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If you’ve bought into the world of 29+, you’re probably enjoying a cush ride, gobs of traction, and the feeling of monster truck supremacy as you roll over everything in your path.
You may also be running into limited options when it comes to replacement parts as Jeremy has, who writes, “I bought a Stash 5 Trek with 29in 50mm width rims and 3″ tires to ride the Divide (The Great Divide Route). The bike worked out great, but 428 miles into the ride the rear wheel gave out. I’ve been looking for an upgrade (same size rim) but can not find a quality manufacturer who makes that size rim. Any suggestions?”
There’s a lot to unpack here, especially without further clarification on what part of the rear wheel actually ‘gave out,’ so we’ll answer this as best as we can given the information.
First, The Divide Route could be considered one of the ultimate tests for both man and machine. Whether you’re racing it in the Tour Divide, or just doing your own tour, riding that many miles non-stop has the potential to turn a small problem into a big problem without maintenance intervention. Say your spokes weren’t properly tensioned from the factory, and you set out on this journey, eventually they would start to loosen up which would lead to major problems on trail. If your issues were spoke related, it’s entirely possible that it was the result of the wheel build, not the components themselves.
Also, I’m assuming you were riding with at least somewhat of a load which increases the stress on the wheels. According to the Trek website, the Stashe 5 includes Sun Ringle Duroc 50 SL rims in 28h. Given the nature of your riding, and the likelihood of it being loaded, I would think the standard Sun Ringle Duroc 50 in a 32h would be a better fit. A 32h wheel would be a bit heavier, but it’s generally held that more spokes make for a stronger, more durable wheel.
There aren’t a ton of other options for 29″ rims in 50mm widths, though there are a few. The Halo Vapour 50 is a 29″ rim with a 45mm internal measurement, available in 32h with double wall tubeless compatible construction and stainless eyelets. While not quite 50mm, Velocity offers their Dually in a 45mm external width with 39mm internal, and in 32 or 36h. If you wanted to jump to carbon, there’s always the Jones C-Rim with a 56mm outer, 49mm inner width and 32h.
If your issues were hub related, you could rebuild the wheel with a new hub assuming the rim is still in good shape. Or, better yet, get the best local wheel builder in town to custom build you a new wheel or wheelset that is specifically tailored to bike packing and adventure riding. You can buy the the Duroc 50s above as a complete wheelset, but you may be better off with a custom built wheel set that uses J-bend spokes in case you have to replace one in the middle of nowhere. More often than not, a custom hand-built wheel will outlast its factory-built competitors, and you’ll be more likely to get what you’re looking for in terms of performance.
Is there a 29+ wheelset that’s ideal for bikepacking that we missed? Let’s hear it below.
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