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Discussion Starter #1
From Mavic's, Shimano's and beyond - who's got great rims and who doesn't? I'm not trying to be some pro rider, so spending $1000 on a set is out of the question. But with that said, will I notice the difference from my standard bontrager wheels that came with my base model Fisher if I were to spend $500? I don't want to spend $500 if I'm not going to notice the difference, but will spend $1000 if I need to.

Thanks for you help guys!
 

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why do you want to change your wheels?

everyone has different needs.. if you want to change them because you destroyed your stock wheels, thats one thing. if you want to change them for something faster thats much different.

you can absolutely get a great wheelset for 300-400 bucks. you can get "good" wheels for 200-250.
 

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We would also need to know more about the type of riding you are doing. XC? Dirt Jumping? Free riding? Downhill? How heavy are you? etc. But shaving a few hundred grams off a wheelset is not going to be a great improvement. I shaved 400g off of my MTB wheels and 750g of my road wheels and it did not improve my riding any measureable amount at all.
 

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A wheelist
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crakt helmet said:
will I notice the difference from my standard.....wheels......if I were to spend $500? I don't want to spend $500 if I'm not going to notice the difference, but will spend $1000 if I need to.
You're walking into a minefield littered with hopes, dreams, hype, makers' claims, facts and untruths. You've got to determine what you expect out of a new set of wheels. So far we only have the criteria that you want to "notice the difference" and only you know what you mean by that.
The Bonty wheels on your "base model Fisher" will be a machine-built lower end heavy wheelset of average parts.
With a high end wheelset you're going to get a weight loss of approximately 1.7lbs (2200gram wheels versus 1400gram wheels) which is massive but only you can decide if it makes sense to use wheels that are worth more than your whole bike. And are light wheels like that viable for your riding? Will you really "notice the difference"?
Along the way you're going to run into piles of hype where you're led to believe that some wheels are "better" and lighter just because of their appearance. And here I'm meaning low spoke count wheels with fancy spoking patterns. Marketing budgets and unproven claims sell lots of these wheels.

You need to do lots of research here otherwise it's easy to spend lots of money and gain no benefit. You need to take your actual needs, riding terrain, riding style, body weight, budget and, yes, wants into account.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies...I'm mainly riding XC. I'm average in height/weight...6'/195. I'm not extremely aggressive and am not looking to get into racing. I just enjoy getting out and riding. I'm not really concerned about becoming a weight weenie.

As far as why I'm wanting to change my wheels...I'm ready to start upgrading from the stock components currently on my bike - I figure the wheels would be the first.

As far as getting sucked into the marketing of wheels, that's why I'm here. At my LBS, the guy mentioned that if I were to upgrade wheels, that I wouldn't notice a difference unless I went up to $1000 set. After reading a good bit, I find that a $500 set is great. Marketing will suck you dry!

I'll keep reading and hopefully with the little bit of info I provided you guys could help. What sets have you guys ridden and what do you like out there?

Thanks
 

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A wheelist
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At the top of this page you will see the website of our forum sponsor. They build no-BS wheels from great parts at even greater prices. It's REAL easy to buy factory ready-made "boutique" wheelsets for 2x their prices and they won't be any lighter. The extra cost went towards fancy advertising budgets and profit.

For instance, you could look at their customized Mavic 717 set with DT 240 hubs, DT Comp spokes and alum nipples for $572. You could pay more than double that for a factory boutique set that would be heavier. And that's one of BWW's top-end builds. Try going nuts with their housebrand set and get some beautiful no-BS wheels for under $400. I've got a set. Give 'em a call to talk over your needs and wants. You won't be sorry.
 

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What dealer are you referring to?

For whatever reason I do not see a sponsor at the top and I am interested in a new wheelset for my steel XC hardtail. I currently run Mavic 717 disc rims with DT spokes and XT hubs. I want to put these wheels on my Giant Trance and get a lighter setup for the hardtail.

Your recommendation makes sense except I don't see a sponsor's name.
Thanks
REV
 

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I would (and have) pose your questions directly to a professional wheelbuilder. A good one will take into account your weight, riding style, bike, and other factors before making a recommendation.
 

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This deal is hard to beat. I just ordered a set for my bike, started breaking spokes on the old wheelset and this made more sense than re-lacing my old Hugi 240's
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com

I haven't bought wheels from them. Yet. But everyone on the forum who has has good things to say about their build quality.

For the OP, the wheelset I want to buy is Mavic 719s on XT 6-bolt hubs. The suggestion about 717s on DT 240s would certainly be a lot lighter. I'm finding I like to have a little wider rim - it lets me run lower pressure, and I may sometimes want to use 2.3" tires. If you like narrow tires, get the 717s.

Unless you're rich, race wheels and weight weenie wheels are two totally different animals. Most of the guys racing around here are on 32-spoke XT/Mavic wheels, or similar setups. I highly recommend sticking with a 32-spoke build because all the parts are readily available at most bike shops, so repair and replacement are very easy. 32-spoke wheels are also super-sturdy unless you're using extremely light spokes or rims.

I had the opportunity to put a narrower, slightly lighter wheel on the front of my mountain bike. It's still cheap and heavy but I've noticed a difference - the front end is a little easier to place, and the 2.1" tire I'm using right now has a rounder profile and seems to corner better on a 19mm (internal width) rim than it did on a 22mm rim. I feel like I get better grip on a 19mm rim than I used to on a 17mm rim, but that rim was a long time ago, so I could be mistaken. Anyway, that's why I want the wheelset I mention above.

XT 6-bolt hubs are not exactly light, but Shimano's hubs are easy to service, their freehubs are readily available, and XTs are supposed to last forever. Not sure about DTs. Certainly people like them.
 

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crakt helmet said:
Thanks for the replies...I'm mainly riding XC. I'm average in height/weight...6'/195. I'm not extremely aggressive and am not looking to get into racing. I just enjoy getting out and riding. I'm not really concerned about becoming a weight weenie.

As far as why I'm wanting to change my wheels...I'm ready to start upgrading from the stock components currently on my bike - I figure the wheels would be the first....
I think your first two paragraphs contradict each other. There is no need to upgrade (assuming your current set isn't broken) if you're not looking for higher performance, lighter weight, and/or higher strength. Your LBS was sort of right, you won't notice a difference if you replace OEM stuff with something only a little bit better. And wheels can get expensive!! Having said that, I went a newbie route the only time I bought a new wheelset several years ago and paid top dollar (retail) for a fancy wheelset (Mavic Crossmax SL disc). Much lighter than the stock, no more broken spokes, and UST capability. I still use and race them on my current bike. Knowing what I do now, I concur with what everyone is suggesting and get something built by BWW or some other reputable builder.

Or if you just want to spend some money on a difference you can feel, try some different kinds of tires. Some can shed a ton of weight, or some can blow you away with their increased traction.
 

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A wheelist
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Rev Bubba said:
For whatever reason I do not see a sponsor at the top and I am interested in a new wheelset for my steel XC hardtail. I currently run Mavic 717 disc rims with DT spokes and XT hubs. I want to put these wheels on my Giant Trance and get a lighter setup for the hardtail.
Your recommendation makes sense except I don't see a sponsor's name.
Thanks
REV
You can't see Bicycle Wheel Warehouse's banner ad on this page? :eek:
 

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it honestly sounds like you're good to go with the wheels you currently have on the bike! maybe get them retensioned (or better yet, follow mikes link and do it yourself!). properly tensioned rims ride like brand new wheelsets.
 

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A wheelist
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Rev Bubba said:
For whatever reason I do not see a sponsor at the top and I am interested in a new wheelset for my steel XC hardtail. I currently run Mavic 717 disc rims with DT spokes and XT hubs. I want to put these wheels on my Giant Trance and get a lighter setup for the hardtail.

Your recommendation makes sense except I don't see a sponsor's name.
Thanks
REV
Rev, it must be some setting that's messed up on your thingamajig. The advertiser Bicycle Wheel Warehouse sponsors this Wheels forum and builds great wheels - I should know as 5 sets have passed through my hands in the past year. Top notch stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Awesome guys! As a newbie, it's so easy to just go into the LBS and buy what they sell you on. But I now feel confident in ordering parts, in this case wheels, from a builder. Thanks for all the input and links.

Also, it's great to talk to other guys who ride cause it helps to even clarify your own intentions! I knew I wanted to upgrade, but wasn't 100% clear as to why (cause that's what everyone does at some point?). But ultimately, it is to get better performance out of your rig.
 

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ewarnerusa said:
Or if you just want to spend some money on a difference you can feel, try some different kinds of tires. Some can shed a ton of weight, or some can blow you away with their increased traction.
+1

not to diss the idea of new wheels at all, but tires that are light and have low rolling resistance (and some lighter tubes, if you run them) can make a huge difference at a relatively low cost.

if you haven't tried this route yet, give it a whirl, and that will give you some idea of the difference less rotational weight can make in your ride. Ditching my Nevegals was one of the best upgrades I've made.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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crakt helmet said:
Awesome guys! As a newbie, it's so easy to just go into the LBS and buy what they sell you on. But I now feel confident in ordering parts, in this case wheels, from a builder. Thanks for all the input and links.

Also, it's great to talk to other guys who ride cause it helps to even clarify your own intentions! I knew I wanted to upgrade, but wasn't 100% clear as to why (cause that's what everyone does at some point?). But ultimately, it is to get better performance out of your rig.
The biggest upgrades I've made to my bike have been a better fork and changing out a lot of the cockpit for a better fit and more aggressive position. Also, clipless pedals. I'm looking forward to new wheels at some point, but they're going to be after I get a new crankset because my current one bothers my knees and my wheels really don't have an effect on that. Honestly, I may just try to score a cheap rear wheel at the local used shop to match the one on the front, at least until I get a full-time job again.

I would start with bike fit and anything that doesn't perform consistently. Also nice tires, as some other posters suggest. All this is subjective - you want the bike to fit you, and the tires to fit your style and the conditions where you ride, and there's only one person involved in all this that you have to please.
 

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FWIW, I wouldn't put $1,000 wheels on a $1,000 bike.

That's madness.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I'd totally put $1000 wheels on a $1000 bike if I thought the wheels were worth that. I find it unlikely that I'll pay more than $300 for wheels anytime soon, though.

You can transfer them to a new bike later, and that bike won't come with $1000 wheels either. Also, if it's already a decent quality aluminum frame, the difference between that frame and another is pretty incremental. And, for me at least, component selection is something that seems to get more and more specific to me the more I ride. Unless I'm getting a bike in a different genre from the ones I already own, I don't see myself buying complete bikes in the future.

If the Fisher has a nice frame, I don't see any problem with replacing things piecemeal, with nice stuff, over a long period of time. If you're upgrading to upgrade, though, rather than replacing worn or broken components as they fail, maybe save the money and wait until you have enough to get a really nice complete bike - it'll probably be cheaper.

What wheels are on that bike, anyway? Bontrager makes everything from pretty cheap to pretty fancy.
 
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