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I have an older Surly Pugsley that I think is a 2012 ish pug ops. Offset rear, symmetrical fork. I converted it to 1x and have it set up now with a 29+ rabbit hole wheelset w/ 3" maxxis chronicles with tubes. Happy with the ride, but it's still a bit sluggish from the heavier wheelset. I have ridden it as much as 110 miles of wet gravel / atv trails in one day and it got the job done and kept me happy. I like having a fat bike to do some casual winter riding here and there (with my 26x4 wheelset).

I have been dreaming up a ride on the divide next year and am debating buying a new rig for that trip vs having a new wheelset built for the pugs. In a new wheelset I'd be looking for something durable and possibly a hub dynamo up front. Probably 35mm ish width to run a mid 2.5" or so tubeless tire. Seems like with that wheelset dialed in, this pugs would be functionally pretty comparable to a contemporary ogre or ecr-like build.

Curious to hear thoughts and opinions on going this route and spending a decent chunk of money on a very bike-specific wheelset that obviously won't hold its value and would be problematic in moving the dynamo hub to a different build in the future. I imagine a new wheelset will be a little spendy, especially if I go with the dynamo.

I like the geo of the bike and already have bikepacking-specific bags and handlebars that would work on the Pugs but could easily transfer to another bike.

I guess another idea could be to have a solid 29er wheelset built but use a rim dynamo like the pedalcell that I could transfer to a different bike down the road (rather than a hub dynamo). I'm in brainstorming phase so ideas and feedback are welcomed!

Should I just cut this line of thinking and buy a brand new ECR (if I can find one) or another rigid bikepacking bike like the Salsa Fargo to get more of the benefits of some modern components, geo, etc?

Thanks!
 

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Rippin da fAt
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Frankly, if you enjoy the Pugs and the geometry works for you, stick with it. Build a reasonably lighter wheelset and go. If that means blowing 2k+, go with another bike for that large a budget.

Hell, I didn't spend more than a grand for tires and wheels for my 4X4, these bike wheel prices are absurd and they don't give me the bonus extra two wheels!!
 

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This place needs an enema
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I build Pugs wheelsets like this for people with some regularity. Built one a week or so ago for a guy that was ditching his ECR and keeping the Pugs to be his one year-round bike.

30mm rims work best for 2.5" tires, especially if you're doing bigger miles. Wider rims add rolling resistance, and you just don't need any more of that when covering ground is the goal.
 
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