Time for a new MTB wheelset - where to start?!

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by slmaurice, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. slmaurice

    slmaurice New Member

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    My current rear wheel has gone out of true several times. The most recent incident was really bad (lost control on the trail and rode through a ditch at 15mph). My LBS could not get the wheel back to true and suggested I purchase another one. Now that I have the opportunity to start fresh, I would like to get a good, sturdy MTB wheelset that will hopefully last me for years. One of my local friends offered me his Avid Hydraulic disc brake setup for about $100, so I would like to get wheels that are disc compatible.

    The problem is I'm not even sure where to start. I don't need super expensive race wheels, but I don't want to deal with wheels going out of true all the time either. I understand I'm not supposed to crash into ditches, but I feel this wheel has not been up to the task from the beginning. Any suggestion on a good "bang for your buck" MTB wheelset? Seems like almost every MTB wheel out there has negative reviews!

    Oops, forgot to mention I am using 26"
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Depending on why a wheel needs to be trued, it may be necessary to detension ALL of the spokes & then retension them as if you were building a new wheel rather than just tweaking a few adjacent spokes which MAY be all the guy at the LBS was doing ...

    Sometimes, depending on the rim, one/some/all of the spokes may need to be replaced ... but, sometimes, only on the driveside ...

    AND, only after those avenues (i.e., detensioning and/or replacing) have been investigated should a wheel be deemed to be beyond hope ...

    Since YOU are planning on buying new wheels, you may want to take this opportunity to try to true (the right way) or rebuild your current rear wheel ... what have you got to lose?

    As far as what to look for in a future wheelset, I recommend either a standard 32h or 36h wheel because it will probably be more durable than a fancy-schmancy wheelset ...

    What YOU need to decide on is if you want to use the universal, ISO 6-bolt rotors or Shimano's "center-lock" rotors ... and, proceed from there.

    "Center-lock" hubs are lighter (by a considerable amount, or so it seems to me) AND potentially faster to install & remove (THAT's a good thing for race mechanics, but probably not so important for the rest of us) ...

    • a "center-lock" hub would be slower to work on if you can't find a lockring tool!?!

    I can't recommend a particular wheelset ... I do recommend Shimano hubs

    • Shimano may-or-may-not still make 6-bolt compatible hubs
    • Shimano does have a centerlock-to-ISO adapter (an additional cost, of course)
     
  3. moto1

    moto1 New Member

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    I have been running Easton Havens on my Santa Cruz blur Lt mtb. 4 yrs running and no issues. Very strong wheel set. Paid $595.00 . Shop them and you can get a good deal. They are tubeless.26"
    good luck
     
  4. slmaurice

    slmaurice New Member

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    I actually tried trueing my old wheel before I took it to my LBS. I de-tensioned and re-tensioned all the spokes but I just don't have the experience to try and get it back to true. I have trued it myself in the past, but this time it was wobbling so bad my tire was rubbing the front derailleur! I've been riding on it like that for a while but I am sooooo tired of my rear v-brake rubbing from the wobble. It's a better workout and all but I want to go back to smoking my friends!! :)

    Moto1, thanks for the review. Definitely looks like a quality wheelset. I think those are just a pinch out of my price range though (bike was only $600 - birthday present from parents a few years ago). I just purchased the Easton EA70 XC MTB wheels which I managed to find some positive reviews on as well. Seems like a lot of people have had good luck with Easton MTB wheels.

    Honestly I think I just got unlucky with the previous wheelset. I thrash the bike hard but the trails I ride are not that bad. There are a lot of roots and bumps, but no drops or anything of that sort. I'll be sure to post about them when I take them for a test ride.
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Of course, because people are upgrading all the time, you can probably get a satisfactory set of wheels which will be well within your budget off of eBay ...

    • I would try to stick with wheels which have Shimano hubs, but I would also be open to OTHER hubs

    Also, you can certainly get a set of wheels from Nashbar (they go on sale, periodically) ...

    • remember to decide on whether you want ISO 6-bolt or Centerlock hubs ...

    BTW. I think that YOU may be a candidate for 650b wheels-and-tires ...

    FYI. As far as detensioning & retensioning the spokes, you may achieve more satisfactory results if the tire/tube/rim-tape are removed from the rim ... and (presuming the wheel was built properly at some point AND the unlaced rim would theoretically lie flat on a tabletop) , REALLY DETENSION the spokes so that YOU can wiggle the rim a couple of inches side-to-side & then start over with the retensioning as if you had just laced the rim to the hub.
     
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