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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my 29er Bonty AT850 wheels are heavy and often out of true on my 2013 Trek Cobia and I am looking to upgrade. I went to my LBS and told them I want to budget $300-$400. They said that their supplier (QBP) has a set of Arch EX's with X9 hubs for around $400. I noticed on the Handspun website (Handspun makes the wheels for QBP) that they also have a set of i23's laced to XT hubs. I don't have a price on those, but based on what I've seen on the net, I think they will be pretty comparable in price to the Arch EX set. I am a XC rider and weight 190 lbs. I would like to shave some weight off my wheel set, but also want something that will stay true. Any thoughts to which would be the better wheel set for me and why? My guess is that I may like the Arch EX rim better, but may like the XT hub better. Unfortunately, that combo is not available.

Thanks!
 

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Chris Bling
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I like the i23's better for a few reasons. They have a wider internal diameter (23mm vs 21), that are a true tubeless rim, and they can just take a beating.

i23's are a little heavier, but at 190, it would suit you better anyway.

Btw, the x9 hubs have 16 POE. XT's are 36 I believe. If you are riding in chunky techy terrain, 16 POE will be a pain. It can be done, but not as good as a higher POE hub.
 

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Vassago Bandersnatch, Motobecane HAL Comp 27.5+
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The Handspun i23's come with the 6 bolt XT hubs, 18 poe versions...not the 36 poe centerlock hubs.

I'd still take them over the Arch EX for the reasons explained above. This is a UST spec rim designed to run Tubeless Ready tires (like Bontrager TLR tires) with ease. I've used TCS rims firsthand with Specialized 2Bliss tires and they can be installed by hand (no levers) and inflated easily with a floor pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the great replies. I guess I should have clarified that I may not run these tubeless, at least not initially and possibly not ever. OTOH - If I understand you all correctly, the i23's would be super-easy to run tubeless without any sealant or any hassle. Is that right? If so, that makes tubeless sound a lot easier than I thought it was supposed to be.
 

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Slower But Faster
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Thanks for all the great replies. I guess I should have clarified that I may not run these tubeless, at least not initially and possibly not ever. OTOH - If I understand you all correctly, the i23's would be super-easy to run tubeless without any sealant or any hassle. Is that right? If so, that makes tubeless sound a lot easier than I thought it was supposed to be.
Both Archs and i23s require the use of sealant; I'm very happy with my i23s on my Nomad, they can sure take a beating.
 

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The Frequency i23 is going to get you halfway between an Arch EX and a Flow EX and just about even with the old Flow at 23mm internal width. They seem to be chasing Stans with their dimensions, as they came out with the i25 at about the same time Stan beefed up the Flow to the Flow EX. That is to say, you probably aren't going to notice the ride quality between the i23 and the Arch and you probably won't notice the weight when actually riding the bike. With Sram or Shimano hubs your weight penalty will be in the hub vs the rim as will your long term durability.
As far as rim durability goes, the biggest difference you'll find is that tons of people have been beating the hell out of Stans rims with great results for years now. The Frequency rims on the other hand just don't have that track record. They might be just as burly or burlier, but it'll take a few years to let the dust settle. Most likely it's a wash between them, as they're both built more for durability than light weight.
My advice would be to up your budget by $100 and look for something like a Stans wheelset or one of the Hope/Stans wheelset. Getting a superior hub will make you happy.
Listening to anyone debate whether Stans is a "true" tubeless rim is a fools errand (aka, a classic MTBR discussion). If you want UST, get UST. I'm sure your LBS can help you. Neither of these rims are for you. If you want a perfectly good rim that countless people have successfully set up tubeless, that was in fact designed to be set up tubeless (outside of the UST paradigm), that's single handedly responsible for the success of the tubeless revolution, that is easy to set up tubeless if you have any level of mechanical ability and access to an air compressor, then the Stans is fine.
My other advice would be to change your weight budget. Get Flows and know that bigger riders who ride faster into bigger rocks and drops have used Flows and they seem to just keep on spinning. I've had so many rim taps on my old Flows due to running low psi and for some reason the damn things still look new.
 

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I ride Arch EX and very very happy. 180lbs. No issues sealing my tires with a pump if I just pump a bit faster than normal. I have never used my big air compressor in fact. One thing though, the Stans rear hub is a bit noisy. But I have it all apart and the parts are well made, everything tears down easily enough. Works for me. They ride fantastically, but I don't have a lot of high end wheel experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again for the additional replies. After doing some additional research and further talks with my LBS, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the Arch EX with the X9 hub. Even though the engagement of the X9 hub is supposed to be poor, I rode the hub on a different bike (Foundry Broadaxe) and it didn't bother me, probably because I am already used to using a low POE (and crummy) hub in the Shimano M475. My bike is on the heavy side and I've hard great things about the Arch EX strength/weight ratio, so I am hoping to shed some weight and probably still have something that stays true better than my cheap Bontys (which are now out of true for the 2nd time in the past 2 months).
 
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