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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want some i30mm 29er wheels for a new bike. I don't ride particularly aggressively and I care a lot about ride comfort, so I was thinking of getting a set of quality aluminum rims, like DT XM 481's (or the pre-built XM 1501)

But for about the same money I can get Carbon Light Bicycle Recon Pro AM930 wheels and the rims would be about 65 grams lighter each.

I'm having a hard time paying carbon prices for a heavier aluminum wheel. Will the DT aluminum have an improved ride quality to make it worth it?

On another bike I have Enve M70 (which even Enve admits stiff to the point of impacting ride quality) and I don't like the ride at all, so I'm a little shy of carbon rims now. But I have no idea how the DT or LB wheels would compare to that. My understanding is the newer carbon rims are much better.

(can-you-feel-lateral-stiffness can of worms opened)
 

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I currently have 2 sets of DT wheels XM 421 & 481’s. Both sets ride extremely well and are pretty much invisible for day to day use. I recently purchased an E-13 TRS Race Carbon set to give carbon a send chance - could not stand the harsh Specialized Fattie SL’s I ran a few seasons ago. I would say the carbon’s are slightly stiffer but They don’t ride /feel any lighter than the 481’s. I would say the XM’s were a better deal.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I have some XM 481's in a wheel build I did for a new bike recently. I'm really liking them a lot. I agree that they are one of those things that just disappears.

My wife has a bike with some Light Bicycle carbon rims (30-ish mm inner width) and they're nice enough, but they are VERY stiff. I have some Nexties on my fatbike and they're also VERY stiff. In some respects that's good. In others, not so much. Some carbon rim manufacturers are starting to figure this out, but I'm not sure that the low price Chinese companies are there yet.

With my past experience with carbon, equal price is absolutely not the primary factor that would tip me over. If I was to do it again for my wife's bike, I'd set her up with some lighter rims given her size and riding style. Thankfully it's not her primary bike. Two things got me to put carbon rims on my fatbike at the time. First, easy tubeless and second was weight. reduction. Nowadays, there are some weight-competitive tubeless-ready aluminum fatbike rims that I'd choose over the Nexties if given the choice. If it gets to the point that I start breaking a bunch of spoke nipples again, I'll wind up switching over to one of those alu rim options for that bike (spoke drilling angles were poor, and it's resulted in a wheel build that's not so good - I've already had to have them rebuilt once).
 

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I can relate to this thread. I recently cracked my rear Carbonfan rim. . Coincidentally, I opted to go with an XM481 as a replacement instead of the crash replacement Carbonfan offered me. To be fair I was running really low pressures and I feel like aluminum would've at least dented or broke as well.

My XM481 is still being laced up so I can't comment on it. But I did put on a spare Bontrager Duster wheel on the bike while the XM481 is being built. I can't tell the +250g weight difference between the heavy duster and the carbon wheel that I broke. What stands out most is the narrow rim, unstable tire, less traction, and less sidewall support with the 25id rim. I'm confident I'll never notice the 100g difference between the Carbonfan rim and XM481. And I'll certainly be happier with a little more compliance.

Do you know whats crazy? I'm still PR'ing a bunch of climbs on the duster wheel. My point is that there are much more important factors than weight. Even rotational unsprung weight. You'll never notice the 65g difference.

My recent bike build I let go of that magic "bike should be around 30#" metric. Went for all compliance- steel frame FS, coil fork, coil shock, wider tires. The Carbon rims were left over from my last build. Sure when I pull the bike off my stand or friends truck it feels hefty but as soon as I'm on it I can't tell a single difference. I'm way faster on it- down and uphills. The comfort, compliance and ensueing confidence is way more important than weighing "X grams" less.

The other factor is your weight. At 145 pounds I just found the carbon to be harsh despite having a "compliant layup". I could see heavier rider benefitting from carbon. There is also less maintenance with the carbon wheel set but I still broke spokes and still had to get mine trued. They do have that direct feel which is nice in certain situations (changing direction mid rock garden, railing some turns) but overall I'd rather take the characteristics of aluminum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
they're also VERY stiff. In some respects that's good. In others, not so much. Some carbon rim manufacturers are starting to figure this out, but I'm not sure that the low price Chinese companies are there yet.
Yeah I was wondering where the latest LB "Recon Pro" are in this regard. They seem low profile, lightweight, and thin in all the right places, but I haven't seen any reviews.

What stands out most is the narrow rim, unstable tire, less traction, and less sidewall support with the 25id rim
Interesting. Which tire are running that feels this much worse on 25's?

And so post up once you get that XM 481!
 

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Part of that less stable ride may be the Duster wheel being laterally less stiff.
I have CarbonFan and they aren't that much stiffer than good aluminum like DT. Duster isn't as good.
But I used Laser spokes and that could be part of it.
They are much easier to build than aluminum and they stay true.
 

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The White Jeff W
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I just bought DT XM 481 rims on ebay for $117/ea shipped and the Squorx nipples were included. The Chinese rims you listed are $300/ea with shipping.

All in the wheelset I built with the 481's, DT Comp spokes and Hope Hubs was ~ $550
 

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Keep on Rockin...
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Not that this is exactly what you were asking for but some info to help you decide....

Prebuilt dt wheels with their alloy nips are something I won't use again. I've got 4 high end Dt wheels built with those Sqorx nips for my dh bike and every wheel has failed because of those nips. After a year of hard use they all started to crack - either spontaneously/rock dings or during a true. The hubs have been rebuilt up on Dt rims with brass nips.

Ride quality - as tires become more balloonish compliance of carbon vs al is probably a non-issue. I do find carbon wheels flex less laterally, noticeably so on a 29er.

I rarely need to true my carbon wheels, but have to true my al wheels a few times a year.

Those wheels you mentioned getting, I'm not familiar with. But I always go with a wheel with a better hub. I'm a stickler for a good hub. While my experience with dt hubs is not great almost everyone else really digs them.


Good luck.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Not that this is exactly what you were asking for but some info to help you decide....

Prebuilt dt wheels with their alloy nips are something I won't use again. I've got 4 high end Dt wheels built with those Sqorx nips for my dh bike and every wheel has failed because of those nips. After a year of hard use they all started to crack - either spontaneously/rock dings or during a true. The hubs have been rebuilt up on Dt rims with brass nips.

Ride quality - as tires become more balloonish compliance of carbon vs al is probably a non-issue. I do find carbon wheels flex less laterally, noticeably so on a 29er.

I rarely need to true my carbon wheels, but have to true my al wheels a few times a year.

Those wheels you mentioned getting, I'm not familiar with. But I always go with a wheel with a better hub. I'm a stickler for a good hub. While my experience with dt hubs is not great almost everyone else really digs them.

Good luck.
My XM481 rims came with alloy squorx nips. I wanted brass nips, but I kinda liked the solid squorx interface, so I bought brass squorx nips. They sure did help during the build process.

I had a set of DT Tricon 26er wheels (came on a used bike my wife bought) quite some time ago and I HATED them. Spokes were threaded at each end and had 2 different sized torx/squorx head nips to deal with (smaller ones built into the hub flanges than at the rim side). The rims were UST compatible, and used a goofy insert on the hub side of the rim to keep the inner surface of the rim free of spoke holes. This required yet another proprietary tool to mess with. Further, the threaded spokes didn't use standard spoke preps. No, they used a thread locker that required heat...but that didn't always loosen up after heat was applied. So for a simple true, I had to send both wheels out and they had to be completely rebuilt because not even DT was able to free up the nips to be able to true the wheels. That was the moment that I swore off proprietary pre-built wheelsets for good. I won't even touch a fairly standard build with straight pull spokes.

It seems that DT has stepped back from the precipice of the Tricon wheels since then, but I'm still very leery of what they sell as pre-built.
 

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I can’t comment on alloy Squorx as I built both wheel sets w/ brass nipples & PBR washers. One set w/ DT Pro Heads & the other w/ Squorx. I really liked building w/ Squorx - so much faster.
 

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Cool, thanks.

Did anything about the ride quality and compliance stand out?

If they were the same price would you pick the DT over carbon?
The Carbon's have a solid feel where the alloys have a little bit of give. Depending on your sensitivity, tire size & pressures the carbons may be interpreted as having less compliance.

I plan on back to back testing the alloys vs. the carbons but there wasn't as large of a performance gap as I expected.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Cool, thanks.

Did anything about the ride quality and compliance stand out?

If they were the same price would you pick the DT over carbon?
No way, I've been riding light bicycle and nextie rims for more than 5 years, they are a step above. I have a nice aluminum rim-wheel as a backup for one of my bikes, but I haven't had to use it. DT makes nice aluminum rims, no doubt, but the benefits of a carbon rim from LB, Nextie, Oxive, etc., far exceed the capability of the aluminum rim. When I'm riding hard against a berm or in a turn, I want my wheels and bike to track straight, carbon wheels do this to a much higher extent and I can ride with more speed through the turn, in addition to the acceleration and fatigue benefits of being lighter (my 28mm XC setup uses 290 gram rims), they simply exceed the capability of the aluminum rims. I've cased and landed sideways on huge stuff that would have surely tacoed alu rims on my enduro bike, but the carbon ones just blow it off and every time I think that maybe I should check my wheels just to do a little tune-up to true them, they end up being perfectly true already, as in they don't go out of true. After building up both for years, I'll take the carbon almost every time. A rare situation where I wouldn't is if I rode South Mountain extensively, then I'd at least have a training-wheelset with aluminum rims, due to all the loose rock and debris that bounce into your wheels there, but I've done lots of DH, enduro, park days, big features on the carbon rims where that's not a concern at all. I don't want the carbon rim manufacturers to make their rims noodly and soft like aluminum rims. I want to keep railing these turns.
 

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To those who've had bad experiences with their carbon rimmed wheels being too stiff, it's worth considering that there is a movement from most or all carbon rim providers, and from wheel providers, to make the rims more vertically compliant. Witness the new Zipp rims, witness that many Chinese rims are now lower profile...as are the new WeAreOne rims (lower profile gives increased vertical compliance). In the same way that alu rims are better than they were, carbon rims are also better than they were.
 
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