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  1. #1
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    New Wheel/Tire Combo - A Bit Overwhelmed

    Well, after reading around here I'm starting to feel the need to make a post and get a few answers that I'm sure apply to me.

    I have a 2004 Specialized Hardrock, which I've been putting quite a few trail miles on this year. My friend and riding partner continues to be about 1-2 min quicker than me on our local 7mi trail despite my best efforts. I'm putting in the saddle time to get the important things improved (namely my conditioning and technique), but I think it's time to open the wallet for some equipment upgrades.

    The Plan:
    1) Clip In Pedals
    2) Better Wheel/Tire Combo

    The Questions (yes, I have enough to use outline format)

    1) Pedals:
    a) Any healthy advice on making the switch from platform to clip-in pedals? I'd like to minimize the number of accidents while I get used to them.
    b) Is there any brand that easier to clip in/out of?
    c) Any other features to look for in the pedal/shoe? I'll just have to go to the LBS to try shoes on.

    2) Wheel/Tire Combo - I'm looking for something upper/mid range...basicly a good price point before massive diminishing returns start, but a big enough upgrade to notice. Vague..I know.
    a) For mostly hardpack trail with some sand and small jumps, what tire do you recommend?
    b) What sort of weight should I be looking for as a good upper-mid range wheelset?
    c) Will most wheels fit my bike (Hardrock with wheel brakes).

    Any other educated buying advice is welcomed. for as much riding as I've done I'm wishing I was more educated on the market.
    a)

  2. #2
    Hazardous biker Ricardo's Avatar
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    BQuicksilver,

    here are my thoughts given my limited experience.

    1. Clipless Pedals

    Most (Shimano, Wellgo, Crank Bros, Time) get the job done. You should look for a pedal that has "float" or, in other words, that let's you move your ankle slightly before disengaging the shoe. You should also look for a pedal that sheds mud easily. As far as shoes is concerned, whatever feels good to you is fine.
    Time Attacks and Crank Bros pedals get rave reviews around here.

    2. Wheelset

    This is the ONLY component is worth saving weight. I see you are looking for the best bang for the buck. I'd say try Sun Rims, Alex Rims or Mavic. They all work wonderfully. And yes, most will fit your bike.

    Hope this helps.
    ---
    "Cyclists are open-minded. Cyclists are egalitarian. Cyclists share a fellowhip of the wheel that can overcome all political, social, racial and economic barriers. Except for recumbents."
    - Ted Costantino, cycling journalist

  3. #3
    Should be riding Bike Lover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BQuicksilver View Post
    Well, after reading around here I'm starting to feel the need to make a post and get a few answers that I'm sure apply to me.

    I have a 2004 Specialized Hardrock, which I've been putting quite a few trail miles on this year. My friend and riding partner continues to be about 1-2 min quicker than me on our local 7mi trail despite my best efforts. I'm putting in the saddle time to get the important things improved (namely my conditioning and technique), but I think it's time to open the wallet for some equipment upgrades.

    The Plan:
    1) Clip In Pedals
    2) Better Wheel/Tire Combo

    The Questions (yes, I have enough to use outline format)

    1) Pedals:
    a) Any healthy advice on making the switch from platform to clip-in pedals? I'd like to minimize the number of accidents while I get used to them.
    Try riding them around the neighborhood before trying them on the trail. Some advice I received and have dolled out since is to clip in one side first and get the leg used to the motion. This leaves you with a foot to place down on the ground and trains the muscles for pulling upish on the pedal.

    b) Is there any brand that easier to clip in/out of?
    Don't know. I started with SPD compatibles (came on the bike) and haven't switched yet. I like the adjustable tension, haven't had an issue in the mud and if you don't care about weight, can be had EXTREMELY cheap. If you care about weight, check out Xpedos for spd type or Richey. Both are less weight than anything Shimano sells.

    c) Any other features to look for in the pedal/shoe? I'll just have to go to the LBS to try shoes on.
    Obviously fit is most important. Next is probably stiffness. I rode with some Deodora Geckos (no longer made) that I thought were pretty good but I've since purchased some shoes with a carbon fiber sole and the energy transfer between the two is amazing. I'm not saying you need CF soles, just a stiff one.


    2) Wheel/Tire Combo - I'm looking for something upper/mid range...basicly a good price point before massive diminishing returns start, but a big enough upgrade to notice. Vague..I know.
    Check out Universal Cyclesfor some good deals. The Mavic Crossmax SLs listed for $340 is a tremendous deal. The problem with Mavics though is not every LBS can support them with the spokes it uses and such. However, from some of the stuff I've read, they're pretty bullit proof. Also the Hope XCs laced to Mavic 717s is a good deal and has more universal support.

    a) For mostly hardpack trail with some sand and small jumps, what tire do you recommend?Personally, I've been riding on Kenda Karma's this year and think they roll great. You might want to give them a try. I ride/race on mostly single track hardpack and have been dutifully impressed. The Crossmarks are a similar tire that I also have tried and liked. For mud though, these aren't bad, but certainly not the best. If you want mud tires, something else is probably better. Of course, this is for the conditions I mentioned, yours may be different.

    b) What sort of weight should I be looking for as a good upper-mid range wheelset?
    Either of the above wheels are around 1700g and is a realitively low weight wheel set for mtbing.

    c) Will most wheels fit my bike (Hardrock with wheel brakes).
    Oops. I didn't see the rim brake requirement. Nevermind the above regarding the either of the Mavics but the Hope XCs have other options and I'm not sure if one of the rims available is disk compatible or not. I'll let you research that.

    Any other educated buying advice is welcomed. for as much riding as I've done I'm wishing I was more educated on the market.
    a)
    It doesn't like that I replied in the quote so here's some writing outside the quote so I can submit the stupid thing.

    Edit to add tire info and this: With those above changes, I would think you'd notice an increase in overall speed. Good luck!
    Last edited by Bike Lover; 08-07-07 at 08:42 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Wow, thanks for the terrific replies! I should be a little more directed with my search now.

    I'll write back in detail after spending a little more time reading here tonight.

    Does anyone have wheel/hub recs for bikes with rim brakes?

  5. #5
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    For tires on hardpack with a little bit of sand and small jumps you might want to try a low rolling resistance tire..

    Kenda K-Rads (Pretty good for low rolling resistance.. You might have trouble in sand though) Yesterday I was riding and my back tire began to slide sideways while I was going downhill.. I finished going downhill fish tailed

    Specialized Cross roads (These will probably help you out a little bit more when you hit sand) http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCEqP...jsp?spid=26414

    Thats my only input to your long list of questions.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BQuicksilver View Post
    ...My friend and riding partner continues to be about 1-2 min quicker than me on our local 7mi trail despite my best efforts...


    ...The Plan:
    1) Clip In Pedals
    2) Better Wheel/Tire Combo...
    Just ride more and ride faster.

    Try Shimano M520 or 540 pedals. Get decent tires and don't bother with a wheelset. Save money on piece by piece upgrades and get a new bike in 1 or 2 years.
    [SIGPIC]http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q82/probable556/BF_Sig_Small2Custom.jpg[/SIGPIC]

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