29er wheels - rim width

Discussion in 'Parts 'n Stuff' started by Kerplunk, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. Kerplunk

    Kerplunk Likes Dirt

    Hi all looking for some advice regarding rim width for a new set of 29er wheels. I want to upgrade from a set of dt swiss spline m1900 mainly because they weight 2kg and are on the narrow side with ID 22.5 and the rear hub doesn't have the good dt swiss rachet inards.
    Number one reason for the upgrade is to drop weight. Rest of the bike (intense spider29) is very light so I want wheels to match. I have already decided on carbon, most likely either nextie, light bicycle or zelvy depending on funds. I ride all the stuff everyone else does around Melbourne so it's mostly angry xc with the occasional black diamond sort of level stuff like the youies, parts of plenty gorge etc. Basic trail riding really.
    So my dilemma is this, go for a wide carbon rim ~ ID 30mm and lose very little weight but theoretically more grip ? (with hopes/dt swiss hubs) or go a narrow more xc wheel ~ ID25mm and drop 1/2 a kg..
    I don't know if I am really sold on the whole super wide rim hype.. i run a 2.35 Hans D and 2.25 NN and wouldn't really go much bigger on the tyres, so I question the real world benefits of 30mm ID on these size tyres. A mate has a set of 30mm ID and doesn't really notice any huge benefit other than they look cool.. (which they do)
    So I am wanting opinion, lighter narrow rim vs a wider heavier rim for general trail duties.. I peddle everywhere and don't shuttle (unless on holiday) so big draggy wheels are of no interest..
    I notice Enve and Mavic aren't falling over themselves to jump on the latest trend. And the ex maxxis tyre designer over on mtbr reckons benefits are minimal over 25-27mm ID (so does Enve).. Then the rest of mtb press are falling over themselves for bigger and bigger rims even though there is proof the current 2-2.35 tyres corner shit on >30mm wheels due to the tyre squaring off.
    I'm confused.. I'm sure this has been discussed elsewhere here but I can't find it.
    I'm thinking ID 25-27mm is the sweet spot for my riding?
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  2. 99_FGT

    99_FGT Likes Bikes and Dirt

  3. The Reverend

    The Reverend Likes Dirt

    There's a certain amount of appeal with wider rims and bigger tyres but all I see with this is weight.
    Carbon will hopefully make the ride quieter (it did for me) and they spin up well so I'd sacrifice some weight for it.

    If you go too wide you end up with scratched and damaged rims as the tyres can only protect so much.

    28mm - 30mm internal is as wide as I'd go, and running 2.4 they'd feel super comfortable. Don't expect it to be quicker uphill but you'll be having so much fun everywhere else you possibly won't mind.
  4. 99_FGT

    99_FGT Likes Bikes and Dirt

    Running 2.2 on a 30mm internal I can say the man speaketh the truth
  5. Kerplunk

    Kerplunk Likes Dirt

    Thanks mate, when you say fun everywhere else as in more grip lower pressure?
  6. EsPeGe

    EsPeGe Likes Dirt

    I'm running 35mm ID up front and 30mm ID on the back after following Greg (I think that's his name) from Zelvy's advice on my 27.5 gravity bike. I also have a 29er that I'm going to go wider rims with most likley 30mm ID on both. I can say for sure that I noticed heaps more grip coming off 22.5mm ID Mavic Crossmax Enduro's. I was running tyre pressures around 28-30PSI and dropped to what seems to be the sweet spot for grip and rolling resistance for me of about 24PSI. I know people run much lower pressures but to me that's applying the law of diminishing returns. I've had them for a year now and have absolutely caned them and they still look pretty much new.

    I run a 2.4 up front and a 2.3 on the back and I agree with this. It feels awesome, grips like crazy and gives you (well me at least) confidence to burn.
  7. The Reverend

    The Reverend Likes Dirt

    That's exactly it. It's like going tubeless first time around. I've ridden a plus bike on demo and once the pressures were right it was awesome. Granted, I wouldn't buy one but running meatier 2.4" / 2.5" on ~28mm to 30mm ID wheels would give I think a great balance of grip, traction and comfort.

    Just imagine the cornering...

    Everything is a balance though as you can expect. If you go too far it leads to problems in certain conditions. Especially in some wetter / muddier places. Pick the set up for your most frequently ridden trails.
  8. Majin

    Majin Likes Bikes

    I've got 35mm ID RF arcs on my wrecker and with a Maxxis Wt tire they're great, I've ran sub 25 Psi ( im 90 + kg) and had no issues
    and the traction is ridiculous on some occasions, ( ive ridden the same tread on a different bike), I can't comment on comfort.
    The only downfall with them is my Minion SS is a little blocky so it has more rolling resistance.

    Depending on the terrain your mainly riding, go a 35mm front and a 30~mm rear, would be a nice trade off between comfort/ grip and rolling resistance
  9. mtb101

    mtb101 Likes Bikes and Dirt

    if you're an experienced rider, dropping weight wins every-time especially on xc,

    the gain from grip will never be as much as the gain from being faster up climbs and rolling terrain that's the killer when it comes to xc riding and time gains.

    I ride mainly yarra trails, forrest, wombat, I use stan's rims, hope and racing ralph tubeless at 30 psi - 80kg rider, 29 ht. can rail corners pretty nicely and on climbs in han's loop 1640 gram wheelset pretty nice when punching up climbs.

    alot of grip is about line choice and your technique.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  10. Kerplunk

    Kerplunk Likes Dirt

    Thanks for the input guys.. I suppose i'm looking for the goldilocks of wheels fast and grippy.
    When thinking about, since switching to the wagon wheels and to the hans damph/NN combo, i can't say I am concerned about grip.. Got tonnes of it on the front with HD, I suppose if I can run a R Ralph or similar at lower pressure with wide rims the weight would be roughly the same.. But would roll better.. It's all a bit half a dozen one, six of another.
    I am leaning to 27mm ID carbon nextie atm.. http://www.nextie.net/mountain-asymmetric
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  11. slider_phil

    slider_phil Likes Dirt

    Figure I might weigh in on this a bit, since I've got two sets of carbon wheels on two bikes. One set has 35mm internal width and the other 25mm. Both made by Zelvy

    Biggest thing I've figured out since buying the newer, lighter 25mm ID rims is that speed mostly comes down to tyre choice at the end of the day. There's not much difference in back to back riding other than the lighter wheels accelerate quicker.

    I think at the end of the day, unless you're getting into Pro level speeds then it's that huge of a deal. I'd be going for the lightest set you can. Somewhere between 25 and 35mm ID.

    Green bike is 35mm Zelvy and the black bike 25mm.[​IMG][​IMG]
  12. Kerplunk

    Kerplunk Likes Dirt

    Slider_phil, thanks for that.. the primer makes a great comparison since I have the spider..
    It's interesting that you don't notice much back to back.
    The primer must be super light to chuck around now..
  13. The Duckmeister

    The Duckmeister Eats Squid

    Width isn't everything, but it's not necessarily irrelevant either. Especially if you're considering changing from aluminium to carbon as well, as just that change brings its own tuning tweaks. For a given profile and wheel build, carbon rims are inherently stiffer, which means they handle better and the bike is more responsive because there's less deflection when you throw the bike at a corner - the wheel stays pointing where you point it. But there's a paradox, which follows here: that stiffness does result in a certain increase in skittishness, as the wheels bounce a bit more off trail bumps for a given tyre pressure (assuming at this point width being equal or similar), but to balance that, carbon's other benefit is that due to being a composite laminate, it takes the edge off impacts so you don't feel the hits rattling your teeth out.

    I did a comparison a while ago, and the results are buried in the archives here somewhere, between the various wheels on my bikes, and by extension both carbon and aluminium frames, because I have both from the one model series.... Short version, comparing Shimano XT aluminium wheelsets, which have a 21mm internal width and the Carbonal 23mm internal (yes, still narrow by most modern terms) rims I built onto XTR hubs, I found the carbon to be more direct & sharper in handling and pedalling response, but with the same tyres and pressure a little bouncier over trail bumps, yet at the same time better able to absorb and soften the fine chatter and take the edge off bigger hits that even baggy tyres and the suspension can't fully iron out. Your exact tyre pressure balance may vary, but I found dropping from 24 to 18PSI in the front and 26 to 22 in the rear helped take the bounciness off without getting all sluggish & squirmy. That's on 26x2.1" tyres, and I'm only around 65kg kitted. If you're heavier you'll need more pressure, but the difference should be similar.

    Oh, and the carbon wheelset is about 300g lighter....

    Don't rule out tyre choice. I used Maxxis Crossmarks for my testing, because they happen to work pretty well for the majority of the riding I do. Pick your tyres for your dirt; HDs won't work where Crossmarks do & vice versa, regardless of what they're mounted on.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
  14. redbruce

    redbruce Eats Squid

    I've been running these (http://twentynineinches.com/american-classic-wide-lightning-29er-wheels-final-review/) for the last year.

    My experience pretty much as reported. I run 2.25 Schwalbes but haven't ding'd a rim (yet, fingers crossed). Carbon worries me on that score though.

    Weight is a reasonable 1590gm for 29". After that tyre weight is the major consideration.

    I looked at carbon but equivalent quality was another $400, and less than 150gm (pair) difference for same internal width.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
  15. gonzo2

    gonzo2 Squid

    Another vote for wide lightning (29mm ID). Had them for 2.5years+ and then are holding out ok. They're mounted on an Ibis Ripley (130mm/120mm) and do all sorts of riding. I'm typically running 24-25psi (85kg rider), anything less and it feels a bit squirmy. This definitely depends on the tyre though. Hubs also roll really well.

    Downsides: the ratchet thing pickup is a bit ordinary. They might be a bit of a noodle. I've heard other people say this and theres definitely a bit of movement, but i'm not sure if its my frame or wheel, don't have any comparison for reference.

    With regards to the width debate, I think wider is better though as pointed out it's probably diminishing significantly past the high 20mm's. Interestingly I've got some Challenge Gravel Grinder 38mm tyres on my CX bike. They measure 36mm across on 17mm ID rims. I mounted them onto WTB KOM i23 rims (23mm ID) and they expanded out to 38mm. 2mm of tyre width increase for 5mm of rim increase. Worth the width?? not sure.

    If i was getting a new wheelset again i'd probably aim for 26-30mm ID. But thats my limited opinion and I've never ridden wider tyres.

    I'd also agree with weight trumps grip in racing. I'm much quicker now than I was 2 years ago, yet my downhill times are slower. Depends whats important to you though.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017

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