Sam’s Fast Marathon Hoops

29er Alex Rims All Mountain Cyclocross Mountain Bike Wheel Builds Racing Sapim Wheel Builds XLR8 Hubs

Image of custom alloy MTB XC and Trail wheelset using DT Swiss 370 front hub, XLR8 MD MTB rear hub, and Alex Evo 2.3 rims. Pic shows front hub.

Sam came to us with a DT Swiss 370 hub in hand, and a plan to build up an old 29er he had racked up in his garage. An experienced rider, with years of competition under his belt, he specifically needed a tough, light but comfortable wheelset for Marathon MTB duties.

Image of custom alloy MTB XC and Trail wheelset using DT Swiss 370 front hub, XLR8 MD MTB rear hub, and Alex Evo 2.3 rims. Pic shows rear hub.

Carbon rims were quickly eliminated as an option. Whilst laterally stiff for efficient drive and precision tracking, for this application the rigidity of carbon would prove tiring on longer sojourns.

Image of custom alloy MTB XC and Trail wheelset using DT Swiss 370 front hub, XLR8 MD MTB rear hub, and Alex Evo 2.3 rims. Pic shows rim decals.

We selected the alloy Alex Evo2.3 as the best alternative. About a quarter the price of a good carbon rim, these weigh just a tad more, are very stiff and nicely built, with light alloy eyelets. Their internal width is a wide (for Marathon purposes) at 24mm, which will support the tyre sidewalls better, opening up the casing, and allowing lower tyre pressures – for more comfort and traction.

Picture of custom alloy MTB XC and Trail wheelset using DT Swiss 370 front hub, XLR8 MD MTB rear hub, and Alex Evo 2.3 rims. Pic shows pair.

We coupled Sam’s DT front hub, with a nice black XLR8 MD MTB rear hub with a 10mm thru axle. These are built around a downhill hub shell design, so they are tough. Inside, there are 4 x ABEC 5 USA made Enduro sealed bearings and a well sealed conventional pawl mechanism. The hard alloy freehub does not mar like the lighter alloy of much of the competition, and can be very easily converted to an XD driver, or even 11s road if these wheels ever migrate across to a CX bike. All that, and convertible to 142x12mm or back to quick release if need be.

Sam’s a function over form kind of guy, so silver Sapim Race spokes were the natural choice. Strong, light, inexpensive. A great choice.

To add a bit of bling, Sam choose red Sapim alloy nipples, and XLR8 decals for that little bit of class. We fitted Stan’s tubeless tape and valves to ensure these get on the trail as fast as possible.

 


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