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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to figure out which wheel weight reductions would make sense for me. I'm 170lbs, have a Santa Cruz 5010 27.5", and don't ride that aggressively (at least compared to the young kids out there). I don't want to do weight reductions that in the long run are going lead to a noticeable increase in headaches, more so than the weight savings is worth. I'd rather have a stronger wheel that stays true.

Without considering better rims or hubs, which come at a price, I see 3 ways to save weight which cost little to nothing, so the only thing really to consider when deciding which are worth it is the weight savings vs the loss in wheel integrity. You have:

  • spoke count: 32 or 28
  • spoke diameter: I'm looking at DT Competition 2.0/1.8mm vs DT Competition Race 2.0/1.6mm.
  • nipple type: brass or alloy.
The approximate weight savings per wheel for each of these is:

  • 28 spokes instead of 32: saves 21g to 28g depending on spoke and nipple choice
  • DT Competition Race instead of DT Competition spokes: saves 30g to 35g depending on # of spokes
  • Alloy instead of brass nipples: saves 18g to 21g depending on # of spokes
Applying all 3 saves about 77g per wheel. I'm almost inclined to just take the 77g weight hit and know I have a really solid wheel build. But then for all I know I could do all 3 of these, save 77g, and still have a wheel that with my weight and riding style will be just as (or close to) trouble free.

Thoughts? Which would you go with if you were me?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
BTW, I'm not dismissing your point here, and in fact it's the direction I'm headed. Looking a bit more at the numbers, going with alloy nipples, race spokes, and 28 holes seems like a big win when you look at the weight savings for just those three items. It's about 33%. But when you add in the weight of the tires, rim, and sealant (leaving out the hubs), it's more like a 4% savings. Furthermore, all that weight savings in more towards the center of the wheel than the tires, sealant, and most of the rim, so has less "rotational weight" impact. Saving a gram in tire weight is probably like saving 2-3 g in spoke weight.
 

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Every old wheel I deal with is painful due to rounded aluminum nipples.
Obviously that is a previous owner being hamfisted issue... but every time I curse the person who didn't spec brass nipples.
 

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Use the skinny spokes, brass nipples, 32R/28F.

Compromise.

The thinner spokes won't cost you a thing as far as durability or performance. Brass nipples are worth every gram of extra weight. The rear wheel takes more of a beating than the front, use more spokes.

Consider the weight of the complete wheel with tires, rotors, cassette, etc. Call it 4,000g (?). Think you'd notice the difference of 35-77g per wheel?

Now add the weight of the rider and bike. 87,543.3g plus 4000g of wheels.

What rims are you planning on using?
 

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I'm going to take a different approach to your problem and suggest instead of looking to really weight weenie (77g max is total weight weenism), that you instead look to the tyres for a much bigger weight loss and more importantly, furthest out rotational weight loss. If you really don't charge so hard, you might be able to get away with the next lightest casing from your tyre manufacturer of choice and/or a less knobby tread design, which will also help reduce weight.

To your question on wheel weight in regards to spokes/nipples, honestly, you will pay a premium for those thinner spokes, more so than you would with changing your rims to something lighter, which will also gain you a bigger weight savings for $$ spent. Personally I build with alu nipples, because I know what I'm doing, am VERY careful with my tape job and make sure that when setup tubeless the tyre/rim combo hold air without the need for sealant for a decent amount of time, i.e. no leaks into the rim cavity and onto the nipples to help corrode them. I stick to DB spokes, because the weight savings is minimal, while cost cost goes up quite fast.

This is of course assuming that you've already gone tubeless, if not, there's a great weight savings and descrease in rolling resistance right there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What rims are you planning on using?
Wheelset is already ordered with Race Face ARC Offset rims (and 2.0/1.6mm spokes, alloy nipples, 28H). However, the rims are on backorder, and this "idle time" waiting for them to come in is what has me thinking twice about whether or not going lightweight is a good idea.

The rims are 30mm. I could switch to DT Swiss XM 481, Spank Oozy Trail 345 Bead Bite, or Stan's MK3 Flow. They all weigh about the same and are similarly priced (DT Swiss is a little bit more), although only the Race Face and DT Swiss are available in 28H).

Hub is DT 350. Bike is Santa Cruz 5010. Tires are

  • Front 2.5" Maxxis Minion DHF 3C/EXO/TR
  • Rear 2.4" Maxxis Minion DHR 3C/EXO/TR
 

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Yeah, solid choices all around. If your using a good durable rim (you are) you can safely use 28/28h and thinner gauge spokes. I'd still stick with Brass nipples though, I've seen plenty of aluminum rims with corroded aluminum nipples that eventually fail. Why deal with that headache and rebuild expense for 18g? No thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If the rim is strong enough most riders will be completely fine with a well built, lightweight version of those wheels, but certainly not everybody. Looking at your past history with wheels could make the determination.
I'd say my history has been good. I have two 26" wheelsets I've been riding for about 22 years. Never taco'd a wheel. Have lost a few spokes, but I think they were all due to very old broken alloy nipples. Have needed minor truing over the years. Moving to a new SC 5010 now and getting this new wheelset for it.

I should add that one wheelset is using 1.8/1.5mm spokes, which really surprised me. The other is 2.0/1.5.
 

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Not sure why anyone would use comp races when revs and lasers are out there. They're lighter, cheaper, and build just as durable (maybe more, but splitting hairs).

Almost always, wheel failure is from a poor build or an insufficient rim (excluding external damage/crashes). Your rim selection really will determine if a wheel holds up or not. If you want to save some weight, revs are an easy way to get there.
 

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Would prefer black. I'm not familiar with lasers.
Sapim Lasers are excellent. I have 4-5 wheelsets with them and have experienced no issues at all. I'm 205 lbs and ride a lot, including racing. I have them on a couple 29ers, rigid, full suspension, my Krampus, my cross bikes, etc.

All 32h 3x with brass nips.
 

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Sapim Lasers are the same as Revolutions, as far as strength and use. I have both. Get whichever is cheaper in the color you want.
 

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I have built and have been riding 28 hole ARC 24 rims (28 hole) laced with DT240 straight pull centerlock hubs with aluminum nipples and DT Competition spokes. I weigh 165-170 in riding gear and have not had any issues with the wheels.
I have a front wheel that is an Arc 27 that I use when I want to run a 2.4 tire on the front in some locations.
 

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sapim laser/ revolution is good. some claim it even makes a stronger wheel then the thicker spokes. i built my wheels 32 spokes, but next build would try 28 since nothing broke...when built well should be ok I think. brass rules, bit if youre building yourself try one wheel with alu and see what happens.
btw, i”m 90 kg not very carefull and the wheels i built with similar rims all survived the rockgardens. so maybe they could be built lighter
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for all the input. First I settled on brass nipples. Then I was pondering the spoke choice and spoke count. Decided on keeping the race spokes but going with 32h. Maybe a bit overbuilt for my needs, but I'd rather error on the overbuilt side. Plus there's a chance my son might be using this wheelset on his Bronson some day, and he'd need a bit more wheel strength then I do. I also switched to the DT Swiss XM 481 rims. The Race Face ARC Offset would have been fine, but I saw a bit more in the way of great reviews for the XM 481.
 
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