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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Ibis Ripley AF came with the S35 Aluminum wheels. The bike is kinda porky so looking for some weight loss. The S35 is a bit much for what I need as well. I am in the midwest so the worst terrain I would I would hit would be some rocky stuff and a little bit of elevation in Wisconsin and the UP. For the terrain I ride, I'd think aggressive xc 2.4 front and 2.35 or 2.4 in rear.

I have a budget of roughly 2K and was thinking a set of carbon wheels. Anyone have recommendations? I'd like to not just buy on specs, price, and but more from user experience. I have about a month or so left of the season so I would like to put in an order once done, you never know how long it will take to get them. Thanks in advance.
 

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It helps if you give us your weight and if durability or weight are your first priority. At $2,000 your choices are wide open. I would suggest you reach out to a good wheelbuilder like Mike Curiak at lacemine29 (Mikesee on the forums) to discuss what you want. With a good builder you pay about the same (as they get parts at a discount), but benefit from the knowledge and experience they have of thousands of wheels in the field and direct feedback. I expect that you can get exactly what you are looking for for well below your $2,000 budget.

It will not be hard to get lighter. I have the same wheel on a DV9 and they weigh close to 2200 grams. As Keith Bontrager said, light, strong, cheap, pick two. They are strong and inexpensive.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It helps if you give us your weight and if durability or weight are your first priority. At $2,000 your choices are wide open. I would suggest you reach out to a good wheelbuilder like Mike Curiak at lacemine29 (Mikesee on the forums) to discuss what you want. With a good builder you pay about the same (as they get parts at a discount), but benefit from the knowledge and experience they have of thousands of wheels in the field and direct feedback. I expect that you can get exactly what you are looking for for well below your $2,000 budget.

It will not be hard to get lighter. I have the same wheel on a DV9 and they weigh close to 2200 grams. As Keith Bontrager said, light, strong, cheap, pick two. They are strong and inexpensive.
200lbs without gear. I guess durability would be one, as I don't want to invest in another set. It appears you're saying I should get a custom built wheel then going with something from a premade wheel set. Why is that?
 

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200lbs without gear. I guess durability would be one, as I don't want to invest in another set. It appears you're saying I should get a custom built wheel then going with something from a premade wheel set. Why is that?
Premade wheels are just like bike sizes, if you are 6', you ride a large, with a tubeset designed for someone who weighs up to 300 pounds. Often production wheels use proprietary parts, so if you do need to fix them, you are locked into that manufacture and what they charge for parts. At the less than $500 level, it is hard to beat the economy of scale that production line wheels bring. As you get to higher price points, the value goes way down. At $1,000+ you should be getting the hubs you want, spokes selected for your use, and the compromises that best meet your needs.

Let's just take an example. Santa Cruz reserve wheels, a good wheel, good warranty. You get three choices, DT 350 hubs, I9 hydra, Chris King, all good choices, different prices, $1,600-2,200. You have no choice on rims or spokes, they build them with one choice, which is designed to be strong enough that they can be beat on by a 300 pound rider, so they are very stiff and not very light. Maybe you love them, maybe you don't. Which hubs do you choose?

A good custom builder is going to go through your needs and consider the following and more:
  • Which hubs? DT350s with great value, reliability and weight? DT240s, lighter, more expensive. I9 Hydra, 5 billion engagement points. Chris King, hand made expensive jewelry, but worth the money if you are in an extremely wet climate. Onyx- silent, unlimited engagement, a bit heavy. Hadley and White Industries- great US made hubs.
  • Which Rims? We Are One- not so light, reliable, made in Canada, lifetime warranty? Chinese Carbon- Less expensive, some are really light, warranty and quality varies based on the manufacture, which to choose?
  • Spokes? Basic DT Swiss Competitions or Sapim Race. Maybe a DT Competition Race or Sapim D-Light are a better choice. Could be that the Pillar PSR TB2017 triple butted is the best choice for your use.
  • Nipples- Brass or Alloy. Which ones?
For me at least, if I am spending that kind of money, and have the choice of a generic product, or for the same price, a bespoke item specifically made for me, but by a person who has the knowledge that makes it the best choice for me, I am going to get the bespoke item every time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I understand your point and it's makes sense for the most part. The only thing that would bother me is warranty. I break a Santa Cruz wheel, it gets replaced virtually no questions asked. Seems like it may be hard to do that with custom made wheel. I guess I need to talk to a wheel builder and look at both options.
 

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I own a set of Nobl TR37 rims and love them. They are their AM/Enduro rims with 30mm IW that will fit that tire range well and have a lifetime warranty. If you want a lighter set, their TR32s are XC/Trail focused with 27mm IW. They also have cheaper options in their legacy series, but they don't come with a lifetime warranty. I've also heard great things about We Are One, so you won't go wrong with them either.

Customwheelbuilder.com sells both companies, along with a wide range of hubs to choose from, and offers a 10% discount (the last time I checked, We Are One is excluded from the discount).

If you decide on We Are One, there's a local wheelbuilder near where I live that seems to be getting good reviews, SpokeX.com, they also offer a discount, with an additional discount offered through a local YouTube rider they sponsor. Look in the video description for the code.

 

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200lbs without gear. I guess durability would be one, as I don't want to invest in another set. It appears you're saying I should get a custom built wheel then going with something from a premade wheel set. Why is that?
Because your not just paying for a set of wheels with a custom builder, your paying for their expertise. A quality custom builder that has built many custom sets is going to know what works and why.

I had a local shop build a set of wheels for me last month. Spent $900ish for them. I can not imagine spending twice that and not getting hand built custom wheels.
 

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My Ibis Ripley AF came with the S35 Aluminum wheels. The bike is kinda porky so looking for some weight loss. The S35 is a bit much for what I need as well. I am in the midwest so the worst terrain I would I would hit would be some rocky stuff and a little bit of elevation in Wisconsin and the UP. For the terrain I ride, I'd think aggressive xc 2.4 front and 2.35 or 2.4 in rear.

I have a budget of roughly 2K and was thinking a set of carbon wheels. Anyone have recommendations? I'd like to not just buy on specs, price, and but more from user experience. I have about a month or so left of the season so I would like to put in an order once done, you never know how long it will take to get them. Thanks in advance.
After years and multiple builds of stans flow wheels (mk3, ex3) and my favorite Hadley hubs, I have strayed. Timing and availability had me trying something new. I ended up with a set of the I9 1-1, enduro-s wheels. So far I am very happy with the performance and price. No, the hubs are not as beautiful, or exotic as my old stand by, but performance has been on par. I do worry about longevity, but time will tell.
 

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Santa Cruz Reserve 30|SL with DT Swiss 350 hubs. Exceptional ride quality paired with the best warranty in the business and ultra reliable. Less than your budget too.


I've had a few sets of custom wheels, and unless I'm saving money or the builder is local, I don't see the benefit. If you need the wheels tensioned or trued, are you really going to ship them back to the original wheel builder at your own expense and be without them for who knows how long?

I know you didn't ask but I also own a Ripley (carbon) with the same wheelset. Buying a $2k wheelset to save weight on an AF, which is $3k for a complete build, is an unattainable goal. An AF is never going to be light. But if you're someone that changes frames often and moves the components between them, that makes more sense.
 

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I have I9 trail s hydra wheels on my ripley, love them. My went to Fanatik bike and played with their wheel builder and built up some I9 1/1 hubs on some stans arch wheels for my single speed. Check out their site, it’s fun checking out all the build options.
 

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I was wondering if you found a new wheelset for your Ripley AF. I recently purchased a Ripley Carbon with the S35 AL and was wondering if it was worth upgrading the wheelset. On paper the Ibis wheels don't seem that bad at 1880g. If I stick with a 30mm ID wheel it seems like most AL wheels are around the same weight as the AL S35 wheels.
 

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If you put those wheels on a scale you‘ll find their real world weight is considerably more than that. I’d have to do some digging but when I built up my Ridley this past spring I weighed mine and wrote it down somewhere but best I can recall it was a bit north of 2100g.

That being said I’ve been running them all year with Recon 2.6’s and really like them despite the weight. The weight weenie in me often thinks about upgrading to a lighter narrower set of carbon wheels with 2.4’s (I suspect I could easily shed 400g or more) but there is another part of me hesitant to do that because I think the S35 might play a larger part in how well the bike rides than I realize and I don’t want to spoil it.

I do admit I get that unnerving popping/pinging noise from the rear hub they’ve got a reputation for every once in while. Not often, maybe once every fourth ride.
 

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That still seems crazy that they are 190 g heavier than advertised. Do you still like the way the S35 ride? Just for the fun of it I put my Stout 25mm ID wheels with 2.3" tires from my specialized Chisel on the Ripley today. I was surprised how much lateral movement the wheels had compared to the S35's. Just riding around the street I could feel a difference. Not sure if it was from the wheel or the tire.
 

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I realize this is an old thread just in case anyone else is thinking of upgrading their S35 Aluminum wheels. I just had a custom set made using Ibis S35 Carbon rims, DT Swiss 240 EXP hubs with 54 engagement and Berd spokes. My goal was to keep the excellent traction and ride feel of the original wheels but cut the weight way down. Couldn’t be happier with the outcome of these components. It shaves a good half pound of weight, has much more “compliant“ ride feel from the Berd spokes and the DT Swiss hub is also an improvement over the stock Ibis hubs. I feel my Ripmo is now the bike I always hoped it would be.
 
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