Wheels: Return on investment


Don't piss off the red guy
I've seen prices of wheelsets range from $200 to over $1000. I know the more expensive wheels are lighter and have smoother bearings in the hubs but what other attributes do the more expensive wheelsets have? What's the difference between a $300 set of wheels, a $500 set, and a $700 set? At what price do you start to realize a point of diminishing return?


The Moped
I haaaaaaaaate cone bearing hubs. It's worth every penny to get sealed berring hubs. Also I ride tubeless, and the 819's are SO much better than conversion kits. I also smashed the crap out of them more than once and they are still perfectly straight. Broke a few spokes getting branches caught in them but whatever. I'm really rough on wheels and can break a mediocre/crappy set of wheel VERY fast.
For me, the 819 on WTB hubs were worth the money.


Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
weight and materials and stiffness.

hubs are built to different tolerances with different materials and designs. you've also got points of engagement (more are better).

rims can either be "pinned" together or welded. welded are more expensive because they are (supposed) to be stonger. then you've got carbon...a whole 'nother level of bling. carbon is supposed to be the stiffest and lightest available...it's also the newest and pretty labor intensive to build which adds to the cost.

then, you have one of the most expensive factors, and that's the name. king, paul, hope, mavic, salsa. a lot of what you're paying for is R&D and marketing.

of course you have to factor in labor if you're not building yourself.

FWIW, i run hope hubs, mavic 719 rims and DT Swiss spokes on my 29er SS. so far nary a wobble in them and i beat 'em pretty good.


Shop: Bicycle Pro
Shop Keep
mostly weight, which requires more steps in manufacturing and/or more exotic materials and complexity, for instance king or I9 driver design, or mavic hub/spokes.

You can spend $2500 on the dt xrc1250's with carbon rims and hubs with ceramic bearings, or $950 on the ztr race 7000's, which are actually lighter, albeit not nearly as exotic, but probably just as svelte.

I'm running dt 240s/mavic717/dt supercomp, which weigh around the same as a set of crossmax slr/sl, but they were somewhere between 1/2-3/4 the price of the mavics. They're not as stiff and not tubeless ready, but I saved a lot of coin and chose exactly the parts I wanted.

If you're looking for return on your investment, look into mavic crossmax st or sl with the mp3 plan.


Don't piss off the red guy
I'm more into performance than 'bling' or the name factor. My questions really is at what price point do you stop getting more performance for the money and get into the 'bling' category. I don't care too much about fancy exotic materials if the additional cost is not worth the added performance gained. for example I'm sure a set of $1000 set of wheels are not twice as good as a set of $500 wheels. So what what point do you think we reach a point of diminishing return? Are we talking $300? $400?, what?


Shop: Bicycle Pro
Shop Keep
hard to quantfy that. For most people, saving 100 grams is not a big deal. For some, it is. Hell, I know there are people who will pay for king hubs just for the color.

This is the same deal as anything with bikes. lx-xt-xtr, there is a big difference in weight from lx to xtr and a big difference in performance. From xt-xtr, there is a difference, but it is not as big. xtr is still significantly more expensive than xt. Xt is perfectly fine for most, but there are plently who want the xtr for that quicker shift, solid engagement, lighter weight, more high end look.

If you have some wheels in mind, let us know what they are. There are plenty of people on this board who can guide you towards the better purchase.


Ditto on what bonefishjake said. I also run Hope hubs with XM719's (26") and DT spokes and haven't had any issues. The Hope hubs are a good bang for the buck. The fronts can be easily converted from QR to 20mm thru axle in the future, and the rears have a very simple and durable 4-pawl mechanism.


Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
mavic wheels are hard to beat if you consider value/quality and serviceability. I was recently in the market for a higher end wheel set and choose mavics over a fancy hub because it is easy to get parts for and everyone knows who to service them. Sure, I don't have the bling factor, but they still look damn nice.

btw, I have a crossmax enduro (now I think they are called the crosstrail, around $500 orginally) wheelset I am selling if you are interested, just needs the freewheel hub body greased.
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