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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this has been discussed to death (I'll do some digging around in the meantime)...but I've heard it said that 29" wheels are "weak" and "floppy," and I'm wondering how much truth there is to this?

I understand that 26" tires should be stronger (according to the laws of physics)...but how much stronger? (And if smaller=stronger...then why doesn't everyone ride BMX bikes? LOL)

More importantly, are 29" wheels really so wimpy that it's an issue when riding? Or is it one of these things where 29" wheels are only "weak" if you're hucking 15-foot drops and doing other crazy/Xtreme stuff...but are perfectly fine for normal trail riding?

Thanks—just trying to get to the bottom of this...
Scott
 

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depends

A properly built 29er wheel will be as trouble free as a 26er. You can make them stiff and durable with a weight penalty. The problem is people want 29er wheels that are as light as their old 26ers. This of course cannot happen without sacrificing durability. Smart manufacturers are not buckling to the pressure to build them as light as 26er wheelsets. Savy consumers understand that a 29er will naturally be proportionately heavier than a similiar 26 wheel set. Long story short: a reasonable and proper 29 wheelset (which are out there) will perform and take the abuse of a 26er.
 

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transmitter~receiver
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SWriverstone said:
Sorry if this has been discussed to death (I'll do some digging around in the meantime)...but I've heard it said that 29" wheels are "weak" and "floppy," and I'm wondering how much truth there is to this?
zero.
SWriverstone said:
I understand that 26" tires should be stronger (according to the laws of physics)...but how much stronger? (And if smaller=stronger...then why doesn't everyone ride BMX bikes? LOL)
You answered your own question.
SWriverstone said:
More importantly, are 29" wheels really so wimpy that it's an issue when riding? Or is it one of these things where 29" wheels are only "weak" if you're hucking 15-foot drops and doing other crazy/Xtreme stuff...but are perfectly fine for normal trail riding?

Thanks-just trying to get to the bottom of this...
Scott
They are perfectly fine for just about anything. Do some looking around. Check out mikesee's vids. Check out the 29er downhill rigs that are starting to gain traction.
What you have here is misinformation/myth that is all too typical in the bike world. Doing your own research with an open yet critical mind is your way around it.
:thumbsup:
 

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After buckling an FSA 390 against a rock at low speed while climbing, I got a set of Flows with 36 spokes. For a small weight penalty, the extra spokes offer extra strength. Although the biggest factor is a properly and evenly tensioned build. I think that was the issue with the FSAs - a crappy build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, good replies all. I have a GF HiFi Pro with Bontrager Rhythm wheels, which I assume are pretty good. I might have been a tad concerned only because I'm a Clydesdale at 220lbs, but I've had zero issues so far (and don't tend to hammer my tires much anyway, at least not at the moment...)

Perhaps some of the misinformation is just 26" riders grousing about 29ers because they perceive them as a silly fad? (Or maybe they're jealous? :) )

Scott
 

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Delirious Tuck
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I'm 240#ish w.out gear, so probably a bit bigger than your usual biker, I run a 36h Flow up front, and a 32h flow in the back. Riding hard singletrack in New England with rock gardens and drops galore, >4' and <6', I find that the 36h is the way to go at my weight and aggressive style although the 32 is holding fine after a year with just 1 truing.

I am considering running them at Diablo, local DH mountain, to see just what they'll take as a bit of an experiment, not on the super double black stuff but the blue and green and single black DH stuff. That said, my buddy who is roughly same weight is running Salso Gordos on his 29er DH specific Lenz PBJ and has 0 issues to date with the wheels on any of the trails (tubes and flats are another story altogether).

So, unless you're over 240s and trying to destroy your wheels, you'll find no issues with 29er wheels that you wouldn't with 26er (i.e. I can't run 26er or 29er XC rims/wheels b/c they don't last more than a week so I don't run any rim width less than 28mm on any of my bikes).

If you're just riding fire roads, you would be fine on a cross bike which is 29er. ;)
 

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Always Learning
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SWriverstone said:
Sorry if this has been discussed to death (I'll do some digging around in the meantime)...but I've heard it said that 29" wheels are "weak" and "floppy," and I'm wondering how much truth there is to this?

I understand that 26" tires should be stronger (according to the laws of physics)...but how much stronger? (And if smaller=stronger...then why doesn't everyone ride BMX bikes? LOL)

More importantly, are 29" wheels really so wimpy that it's an issue when riding? Or is it one of these things where 29" wheels are only "weak" if you're hucking 15-foot drops and doing other crazy/Xtreme stuff...but are perfectly fine for normal trail riding?

Thanks-just trying to get to the bottom of this...
Scott
In your research or quest to "get to the bottom of this", don't forget there are many different rims with widths from 23 or 24mm to 35mm. There are many types of spokes and hubs and rims with different spoke counts as well. Selecting the ingredients of a particular pair of wheels allows you to choose a recipe that will bake a cake for your own particular needs. The same is true for 26" wheels of course.

BB
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
More good info regarding rim widths and spoke counts. I really don't know squat about this! And my GF HiFi Pro is definitely an XC bike, so maybe I shouldn't hammer it too hard in rock gardens? :)

I guess there's no reason for me to run out and buy Flow wheels unless I'm noticing any weakness in my current wheels, right?

Scott
 

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SWriverstone said:
More good info regarding rim widths and spoke counts. I really don't know squat about this! And my GF HiFi Pro is definitely an XC bike, so maybe I shouldn't hammer it too hard in rock gardens? :)

I guess there's no reason for me to run out and buy Flow wheels unless I'm noticing any weakness in my current wheels, right?

Scott
Well, IMO, hammering through a rock garden is well withing the realm of what XC bikes are designed for. At 220 lbs, there could be eventual issues with light XC wheels, but I would not worry about it unless you start messing them up.

Yes, theoretically, a 29er wheel of identical weight is going to have to give up strength somewhere over a similar quality 26er wheel, but in reality they are generally built just as strong in practical application, even if it means a slight gain in weight.

I have not ridden enough 29er wheels to determine if they are more flexy overall (though it would make sense, if all else is equal), but keep in mind that stiff and strong are not the same thing.

Long of the short is that wheel strength and stiffness is really a non-issue for anyone I know riding a 29er.
 

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Delirious Tuck
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Don't worry about it, if you break it you can always replace it, or just try to "float" your lines more. Try to find a smooth line or a line you can take nimbly without mack trucking the bike through. I killed so many wheelsets I eventually had to learn smooth/floaty/flowy riding, my wheels are in the air more, but I'm much less harsh on my wheelset and equipement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just did some digging around looking for specs on my Bontrager Rhythm Elite 29 wheels:
• 28mm rims
• 28 spokes
• offset spoke hole drilling to reduce wheel "dish"
• tubeless ready

So I guess at this point, the wheels are better than I am! :)

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thefriar said:
Don't worry about it, if you break it you can always replace it, or just try to "float" your lines more. Try to find a smooth line or a line you can take nimbly without mack trucking the bike through. I killed so many wheelsets I eventually had to learn smooth/floaty/flowy riding, my wheels are in the air more, but I'm much less harsh on my wheelset and equipement.
Excellent advice-for me and everyone! :thumbsup:

Scott
 

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Check out the Clydesdale forum, wheel discussions come up all the time.

And with the steed you are riding. The suspension is going to/should take most of the punishment. Ride your wheels until/if you break them. Just keep them trued and tensioned correctly.
 

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Kosher Princess
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SWriverstone said:
I understand that 26" tires should be stronger (according to the laws of physics)...but how much stronger? (And if smaller=stronger...then why doesn't everyone ride BMX bikes? LOL)
Of course equally well built wheels which are smaller will also be stronger and possibly lighter. However, that doesn't mean you'll be riding any faster, especially while trying to clear trail obstacles.

See exhibit A:
 

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transmitter~receiver
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richwolf said:
An interesting read.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/wheel/index.htm

More spokes and thicker spokes seem to help a lot.
How do you conclude that thicker spokes "seem to help a lot" based on Rinard's work? The difference in lateral stiffness between 2.0 straight gauge and 2.0/1.45 super butted spokes is 10%, which sounds not insignificant until you look at the actual difference in deflection... about 0.1 mm for a roughly 100N lateral load. So 0.1mm is "a lot"? Do you think you could feel that when your tire deflects well over 50x that amount?
Remember that is for a comparison of Champions to Revos, the latter of which most people are irrationally terrified to use.
 

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SWriverstone said:
Just did some digging around looking for specs on my Bontrager Rhythm Elite 29 wheels:
• 28mm rims
• 28 spokes
• offset spoke hole drilling to reduce wheel "dish"
• tubeless ready

So I guess at this point, the wheels are better than I am! :)

Scott
I have the HiFi 29er with the Rythmn Bontrangers. I am 200lbs and abuse my bike constantly. Never had any issues with the wheels. Also, with the offset drilling, the wheel is stronger than you think - just expect flats if your rim tape gets off center :madman:
 

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Tulsa
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I believe (someone correct me if wrong) that the Rhythm rims are the same as a Duster, if so that's what I run by choice on a custom wheelset. Very good rims. I chose them over flows as I really like the way the TLR system works. Can't speak to the bonty spokes or hub.
 

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Rider and Wrench
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You have a decent set of wheels, the Rhythm Elite wheels are a quality wheelset and should be fine with your ~200+ lbs- As someone else mentioned it also has a lot to do with how you ride, learning to un-weight your wheels when your hitting the biggest of xc/trail obsticles will add some life to your wheels, along with the right tire selection-

You may want to make to check the spoke tension after a bit, newly built wheels especially machine built (not sure of the Rhythms?) will require re-tensioning. Even the best quality hubs, spokes, nips and rims need to be put together properly to offer a quality wheelset- and then re-checked once they have some ride time on them.
 

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meltingfeather said:
How do you conclude that thicker spokes "seem to help a lot" based on Rinard's work? The difference in lateral stiffness between 2.0 straight gauge and 2.0/1.45 super butted spokes is 10%, which sounds not insignificant until you look at the actual difference in deflection... about 0.1 mm for a roughly 100N lateral load. So 0.1mm is "a lot"? Do you think you could feel that when your tire deflects well over 50x that amount?
Remember that is for a comparison of Champions to Revos, the latter of which most people are irrationally terrified to use.
From the article: "The thicker spoke by itself is nearly twice as stiff axially as the thinner spoke!"

10 percent here, 10 percent there adds up to a lot. Do you think a wheel with stiffer rims, thicker spokes and higher spoke count will add up to being a "lot stiffer"? Perhaps each one individually might not sound like a "lot", but add them together, and I think they add up to a "lot"

If you look at what I wrote I didn't just say thicker spokes add up to a lot, I also talked about spoke count.

How about the deflection of the dirt? That could easily be many times greater than the deflection of the tire, yet no one talks about that.
 
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