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  1. #1
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    wheelset upgrade: stay aluminum or go full carbon?

    i have a 2017 bronson with race face ar 27 rims and dt 350 hubs (36t ratchet).

    if i was to switch to DT swiss ex 471 rims and chris king iso disc hubs, would i notice the benefit, or would it be a sensless upgrade?

    should i just make the jump to carbon rims, since the dt swiss option would run me over 1200 euros (carbon would be 1700)?

    thanks
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  2. #2
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    Why do you want a new wheelset?
    Lighter?
    Stronger?
    Do you want to run wider tires?
    Do you want it for faster downhills and to be more resistant to damage?

    I can tell you what I'd do.
    I have no idea what you should do.

  3. #3
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    I'd just stick with what you have unless you want a second wheelset.

  4. #4
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    Save the money for a new bike. A new wheel set won't make you a better rider. Unless you have a very specific need it's not worth it.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Why do you want a new wheelset?
    Lighter?
    Stronger?
    Do you want to run wider tires?
    Do you want it for faster downhills and to be more resistant to damage?

    I can tell you what I'd do.
    I have no idea what you should do.
    good point MSU Alum. I should have specified.

    I was wondering if a different wheelset (and in particular a different hub) would benefit steep technical climbs in some way, more so than its performance descending.

    the arcs are 27mm inner width. the ex 471s 30mm.
    the chris king hub has 72 points of engagement, i think. the 350s 36 teeth.

    i also assume the dt swiss are stiffer, but not necessarily lighter, and as i presently run a dhf 2.3/dhr2 2.3 combo, a 30mm inner width rim would allow me to run a slightly wider tire with a better profile.

    that said, a lot of my difficulty on tech climbs is probably more due to techique and fitness, but i was just wondering if anyone has had a somewhat similar dilemma and could contribute with their experience.

    thanks
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  6. #6
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    Don't think it matters on the up. Where I notice a difference with carbon wheels is crispness of turning performance and stiffness with the ability to slam burms harder.

  7. #7
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    OP, as you surmised, a lot of tech climbing is down to technique, but slow engaging hubs don't help. Your DT hubs have 36pt, which while not lightning fast, is not bad and I do not think upgrading to the CK hubs will get you what you want. As to the rims width and tyres, 27mm IW is very good for 2.3" Maxxis tyres and that size to me, is very good for trail riding providing a good balance of weight to grip for not too heavy climbing and still good traction descending, so choose your priority and then make your decision on tyre size. What would you be looking to get out of wider tyres? Sounds to me like you're someone who enjoys the challenge of a technical climb, so before you go dumping a couple hundred grams more rotating weight, think about that on the climbs.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stepping-razor View Post
    i have a 2017 bronson with race face ar 27 rims and dt 350 hubs (36t ratchet).

    if i was to switch to DT swiss ex 471 rims and chris king iso disc hubs, would i notice the benefit, or would it be a sensless upgrade?

    should i just make the jump to carbon rims, since the dt swiss option would run me over 1200 euros (carbon would be 1700)?

    thanks
    Just stick with current wheelset, you have solid hubs (you can even upgrade to 54t ratchet if you want) and solid rims. Combination you mention (CK hubs+DT rims) is probably one of the most expensive in the ALU world of rims (also one of the best), but you will gain little in terms of situation you mention. You will gain much more with proper tyre, tyre pressure and most important - fitness and technique. You look for some Chriss Akrig videos to confirm that :-)

  9. #9
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    the upgraded 54t ratchet will help more with technical climbing than buying new rims.
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  10. #10
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    I'll echo some points already made.

    27mm inner dimension is fine. You can run wider tires on them. ( I run 2.6's on i35's and my wife runs them on i29's and they feel fine on both. I first tried the 27.5x2.6's on an i23 and loved them. I'd say i27 would be fine - others will insist you NEED i40's. A lot of this is personal preference, but you would be able to run marginally lower pressure on wider rims.)

    36 points of engagement is pretty good. 54 is better, if you have $100 to drop. I have 350's with 54 and like them quite a bit. I also have i9's with more engagement and like them as well. 54 works. I run my Ibis 742's (i35) with 2.6" Nobby Nics and my Reynolds with the 350's (i23) are mounted with 27.5x2.6 Rocket Rons, so the overall tire width mounted, is less - at 2.45" Vs 2.6" on the i35. In almost all cases, the lighter, slightly narrower Reynolds/RoRo combo climbs faster. Also, in all cases, my climb times on 2.6's exceed my old climb times on narrower tires of the same make and model. For general riding locally and everything in Moab, I'm on the wider Ibis/NoNi Addix. I weigh 150 lbs with flip flops and a light coating of oil. Also, I'm in the Southwest U.S. so my conditions may be radically different than yours.

    FWIW, I'm currently on 29x2.35's (actually 2.35 NoNi's that measure 2.38" at low pressure on 24 hole i9 Trail 270's) and my climb times are beating my old records on 27.5's.

    I've found that generally speaking, for maximizing climb times, lower pressure on wider tires have worked well for me, especially as technical demands increase, but Schwalbe's are pretty pressure sensitive.

    I also have a 2.3 DHF/DHR II combo on my 29er (on wider, heavier 30mm id rims and my climb times are consistently 10% slower on those tires/rims. The descents are, of course, faster and more composed, so it depends on your priorities. My priority is to maximize my climbing performance. (Almost all of my climbs start at 7000 feet and I climb with younger/stronger riders.)

    I think the bottom line is that I'd recommend wider tires on the same rims you have. Experiment with lower pressures....don't be afraid to go too low, you can always add air if you need to, based on your weight and conditions. If you feel the engagement is an issue, go to 54 tooth. Also, the Bronson is a great bike, but it's not a bike focused on climbing. That's okay, though, you can do things to optimize how well it climbs.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    Don't think it matters on the up. Where I notice a difference with carbon wheels is crispness of turning performance and stiffness with the ability to slam burms harder.
    Id say these are some primary benefits. Weight is usually a big one too, which translates into everything else, acceleration, endurance, fatigue, only because of the higher strength-to-weight, many people go with much wider carbon rims that don't always save a ton of weight (like 35-40mm ones), they are still pretty damn light, but when someone is upgrading from some crazy flexy stan's rims, they may actually be heavier.

    But the ability to hold the bike on a line improves significantly, especially in turns.

    Enough people are riding carbon rims these days that they are well "proven", manufacutrers like Light Bicycles, Nextie, Oxive, make a product just as good as Envy or NOS. Nice hubs are always the foundation of a good aftermarket wheelset, but already having 350s, you aren't going to get any real upgrade by going to CK hubs, they may in fact be a little heavier. The drive mechanism on both is very strong, CK a bit stronger, but both are pretty far above most ratchet-n-pawl types.

    I do a lot of racing and climbs. Hub engagement has zero effect on this. It's more of a personal preference, like some people like ergon grips, or some people like a particular saddle. No one is winning or losing time because of this, while things like having handlebar-mounted lockouts for the suspension does start to matter in the highest elite and pro categories, or the weight of the bike in those categories and especially the weight of the wheels and tire rolling resistance. The engagement is more of a luxury thing that some people like, but if you are getting it thinking it'll make you faster uphill, nope in my experience, and I'm taking serious note of my competition when I'm finishing top 5.
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  12. #12
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    The Chris King hub may not help you climb better, but a quicker engagement hub is most noticeable when using low gears because of the gear ratio used. For example, if you're climbing with a 30 tooth chainring and a 30 tooth gear in the back every revolution of your crank only turns the wheel one rotation (30/30), which means back pedaling also is a a 1:1 ratio. 36th teeth on your DT swiss ratchet equals 10 degrees between engagement points so you have turn your crank 10 degrees backward to engage each ratchet tooth. If you go to a 30 front/40 rear then every one revolution of the rear wheel (or one revolution of the cassette backwards) requires 40 teeth up front to rotate, which is 1 and 1/3 of a crank rotation, so now it takes more than 10 degrees to backpedal between engagement points. 10 deg times 1 1/3 = 13.3 degrees, for a Chris king hub this would be 1/2 of that (6.65 deg).

    Conversely in higher gears, example 30 front/15 rear the rear wheel will turn one revolution for every 1/2 turn of the crank, which means you turn the crank backward 1/2 of 10 degrees (5 deg) for every ratchet to engage in your 36 tooth ratchet hub.

    Since a lot of mountain biking is in low gears a quicker engagement hub can help with some types of maneuvers.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Id say these are some primary benefits. Weight is usually a big one too, which translates into everything else, acceleration, endurance, fatigue, only because of the higher strength-to-weight, many people go with much wider carbon rims that don't always save a ton of weight (like 35-40mm ones), they are still pretty damn light, but when someone is upgrading from some crazy flexy stan's rims, they may actually be heavier.

    But the ability to hold the bike on a line improves significantly, especially in turns.

    Enough people are riding carbon rims these days that they are well "proven", manufacutrers like Light Bicycles, Nextie, Oxive, make a product just as good as Envy or NOS. Nice hubs are always the foundation of a good aftermarket wheelset, but already having 350s, you aren't going to get any real upgrade by going to CK hubs, they may in fact be a little heavier. The drive mechanism on both is very strong, CK a bit stronger, but both are pretty far above most ratchet-n-pawl types.

    I do a lot of racing and climbs. Hub engagement has zero effect on this. It's more of a personal preference, like some people like ergon grips, or some people like a particular saddle. No one is winning or losing time because of this, while things like having handlebar-mounted lockouts for the suspension does start to matter in the highest elite and pro categories, or the weight of the bike in those categories and especially the weight of the wheels and tire rolling resistance. The engagement is more of a luxury thing that some people like, but if you are getting it thinking it'll make you faster uphill, nope in my experience, and I'm taking serious note of my competition when I'm finishing top 5.
    In the slower technical climbs i notice a hub lower than 44 POC. Dont notice much difference between my Hope hubs and 60 POC hubs.

  14. #14
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    Carbon wheels have the biggest impact in 29er format IMO.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mt.Biker E View Post
    the upgraded 54t ratchet will help more with technical climbing than buying new rims.
    This!

  16. #16
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    thanks everybody for your suggestions.

    as a few of you mentioned, i may just upgrade to the 54t and see if there is any notable difference, just to try something out. i am also thinking about changing my bike next summer anyway. been eyeing the bronson v3....

    i guess since end-of-year bonus is coming up, i'm just getting the itch to buy something!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by changingleaf View Post
    The Chris King hub may not help you climb better, but a quicker engagement hub is most noticeable when using low gears because of the gear ratio used. For example, if you're climbing with a 30 tooth chainring and a 30 tooth gear in the back every revolution of your crank only turns the wheel one rotation (30/30), which means back pedaling also is a a 1:1 ratio. 36th teeth on your DT swiss ratchet equals 10 degrees between engagement points so you have turn your crank 10 degrees backward to engage each ratchet tooth. If you go to a 30 front/40 rear then every one revolution of the rear wheel (or one revolution of the cassette backwards) requires 40 teeth up front to rotate, which is 1 and 1/3 of a crank rotation, so now it takes more than 10 degrees to backpedal between engagement points. 10 deg times 1 1/3 = 13.3 degrees, for a Chris king hub this would be 1/2 of that (6.65 deg).

    Conversely in higher gears, example 30 front/15 rear the rear wheel will turn one revolution for every 1/2 turn of the crank, which means you turn the crank backward 1/2 of 10 degrees (5 deg) for every ratchet to engage in your 36 tooth ratchet hub.

    Since a lot of mountain biking is in low gears a quicker engagement hub can help with some types of maneuvers.
    wow, thank you for taking the time to explain all this out. i never really took any of it into consideration.

    so, on a tech climb, if i have a 32t chainring up front, and a 10-42 cassette out back, and could make it up keeping the chain on the 32t or 28t cogs, i would get the most out of my current set-up, in terms of effort, rather than spin faster but easier on the 42t? is that a correct assumption?
    Last edited by stepping-razor; 1 Day Ago at 09:32 AM.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    OP, as you surmised, a lot of tech climbing is down to technique, but slow engaging hubs don't help. Your DT hubs have 36pt, which while not lightning fast, is not bad and I do not think upgrading to the CK hubs will get you what you want. As to the rims width and tyres, 27mm IW is very good for 2.3" Maxxis tyres and that size to me, is very good for trail riding providing a good balance of weight to grip for not too heavy climbing and still good traction descending, so choose your priority and then make your decision on tyre size. What would you be looking to get out of wider tyres? Sounds to me like you're someone who enjoys the challenge of a technical climb, so before you go dumping a couple hundred grams more rotating weight, think about that on the climbs.
    wouldn't a wider tire, possibly with a lower pressure, theoretically provide a better grip over uphill obstacles?
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    I'll echo some points already made.

    27mm inner dimension is fine. You can run wider tires on them. ( I run 2.6's on i35's and my wife runs them on i29's and they feel fine on both. I first tried the 27.5x2.6's on an i23 and loved them. I'd say i27 would be fine - others will insist you NEED i40's. A lot of this is personal preference, but you would be able to run marginally lower pressure on wider rims.)

    36 points of engagement is pretty good. 54 is better, if you have $100 to drop. I have 350's with 54 and like them quite a bit. I also have i9's with more engagement and like them as well. 54 works. I run my Ibis 742's (i35) with 2.6" Nobby Nics and my Reynolds with the 350's (i23) are mounted with 27.5x2.6 Rocket Rons, so the overall tire width mounted, is less - at 2.45" Vs 2.6" on the i35. In almost all cases, the lighter, slightly narrower Reynolds/RoRo combo climbs faster. Also, in all cases, my climb times on 2.6's exceed my old climb times on narrower tires of the same make and model. For general riding locally and everything in Moab, I'm on the wider Ibis/NoNi Addix. I weigh 150 lbs with flip flops and a light coating of oil. Also, I'm in the Southwest U.S. so my conditions may be radically different than yours.

    FWIW, I'm currently on 29x2.35's (actually 2.35 NoNi's that measure 2.38" at low pressure on 24 hole i9 Trail 270's) and my climb times are beating my old records on 27.5's.

    I've found that generally speaking, for maximizing climb times, lower pressure on wider tires have worked well for me, especially as technical demands increase, but Schwalbe's are pretty pressure sensitive.

    I also have a 2.3 DHF/DHR II combo on my 29er (on wider, heavier 30mm id rims and my climb times are consistently 10% slower on those tires/rims. The descents are, of course, faster and more composed, so it depends on your priorities. My priority is to maximize my climbing performance. (Almost all of my climbs start at 7000 feet and I climb with younger/stronger riders.)

    I think the bottom line is that I'd recommend wider tires on the same rims you have. Experiment with lower pressures....don't be afraid to go too low, you can always add air if you need to, based on your weight and conditions. If you feel the engagement is an issue, go to 54 tooth. Also, the Bronson is a great bike, but it's not a bike focused on climbing. That's okay, though, you can do things to optimize how well it climbs.
    TBH, i'm not sure my 2017 bronson can fit a tire bigger than 2.3 in the back. at least a dhr II of aggressor. already pretty tight, and a little mud makes it even worse. i may be wrong though. is anyone running a 2.5 in the back on a bronson like mine?

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  20. #20
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    Yes and no, all depends on how technical the trail is and what bike you're riding, everything's a compromise, you just have to decide where you're willing to make that. Seems for your bike, you can't go very wide, so not really something to think about, also your bike is an FS, so that takes care of a lot of absorbing bumps that would otherwise stall/slow your forward momentum. If you were on a HT, then to me that's where going for a wider tyre starts to pay dividends, as you can run the bigger tyres at lower pressures to better absorb bumps and keep momentum going forward instead of breaking forward momentum.

    Quote Originally Posted by stepping-razor View Post
    wouldn't a wider tire, possibly with a lower pressure, theoretically provide a better grip over uphill obstacles?
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  21. #21
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    "Full carbon"

    wheelset upgrade: stay aluminum or go full carbon?-full-carbon.jpg
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    "Full carbon"

    Click image for larger version. 

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    lol


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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by stepping-razor View Post
    TBH, i'm not sure my 2017 bronson can fit a tire bigger than 2.3 in the back. at least a dhr II of aggressor. already pretty tight, and a little mud makes it even worse. i may be wrong though. is anyone running a 2.5 in the back on a bronson like mine?

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    I run a 2.5WT aggressor on the back of my 2017 Bronson. It is tight, but I am in socal so conditions are generally loose over hard. When it starts to rain I plan to go back to the 2.3 as I won’t need the extra traction. I also run these tires on the ARC27 rims, so no problems there either. The extra traction on climbs is noticable with little rolling resistance impact.

    The DHR2 2.4 WT is also a good choice and has a little more clearance.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by stepping-razor View Post
    as a few of you mentioned, i may just upgrade to the 54t and see if there is any notable difference, just to try something out. i am also thinking about changing my bike next summer anyway. been eyeing the bronson v3....
    Hey, Razor.
    I run carbon rims. I'll probably always run carbon rims. Are they $1000+ better than aluminum? Mmmm... perhaps not. Would I suggest shitcanning a perfectly good set of aluminum wheels just to upgrade to carbon. Not a chance. Run the old ones into the ground.

    Since you're thinking of getting a new bike within the next year, THAT would be the sensible time to throw down for some high-zoot wheels.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    I weigh 150 lbs with flip flops and a light coating of oil.
    Hey MSU Alum, maybe you figured nobody would notice this. Maybe you wrote this on a dare. Maybe you were just in a momentary wacky mood and couldn't resist typing words recklessly. Maybe you wondered if anybody actually reads the stuff you write here on the empty beer forums (we do). Regardless of your motivation, could you please tell me how to unsee the image you conjured?
    TMI, my friend. WAY too TMI.
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