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Old 03-27-13, 02:53 PM   #1
Mark Rolling
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Upgrade of 26" wheelset

I have a 2010 Felt Virtue 2, bought it new in 2010, rode on it about 4,500 miles, and recently was thinking about selling it and buying a 29ER.
But it seems that here in Israel the market of 26" bikes is really awful, and I get lousy offers for trade in / selling.
So now I had to put a new chain gear (for the 3rd time on this bike), and a new cassette (XT 11-34), new gear cables and the bike rides really great! The setup right now is mainly factory + tubeless kit, Kenda Nevegal front and Maxxis CrossMark rear tires, both tubeless.

Recently I made several rides after the mentioned repair, and though to myself - hey, I really like this bike! Love the frame, the suspension, my position on it, the handling, So I think I'll keep it, and maybe in the future will buy a hardtail 29ER.

Got the idea of upgrading the wheels. It has the factory Mavic XM317 rims on Shimano M525 hubs, which is very reliable but heavy - I see on the web that the weight of this wheelset is about 2200 gr.

I weight about 190 lb, on 6 feet.
Riding mostly long XC rides, not too harsh / technical.

In the past I bought several times great 2nd hand wheels for my road bike - new wheels for a bargain price, and this is what I also think doing right now.
Searched the list and found some interesting wheels, fitting my bike/fork axles, most of them though are from about 2010.
1. Mavic Crossmax ST 2010, about 1590 grams
2. ZTR Olympic rims on XTR 975 hubs, also ~1500-1600 grams
3. Mavic 717 rims on XT hubs (2010), about 1900 grams
4. Shimano XT wheelset
5. Shimano MT65 wheelset (almost new) ~1800 grams
6. DT Swiss X1800 / XM1550 wheelsets (new)
(all the weight data is from the web, not necessarily real / true)

The thing is that I want the wheels to be stiff, reliable, with minimum surprises and maintenance issues. I want to cut weight from the wheels, but reliability is more important to me than the wheel weight.

What can you recommend me?

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Old 03-27-13, 03:10 PM   #2
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You have a great list of rims. how can you go wrong with those choices. I have DT Swiss on my Scott and haven't had a problem in 4 years. So I guess i will recommend DT Swiss. I have owned Mavic in the past an have some on my HT. Good choice as well.

Your first picture looks like Southern Nevada, where are you from. Similar riding style here. I like flowy single track, I can climb when I need to but no jumping stuff for me.
I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

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Old 03-27-13, 03:17 PM   #3
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OP; Suggest just adding a more regular clean and lube schedule to your chain and gearing and you would seem to be all set with the bike and wheels you have now. A minimal cost upgrade to achieve a bike that fits you well and rides reliably!

My point being made is that plunging into a major kit-bash exercise on a bike is not always going to result in a much better bike... but it will always cost you a good bit of cash to get there anyway.
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Old 03-27-13, 04:18 PM   #4
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You have a 2010 bike with 4500miles, and your surprised that your getting poor trade in offers! Bikes especially Full Suspension have bad depreciation, and 2010 is old in FS terms.

For the chain, depending what condition you ride in, 3 changes since you have had the bike is probably too few, MTB chains don't last long, although that all depends on what conditions you ride in.

For the wheels, for the Mavic & Shimano ones, can you get spare spokes, if not, avoid; with any wheel, what condition is it in, MTB wheels can have a very hard life, and you may want to look at the rotors, the XTR are centerlock, so you would need adaptors / new rotors.
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Old 03-27-13, 09:54 PM   #5
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OP, I have the Mavic 717 with XT hubs on the dual sus bike. Picked them up off ebay. I like them and have had zero problems. Not sure how much of an upgrade they are over your current wheels but they're reliable.
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Old 03-27-13, 11:37 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everybody,

imc101 - I have a chain gauge, checking the chain condition regularly, and changing when necessary - no compromise. Also cleaning and lubing once in a while.
Regarding the spares - for Shimano there are all the spares available, for Mavic it can be more difficult. There are spares, but not all of it and not always, I know people who got stuck without spares (spokes / hub parts ) for several weeks.
Regarding the condition- you're right about the hard life they might had, so I'm acctually looking for wheels which are new / almost new / not used much, and anyway I will get it checked by a bike mechanic if its not new.

roccobike - I also think that the the 717/XT wheels are not much of an upgrade (the least upgrade from the list), and I prefer a bigger step forward, and more weight-saving. These cost as the Shimano MT65 set, so I guess I prefer this one over.

ksisler - I guess changing the wheels will make a big difference on the bike, because of the rotating mass, and right now there's a lot of mass. I also like good handling, especially on the front tire, so I use Kenda Nevegal 2.35 - it holds very well, but add some more weight and rolling resistance.
Anyway I can live and enjoy riding without changing the wheels, but I guess that reducing some 400-500 grams or more from the wheels will feel much better.
Regarding the chain and maintenance - I know it is important and do the cleaning and lubing regularly.
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Old 03-28-13, 09:10 AM   #7
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I have a 2012 model Crossmax ST wheelset. There are two disadvantages to the Crossmax ST 2010 model.

1. it's narrow, 19mm wide ID. this used to be normal but today it's on the narrow side and Mavic recommends no larger than a 2.3" wide tire. forget about DH tires; there are some AM tires that are pretty massive and they won't be ideal on a narrow rim. the current model Crossmax ST is still this same size and I have used an average to slightly undersized 2.3" Ground Control and it worked fine. the sidewall profile is definitely better on a narrower tire, though.

2. The hub is the older style which has few points of engagement than the new ITS-4 hub that I believe the Crossmax ST 26" got in either 2011 or 2012. (29" definitely got ITS-4 in 2013MY.) I am pretty sure the older hub is 15deg and the ITS-4 is 7.5deg. Some people are annoyed by slow-engaging hubs. Some never notice.

Unless you have something go into the wheel or you're a very heavy rider, you are very unlikely to break spokes on a Mavic Crossmax ST wheel. It's very strong in general, but especially in comparison to other wheelsets of similar weight. It has a patented rim and spoke design that is responsible for this strength. So, personally, I don't really care that the spokes are proprietary.
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