I'm in the process of buying a new mountain bike. I've decided to go with a Seven Verve. This means I get to choose most of the components that will be on the bike. I've been doing as much research as I can, but I was hoping some people here could make suggestions on what they think would work best for me. I mostly plan on riding cross country type riding on fireroads and single tracks. No jumping or downhilling. I do longer rides (50 to 100 miles) for the most part and want parts that are durable and strong. I'm also looking for speed as well. I do a lot of road riding, but train for a off road charity ride every year. It's a 185 mile charity ride over 2 days on the C&O Canal towpath. So I will be doing a lot of riding on that towpath for 2 or 3 months. And then in the winter, I usually ride my mountain bike when the roads and paths get crappy with snow and whatnot. I did almost 6K mile last year and am on pace to do almost 7K this year. I'm a big guy (clydesale), 275lbs.
The components I'd like advice on are:
I was looking at Mtbreview.com and I see that cane creek has a few set of wheels that are very highly recommended. I'm worried about them being strong enough to hold me. I was thinking of going with something that has titanium spokes. I also noticed that Chris King Disc Mountain wheels are recommended, as are Velomax Climax and Mavic Crossmax UST Disc. Again, the main thing for me is to find a set of wheels that are very very strong since I'm a big guy, the second important thing is a fast hub. I recently switched wheels on my old mountain bike (to a SunTour set) and noticed instantly how much slower they were from my ancient set of wheels.
I know next to nothing about suspension forks. Main thing is that I want something I can lock out on the fly for when I'm on level pavement or trail and want to stand up. But then switch back when I hit the rocky/rough sections. Strong and light are the other considerations.
I've noticed that the Avid disc brakes come highly recommended. I definitely want something that brakes well, but I also don't want to have to do a ton of maintainence on the brakes. I saw that the Avid Juicy Seven is pretty well recommended.
I was just going to go with XT components, but I see that SRAM has some recommended parts. The main thing is that I want something that's durable and long lasting. I'm definitely not a weight weenie so I don't need top of the line. There are times when the trail is quite muddy, so I'd need something that performs well in all conditions.
SRAM shifters? Anyone have them? Like them? Negative/Pro comments? I did test ride a bike that had the XT shifters and while they were acceptable, I sort wanted something where I could shift a large number of gears quickly. I have a early 90's mountain bike that has shifters that allow this. I don't know the name of the shifters, except that they are shimano.
I am interested in going with a big larger set of chainrings instead of the typical 22/32/44 teeth chainrings... maybe something around a 26-28/34-38/46-48. What are my best options in that department. I'm not sure if Shimano offers those and every place I've seen them sold they are the standard 22/32/44.
Thanks for any advice or comments in advance.