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New wheelset for gravel bike

Old 11-22-20, 02:03 PM
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Insomnium_75
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New wheelset for gravel bike

Hi,

I want to buy a new "road wheelset" for my gravel bike which currently runs 650b wheels and has 50mm tyres on.
The idea being to swap out the wheels depending on what terrain I'm planning on riding on, bigger wheels thinners tyres for road, smaller wheels fat tyres for gravel/off road....
I thought if I buy a set of 700c/29er wheels, buy a second cassette that is the same as is on the bike currently, match the disc brake rotors and axle type and I'd be away.
Looking around on the internet for wheel sets that match all of the specs that I have currently is proving really challenging.

Of the the sets I've looked at either the axle type is wrong, the dimensions of the axle are wrong, the hub type is not compatible etc.
I'm sure it can't be this hard to buy some suitable wheels, so I'm convinced be searching for the wrong thing at this point.

I need some advice please if possible, on where to look and what to search for in terms of criteria.

My bike is a Vitus Substance VRS 2019, and the spec of the 650b wheelset is:

Cassette - SRAM XG 1150 11-42T 11 speed (no issue finding that online)
Hub rear - Alex Bear Pawls XD Driver (assuming a compatible XD driver body can be bought separately if not installed on the wheel already?)
Hub front - Alex Bear Pawls (as above)
Axle R (thru axle) - 161mm /12mm thread/ thread pitch M12*P1.5 (cannot find any wheelsets that quote these axle figures)
Axle F (thru axle) - 120mm /14mm thread / thread pitch M12*P1.5 (cannot find any wheelsets that quote these axle figures)
Rotors - 6 bolt SRAM centreline 160

It's likely that the tyres I'll be running will by no smaller than 35mm wide, which is why I've also been looking at 29" MTB wheels, as I understand these rims are slightly wider than road specific rims.
If anyone can help point me in the direction of a 700c/29" wheel set that is likely to be compatible with the specs above then I'd be really grateful at this point

Thanks

Matt

Last edited by Insomnium_75; 11-22-20 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 11-22-20, 05:15 PM
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You are over thinking it. Find a 700c wheelset you like and use shims to put the rotor in the same position as your current wheels (if needed).
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Old 11-23-20, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
You are over thinking it. Find a 700c wheelset you like and use shims to put the rotor in the same position as your current wheels (if needed).
Over thinking it is entirely possible . I'll have another look and see what's available online.
What about length of the axles in relation to the hubs though - are there different hub width standards and a requirement to use axle spacers in certain cases (if there is such a thing?)?

Thanks
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Old 11-23-20, 10:09 AM
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The current model Substance is 12/100mm front and 12/142mm rear, I'm assuming yours is the same. The first number is the width of the axle hole, the 2nd is the length between the dropouts.

You'll use the same axle for both wheelsets.

Some wheels have replacible end caps (like DT Swiss) that supports multiple standards.


Edit: Just make sure you get them with an XD Driver so you can use the same type of cassette, if that is your plan.

Last edited by katsup; 11-23-20 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 11-23-20, 10:58 AM
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What's your budget? Lots of options out there but budget is the deciding factor with wheels.

Im no expert on 35mm tires but You should ride a set of gp5000 32's tubeless before you make your mind up on wheel and tire choice.
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Old 11-23-20, 11:08 AM
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You don't need the same cassette size. You might want a smaller one for on-road. If it is much smaller, you can adjust the B-screw if necessary for smoother shifting.

The cassette needs to have the same number of cogs.

The axles have to be the same for both wheel-sets.

The free-hub just needs to match the cassette (or vice-versa). Shimano and SRAM should be compatable in that regard. But they don't have to be the same between wheelsets (unless you want interchangeable parts).

The rotors can be 6-bolt or splined. Shims can be used to minimize or eliminate the need for adjustment of caliper position.

Rotors of the same diameter will make things vastly easier.
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Old 11-23-20, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Insomnium_75 View Post
Axle R (thru axle) - 161mm /12mm thread/ thread pitch M12*P1.5 (cannot find any wheelsets that quote these axle figures)
Axle F (thru axle) - 120mm /14mm thread / thread pitch M12*P1.5 (cannot find any wheelsets that quote these axle figures)
Where are you getting these numbers from? They don't seem right.
Unless your frame actually has this oddball thru-axle sizing, you should be able to run just about any 700c disc thru-axle wheelset out there. You probably have 12mm thru axles with standard spacings - which are 100mm front/142mm rear.

If you are planning on swapping wheelsets often, it's worth getting a second set of rotors so you don't have to constantly move them from one set to the other. In that case, it doesn't really matter if you're getting centerlock or 6 bolt, as long as the rotors you buy match the hub type of your new wheels. Either setup will fit on your bike.

As others have said, it's tough to give recommendations on wheels without a budget.
A solid basic gravel wheelset is the Shimano GRX. They're reasonably lightweight and less than $425.
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Old 11-23-20, 12:16 PM
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Ya, over thinking it.
Definitely get two sets of rotors (and cassettes). Many people like to get tighter spacing on the road cassete and nice big gears on the gravel cassette (not a huge jump, but getting an extra 4 teeth on the low range can be nice. I have one set with center locks, one with 6 bolt. No worries.

Caution though: most 29er wheels are 15mm through axle up front, while most road/gravel is 12mm. Its easy to fix if you can change the end caps to the right size (no an axle sleeve often will not do the trick).
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Old 11-23-20, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Where are you getting these numbers from? They don't seem right.
Unless your frame actually has this oddball thru-axle sizing, you should be able to run just about any 700c disc thru-axle wheelset out there. You probably have 12mm thru axles with standard spacings - which are 100mm front/142mm rear.
The numbers are printed on the axles themselves. I've since done some reading and as a result measured the distance between the dropouts on my bike, which measure 100mm on the front fork, 142mm on the back.

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Old 11-23-20, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Insomnium_75 View Post
The numbers are printed on the axles themselves. I've since done some reading and as a result measured the distance between the dropouts on my bike, which measure 100mm on the front fork, 142mm on the back.
That is the axle size so you can buy additional thru axles.
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Old 11-23-20, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Insomnium_75 View Post
The numbers are printed on the axles themselves. I've since done some reading and as a result measured the distance between the dropouts on my bike, which measure 100mm on the front fork, 142mm on the back.
Makes sense. Those numbers would probably be useful if you were replacing the axles themselves. For wheel buying, you'll just need to look for 12mm x 100mm front, and 12mm x 142mm rear.
You should have no problem finding those sizes, they're pretty much the standard for road/gravel disc wheels.

For your new rotors, be sure to buy 160mm to match your other set.

For the new cassette, you can use any SRAM or Shimano 11sp cassette with your drivetrain. Personally I'd go with a regular road cassette, rather than the MTB/Gravel specific XD style that came with your bike. If that's the route you take, just look for a Shimano/SRAM freehub body on your new wheels. If you're buying new you should be able to select this as an option on just about any wheelset you find. If you want to stick with the XD style for your new wheels, that's an option too. You'll just be a little more limited in the cassette options, and some hubs aren't available with an XD driver (like Shimano hubs, for instance).
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Old 11-24-20, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Insomnium_75 View Post
The numbers are printed on the axles themselves. I've since done some reading and as a result measured the distance between the dropouts on my bike, which measure 100mm on the front fork, 142mm on the back.
That is standard, so you should have no problems for road/gravel wheels.
However, you stated that you wanted 29er wheels. Those are gonna be 15mm through axle (front), and of course boost spacing (rear) isn't gonna work. If you get the spacing right, you can modify the axle diameter, up to you. Just a heads up, it can be a PITA.
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Old 11-24-20, 09:15 AM
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Yeah you're letting the axle dimensions themselves throw you off. Whatever 100x12mm, 142x12mm TA wheelset you buy, you'll use the axles you have. The axles fit the frame, not the wheels (as long as the wheels are 12mm TA F&R).

Post a link to your exact bike, give us a budget for your wheels, and we'll post some wheelset options to help you out.
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