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I'm looking to have a second set of rim/tires on my bike that are meant for faster singletrack and keep my current wheels for the rougher stuff. I'm trying to figure out what I should get and what I can realistically expect as a weight difference which is one of my main goals hoping that it really changes the acceleration of the bike. I currently have:

Mavic X223 Disc w/ Shimano FH-M525 hub in the back and a Stout hub in the front (all stock w/ the bike - Specialized FSR Expert). It also has Specialized Pro's for tires. For a reference point the rear wheel/tire/hub/disc/cassette together weights 5.5 pounds.

I'm looking at the Mavic 717 line but get confused as soon as the hubs come into play. I was thinking XT hubs since many come spec'd that way, but I read that they are anchors. What would the suggestion be for a price limit of $300-400 with the goal of a strong and durable but light wheel? How about the spokes? Do they matter that much and if so what should I look for/avoid?

At this point I'm thinking of staying away from UST/tubeless. Just a comfort zone thing. :)

Thanks for the help.
-Jim
 

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Okay I'll give you my favorite....

light weight/budget wheel build. Mavic 717's, Hope XC hubs, DT Swiss Comp 14/15g spokes, and DT Swiss Alloy nips (your choice of colors). The reason for the Hope hubs are two fold. They are fall of a rock simple to maintain, and they are lighter than XT hubs, though a tad more expensive. This wheel build from Universal Cycles would cost you about $408. You didn't say if they needed to be rim or disc brake rims so I am assuming discs, and I have assumed a 32 hole hub and rim as well. But the 717's are available either way.

Another alternative to the 717s is the DT 4.1 (rim brake) or 4.1d (disc) rims. They are light and quite strong as well. Cost with the same hub, spokes and nips would be right at $412

Either of these builds would be lighter than your stock wheel set. I have a 05 Stumpjumper FSR that I replaced the stock wheels with a similar build, Mavic 719's, Hope XCs, 14/15 spokes and brass nipples. Even with the heavier 719 rim they are still considerabely lighter than the stock wheels.

For your budget, that's about the best build I can think of. You can knock a few bucks off the bottom line by going with brass nipples instead of alloy. You don't really save that much weight for the price difference between the two anyway.

Personally I'd go with the DT 4.1's for rims. My son has a wheel set built up with them and he's ridden agressive XC and all mountain with them for the last two years and they've be outstanding so far. Stong, light and a very solid rim.

Anyway, that's my recommendation.

Good Dirt
 
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