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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to build up some new wheels for my hardtail.

I'm going w/ XT disc hubs since they're cheap as hell, but won't be running disc brakes.
The issue here is that my hardtail frame is on its last legs, but I'll ride it until it breaks (That could be a long time since I'm only 150 lbs). So for now the wheels will be built up to work w/ XTR V-brakes. its an odd compromise, but whatever. When I need a new frame I will go w/ some phat Marta's :D

Ok , so aside from that, I need advice on spokes, nipples, and rims. Right now I'm planing on a 32 spoke 3x front and rear. I'm a XC rider and want something light but not race-weenie light. Its got to be able to take abuse. Are alloy nipples a bad idea? I knwo they save some weight but durability after many truings may be an issue(?)

most important for me then is the rim. right now I'm looking at a pair of DT's, but I really don't know.

If anyone can suggest a hub similar in price to the XT I'd appreciate it too :)

thanks, I haven't custom built wheels in over 10 years :D
 

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Brass Nipples!
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2,006 Posts
My suggestions

Since you might convert your wheelset to disc use, you need to consider the implications now. There are 3 positions with pulling stress in a disc wheel.

1. Rear wheel drive side, rear facing from pedaling.
2. Rear wheel nondrive side, front facing from braking.
3. Front wheel nondrive side, front facing from braking.

The least stressed position is the front drive side. It wll be under less tension and there isn't pulling stress on that side. (Jobst Brandt says twisting forces aren't transmitted to the opposite side of the wheel).

Put the strongest spoke/nipple combination in the areas where strength is needed (primarily the three locations above). You can use a lighter build in other positions to decrease weight while keeping the overall strength high.

If you frequently hit your spokes directly on things, get straight gauge spokes, otherwise use butted spokes. 14/15 gauge for the entire rear and front NDS, 15/16 gauge on the front DS, would make for a great, durable wheel, and I don't think going heavier would add very much benefit.

Use brass nipples, on at least the higher tension side (drive side on the rear, non-drive on the front). I'm a fan of brass in all positions, but with your weight, you may be able to get away with alloy nips and/or extreme butting, i.e. DT revolution 14/17 gauge spokes in less stressed positions, especially the DS front.

If you want to get more complicated, you can use 14/15/brass on pulling spokes and go lighter on the other positions. I've been building wheels with different spokes and nipples on the same side of the wheel, but I wouldn't recommend that unless you have a tensiometer and a lot of patience.

I've used a lot of WTB rims. If you can still find LaserBeams, they are one of my favorites, and the current Dual Duty XC is another choice. The XM 719 Mavic looks good. You will probably be better off getting a rim in the mid 450 gram range, rather than the ultralight rims. The need to provide both rim and disc braking capability means you may need to go a little heavier for good durability.

XT hubs are a great value choice. I've built up several sets of the new XTR disc wheels, and they are very nice. WTB LaserDisc lights look promising, but I've not used them. King ISO's are top quality, but also top dollar.

Use spokeprep, antiseize or Phil tenaceous oil on the spoke threads and light grease on the spoke holes in the rim. Stress relieve the spokes frequently and make sure you twist beyond, then back to the desired position as the wheel tension goes up to avoid twist in the spokes. Very high, even tension is critical in building a good wheel.

Good luck, and have fun.
 

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Premium Member
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My favorites...

For a durable, not too heavy wheelset would be...

Bontrager Mustang Rims (Around 400g front, and 430g rear Asym). I've got one that I had a shop build a long time ago... had to be around '97 or 98 that's still true.

Wheelsmith DB spokes.

Spline Drive Nips, with either or brass/alum equally likely to be used if I couldn't find some.

I've got that same setup on about 3 different sets of wheels plus another two sets I've sold off and it has held up to my 200 pounds on my not always subtle riding style. For the weight vs strength I have not messed around with any funky lacings, standard 3X all around.

Good luck!

JmZ

bubbrubb said:
I'm about to build up some new wheels for my hardtail.

I'm going w/ XT disc hubs since they're cheap as hell, but won't be running disc brakes.
The issue here is that my hardtail frame is on its last legs, but I'll ride it until it breaks (That could be a long time since I'm only 150 lbs). So for now the wheels will be built up to work w/ XTR V-brakes. its an odd compromise, but whatever. When I need a new frame I will go w/ some phat Marta's :D

Ok , so aside from that, I need advice on spokes, nipples, and rims. Right now I'm planing on a 32 spoke 3x front and rear. I'm a XC rider and want something light but not race-weenie light. Its got to be able to take abuse. Are alloy nipples a bad idea? I knwo they save some weight but durability after many truings may be an issue(?)

most important for me then is the rim. right now I'm looking at a pair of DT's, but I really don't know.

If anyone can suggest a hub similar in price to the XT I'd appreciate it too :)

thanks, I haven't custom built wheels in over 10 years :D
 
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