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  1. #1
    Senior Member JasonJ's Avatar
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    Help me pick good "rocks and roots" XC wheels

    Decisions, decisions. I'm building a new Salsa El Santo this winter and can't decide what disc wheels to go with. I'm stuck between these choices:
    1. Manufactured - FSA XC-300 or similar
    2. Machine-built - Shimano XT M756/Mavic 717
    3. Custom - Hope Pro 2/Mavix XM719

    My budget for the wheels could go as high as $500, although I'd prefer to keep it closer to $400. I'm 5'11" and 185 lbs, and I ride XC once or twice a week, usually for no more than 30-40 km total. I also only race 1-3 times each year, and then only in the Sport category.

    My big concern is durability, as our local trails here in NW Ontario/northern Minnesota are pretty rugged, and I'd really like to avoid hiking out. I guess what I'm looking for is just a solid set of wheels that will get the job done without breaking the bank -- I don't need anything sexy.

    Suggestions?

    JJ

  2. #2
    PBR Racing RIC0's Avatar
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    #3 is just about the same thing I have so they get my vote.
    Santa Cruz Tall Boy
    Cannondale CAAD 8

  3. #3
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    just pick the lightest xc ones you can afford. "rocks and root" aren't going to cause them to self destruct. do you plan on putting more weight on anytime soon?

  4. #4
    Senior Member JasonJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599 View Post
    just pick the lightest xc ones you can afford. "rocks and root" aren't going to cause them to self destruct. do you plan on putting more weight on anytime soon?
    Uh, not if I can avoid it.

    If I wanted to go light I'd consider Hope Pro 2/717's.

    I ran XT/Aeroheats this past season, but I had to run at last 40 lbs. of air up front to avoid pinch flats. And now that I'm switching to discs, I need a new wheelset anyway.

    JJ

  5. #5
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    well i don't want to give you bad advice or anything. others can feel free to correct me if i am off base. i don't think you are really that big a guy, not clyde status or whatever they call it. are you are pretty smooth rider?
    i don't see why any light weight, quality wheelset would fail you if ridden on what you mentioned. if this is true, then pretty much your wallet is the limit.

    any xc wheel should handle rocks and roots. if it can't, maybe it should be on a road bike.

  6. #6
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    those hope hubs would be pretty nice. i don't like fsa, but it is a personal thing with customer service. so you have someone that will build the hope hubs and wheels? do you get to choose spokes and nipples and rims if you want?

    if pinched flats are a problem, i don't really think one brand is better than another....maybe rim widths could play a role.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JasonJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599 View Post
    those hope hubs would be pretty nice. i don't like fsa, but it is a personal thing with customer service. so you have someone that will build the hope hubs and wheels? do you get to choose spokes and nipples and rims if you want?
    The Hope's would be nice. I'm actually toying around with building them myself, after I build a set of rim brake, "road only" 26" wheels for my wife's MTB. I'm just not sure I want to be my own guinea pig for XC riding.

    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599 View Post
    if pinched flats are a problem, i don't really think one brand is better than another....maybe rim widths could play a role.
    The Aeroheats are nice on the road, especially with a 1" to 1.5" slick, but not so much on the trail. They're narrow and my Fire XCs are hard to mount. So I'm going to put them back on my Fisher for towing the trail-a-bike for my son.

    JJ

  8. #8
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonJ View Post
    The Hope's would be nice. I'm actually toying around with building them myself, after I build a set of rim brake, "road only" 26" wheels for my wife's MTB. I'm just not sure I want to be my own guinea pig for XC riding.
    JJ
    if you are patient and mechanically inclined and ask for help here i highly recommend you do it yourself.

    my first wheel actually came out perfect and is as good as subsequent builds. i wouldn't hesitate to do your first build on yours. myself or others will double check your spoke length calculation for you. i recommend supercomp dtswiss with aluminum nipples.

    i would also recommend the cheap park tensiometer, i thought it was a great help at any rate. i can also summarize some other tips so you don't have to search the net for them

  9. #9
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599 View Post
    if you are patient and mechanically inclined and ask for help here i highly recommend you do it yourself.

    my first wheel actually came out perfect and is as good as subsequent builds. i wouldn't hesitate to do your first build on yours. myself or others will double check your spoke length calculation for you. i recommend supercomp dtswiss with aluminum nipples.

    i would also recommend the cheap park tensiometer, i thought it was a great help at any rate. i can also summarize some other tips so you don't have to search the net for them
    Was there something you read before your first build? Truing and building wheels is the only thing I don't do myself, but it's more a matter of not having the proper equipment/tools. I want to do it, and I plan on getting a truing stand in the near future. Whats a good resource?

  10. #10
    Senior Member JasonJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599 View Post
    if you are patient and mechanically inclined and ask for help here i highly recommend you do it yourself.

    my first wheel actually came out perfect and is as good as subsequent builds. i wouldn't hesitate to do your first build on yours. myself or others will double check your spoke length calculation for you. i recommend supercomp dtswiss with aluminum nipples.

    i would also recommend the cheap park tensiometer, i thought it was a great help at any rate. i can also summarize some other tips so you don't have to search the net for them
    Thanks! I've ordered "The Art of Wheelbuilding" as a handy reference, and once I've looked it over I'll make a decision. I've wanted to muck around with wheelbuilding for a while now, but just lacked the $$$ to get the tools and gear I needed to do it right. Once I sell my old frame and fork on eBay I should be good to go.

    JJ

  11. #11
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    you guys are both over thinking it. i read no book. i don't have time to read a book about it. i can do the basics, nothing fancy: 2-, 3-, 4-cross applications and i do them well.

    as much as i hate to admit it, i used the color diagram on the sheldon site. then there was one more site i got valuable tips from which i can convey here or probably find link

    you can probably get away with no stand, but i really like the tensiometer. a good spoke wrench is nice too, it is nice to have a couple, one that grab 4-sides and one that does 3

  12. #12
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    OK cool. When I do end up doing it, I'll be sure to ask questions here. I'll read what I can at Sheldon's as well. Thanks.

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