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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a 2009 gary fisher marlin that I have upgraded over the years (recon fork, bb7s with 180 disks, 1x9 with deore components) and it’s really got to the point where I feel the wheels are all that’s holding me back from having exactly the setup I want.


The problem is I know nothing about the hundreds of wheel combos out there and most the up to date info I’m finding is on 650b and 29ers. So I am hoping I can get some decent advice here. I’m looking at new mostly not that I would not get used but hard to get good history and know what version of something I’m looking at. I would even be willing to build my own as I have laced a few wheels in the past for friends as I’m pretty decent with a truing stand.


So I’m 180#s mostly xc and I’m looking to run around 2.3 tires hopefully tubeless. I’d like something middle of the road not to crazy but stiffer and lighter than my stock setup in qr with 6 bolt disk. Trying to stay around 200. That may be a lot to ask but as I said I’m not over 200 nor do I do AM so I have had little problem with durability in the past and I am not a brand snob or anything.


Just looking for a decent upgrade to what I have for a fair price.
 

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I replaced the wheels on my '03 Gary Fisher Sugar 3+ a little while back with 26" Mavic CrossRides. I don't think Mavic sells them any more, but there may be a few left on shelves somewhere. Great wheelset for the price if you can find them. I have 2.35's on them.

If you want to built a wheelset, WTB still makes 26" rims. I've had great experience with their ASYM rim in 27.5", but assume the 26" would be just as good. They're 29mm internal, so 2.3's would work. I have my 27.5" ASYM's laced to Hope Pro 4's. Great combo. I would think it'd be the same in 26" flavor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did look at the crossrides as I can get them for right at 150 but they seem about the same weight as what I have and seem like mixed reviews if they can handle any more than light xc riding. Is that right or are they stronger than what I’m reading
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Any opinions on the trail disc 26 set from new. I can get them for about the same and they are lighter seem stronger and easier to repair with common parts. I can’t find any reviews on them though
 

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Wheels are the most overhyped component ever. A noteworthy improvement in wheel weight is a rounding error in tire weight, and tire performance completely overshadows anything the wheels can contribute. If your wheels are working well, roll on. Invest in tires.

26" died before wide rims became de-rigeur. This is good and bad- you can't mismatch wide tread tires to narrow rims, or buy rims that have no appropriate tires available... but you can't enjoy the benefits of a wider rim.





So... you have a very dated bike that has some super sensible budget-oriented upgrades. I don't see anything in your previous post that indicates that you need new wheels other than your own lust. (which is an unreliable source- why throw hundreds at a 10 year old 700$ bike??) Your price point is tricky too; properly good rear hubs start at ~150$ and rims at ~80. 100% adequate stuff can come in much cheaper, but climbing the 'ladder of quality' is really expensive.

I bet you can get some used flow EX rims mounted to hope pro2 hubs at that price point. Or something similar. Use your wheelbuilding skills to examine, then drop the spoke tensions and retension them. Great! My fave 26'er rims are frequency i25s, but it sounds like they're way overbuilt for your needs.

I don't think you can get anything worth spending your 200$ on if your current wheels are working well. Spend that money on tires instead, or on a mtb vacation.


_________________

My 26er crossrides were hilariously flexy and robbed confidence. Then the glide ring in the freehub mechanism wore out and the rear hub was shelfware. Maybe the newer ones are better? Dunno, I don't play guinea pig any more.
 

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Wheels are the most overhyped component ever. A noteworthy improvement in wheel weight is a rounding error in tire weight, and tire performance completely overshadows anything the wheels can contribute. If your wheels are working well, roll on. Invest in tires.

26" died before wide rims became de-rigeur. This is good and bad- you can't mismatch wide tread tires to narrow rims, or buy rims that have no appropriate tires available... but you can't enjoy the benefits of a wider rim.
I agree that wheels can be overhyped, in this case I'll assume that OP has some really terrible wheels. I don't entirely agree that there is no benefit to wider rims on 26ers. Certainly not to the extent that it is supported for the 27.5 and 29ers of today, but I went through this process myself a few years ago and it was definitely an improvement.

I have a lovely hardtail that I bought new in '99 and I was determined to ride it forever. While I have since seen the light of modern geometry being less likely to kill me, and 29er wheels just simply being better at almost everything, at the time I was wanting to build that one last killer wheelset to end all wheelsets for my trusty IF. I went with some 27mm internal carbon rims on Onyx hubs, and they were great on that bike. Since most high end 26er wheels in the days of yore were <20mm, it made a significant difference with the 2.35" Schwalbes I was running. I was able to run lower pressures with a better tire profile and it extended my enjoyment of that bike by a couple of years. The funny thing was everybody that saw the bike at first assumed it was a 27.5 or plus tires or something beyond what it was, the fat black rims made the tires look huge on a thin tubed steel 26er hardtail.

In this case, I think it will be difficult to get into a significantly better wheelset for $200. There are decent rims out there but most seem to cost close to $100 each, and are probably beefier and wider than is called for. I was just helping a friend looking to build some decent 26" wheels last week, and it is clear that anything short of rowdy desires have fast fading support. To build a reasonably light budget wheelset for XC and light trail use it will be hard to come up with anything wider than 21mm, everything else seems to jump up $30+, to at least 30mm and gains at least 150g. This worked out for my friend and his needs but here it doesn't seem ideal. If you can find some reasonably priced rims in the 25-27mm internal width range, jump on them. You may also get lucky with a used set, there are certainly loads of excellent used 26er wheelsets floating around out there but finding a set that is still in good condition could be risky.

Here are a couple of items I had stumbled across during my previous search and may be worth a look, with it all depending on just how bad the wheels that are to be replaced are. And I didn't even look at any Mavic options because every 26" wheelset I have ever had anything to do with from them had some sort of significant flaw ruining an otherwise decent wheelset. Crappy freehub bushings and fragile axles. I'm OK with their rims but their wheelsets are dead to me.

Halo Vapor rims for $63 from Universal Cycle. Tubeless capable, 415g, 21mm internal. These actually look pretty good although I have no experience with Halo rims. I would really like them if they were a few mm wider.http://https://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=58614 Universal also had some Shimano hub closeouts.

Closeout wheelset for $159 shipped from Bicycle Wheel Warehouse. XT hubset, "Pure MT" house brand rims, 22m internal but I don't believe they are tubeless friendly. On the heavy side, and I know nothing of this vendor or their build quality. They look like sturdy basic wheels with decent parts.http://http://bicyclewheelwarehouse.com/MTB/26/AM-All-Mountain/Pure-MT-Shimano-XT-6bolt-Black.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would agree that wheels are probably not gonna make my 26er fly past the 29ers or 650b and your probably right that the 26 tech has seen its day but I have rode all three and being a shorter rider I just don’t have as much fun on the other 2 as being higher make me less confident and I can’t cut up as much.

That being said I do believe my wheels are pretty awful at this point and so narrow I have had issues making tubeless work and actually have a stash of very nice tires from trying to make them work. They also have a crap hub with a lot of miles and no seal so even with good maintenance I’m wondering when they will die. I’m really happy with my 26er and the g2 geometry and everything I have tried does not feel right even if it makes me faster so I just want a wheelset to keep the bike from going extinct and squeeze out whatever performance gains are there to be had.

I did come across the Stans rapid rim with pure xtr hubs on the bww site just out of my price range but with their coupon code and since I have a friend about to by from them that will let us use the 20% off it brings them down to 200 on the nose and they seem to fit the bill in all other categories.
 

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I did look at the crossrides as I can get them for right at 150 but they seem about the same weight as what I have and seem like mixed reviews if they can handle any more than light xc riding. Is that right or are they stronger than what I'm reading
In my experience, they are as good, and better, a wheel set as any I've had on that bike. They've seen more rock gardens, roots, cantered stuff, etc., than "light XC". Come to think of it, I've never had to have them trued. They have straight pull spokes, and fairly beefy flanges. The only thing I thought might be an issue with them were the bolt holes for disks. Kind of hard to explain. Disk mount bolt holes are not 100% "enclosed", if that makes sense. Look at the red circle in the pic below. Having said this, I have not had any issues at all. Bolts have never failed or loosened, and torque to spec without issue.

Mode of transport Spoke Bicycle part Rim Photograph
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the advice. The crossrides turned out to harder to get my hands on than I thought and my friend pointed out we have been doing a little more all mountain riding than I had really considered. That along with you guys pointing out my bike will never be a new 27.5 or 29er so I went a completely different direction and ended up with Rhyno lite rims and xt hubs completely built for 144 free shipping. Time will tell if they are any better than what I have but at least they should be easier to run tubeless and be bomb proof for whatever I decide to ride.
 

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Thanks for all the advice. The crossrides turned out to harder to get my hands on than I thought and my friend pointed out we have been doing a little more all mountain riding than I had really considered. That along with you guys pointing out my bike will never be a new 27.5 or 29er so I went a completely different direction and ended up with Rhyno lite rims and xt hubs completely built for 144 free shipping. Time will tell if they are any better than what I have but at least they should be easier to run tubeless and be bomb proof for whatever I decide to ride.
Well you made your decision, and that wheelset is a reasonable purchase at 144$. The rims are wide, but they're heavy and soft, and not intended for tubeless. The hubs are adequate if you don't weigh much and aren't particularly strong. I wouldn't consider them an upgrade from whatever mystery wheelset you have, and i hope they work well for you.

You said you have wheelbuilding experience- i wouldn't trust the build on that wheelset at all. Check the tensions and redo if necessary.
 
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