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Lightweight, Strong AM Wheels

cat_with_no_tailcat_with_no_tail Posts: 12,981
edited December 2011 in MTB buying advice
As I'm off the bike for an extended period, I've decided to take some time upgrading bits as a treat for myself when I'm back in shape.

Quite a large portion of the budget will be blown on wheels, but every time I think I've found the perfect set, I find something that plands that niggling seed of doubt.

So, budget £600-800 absolute max.
Needs to be sealed bearings, where I live the ground is very sandy, very wet, and the air is very salty. IME, Cup&cone hubs simply don't have any sort of longevity.
Needs to be sub 1,800g but able to withstand 16st of idiot hammering on them for 6hrs at a time.
Performance is top of the list, but at this price, I don't think a bit of pimpness is too much to ask for. Colour to be black with Blue, Orange or Red.

Options so far:

Easton Haven
Crank Bros Iodine 3
Industry Nine AM
Custom Flow rims on Chris King hubs
XTR Trail
DT EX1750

I9s sole UK importer/distributer (afaik) Axel Imports don't seem to like replying to emails, and there is no info in their site about the AM wheelset, so I'm not sure if it's a US only release, with UK riders limited to the heavier Enduro set.

King and Shimano both use Angular contact bearings. Which makes me worry. Not saying they are not well built, but we really do have abnormally harsh conditions here, and King seem very picky about servicing of their hubs to maintain warranty.

Owned some EX1750s before, and they were a fantastic wheelset, but the DT rims are made of cheese. No idea how they manage to be so stiff, but so soft at the same time. And they're white, not a fan of white.

Anyone got any real life experience with any of the above they want to share? Or alternatives to suggest.

Alternatives should NOT include Hope or Superstar. Just not interested.
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Posts

  • PudseypPudseyp Posts: 3,514
    Ummmm difficult one CWNT....

    I do like the look of the CB Iodine's but my mate has had loads of bearing issues and finds it difficult to seat wide tyres...so I would count them out.

    I do love DT hubs and they make some of the best hubs IMO, then again I love my CK's (which I will be putting on new flows next year for the Tomac) the Easton Haven would be to narrow for AM use Havoc would be better...

    For me it's between DT's and CK's on flows.
    Tomac Synper 140 Giant XTC Alliance 1
    If the world was flat, I wouldn't be riding !
  • Pud, I'll only be running 2.25 nics.
    Havens are plenty wide enough for that
    21mm internal compared with 23m internal for the havocs.
    There is only 100g difference in the two though. 1,750 for Havocs and 1,650 for the Havens.

    With regards to the Kings. How have you found them? What sort of weather have they been out in, and how many miles have you put in on them so far? Edit: oh and have you had them serviced yet?

    And yes, I'd heard some rumours of bearing issues with some of the older Iodines, but the 2012 ones haven't been out long enough to get any reviews yet (sadly).

    Normally, I'd just MTFU and make a decision, but it's a fair old wad of dosh to chuck away if I get it wrong.

    Also seen crossmax SXs, they'er a possibility too.
  • PudseypPudseyp Posts: 3,514
    Had the Kings for about 8 months now and they have been great. After two months had to tighten them after the settled in (common on CK's) when I was choosing it was between DT and Kings, I had a few sets of DT hubs and all have been great. A mate ran Kings on his 575 for over two years without any issues...we ride the welsh trail centres, Gisburn and Delamere (which is always muddy) and he and I have had no issues...look good and sound good too !
    Tomac Synper 140 Giant XTC Alliance 1
    If the world was flat, I wouldn't be riding !
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    240 hubs, cx-ray or supercomp spokes and flows?? well proven on all levels, easy to source parts for, something i dont like about factory wheels, i.e. mavic, easton, cb, you can never find parts for them in your lbs...

    stans are bringing out a new arch ex rim in th new year, lighter than flows, but still strong and wide, if you think flows are over kill
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    A sealed bearing is a bearing with seals ;-) Whether cartridge, cup and cone, angular. Top end cup and cone bearings with good seals are better than poor cartridge bearings, and vice versa. The reason why Shimano, Campag (and Mavic) and others stick with them is because they run smoother and can take more load than an equivalent sized cartridge. Most peoples' experience with cup 'n' cone is of XT and Deore, hubs that can be got from about a tenner, and they compare to much more expensive cartridge hubs. XTR hubs are amazing.

    My personal recommendation would be a custom build of XTR hubs on Stans ARCH or Mavic 719 rims with ACI DB spokes. The weight will be 1675g with ARch rims, and cost £350 from Merlin.

    I don't think factory built sets are worth the money, custom builds are more flexible, easier to gets spares for and better value.
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    supersonic wrote:
    A sealed bearing is a bearing with seals ;-) Whether cartridge, cup and cone, angular. Top end cup and cone bearings with good seals are better than poor cartridge bearings, and vice versa. The reason why Shimano, Campag (and Mavic) and others stick with them is because they run smoother and can take more load than an equivalent sized cartridge. Most peoples' experience with cup 'n' cone is of XT and Deore, hubs that can be got from about a tenner, and they compare to much more expensive cartridge hubs. XTR hubs are amazing.

    My personal recommendation would be a custom build of XTR hubs on Stans ARCH or Mavic 719 rims with ACI DB spokes. The weight will be 1675g with ARch rims, and cost £350 from Merlin.

    I don't think factory built sets are worth the money, custom builds are more flexible, easier to gets spares for and better value.

    you do love your cup and cones dont you :lol: my personal experience as well as others i ride with, has been poor to say the least, even at xtr level, they just need tightening all the time, sure they might last forever if they are kept tight, but i dont fancy lugging cone spanners round in my trail pack, this just my opinion, but i would never recommend them to anyone, one thing every test i read on shimano hubs is watch the cup and cones, and i like to fit stuff that i know is going to work, sounds like the op is after the same
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Sounds like user error tbh...

    Anyway. The Eastons look great but there's been some gripes about hubs. No Crossmax love? ST or SX probably belongs on that list.

    I'd go for DT 240s over Chris King, but you don't see many people offering them built on Flows (which would be a good shout)
    Uncompromising extremist
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    If they are coming loose every ride, then you are not adjusting them correctly. That said the newer XTR are better of course than the M965 (which I have) and they are great hubs anyway! XTR are just so much better than Hope, and IMO superior to CK and any Mavic hub.
  • PudseypPudseyp Posts: 3,514
    Northwind wrote:
    Sounds like user error tbh...

    Anyway. The Eastons look great but there's been some gripes about hubs. No Crossmax love? ST or SX probably belongs on that list.

    I'd go for DT 240s over Chris King, but you don't see many people offering them built on Flows (which would be a good shout)

    CRC ? I know they stock DT and No Tubes ?
    Tomac Synper 140 Giant XTC Alliance 1
    If the world was flat, I wouldn't be riding !
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    supersonic wrote:
    If they are coming loose every ride, then you are not adjusting them correctly. That said the newer XTR are better of course than the M965 (which I have) and they are great hubs anyway! XTR are just so much better than Hope, and IMO superior to CK and any Mavic hub.

    were coming lose, as of tomorrow they will be history and i'll be cup and cone free, tbh i never touched them, i always let my mate do it, and he knows what he's doing. i just dont like the faff, other than snapping my axle, my pro2's have been spot on
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    supersonic wrote:
    WHich hubs are they?

    ive had 2 sets of deore, 3 sets of xt and a mates had a set xtr, the xtr's were better, but still not brilliant straight from the box, the deores lasted 2 months before they needed work, and the xt's lasted 5 months before the freehub went, maybe its just me, but i seem to eat cup and cone hubs, and no amount of tinkering sorted them, and im no heavy weight or mega hard rider who's tough on kit, hence why ive sworn never to use them again :lol:
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    You can get a WHOLE Deore hub for less than a single Hope BEARING hahaha! ;-)

    There was a poor XT hub not so long back, they were pretty dire, but have addressed that now.
  • Had a bad experience with Mavic and obtaining spares from them a few years back which has soured me on ever buying any of their products again.

    Sonic, in your experience/opinion, would one of the new XTR hubs require more fettling than, for example, a DT 240s to keep them silky.

    In my experience of Shimano in general (which as you correctly pointed out above, was based on lower end shimano hubs, deore, XT and so on), they need constant fettling, whereas DTs were fit & forget until they needed new cartridges popping in. Obviously, what I don't know is if this is because they were lower end hubs or because they were cup&cone

    I like to pretty much fit/forget.

    DT 240s on Flow is something offered by CRC, JRA and Merlin I believe. It's something I've considered as in theory, it should be lighter than the EX1750s whilst being as strong.

    Just to throw some other hubs in the mix. Has anyone had any experience with American Classic Hubs or the Stans ZTR hubs?
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    supersonic wrote:
    You can get a WHOLE Deore hub for less than a single Hope BEARING hahaha! ;-)

    There was a poor XT hub not so long back, they were pretty dire, but have addressed that now.

    not if you know a man who knows where to get them mega cheap ;) imo they're worth it, if i could afford dt 240's i would have them though, they are superb, very light and last forever.

    american classics are light, but the bearing quality isnt great, not had any experience of ztr hubs, but they're made by sun ringle afaik, so should be pretty good
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Cup and Cone tend to need more maintenance than a cartridge bearings, but then again Shimano hubs have cartridge Freehub bodies that in turn usually need less maintenance than the ones on cartridge hubs, so swings and roundabouts. There is no doubt XTR are way better sealed than Deore, higher tolerances and need a lot less work. And quite a bit better than XT as you'd expect. They have titanium freehub bodies, quite simply the best in the business.

    AC wheels were the others I was going to mention. I had some on the Moda that I tested for WMB, awesome wheels. Were the MTB lightweight model, but were tough and stiff. Hubs were smooth, but as with all cartridge bearings, cannot compete with cup and cone for smoothness and lack of friction. Unfortunately theyt don't do a midweight model, jumps to 1825 then 1910g for the other models.
  • I was thinking more along the lines of doing a custom build with their hubs and some flows.

    (In case you'd not already guessed, I've pretty much decided on flow rims if I go down the custom build route :lol:)

    You are starting to talk me round to the XTR way of thinking though you bad, bad man.

    If they're really unreliable, can I send them off to be serviced by you, for free, forever? ;)
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Haha, yes, I am an expert with them! I have stripped mine once in two years, and still like silk! I think for £350 they are a steal, and up there with wheels at twice the price. Flows will up the weight of course.
  • I'd be interested to know how they get £350 for XTR/Arch but an RRP of £900 for the M988 wheelset :s Even £600 which they were being sold at on Merlin & CRC seems a bit on the steep side considering.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Same here, is a ridiculous amount. Some of it is in the Scandium rims (they are very tough), but still, the custom builts are way better value.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Sonic, in your experience/opinion, would one of the new XTR hubs require more fettling than, for example, a DT 240s to keep them silky.

    240s are pretty brilliant. There's one bearing deep inside which needs an expensive special tool and the direct intervention of the Pope to change, but mine don't show any sign that it'll ever need done so that's OK, The brakeside bearing is a wee bit exposed and tends to clog up a little faster, but still the bearings have lasted way longer than my Pro 2s.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 52,901
    CWNT, can't do a comparison of the ones on your list but the Easton Havens on my Spicy have worked faultlessly so far and are a very good seal with the Conti RQ tubeless tyres they came with - haven't pumped them up in over a month and they still feel like they are the same pressure. Look mega-bling too :cool:
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Yeh, 240s are outstanding, especially with the ratchet upgrade to improve the pickup, that was the reason for using them in comparison with the XTRs. They're the same hubs used on the EX1750 I used to have and was impressed no end with them so if the XTRs can compete with that, we have a strong contender.

    I just wish Merlin still did the XTR groupsets + wheels. If they did, I may well have ordered one tonight
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Unless they have upgraded internals, the DT240 standard pickup is 20 degrees - XTR M985/M975 are 10 degrees, so XTR are twice as quick!
  • http://www.actionsports.de/gb/Wheels/Cu ... 9_108.html

    or have a look at their specials

    I have used my dt240s for 3years without taking them apart, sold them because they were built on dt xr4.2d which ended up to be to soft- Mavic xc717 Disc were far better, but I would not use them for AM. Recently bought

    240s on CREST and Sapims CX Rays (1380g sharp)

    I was doing research on wheels for like a year!!- could not find them cheaper anywhere else. I did not have any probs with those guys.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    supersonic wrote:
    Unless they have upgraded internals, the DT240 standard pickup is 20 degrees - XTR M985/M975 are 10 degrees, so XTR are twice as quick!

    There's a 10 degree replacement available, which is also lighter. But I've never bothered to get one, because frankly I couldn't care less ;)
    Uncompromising extremist
  • i love the idea of cup and cone in the fact they take better load angles but ive not had a perticularly good experience with them, true i have been using loew budget shimano so i guess it would be unfair to say they are pants without testing the full range. do they make cup and cone in any other size than 9mm?
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    15 and 20 front, but mainly 15 for bolt through.
  • leafliteleaflite Posts: 1,651
    supersonic wrote:
    Unfortunately theyt don't do a midweight model, jumps to 1825 then 1910g for the other models.

    I thought they did an all mountain version that weighed around 1550g?
  • leaflite wrote:
    supersonic wrote:
    Unfortunately theyt don't do a midweight model, jumps to 1825 then 1910g for the other models.

    I thought they did an all mountain version that weighed around 1550g?

    They do and they're a claimed 1,546g which if they're *really* AM strong, is fantastic.

    Plus I can get hold of them from my LBS, and they're only £500 (I say only, you know what I mean though).

    I don't seem to be able to find any recent reviews of them though, the only one I found was from 3 years ago and had an actual weight quoted at almost 1900g.

    The (old) reviews also say the hubs are almost silent, which is another plus point for me.

    24 ratchet teeth, 6 pawls all doubled up for 12 point engagement, 15deg pickup.

    Steel inserts on the freehub body so it dosent get eaten by cassettes.

    PLUS, they offer 15mm/10mm combo on wheelsets which is what I'm after (afaik, shimano only have regular 5mm QR rears).

    Plus, I happen to think they look really nice too.

    We may well have a winnor!
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