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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently run a shitty tire on a heavy wheel with V-brakes on the back of my 26er hardtail and I want to upgrade. I use the bike in question for terrain that is squarely in the XC category (no >1.5 foot drops, no super rough descents, low risk of sidewall damage, either smooth hardpack or small roots/basic logrolls, etc). My budget for the wheelset and tire is ~$400, but I'd prefer to pay less. I already upgraded my front wheel to a Bontrager Rhythm Elite TLR that I got on clearance and so I was thinking something in that same ballpark in terms of weight, strength, and overall quality (and tubelessness) since I've liked it a lot since I upgraded.

I've read a fair bit about Mavic 717s (typically paired with Shimano XT hubs, from what I'm seeing), but I am not sure if they are what I want. I've also looked at the Pure V and the Pure XC from BWW but again, I don't know how to compare them given my inexperience.

As for tires, I was thinking about a Continental Race King 2.2 tire or a Specialized Eskar tire but I am not sure. On the front I have a Bontrager XR4 Expert (2.35), which I really like, actually.

Do you guys have any recommendations or thoughts?
 

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any of the WTB frequency line is great in my opinon and very nicely priced vs other options. m oops, just realized you said you have v brakes so that is out of the question.

hold up, you are running a rhythm elite up front so you've got a disc brake up front. is putting a disc brake on the back an option? if so, my first comment stands, if not, I would NEVER pay $400 for a rim brake wheel and tire combo. that is money that would be far better spent going towards a modern bike.

as for comparing the wheels. rim weight is one of the first things I look at. you didn't say how heavy you are but you did describe your ride style and its certainly xc. the pure v rim weighs 475 grams which is pretty damn heavy for 26" rim. the pure xc seems to be a much better choice but the pics i'm seeing of it dont show it with a brake track so I guess we really need to know if you are putting a disc brake on in the rear.
 

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FYI, there are a lot of good deals on the used market for 26" wheels due to people switching to 650 and 29er bikes. You may want to consider this option rather than buying new wheels that will have poor resale value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
any of the WTB frequency line is great in my opinon and very nicely priced vs other options. m oops, just realized you said you have v brakes so that is out of the question.

hold up, you are running a rhythm elite up front so you've got a disc brake up front. is putting a disc brake on the back an option? if so, my first comment stands, if not, I would NEVER pay $400 for a rim brake wheel and tire combo. that is money that would be far better spent going towards a modern bike.

as for comparing the wheels. rim weight is one of the first things I look at. you didn't say how heavy you are but you did describe your ride style and its certainly xc. the pure v rim weighs 475 grams which is pretty damn heavy for 26" rim. the pure xc seems to be a much better choice but the pics i'm seeing of it dont show it with a brake track so I guess we really need to know if you are putting a disc brake on in the rear.
You're right, I am looking to get disc brakes in the back with whatever wheelset/tire combo I purchase. I should have been more clear about that. The $400 total does not include the rear disc brakes that I plan on purchasing or the changes to the shifting system that I am looking at. (Any advice about brakes is welcome, but I was mainly looking for advice about the wheel and tire. I have a hydraulic Shimano disc brake on the front.)

I will look into the WTB frequency line. I have been keeping an eye on the weight of the different options. I like the weight of the Bontrager Rhythm Elite that I have on the front and it is 825g with spokes and hub included (or so their website says...can't find a rim only weight).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FYI, there are a lot of good deals on the used market for 26" wheels due to people switching to 650 and 29er bikes. You may want to consider this option rather than buying new wheels that will have poor resale value.
To that point, I just found a pair of brand new Bontrager Race-Lite Pros with rotors for $200 on Craigslist. The owner claims to have never ridden on them (he says that they were taken off a 2011 Top Fuel 9.8 upon purchase). Maybe I can get just the rear...

Same with some Mavic Crossmax SL SSC UST that I just found...
 

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You're right, I am looking to get disc brakes in the back with whatever wheelset/tire combo I purchase. I should have been more clear about that. The $400 total does not include the rear disc brakes that I plan on purchasing or the changes to the shifting system that I am looking at. (Any advice about brakes is welcome, but I was mainly looking for advice about the wheel and tire. I have a hydraulic Shimano disc brake on the front.)

I will look into the WTB frequency line. I have been keeping an eye on the weight of the different options. I like the weight of the Bontrager Rhythm Elite that I have on the front and it is 825g with spokes and hub included (or so their website says...can't find a rim only weight).
okay, knowing your plans helps a lot. you should be able to get the rearwheel AND rear brake for around $400. $400 for a rear wheel/tire is way to much money in my opinion

Deore XT 785 Brake $105 Shimano Deore XT BR-M785 Disc Brake - Bike Disc Brakes

you can pay under $200 for a SET of 26" XC wheels WTB Laser St I19 Tubeless 26" Disc Bike Wheels Deore Hubs Ready Kit Instaled | eBay


I just bought this set for my fiance's bike WTB Laser TCS x C Wheel Set 6 Bolt Disc Tubeless 1700 grams Shimano SRAM Cass | eBay The seller also 3 in a 3rd rim so I can build up another front or rear wheel if I want to have a spare mated with different rubber for different terrain.

one last thing. I saw in your profile you had a post about riding this bike on some serious terrain that was a lot more adventurous than what you describe here. Most people recommended that you not go too crazy but if you wanted a good set of tubeless wheels that can handle more of a beating, this would be the Freeride version of the TCS wheelset. they are a lot heavier and stronger wheels that can take a beating. WTB Laser TCS Fr Tubeless Compatible 26" Disc Bike Wheels XT Hubs Black | eBay

as for tires, chainlove.com had rocket ron tubeless tires pop up the last few weeks at $32 each. otherwise, you can get a good tubeless tire from an LBS for $60-75 bucks easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow...thanks for looking into all of this. I went ahead and threw in a bid on the Rhythm Elite on eBay. Hopefully I can snag those for under $100. The Shimano Deore XT 785s seem to be a great option for the rear brake as well. Let the research begin.

As for the more aggressive riding I mentioned in that other thread, I have got another bike that I use for that sort of stuff now (a Santa Cruz Heckler). The bike that this thread concerns is my XC bike that I don't treat too rough.
 

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Awesome. How do you like the heckler? I've nothing but good things about it. Also, in would spend the little extra and get a whole wheel set. You never know when you may need it and its nice to just swap a wheel out with a different tire type when needed instead of changing a tire

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I like the heckler a lot. I got it used. It's a 2007 medium that has been customized a fair bit. Although the rear dropout hanger snapped once (I ride with a backup in my camelbak now), it has been very reliable and handles everything I throw at it. My only complaint is that it is pretty heavy and sometimes, I regret not bringing my XC bike instead whenever I end up going the distance on it. Going downhill, though, it is awesome. I think eventually I'll replace the rear suspension. The Fox 5.0 DHX Air that is on it has not been as good as I would have liked. The Kenda Nevegal tires that came on it are also surprisingly bad, but I assume it's because they are 6+ years old (though not worn down much) and the rubber has deteriorated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Do you have an opinion on the Mavic Crossmax SL SSC Wheelset or the Bontrager Race-Lite Pro MTB Wheelset? I have found them both locally on Craigslist for $300 and $200 respectively (the latter come with rotors).
 

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I love how bonty wheels use a plastic strip to set upbtubeless instead of tape. Its so easy. Otherwise I'm not that familiar with them. Truthfully I would go with the wtb wheels from.eBay because they are brand new. I'd be more leery of used MTB wheels

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