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New Bike Day! Help building a wheelset?

Old 11-25-14, 07:25 PM
  #1  
mdilthey
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New Bike Day! Help building a wheelset?

Dearest Bike Nerds,

Long story short, I came into a bike through honest means. It's a Surly Karate Monkey, full rigid. I have a good eye to swap many a component over in the coming months to get her just the way I want her (and it is a "she").

I know I want a custom wheelset. I even have a builder lined up.

What I don't know is how I want them built.

NEEDS:

1. I need durability and longevity. Good sealing for constant winter/rain riding, still serviceable by the "average" bike shop (because not even a Rolhoff lasts forever). Good rim durability. I will not be doing big hits, jumps, downhill, or crashing much, but I will be riding in awful and salty conditions.

2. I am pretty sure I want 36H, preferably those hubs where there's no bend in the spokes (what's that called? Straight gauge?), disc compatible with stout rims. If there's not a big weight difference between braking rims and disc rims, I want braking for an emergency option.

3. I am looking for light weight to keep these fun. I'm not going to race, but I don't want 2500g wheels. 1800g would be ideal.

4. Good tire seating for FAT 29er mountain bike tires. I don't see a reason not to run 2.25+ all the time. I'd also like to go tubeless.

5. I have a budget of $400. I can stretch slightly.

Last edited by mdilthey; 11-25-14 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 11-25-14, 08:29 PM
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Well I was all about to start with White Industries CLD or MI6 and then I realized a pair costs about $400

I go on wheelbuilder.com sometimes to check out options.
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Old 11-25-14, 08:56 PM
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I'm not educated enough in wheels to know where to start. I'm hoping for real-world testing from the cauldron of Bike Forums.

So far my best guess is lacing Shimano XT Hubs to Velocity Blunt 29er rims. Do I want/need through-axle...?
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Old 11-26-14, 05:32 AM
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Part of the point of using a pro wheelbuilder is to tap in to their experience, so it's better that you don't have preconceived ideas about the wheels before you do this. For example your preference for straight gauge spokes when for most purposes butted spokes are superior.

The idea is that you state your needs and then let the wheelbuilder guide you as regards materials and build.
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Old 11-26-14, 06:04 AM
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Have a feeling you need to do a lot more research on what you want, and what is available at your price point.

For your questions

1 - sealing/durability, any hub available today should fulfill these requirements, you have the choice of cup and cone (mainly Shimano) or cartridge bearing (just about everyone else), both have their lovers and haters, both do the same job at the end.

2 - from the look of you avatar, if that's you, you don't need 36H rims, this limits choice for both hub and rim, and unless heavily loaded riding, aren't really needed.

For straight pull spokes (not straight gauge, that something else), would advise against this, as spares will be much harder/more expensive, all good LBS's should have J-bend spokes in stock in the most common sizes all the time. If you are looking at Shimano hubs, you can eliminate straight pull spokes, as they currently don't offer any hubs which take them.

As your bike has discs, what 'emergency' do you anticipate that you would need to use rim brakes in? If your discs had an issue, the time taken to fix rim brakes to the bike could be used to fix the discs.

You also mention tubeless in 4, it's much easier to get tubeless ready rims that are disc only than one which has a rim braking surface.

3 - see 2 - 36H will always be heavier, also, would discount Shimano hubs as they weigh more than Cartridge bearing hubs.

4 - Would advise not asking for a 'Fat' tire unless you have a Fat bike, you will just confuse people, 2.25 is very narrow if the word Fat is mentioned, and isn't particularly wide for regular MTB tires in 2014.

5 - budget, thinking this is too low for what is being asked, something like this covers most of what you want, but is almost $200 more than what you have spec'd Stan's NoTubes Crest 29" Wheelset 2014 > Components > Wheels > Mountain Bike Wheels | Jenson USA. There is a premium of tubeless rims over non-tubeless rims, although as with everything, search and you will find a better price.

For Thru axles, your frame determines this, the Karate Monkey frame is spec'd for regular QR hubs.

Last edited by jimc101; 11-26-14 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 11-26-14, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by onbike 1939 View Post
Part of the point of using a pro wheelbuilder is to tap in to their experience, so it's better that you don't have preconceived ideas about the wheels before you do this. For example your preference for straight gauge spokes when for most purposes butted spokes are superior.

The idea is that you state your needs and then let the wheelbuilder guide you as regards materials and build.

No, no, that's not what I mean. I mean straight pull- the hubs have flanges that let you lace the spokes without a bend near the end.



Sorry. I may not know the jargon but I do know better than that. I know I want double-butted.

My wheelbuilder is great, he's just not a bikepacker. Long-distance endurance cycling is kind of a niche sport where I'm from.



Bike Grease and Coffee built 36H fatbike wheels, and his take (as a veteran mechanic) is that the 36H lacing is much, much stronger than the 32H. That means that there's more even forces distribution, so you get 10,000 miles out of a wheel instead of 6,000. I figure the weight of eight spokes is small enough that I might as well go 36H and just have significantly stronger wheels.

I'm 6'1", and my weight fluctuates between 160 and 170.
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Old 11-26-14, 09:10 AM
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C'mon guys, I've seen this question get answered ably fifteen times in the past year I don't need/want the runaround of "Why don't you go ask a bike shop." If you have an endurance mountain bike, let me know what you like and use, and if you don't, stick around and learn from someone who does. Let's be productive!
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Old 11-26-14, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
Have a feeling you need to do a lot more research on what you want, and what is available at your price point.

For your questions

1 - sealing/durability, any hub available today should fulfill these requirements, you have the choice of cup and cone (mainly Shimano) or cartridge bearing (just about everyone else), both have their lovers and haters, both do the same job at the end.

2 - from the look of you avatar, if that's you, you don't need 36H rims, this limits choice for both hub and rim, and unless heavily loaded riding, aren't really needed.

For straight pull spokes (not straight gauge, that something else), would advise against this, as spares will be much harder/more expensive, all good LBS's should have J-bend spokes in stock in the most common sizes all the time. If you are looking at Shimano hubs, you can eliminate straight pull spokes, as they currently don't offer any hubs which take them.

As your bike has discs, what 'emergency' do you anticipate that you would need to use rim brakes in? If your discs had an issue, the time taken to fix rim brakes to the bike could be used to fix the discs.

You also mention tubeless in 4, it's much easier to get tubeless ready rims that are disc only than one which has a rim braking surface.

3 - see 2 - 36H will always be heavier, also, would discount Shimano hubs as they weigh more than Cartridge bearing hubs.

4 - Would advise not asking for a 'Fat' tire unless you have a Fat bike, you will just confuse people, 2.25 is very narrow if the word Fat is mentioned, and isn't particularly wide for regular MTB tires in 2014.

5 - budget, thinking this is too low for what is being asked, something like this covers most of what you want, but is almost $200 more than what you have spec'd Stan's NoTubes Crest 29" Wheelset 2014 > Components > Wheels > Mountain Bike Wheels | Jenson USA. There is a premium of tubeless rims over non-tubeless rims, although as with everything, search and you will find a better price.

For Thru axles, your frame determines this, the Karate Monkey frame is spec'd for regular QR hubs.
Thanks. Very much.

1. I've given up on the rim brakes thing. My current touring bike has Mavic 719 rims with the braking surface, and disc hubs. The idea isn't that I'm going to build a brake from sticks and leaves. Rather, in a real dire emergency somewhere remote, the local shop can throw a 28mm tire on my wheel and hook a caliper brake up, and that'll get me home. I don't think it'll happen for my mountain bike, so ignore that idea.

2. I definitely want tubeless ready and I think I can sneak it into my price range.

3. I will skip thru-axle for now. I meant that I should consider doing it in the front, where I can fit a fork that has thru-axle capability like a suspension fork, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

4. Yes, yes, fatbikes excluded. Wow, I forgot I had to make that distinction but they are everywhere 2.5-inch tires are waaaay fat to me, I've never built mountain bike wheels before. That said, I'm very excited to try such wide tires.



Ok, so here's where I'm at. I already have a Shimano XT Disc hub for the front and back, so maybe I should just use those and ditch straight-pull for now.

Now I just need rims. I am pretty sure I like the Velocity Blunt rims unless A) someone thinks there's a reason not to have such a wide rim, or B) there's a lighter/stronger rim to choose here in my price range. Figure $150/rim maximum.

Last edited by mdilthey; 11-26-14 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 11-26-14, 09:38 AM
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There are two kinds of touring wheels. One kind that fails, one that doesn't. It's easy to overthink this.

If you already have good hubs, then you only need spokes and a rim.

With regard to spokes, straight gauge and butted both work. It doesn't matter. Damage to either occurs when you drop your chain into them and when after 20k miles or so they both just plain wear out.

Rims fail through use too. If they are defective they will fail. I witnessed a Blunt explode on a bike just in front of me when on the GDMBR in 2011. They need to be wide / narrow enough to run the tires you plan to use. If you go tubeless, you won't be able to repair with a boot if you slash a tire. Sun Rhynos are very durable, but any non-defective Velocity or Mavic is fine too.

My touring mountain bike has Sun Rhyno Lites, 36h Alpine III triple butted spokes, and White M16's. I am certain that I would have had equally flawless performance with XT hubs and DT Swiss straight gauge / double butted spokes.
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Old 11-26-14, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
If you go tubeless, you won't be able to repair with a boot if you slash a tire.
Lots of people who run tubeless carry a spare tube for just this sort of situation...
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Old 11-26-14, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Now I just need rims. I am pretty sure I like the Velocity Blunt rims unless A) someone thinks there's a reason not to have such a wide rim, or B) there's a lighter/stronger rim to choose here in my price range. Figure $150/rim maximum.
Since you want tubeless, perhaps you should look at Stan's ZTR Flow EX rims? They bill them as "the strongest, fastest rolling, and best sealing tubeless rim available for 26-inch, 29-inch and 650b tires sizes". They're 50g/rim heavier than the Blunt, for whatever that's worth.
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Old 11-26-14, 10:38 AM
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I understand that Phil Wood hubs are bomb proof but they come at a cost, perhaps close to your whole wheel budget.

It seems to me that you might be preparing these wheels for a future tour where you don't want failure to occur at all. (Forget the rest of my post if this isn't the case.) While I understand this point of view, there are other things that can cause a wheel to fail that are not related to the materials, component choices or manufacturing defects: a rock tumbling down a hill into your wheel, a motorbike running over your wheel, etc. You might want to select components that you can replace with relative ease and learn the skills to do the replacement or just repairs yourself. In a touring blog I had read, the author had 36H rims and when the rear rim failed in Africa, he couldn't get replacements locally, just 32H and that meant that his hub had to be replaced too. If your tubeless tire was irreparably damaged, you might have problems getting a replacement or you would have to carry a spare (additional weight) and, depending on your rim, you might not be able to fall back to available clinchers.
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Old 11-26-14, 10:49 AM
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just repeat , from the service side of the bike tour, a damaged wheel with custom parts , will be less repairable
as most small shops wont stock your favorite rim.

Busy season 1 or 2 spokes or just an off the peg wheel will be substituted.

since few want to wait a Week~ish for special order parts to come in, and rebuild the wheel ..

so like above the fancy hub gets shipped home in a box and you continue on the wheel you can find..


My own hand built 40, 48 spoke wheels worked well , but there was a bit of Luck that nothing event full like car collisions or road hazards

had me needing a spare rim in, like, the Polish countryside..

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-26-14 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 11-26-14, 11:12 AM
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Well, I'm thinking a tubeless rim is not so different from a regular rim. I can still run a clincher tire and a tube if something slashes my tubeless tire. There's added utility in tubeless rims, but no lost utility, or so I understand.

36-spoke wheels seemed like the way to go AND I already have the hubs. I think a budget of $400 is reasonable for the whole "get something you can replace" mentality. I am financially prepared for a broken wheel, these won't be Boutique Bike specials. Utilitarian, that's the key.


32H versus 36H... that's a good question on foreign countries having replacements. I wonder if that'll make a substantial difference. Most of my touring for the next few years of my life will be in the United States and Canada. I suspect I will go overseas, but that will have to wait until I finish grad school in a few years.


As long as I'm not running a rare, niche rim or a unique spoke count I think there won't be a reasonable difference between 36 and 32. I will keep one of the Sun Rhyno rims as a spare just in case I need to ship it to myself for a rebuild.
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