Hi all, I’m in the market for a wheelset upgrade for my Santa Cruz Chameleon (hardtail). Currently I’m running the stock Raceface ARC 40 with Maxxis Recon+ 2.8 in the rear and a 3.0 tire in the front. I love the stability of the 40mm internal rim but the wheels are heavy and the rear hub engagement is super slow.</p>
Any suggestions for upgrade? Looking to be $1000 or under. I see companies advertising smaller rims that are “optimized” for tires up to 3.0, like Stan’s Sentry at 32 ID. But for some reason I feel like I should be at least 35mm at the tire size I’m running. Any input is appreciated.
I tend to go for DT Swiss most of the time whenever I can. I know their stuff well, and it’s high quality. For $1000 (USD?) you could probably get your LBS to custom build you a set of wheels. I’d probably recommend a DT XM551 rim (40mm internal), DT Competition double butted spokes (stronger, lighter), brass DT Pro Lock nipples on whatever hub you can afford. I’d usually go Hope, and you should be able to budget all of that under $1k (I have built those wheels for customers for around $1300 NZD in the past). Failing that, DT have some complete wheelsets that would probably come in under budget too.
I don’t know why, but I’m not a fan of Stans. I’m sure they’re fine and a set of Flows definitely comes under $1000, they just don’t particularly excite me.
If I had $1000 to spend on a nice set of wheels, I would be pretty tempted to get these Reynolds 29er carbon ones that are on super sale. Rim width is only 28mm so you could probably go up to a 2.6″ tire.
I have a 2018 Chameleon that I built up from scratch. I went with Race Face Aeffect R 29 wheelset, which has 9.2 degrees of engagement and are relatively light for the price. Very happy with them. There is an Aeffect R plus 27.5 40mm wheelset for the same price.
I’m planning to get a plus wheelset this spring and I’m going to get the IBIS 738 – 35mm rim and a bit lighter than 40mm rims with 10 degrees of engagement – to run 2.8 tires as an option. $499 US at Jenson. Dropping to 2.8 from 3.0 will save weight as well.
I’ve been riding Plusbikes for 5 years now and and I’ve tried 3.0, 2.8, and 2.6 tires. In my experience, a 3.0 tire on an (i=inner width) i40-45mm rim is to much wheel, a 2.6 tire is not Plus enough but a 2.8 tire is the Plus sweet spot. A 2.8 tire on an i35 rims does everything a 3.0 tire on an i40-45 rim does but with much less weight and rolling resistance. For Trailbikes, I think any tire wider than 2.8 and any rim wider than i35 should be sent to the historical dustbin of outdated tech—the same place as 3x drivetrains and rim brakes.
So what’s the best rim for each tire width. A 3.0 tire mates well with i35-45 rims, a 2.8 tire mates well with i30-40 rims, and a 2.6 tire mates well with i25-35 rims. If I had to pick one rim for 3.0, 2.8, and 2.6, I would choose i35. I wouldn’t run a 3.0 tire on anything narrower than i35. If I had to choose one rim for just 2.8 and 2.6, I would choose i32 just to save a little weight.
So what’s the best type of Plus tire. I divide Plus tires into 3 types. Light-Fast tires (thin casing, small knobs) are really more like gravel tires. They roll fast but they are not very durable nor do they provide much traction. Enduro tires (thick casing, large knobs) get amazing traction and are bombproof but they are heavy and slow rolling. My favorite, Trail tires (medium casing, medium knobs) essentially split the difference with durable casings and decent traction without being overly heavy and slow rolling. A 27×2.8 TRAIL tire should weigh about 900-950gm. A 29×2.8 Trail tire should weigh about 950-1000gm. My favorite 27×2.8 Trail tire is the Maxxis Rekon with the heavier Exo+ or Silk casing. My favorite 29×2.8 Trail tire is the Teravail Coronado with the Durable casing. If you are a much lighter than average rider you could use the lighter casings. If you need/want an Enduro tire, it would be better to use 2.6 tires to reduce weight.
So what’s the take away. Avoid tires wider than 2.8 and rims wider than i35. If you must have 3.0 tires, get i35 rims. I consider the 2.8 TRAIL tire on an i32-35 rim to be the Plus wheel sweet spot. If you must have Enduro tires, get them in the 2.6 width. All Trail bikes not just Plus bikes should come with 2.6-2.8 tires on i30-35 rims. Plus done right is amazing!
I’ve had good luck with i35 SR Duroc and WTB Asym rims.
Before you open your wallet, I just got back from my local Performance Bike store. Everything is pretty picked over, but they still had a good stock of wheelsets. All at 70% off. Hurry in though – I think they lock the doors this coming Tuesday.