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I've got nearly 2000 miles now on my front wheel, which is a specialized wheel that came with the bike, 28 spokes, aluminum rim. But it seems to be going strong. Rear wheel has already been replaced after about 1000 miles. I'm curious as to how often you guys need to rebuild wheels, etc. Specifically focused on XC riding/racing, local CAT 1.
 

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I've got nearly 2000 miles now on my front wheel, which is a specialized wheel that came with the bike, 28 spokes, aluminum rim. But it seems to be going strong. Rear wheel has already been replaced after about 1000 miles. I'm curious as to how often you guys need to rebuild wheels, etc. Specifically focused on XC riding/racing, local CAT 1.
My Light Bicycle rims built up to i9s by Patrick www.dirtcomponents.com have about 5-7000 on them. 25 ID rims DT comp spokes ~1610g
- Bearings in rear wheel have been replaced once
- Twice for bearings in the Freehub (probably should have done more)
- 2-3 spoke replacements. from breaking them on trail debris

These wheels are still true. My trails have an abundance of rock gardens and 1-5' drops.

My bontrager kovee pro wheels are another story. I9 hub. Lots of little surface cracks on the lip from poor layup. Lots of broken spokes. Lots of Tubeless Pinch flats that never got on the other rims (4-5 tires ruined and 1 dnf). But they are pretty true.
3-4000 miles
 

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Years, upper Cat 1. I have two wheelsets for my XC ride. One of them, which is now my "training" and "trail" wheelset, was the primary a few years ago. On that one, I have re-laced the rims about 4 times. It used to be my 29er-enduro wheelset, I re-laced it for a 29er hardtail-fatbike conversion and then later on for XC racing on a 240 hub. The rims are Nextie and have seen every kind of abuse/racing imaginable. I think they are 6-7. years old and have been going in their current form for about 3-4 years. I don't count miles, but I do several bigger races at 100 miles, 50 miles, etc, as well as the summer race series, trail riding, etc. It's not my primary bike, but it sees as much use as my primary bike due to how many races I enter. I did notice a broken nipple a few months back. I think this was probably from getting a stick in the wheel, I seem to recall this happening and not noticing anything at the time. This as opposed to a corrosion issue, where there's white dust/powder, which I have had in the past, but I take precautions these days during my builds to minimize this.

Recently, I've been racing some "flyweight" rims on a slightly lighter hubs setup. I've done this for two seasons. The rims are 290g and pretty amazing to see these have structurally held up for full on gnarly races, like the Whiskey Off Road, the Soggy Bottom 100 a few weeks ago and so on. The only race this year that I am not doing on these wheels is next weekend, the state championship at the ski resort, since it often involves coming down a few of the DH trails, even though they are fairly tame for the DH trails, I don't want to push it too hard, so I'm going to use my stronger wheelset. It would probably be ok to use the other one, but the bigger tires I'm using sit a bit nicer on these 2mm wider rims too.

I have no plans to change these wheelsets and I'm running both as boost-conversions using spacers. During the winter I typically pull the bearings and service them or replace them. The wheels have stayed frighteningly true, which I find is typical with carbon rims, whenever it's been a long time and I think that maybe I should give them a little hop-up, I always find that they are still running as perfect as when they were built.
 

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I haven't had any real failures since I've switched to disc brakes. I'm generally pretty easy on equipment, - masters c1 at about 180 pounds. I did crack an alloy nip on the rear of the stans/xt/dt spoke wheel that came with the used '07 Kona I bought 7 years ago when I got back into racing/riding. I replaced all those rear nips with nos dt alloys I had from 25 years ago and zero issues since then (a few years ago). I did neglect the rear xt 765 hub, and the bearings aren't as smooth as the used to be.
I took apart the wheels that came with my Bulls fs race bike; the Sram hubs are at the team shop and will be rebuilt with carbon rims, 1450 is the expected weight per Joey (indigenous wheel company, yes the Joey from the cx crash 'joeys ok' video). I hadn't had any trouble with those oem wheels, but in the past I've broken no-name spokes (the oem wheels have no-name spokes), and I'm hoping for a little added speed to try to beat 'that one guy' (that I can't seem to beat) next spring. I've never broken a DT, Joey tells me Sapim are just as reliable, at a much better price.
 

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Usually I make a catastrophic error before the wheel fails from age. Actually, I have never had a wheel fail from age.
 

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When we ran aluminum Stans rims years ago, it was a yearly replacement. Oddly, my very lightweight wife was harder on those than me. Usually destroying them from catastrophic events, per LMN.

Once we switched to carbon wheels, we have had very few real failures.

My wife destroyed 1 specialized carbon wheel when it go wedged against a rock and she fell over the other way (ie anything would have broken).

Since then we've ran Enve and Specialized with zero failures. We actually have 2 sets of Specialized Control SL that are like 8 years old and still fine. They have been rebuilt with new spokes, that's it... and that was from nipple failure/corrosion.

Wheels are MUCH more durable than they used to be.
 

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Local custom built carbon wheelsets with rebuild-able hubs - 5+ years easy.

Hand built by a big wheel shop like Stans or Velocity - 2-3 years, frequent bearing replacements and I usually pop a spoke once every 6 mo or so.

Machine built / OEM wheels - 1-2 years max.

Buying quality hubs and quality rims and getting them built locally by a quality wheelbuilder (pick your poison but I've been going to the same "wheelshop" for years) is generally going to save you $ long term.

I've cheaped out and gotten burned more than I care to admit. Particularly not worth it if you end up DNFing, nevermind the cost component....
 
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