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29er UST Wheels for heavy rider


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Nowadays, with hub brakes, there is only one way to build wheels - three cross (3X). Quality wheels are always built with double-butted spokes. Wheel tension is always high. Further, Stan's rims come in 32 hole or 32 hole.


Thus, how do they change the way they build for heavier guys? They simply bull***t their way around that one.


A custom wheel doesn't differ from a standard wheel built from the same components. Custom, derived from customised, implies that the owner had some choice in the components. However, if a factory and a hand builder chooses the same components and follow the same procedure, the wheels will be similar.


What wheelbuilding machines cannot do is bring spokes up to full tension. This is a job that only a hand can do. Hence Easton's Hand Built stickers. American Classic and co may as well also stick those on, they're laced and finished by hand. A spoke machine may come in at the intermediate process and tighten the spokes a little and do the stress relieving, but they're eessentially hand-built.


Watching a Taiwanese slave insert spokes at the speed of light is something to see.


Custom doesn't mean much. It has a nice ring to it but like a bespoke suit, only a few may notice.


Ok thanks, sounds like its one of those things that you master over time

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Hi Folks , need help . I weigh about 108kg and would like to know which ust wheelset will be ok for me . I understand that with 29ers the spoke lenghth etc becomes an issue . Suggestions please . I have a budget of about R 5k



Chuck, you pose several questions.


1) UST wheelset. Nowadays no-one really cares whether the wheel/tyre has a UST sticker on it or not. UST is a consortium that, like the Heart Foundation, Jewish Board of Deputees or Muslim Council, charges a fee for putting their stamp on the product. Just like a meal can be Kosher without the stamp, a wheel can be tubeless without the stamp. A wheel where hard tape covers the spoke holes and one where there are no spoke holes, works exactly the same. Both have advantages and both have drawbacks.


2) Distinguish between factory and hand-built wheels. With factory wheels you get a recognised brand name with all the frills that go with it - brownie points, resell value etc. There are good factory wheels and rubbish factory wheels. There are good hand-bkuilt wheels and rubbish hand-built wheels. You need to learn to discern.


3) Distinguish between strength and durability. A little bit like speed and speed endurance in training, the two are not the same. A wheel is strong enough to hold your weight if you sit on the bike and the wheels don't fold. A wheel is durable enough for the job if a heavy can ride it for hundreds of thousands of kilometers without failure.


4) As a rule of thumb: The heavier load the wheels have to carry, the heavier the wheels have to be. In the same rule of thumb, heavier wheels are more durable than light ones.


5) 29er spokes are not an issue. We've been using 290+mm spokes for on a hundred years now. It isn't an issue. In fact, it is an advantage if you're after durability.


6) Budget is a function of preference. You can build extremely durable and strong wheels from cheap SLX hubs or, extremely durable and strong wheels from expensive Chris King hubs. The current fashion is Stan's rims. It is a fashion only - there is no essential innovation there at all. Hope hubs on Stan's rims will cost about R6k. SLX hubs on no-name rims will cost about R2800-00. Neither will be better than the other.


zI have to ask though - what's wrong with the wheels you currently have?

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  • 3 years later...

Stans NoTubes list the following maximum recommended rider weights for their complete ZTR wheelsets (i.e. built on Stans hubs with their specified spokes in their controlled conditions):


Crest: 86kg

Arch EX: 104kg

Flow EX: 113kg


This presumably factors in things like some spokes losing tension, rim profile damage, impact loading during obstacle impacts etc. However even the best rim and hub can be built into a useless wheel by a bad wheel builder - spoke quality and tension is the most significant contributor to the wheel strength, as far as I can tell.


The Crest, Arch EX and Flow EX have increasing internal widths (which adds strength), but another benefit of having a wide rim is that the same tyre will develop a wider contact patch on a wider rim than a narrower one. So instead of using a 2.4" wide tyre on a Crest, a 2.1" tyre on a Flow EX would probably result in a similar contact patch, with the advantage being that the wider rim is lighter than the wider tyre (especially in the case of a tubeless tyre).


I am 94kg and ride Arch EX rims on SLX hubs - rock solid so far. If you are worried about being close to the limit, go up to a wider (stronger) rim - nothing like a rim folding underneath you to ruin a perfectly good set of teeth ...

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  • 2 months later...

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