this point, my question then is mostly about how good most "house branded" hubs are?

    The spank 350 vibrocore boost wheelset at CRC is just over $400 at the moment, which, even knowing that custom built wheelsets are better, is moderately tempting. Of course, thats assuming the hubs are worth building the wheels around (not just these ones, but other brands that aren't known for building/selling their own hubs, selling complete, own branded wheelsets).

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    I feel like you're getting too focused the a SALE price tag and losing sight of the big picture. Somewhat unknown hubs and a machine built wheel for 2/3 the price. Meh.

    Why go half way? Is that all that different than what you have now?

    I like your original plan. Hope or DT 350 and a hand built wheel.

    My $.02

    Edit: I also think it's funny that you're considering ordering wheels from half way around the world when Spank (AKA the Gravity Cartel) is practically right down the road from you (Ish, I think). Give them a call, they're good guys.
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    I'm 6' and ~200lbs. EVERY machine built rear wheel I've had (road or mountain) has given me issues.

    I've had great success with handbuilt wheels though. The set on my gravel bike was built in 2006 with Hope ProII's, DT spokes and Bontrager rims. They been on a few different bikes, (4-5" Trail 29er to Rigid SS), and they are rock solid. I don't think they've been touched by a spoke key since.

    I would need a really really, really, good reason to buy a pre-built / machine built / mass built wheelset.


    Go with the likes of MikeSee or other respected and recommended builder. I'll add in Chad from RedBarnBikes in Montana.

    Re: Chinese carbon, you'll "most probably" be ok. The build probably won't be as good as a great local build. And, the rims can be a tiny bit of an experiment. The risk isn't much, but it's there re: failure. If you do buy Chinese, buy a name brand, not a no-name of eBay or AliExpress.

    Also, it's now a thing that alu rims are recognised as typically more comfortable / compliant, and can offer more traction than carbon rims. The CB Synthesis and Zipp wheels are different but $$$.

    You could consider spending money on doing some skills courses or getting some 1:1 coaching. THAT will make a difference to your riding.


    Re: buying name brand hubs. Do it. Buy once, buy well. 14 years later, I can still buy the parts to convert my ProII's from 135mm to 142, and in January I'll be able to buy a Shimano microspline adapter for it.

    You may be able to convert no-name hubs in the future, but I wouldn't even bet a fingernail cutting on it.

  33. #33
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    Hub conversion is getting close to irrelevant really. It was big during the 135 to 142 change, but not really anymore. You probably need a boost hub, and it'll be the thing for a while. When boost is over, the whole shell will be wider.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Hub conversion is getting close to irrelevant really
    Mr One Pivot, I hope that your statement doesn't come back to bite us.

    Whose to say that some bright spark won't decide that e.g.: 152 is the new 148, then e.g.: SRAM & Specialized come along with 151 because marketing...

    The point that may have been able to make better, is that service parts are avaiable for many years.

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    I really appreciate all the insight here guys. I'm not trying to be dense, I promise. I'm just trying to make sure I'm considering everything that I should during this research phase, so that I understand the whole picture (more or less).

    After my last post, I had started thinking about the whole axle standards changing, and freehub driver changes/availability for the nicer hubs. It does seem more likely that hubs like the DT350 would/will have more adapters (different hub width standards, as well as XD/Microspline drivers) available for it, to make it viable for longer.

    That in and of itself seems to be a half decent reason to go for the handbuilt sets, and that's not even considering the longevity related benefits.

    Oh, and Puddleduck, am I understanding you right? That you haven't had to true, or otherwise adjust tension on your wheels in years? Is that normal? If so, that's quite amazing to be honest, but I can't imagine that I should be expecting that, even with a heavy duty wheelset?

    I looked at WTB, RaceFace, Spank, and DTSwiss, for rims that were rated for more than just "trail". It looks like they all weigh in the 525-600ish grams, and are all kind of in the same price category.

    Here are the models that I found, that I seem to feel are likely about what I should be looking for.

    WTB KOM Tough
    RaceFace Arc 30/Arc 30 HD
    Spank Spike 350 Vibrocore
    DTSwiss XM481/EX511

    Any reason to go with any of the above rims over another?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Oh, and Puddleduck, am I understanding you right? That you haven't had to true, or otherwise adjust tension on your wheels in years? Is that normal? If so, that's quite amazing to be honest, but I can't imagine that I should be expecting that, even with a heavy duty wheelset?
    That's correct, I don't think that those wheels have even seen a spoke key. They might be a tiny bit out of true, but nothing that warrants action. They've only seen intermittent use, though haven't been babied - I'm in Australia, and they went across to New Zealand several times in their youth. I'm not sure how normal it is for wheels to not need truing, but I'm not hard on well built & suitable wheels.


    One thing that might matter to you is whether a rim is likely to ding/dent or break in the event of a harsh impact. I've read about this and know that some are/were softer than others, but don't have experience of which rims have which properties.

    Having said this, I've read great things about Spank's "vibrocore" technology in bars and rims for years now, and these wheels get a great review from NSMB, who I trust.
    https://nsmb.com/articles/spank-tune...eelset-review/
    The rims are heavy, but that may not matter to you.
    Building these to some e.g. DT350's or Hope's would be tasty.

    It's hard to go past XM481s thought....
    https://www.ambmag.com.au/feature/te...l-build-484467


    One thing to bear in mind re: Hope vs DT350 is that for a given hub width, Hope has one hubshell that fits all adapters for e.g. 20/15/12mm front axles, I don't think that DT offer this e.g. a 20mm front hub is different. I think that DT rear hubs are fully flexible though. It's a small point, but I like to keep my options open!...it wouldn't surprise me if 110x20 became a thing (Rockshox was 100x20 for ages)...and I may be

    In terms of levels of hub. Most aftermarket hubs below the level of Hope / DT350 are hit and miss. They have reported issues of freehubs failing or axles bending/breaking. Many will be ok, but it's hit and miss. Then there's the issue of parts availability... it's not worth trying to save a few $$ in this area. THIS is why I'd avoid the likes of Hunt wheels (who (used to?) use Bitex hubs, which are generally great, but...)


    You have a fun problem to solve

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post

    WTB, RaceFace, DT Swiss, and (some) NoTubes rims are great these days.

    I need a really good reason to use other than the DT 350 hubs. .
    Agreed, the 350's arm my top seller.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuddleDuck View Post
    Mr One Pivot, I hope that your statement doesn't come back to bite us.

    Whose to say that some bright spark won't decide that e.g.: 152 is the new 148, then e.g.: SRAM & Specialized come along with 151 because marketing...

    The point that may have been able to make better, is that service parts are avaiable for many years.
    We already skipped a wider boost-framed standard and went straight to super boost.


    Thats what I mean though, I do think the end cap swap days are over if you're already on a boost hub.

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    We already skipped a wider boost-framed standard.

    Well, your conclusion holds but youíve got the facts out of order. 150/157 was around for ~a decade before Boost was a twinkle in any marketing hackís eye.

  40. #40
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    That NSMB article was one of the ones that lead me to look into the Spank Vibrocore rims. They sound sturdy, and the made it sound like the foam may actually tame some of the feedback of the trail. And while that one seems to be pretty positive, there aren't as many reviews available.

    I did see some from BikeRadar (for both the 350 tuned, and normal 350 vibrocore). It appears that the vibrocore is most valuable in the front wheel (unless maybe I was on a hardtail).

    https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/co...eelset-review/

    https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/co...eelset-review/

    The pinkbike review was also relatively positive. More so about the fact that they are pretty sturdy, but they don't mention the vibration dampening aspect much, if at all.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/review...-wheelset.html

    I haven't looked into as many reviews for the other rims I mentioned yet though. I guess I'll keep looking.

    Also, in terms of the hub endcap conversation... I'm not sure I follow.

    The days of endcap switching are over? How so? Just because we have been trending towards wider hub spacing over the years, so a boost hub could be converted to a "superboost" (157mm hub) pretty easily. Is that what you meant?

    Also, I realized when looking at a few of the builders websites, that they let you specify the spokes/nipples used. Thats a whole different area that I know nothing about. And unlike wheels, there doesn't look like there is a lot of reviews for the different spokes.

    Do I just go with whatever they recommend, or are there obvious better choices?

  41. #41
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    We would have been better off if 148mm was never created and we stuck with 142 and 157. It'd be nice if it would go away, it doesn't do anything better than 157.

    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post

    Also, I realized when looking at a few of the builders websites, that they let you specify the spokes/nipples used. Thats a whole different area that I know nothing about. And unlike wheels, there doesn't look like there is a lot of reviews for the different spokes.

    Do I just go with whatever they recommend, or are there obvious better choices?
    It basically boils down to aluminum vs brass nipples.

    aluminum
    -lighter
    -pretty colors!

    brass
    -better reputation for durability
    -nicer to work with

    When in doubt, go with brass. I prefer aluminum, fwiw.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    We already skipped a wider boost-framed standard and went straight to super boost.


    Thats what I mean though, I do think the end cap swap days are over if you're already on a boost hub.
    You're correct that the likes of Pivot and Knolly have jumped to 157. Some manufacturers and people think that it's too wide, too heavy, needs excessive frame material and thus more weight. What if these types want wider than 148 but less than 157???

    ...we've seen from the embarrassment and debacle regarding BB's: shell types & interfaces & poor tolerances (that lead to creaking with press fit) & bad bearings that the bike industry at a corporate level are a bit of a joke...

    ..The latest version of this is that T47 was developed by Chris King and others (https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear...cket-standard/), now implemented by Trek to get rid of it's press-fit BB creaking issues, and Trek has had to change one of the dimensions of T47 to allow for easy mass production. Seriously, the collective of the bike industry couldn't get a sugar-high at a candy shop.

    ...hence I don't the bike industry them to do things that are "customer friendly" re future hub standards and interfaces.

    What I'd like to see is some science behind what's a good compromise re: customer needs, solves real problems, is as future-proof as possible. Instead of scientific and disciplined though, but bike industry seems to jump from from one reaction to the next. Another reaction is the wheel size change. A reasonable way to do it would be do some testing regarding what wheel sizes will meet the needs of various customer segments (e.g. height and riding style), and choose from the testing. Instead the industry picked sizes that already existed (700c for 29, then 650b for what is mislabeled as 27.5)...and yes I know that these were somewhat grass-roots movements, but, they could have been steered with science to really meet the needs of users.

    To juxtapose. How do you think that all mobile phones work on 3G & 4G, and all wireless devices work on all wireless networks? It's because the industry gets together and plans years & years ahead, sets well thought-through standards, implements them, and sticks to them. It's quite easy.

    /Rant off.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    We would have been better off if 148mm was never created and we stuck with 142 and 157. It'd be nice if it would go away, it doesn't do anything better than 157.




    '
    ''""



    It basically boils down to aluminum vs brass nipples

    aluminum
    -lighter
    -pretty colors!

    brass
    -better reputation for durability
    -nicer to work with

    When in doubt, go with brass.
    ==============================


    """ I prefer aluminum, fwiw."""

    WHY?
    breezy shade

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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post

    Also, I realized when looking at a few of the builders websites, that they let you specify the spokes/nipples used. Thats a whole different area that I know nothing about. And unlike wheels, there doesn't look like there is a lot of reviews for the different spokes.

    Do I just go with whatever they recommend, or are there obvious better choices?
    Yes, a good wheel builder will help you determine the correct spokes, nipples, etc. for your application. You don't need to be an expert on this stuff, the wheel builder is the expert.

    For your application it's pretty strait forward. You need a durable setup on a budget. 32h 3x is a no brainer with double butted spokes. Sapim Race get my vote for value but DT Comp's or Wheel Smith are equally good.

    I personally much prefer Brass nipples for durability, longevity, and anti corrosion properties. (tubeless sealant causes galvanic corrosion with many aluminum nipples).

    For a bigger guy on an enduro bike with durability in mind, Brass nipples all day long. Did I mention they're also cheaper!
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    """ I prefer aluminum, fwiw."""

    WHY?
    I build my own wheels. Since alloy nipples never give me any problems brass doesn't offer any advantages.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    I build my own wheels. Since alloy nipples never give me any problems brass doesn't offer any advantages.
    you must have had your builds w/ aluminum v brass hold up equally well. roughly, how many miles are you putting on your wheels before you build a new set?
    breezy shade

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Yes, a good wheel builder will help you determine the correct spokes, nipples, etc. for your application. You don't need to be an expert on this stuff, the wheel builder is the expert.

    For your application it's pretty strait forward. You need a durable setup on a budget. 32h 3x is a no brainer with double butted spokes. Sapim Race get my vote for value but DT Comp's or Wheel Smith are equally good.

    I personally much prefer Brass nipples for durability, longevity, and anti corrosion properties. (tubeless sealant causes galvanic corrosion with many aluminum nipples).

    For a bigger guy on an enduro bike with durability in mind, Brass nipples all day long. Did I mention they're also cheaper!
    I figured as much. I do tend to try to learn as much as I can about stuff before I buy it. But I also realize that at a certain point, unless I'm doing this all the time (buying, or building wheels), thats some of what I'm paying for when I go for a custom builder.

    I'm a big fan of durability, and ease of maintenance. Also, as you seem to have noticed, kind of a cheapskate . So brass being easier to work on, and cheaper, that sounds like just what I'm looking for.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Also, in terms of the hub endcap conversation... I'm not sure I follow.

    The days of endcap switching are over? How so? Just because we have been trending towards wider hub spacing over the years, so a boost hub could be converted to a "superboost" (157mm hub) pretty easily. Is that what you meant?

    Also, I realized when looking at a few of the builders websites, that they let you specify the spokes/nipples used. Thats a whole different area that I know nothing about. And unlike wheels, there doesn't look like there is a lot of reviews for the different spokes.

    Do I just go with whatever they recommend, or are there obvious better choices?
    Per my other recent response, we can't say for certain that the days of end-cap switching are over. We can hope that they are, but we don't know that they are. I'm thinking of any change from 148 to *new and unkown*. I'm not aware of any kits to change from 148 to 157...it may be unsuitable for adapters.

    There's a whole world in spokes. if you put this string in to google, you'll still be looking days later site:forums.mtbr.com which spoke
    • With the types of alu rim that you're thinking of, a double butted, medium gauge (2.0 - 1.8 - 2.0) DT or Sapim or Wheelsmith spoke will probably suit e.g. DT Competition.
    • If running carbon rims, one can use a lighter gauge spoke e.g. 2.0 - 1.5 - 2.0, because the rim is so stiff to start with.
    • I'd be guided by your wheel builder.


    Nipples, there's lots of arguments about alu vs brass. Peeps love DT and Sapim
    • My takeout is that in a well-built wheel, alu are great, so long as they are prepped with lube/anti-sieze, and/or are lubed prior to any subsequent truing.
    • Again, I'd be guided by your builder.
    • OR do your head in by reading the results of this search site:forums.mtbr.com brass or alu


    One way to think about this process is that within reason, how a wheel is built is more important than the bits (e.g. splitting hairs between rims or spokes or alu vs brass). It's kinda like how investment VC's would rather back a proven team with a 2nd rate idea, than the other way around.

    Maybe drop an email to the builders on your shortlist (especially Mike & Pete given that they've helped you on this thread) and see how you feel about the responses?

    If you want to go nuts searching for which rim, here's a search string to get you started "site:forums.mtbr.com RaceFace Arc 30 Swiss XM481"

    Are there any rim/wheel criteria that are more important & that you want to optimise/prioritise? e.g.
    • stiffness
    • weight
    • matching rim brand to hub (& spoke and nipple) = full DT Swiss?
    • colour
    • price
    • location of wheel builder

    ...I ask this because going back to Mike's post #12, "WTB, RaceFace, DT Swiss, and (some) NoTubes rims are great these days."...if one assumes that rims from different brands at the same weight are equivalent (excepting Vibrocore), what matters to you?

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    you must have had your builds w/ aluminum v brass hold up equally well. roughly, how many miles are you putting on your wheels before you build a new set?
    I have a set of road wheels with >20,000 miles. Mtb wheels... oldest front was maybe 6k? Rears i usually end up lacing a new rim by around 2k because i damaged it. I'm a big dude and a hack rider, too.

    I'm not advocating everyone should use alloy nips. I got started with them cuz they were what i had on hand once.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    I have a set of road wheels with >20,000 miles. Mtb wheels... oldest front was maybe 6k? Rears i usually end up lacing a new rim by around 2k because i damaged it. I'm a big dude and a hack rider, too.

    I'm not advocating everyone should use alloy nips. I got started with them cuz they were what i had on hand once.
    thanks for the particular info.

    "go w/ what ya know" (or have)
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  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuddleDuck View Post
    Per my other recent response, we can't say for certain that the days of end-cap switching are over. We can hope that they are, but we don't know that they are. I'm thinking of any change from 148 to *new and unkown*. I'm not aware of any kits to change from 148 to 157...it may be unsuitable for adapters.

    There's a whole world in spokes. if you put this string in to google, you'll still be looking days later site:forums.mtbr.com which spoke
    • With the types of alu rim that you're thinking of, a double butted, medium gauge (2.0 - 1.8 - 2.0) DT or Sapim or Wheelsmith spoke will probably suit e.g. DT Competition.
    • If running carbon rims, one can use a lighter gauge spoke e.g. 2.0 - 1.5 - 2.0, because the rim is so stiff to start with.
    • I'd be guided by your wheel builder.


    Nipples, there's lots of arguments about alu vs brass. Peeps love DT and Sapim
    • My takeout is that in a well-built wheel, alu are great, so long as they are prepped with lube/anti-sieze, and/or are lubed prior to any subsequent truing.
    • Again, I'd be guided by your builder.
    • OR do your head in by reading the results of this search site:forums.mtbr.com brass or alu


    One way to think about this process is that within reason, how a wheel is built is more important than the bits (e.g. splitting hairs between rims or spokes or alu vs brass). It's kinda like how investment VC's would rather back a proven team with a 2nd rate idea, than the other way around.

    Maybe drop an email to the builders on your shortlist (especially Mike & Pete given that they've helped you on this thread) and see how you feel about the responses?

    If you want to go nuts searching for which rim, here's a search string to get you started "site:forums.mtbr.com RaceFace Arc 30 Swiss XM481"

    Are there any rim/wheel criteria that are more important & that you want to optimise/prioritise? e.g.
    • stiffness
    • weight
    • matching rim brand to hub (& spoke and nipple) = full DT Swiss?
    • colour
    • price
    • location of wheel builder

    ...I ask this because going back to Mike's post #12, "WTB, RaceFace, DT Swiss, and (some) NoTubes rims are great these days."...if one assumes that rims from different brands at the same weight are equivalent (excepting Vibrocore), what matters to you?
    Thanks for the info (again).

    As I'm sure you know, at times half the battle is knowing which terms to search, and having some sort of baseline to compare stuff.

    I have started looking into rims, and the list that I gave above of possible options I did select as they were all ones that Mike recommended. I'll check out some threads on the spokes/nipples as well.

    When it comes down to it though, if all of the options are roughly the same weight, and of equal quality/strength/etc (with the possible exception of the vibrocore, as you noted), then perhaps it really doesn't make much of a difference which one I end up going with. Or, maybe I end up making the decision based on which brands logo I like better, or which one I can get the better deal on, etc.

    In terms of other priorities? It seems like the buzzword from a few years ago was all about "stiffness". Now it seems that "compliance" is the new one. So I'm not sure what the "ideal" stiffness is, and given how I've never ridden a high end wheelset, it may be too abstract a concept for me to try to select a set of rims on.

    And, I'm not too worried about matching brands of the components. I'm not usually the type to overly worry about stuff like that. I will try to make sure that the color scheme is at least somewhat normal, but I figure with Black DT350 hubs, it won't be hard to make a black rim/black spokes look good (and "match" multiple bikes).

    I've already reached out to a few builders for specific quotes (where applicable), and I guess while I wait to hear from them, I'll just keep researching.

    Thanks everyone .

  52. #52
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    You'll never get a straight answer about stiffness. I'll admit that outright. We all have our own dumb opinions about it though!

    "Compliance" in wheels is for road bikes. When you have a stiff frame with no suspension, and 1 inch tires at 90 psi, you want all the compliance you can get. It really does cause fatigue over the miles.

    Mountain? On a full suspension? Ill take stiff wheels. If my ride is buzzy, I can and very successfully have fixed it with suspension tuning. People like to claim they use tire pressure here, but I prefer higher pressures because im getting my comfort from the suspension, and I dislike tire roll.

    What I cant hang with is noodly rims rolling all over the place. People market goob about being stiff in one axis and compliant in another... its not really possible. Go for something with decent weight and known stiffness.

  53. #53
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    I've been doing some research, curious about a few things now.

    I've mostly looking at DT Swiss, and Spank rims.

    I also considered the RF ARC/HD and the WTB KOM Tough. But ultimately, they are just as heavy as the heavier Spank options, and I like the idea of the Vibrocore if I'm going to go with a ~600 gram rim.

    Spank Options:

    • Oozy 345 Trail
    • 350 Vibrocore
    • 359 Vibrocore


    If I'm going Spank, I'm going to run the 350 vibrocore in front (all the reviews say its most impactful there). Which means I need to choose a rear.

    The 345 trail is rated for DH on their product chart, but is significantly lighter (65 grams) than the vibrocore 350, and 85 grams lighter than the vibrocore 359. Not sure if they're sturdy enough to use in the rear though.

    And I can't seem to find any review of the 345's vs the 350's (or much of anything else for that matter). Any feedback on them?

    The DT Swiss options:

    • XM481
    • EX471
    • EX511


    With DT Swiss, I'm not sure if the XM481 is strong enough for use in the rear for me. I'm safely below the max weight limit, but I hear more stories about people destroying them than the others.

    If I can't use those front and rear, I could go with the EX471/EX511 in the rear. I was mostly thinking the 471 to save some weight, but it is a narrower rim profile. Is 25mm too narrow for a ~2.3-2.5in wide rear tire? Or is that being "gram wise, ride foolish"? Should I just eat the extra weight and grab the EX511 in this scenario?

    The upside? I think I can drop somewhere between 285-400grams even going with these "heavyweight" rims.

  54. #54
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    Having a wider 30mm rim is more important to me than a small difference in weight. In the grand scheme 60g is an extremely small amount of wight and you will never know it's there. You will however notice the difference in rim width while riding. 5mm is a noticeable difference.

    I'd go with the Spank rims, support the local guys, plus they come in different colors. I'm also not a fan of DT graphics on most of their rims.

    Looking at the 345 vs the 350 non vib. rims, the 350 is 5g lighter, they basically weigh the same. Thus they should be very similar in strength. If adding vibracore adds strength I'd run it front and rear. (the website only stats increased fatigue life)

    It would be backwards to run a weaker rim in the back. It would be silly to try and save a few grams here IMO.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  55. #55
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    Thanks for the feedback. I understand that the rear rim should be the stronger one, but itís good to know that the extra rim width would likely be more noticeable than the extra weight.

    This is the chart Iím looking at on the spank website. They talk a lot about the vibration reduction, but they also seem to mention that it adds a bit of strength.

    The normal non vibrocore 350 rims arenít rated for DH, but the 345 trail, 350/359 vibrocore, and race 33 are. So, I think they are stronger?



    As for the dt Swiss options. Any idea if the xm481 is strong enough to be used front and back? I seem to fit between the typical cyclist weight, and what most people consider a true ďClydeĒ weight. I know clydes usually go up a category for rims, just not sure if I need to as well.

    Guess I could eat the weight, and go with the stronger rims, as Iím already going to be dropping some weight.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    The normal non vibrocore 350 rims arenít rated for DH, but the 345 trail, 350/359 vibrocore, and race 33 are. So, I think they are stronger?
    Seems reasonable, but probably better to just e-mail them directly and get it strait from the horses mouth instead of going by "impressions" of people on the internet.

    I don't ride DT rims, can't comment specifically, but you're a bigger dude riding a bigger bike. Your tires probably weigh 1,100-1,200 grams, You'll never notice an extra 50g in the rim. Please stop using that as your primary criteria. If you prioritize durability, go with the beefier rim. Period. This is not a 20lb XC race bike we're talking about here.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Seems reasonable, but probably better to just e-mail them directly and get it strait from the horses mouth instead of going by "impressions" of people on the internet.

    I don't ride DT rims, can't comment specifically, but you're a bigger dude riding a bigger bike. Your tires probably weigh 1,100-1,200 grams, You'll never notice an extra 50g in the rim. Please stop using that as your primary criteria. If you prioritize durability, go with the beefier rim. Period. This is not a 20lb XC race bike we're talking about here.
    I agree actually. I emailed them about it last week. Still waiting to hear back from them, as Iím assuming less people are working/around over the holidays/New Years. Guess I was getting impatient, and asked here as well.

    I get what you are saying though. Despite what it may sound like, weight isnít my only consideration. But if three rims are all strong enough to be reliable for me, then it makes sense to consider the lighter one.

    Iím actively looking for quotes for the 350 vibrocore set, as well as the xm481/ex511 combo. I expect Iíll start hearing back more in the next week or so. So I guess at this point itís just ďhurry up and waitĒ.

    Thanks again for the help.

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