I Bought A 29er Hardtail

Saturday I bought a bike - well, most of a bike.

It's a 2005 Gary Fisher X-Caliber with a 2003 Bomber shock, Hayes Hydro brakes, Race Face crank and LX/Deore drivetrain. A modest bike but I'm excited to put some miles on this 29er hardtail and see how I like it.

I could have bought the wheels with it, but I want some wheels made for tubeless. I'm considering:

  • Buy a Bontrager Rhythm Comp TLR 29 wheelset - made for tubeless, most riders like them, not super light but light and tough enough for all-mountain riding, reasonable price.
  • Buy a Mavic C29ssmax wheelset - good wheels, pricey (so pricey I'd have to find them used and even then probably too expensive).
  • Buy a used 29er wheelset, preferably tubeless specific.
  • Build a wheelset with Stans rims and Hope Pro II hubs (or Shimano XT to save $) [I have some issues with Stans rims, but that's for another post].
Any other options I'm missing? Anyone have some 29er wheels they want to sell? I'm pretty adamant I want wheels that work good tubeless, but I will consider all options.

I need to get some wheels for this bike soonish or I may succumb to temptation and steal the wheels from my wife's 29er so I can ride this bike. And that would get me in trouble.

And what tires? Kenda Karma or Small Block 8, Continental Mountain King, Maxxis Crossmark or Ignitor, WTB ExiWolf or NanoRaptor? It's good there are so many 29er tires to choose from now, but makes deciding harder.

I'm also interested in upgrading the crank (the Race Face is burly and heavy) and drivetrain (SRAM X9 or X0 would be nice), but that can wait.


Andy H. said...

Sweet! Might as well sell the Prophet now since the only time you'll use it is Moab:) It will be intersting to see what complaints you have against Stans rims since I've never read a bad thing about them anywhere and they are far and away the best rims I have ever owned. If you want to save some coin go Stans Arch rims with WTB Lite hubs. XT are OK but are boat anchors. The WTB's are even lighter than the Hopes just not as bulletproof and since most of your hard riding will be on the Prophet they'll be fine. People have been happy with the Bonti rims but the people I know who run them use Bonti TLR tires as well. I wonder how well the Bonti rims work tubeless with normal tires?

MOCougFan said...

Nice. I didn't know your wife had a 29er. I have 3 bikes (Hard tail Mtn bike, Road Bike, and a Cross Bike). I don't want to get selfish, but I have heard that a 29er does very good in the sand and difficult conditions (Kokopelli and White Rim). You'll have to let me know if this is true or not when you get yours built. I know you have a sweet Cannondale. Let me know if you like the difference.

KanyonKris said...

Andy - The issue I have with Stans rims is the weld. A few weeks ago I bought a set of Stans ZTR 355 rims (26 for my Prophet) and was surprised to find pretty large burrs from the weld in the bead hook. I assumed these rims were bad and e-mailed Stans. Stan himself replied that the burrs are normal and not a problem. Perhaps so, but certainly the tire is not going seat well at the weld and possibly leak (until the sealant plugs it). Maybe it is an inconsequential issue, but I'm still a bit concerned. I'd already laced up the wheel so I took a small rat-tail file and removed the burrs.

Thanks for the info about the WTB hubs - I'll look at those. I like the Hope rear hub because it has finer teeth in the freewheel - not as fine as a King hub, but it still helps and a whole lot cheaper. But I hear the Hope freewheel is noisy and I don't like that.

I'll check on the issue of running non-Bontrager tires on Bontrager rims - thanks for bringing that up.

MOCougFan - I'm interested in checking out this bike for just the things you mentioned. I'll be sure to report my impressions.

Andy H. said...

I run the Hope hubs and they are pretty loud (bout the same as Kings though). The nice thing about the noise is that it alerts hikers earlier so they have more time to move. Thats interesting about the welds. I never noticed anything like that on my rims but they're Arch 29's and it could be different.

29er said...

You know I read your posts, right blog boy?
No touchy my tires.

KanyonKris said...

Yes, I know you read them, dear. Just making a joke.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure it's a 29er? Looks like a 26er to me.

KanyonKris said...

Hehe. Without wheels it is hard to tell. I text rode it with 29er wheels on so I'm pretty sure. I'm picking up a 29er wheelset from Racer today so it better be 29!