Update: NoTubes.com ZTR ARCH 29er Hope Pro II Disc Wheelset

As I have been riding these wheels for well over a month now, I feel that it is time to post an update. Since you last heard from me I have put quite a few miles on the wheels including a mudfest of a race in Damascus, Virginia, as well as two 24 hour races, one of which in North Carolina and the other in West Virginia. On top of this, I have been riding them constantly on my 2004 Fisher Sugar 293.

I have been impressed with how well the wheels have held up under these conditions. Now, when I say impressed here, it is mainly because after my last article, I began to have some doubts. Many of the trails I ride abuse both me and the bike with very technical, fast, rocky sections. At this time the wheels have still remained in true and I have certainly not managed to “tacoâ€? the front wheel in any tight areas. However, keep in mind that I only weigh 146 pounds, and this would have an effect on how much stress is placed on the wheels in these situations.

There are some specifics that I have noticed about these ZTR Arch 29ers. As they’ve been built to be light and fast, to which I can attest that they certainly meet the expectations in those respects. The wheels use very thin spokes to achieve this. Even under my weight I have noticed the wheels show some spoke windup. I can feel this when riding, when I really get down and crank hard on an uphill section. The worst part about it to me, besides the loss in efficiency, is the noise. The spokes creak and pop as they rub against each other at the contact points within the wheel. Though, putting in my headphones when I ride makes the noise go away, I know it’s still there. Putting a little lube on these spoke contact points will alleviate some of the creaking, but it eventually comes back. Also, I have noticed that several spokes became loose rather quickly. Though, the loose spokes can mostly be assigned to a break in period for the wheels, and I do not see it as being a serious issue.

The points I have made until now have mostly been with regard to the spokes and the rims, but I must say that I really do like the hubs. The Hope Pro II hubs function with no issue, and the rear hub has a nice engagement and feel, as I stated in my last comments. Even now that I have broken the hubs in well, they still feel quite new and crisp. The clicking from the internals of the rear hub is quite a bit louder than some others, say compared to a rear King hub, and overtime is kind of a bother. Other riders always know when you are coming, which is pretty nice I suppose, depending upon your preference. If you are a stealthy racer, sneaking up on people, and being “that guyâ€? who when you say “on your leftâ€? you scare the crap out of people, these wheels are most certainly too loud for you.

My opinion as to what seems to be going on with these wheels is that I am either being too picky or my riding style is different from what these wheels have been designed for. I typically enjoy longer events, endurance events, and long training rides. That being said, I feel that these wheels would be excellent for a super light short track race bike. I am still waiting to weigh the wheels when I complete my testing, but from what we have been told they were listed as 857g front and 965g rear (with the yellow tape and stems installed) from the factory. However, for my distance bike, I personally would probably forfeit the weight savings and go with stronger wheel setup.

I do have a good story regarding the tubeless ready tires and Stan’s sealant that I have been running in these wheels. During my second lap for my team at the 24 Hours of Big Bear, which is part of the Granny Gear 24 hour series, and was held at Big Bear Lake in Hazleton, WV, I became greedy and cocky and blew past another rider during a very rocky section of the course. As I have noticed, fate, Karma, or whatever, tends to punish me for such overzealousness, and I immediately noticed a noise that did NOT want to hear. A hissing was emitting itself from my front tire and as the wheel turned I could see a spray of Stan’s sealant flying from the puncture area. My excitement of flying through the course turned to sudden disdain for myself, and the fact that I should have paid closer attention to what I was doing. What punctured the tire, I do not know, but it was fairly substantial. What I can say is it was larger than a thorn, and most likely a sharp rock.

As the tire continued to hemorrhage the air within, I stopped my bike in preparation to throw a tube in and keep moving. However, I wanted to see how well the Stan’s setup would work, and so I began spinning the tire to make sure I was sealing everything, and as the air pressure in the tired lowered some, the seal began to hold, and eventually it did. In the end I lost maybe 30 seconds during the process and I was able to finish the lap on a fully functional tire. Even though I realize you can run pretty low pressures on a tubeless setup, I had been running somewhere around 45 pounds to ensure that I was not going to roll the bead during a lap. Perhaps that defeats the purpose, but it makes me feel better. With the tire at this point now running at a pressure of approximately 25 or 30 pounds, I had no issue with the bead as I finished the lap, and the front end of the bike still felt nice. In fact, it of course made for a smoother ride. When I did finish my lap, and as my team mates were running their laps, I did removed the tire and rim strip and throw a tube in for good measure. I figured it would hold up just fine as it was, but I didn’t really want to take that risk, since my next lap would be at night.

That being said, anyone interested in running the wheels with tubes as well, now knows that they function just fine with a tube. It is certainly nice to have that flexibility. I plan on running the wheels for another month or so, including during my trip to do some riding in Colorado. I will be sure to fill you in for my final review sometime in July.

Read all the posts in this review…

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No Responses to “Update: NoTubes.com ZTR ARCH 29er Hope Pro II Disc Wheelset”

  1. George Krpan Says:

    857g front and 965g rear, 1822g total, and you at 146 pounds feel they may be too light.
    That just goes to show that a 1800 gram wheelset IS light.

  2. Dreg Says:

    My 2 cents.

    I have the same rims laced to Hope Pro II front hub and DT Swiss 240 rear hub. Used Dt Swiss Comp spokes (and some Dt Swiss Champion on the rear driveside just to make them a bit beefier) and can report no spoke windup, creaks, not even a click when hurtling over all types of rocky crap. I don’t know if the spokes I used are stronger than the ones used by Jake and that’s why our experiences with the wheels have differed, but if your thinking of buying these rims, I wouldn’t skimp and use super-uber light spokes unless you’re hardcore XC’er and every atom counts.

    These puppies are still light (1850g for the pair) and so far have been bombproof.

    The only problem I’ve had is that some tires can be a bit of a chore to get on and off, but that’s not really an issue, just a pain with lots of tubeless rims, plus I’m lazy and hate changing tires.

  3. Jake Says:

    Dreg,

    I believe you have hit it just about right.

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

  4. Martin Says:

    Just got my Arch 29rs with 07 XTR hubs (anti-exotic I know)

    Mounted up some Kenda Small Block 8s with Stans, didn’t even need soapy water to get that snapping sound when airing them up. They leaked out some air on the first ride but after that they are holding air like champs.

    Lost a cool pound over my Bontrager Race wheels that came on the bike. They were heavy and had a beefy steel cog set that wasn’t even close to being light.

    Bottom line is: Steering much quicker. Climbing much better and able to go up a gear faster. Pedals much lighter.

    Impressed to say the least. Now just have to figure out the magic air pressures for these tires, still running a little hard and skates in dusty/sandy conditions.

  5. Phil Says:

    I run (ran) Arch 29ers on a cannondale lefty hardtail w/ Ignitor tires going tubless and loved the combination. I did ocassionally experience the spoke windup and pinging, and spokes did get loose with hard rocky riding and needed tending, but not much worse than my mavic 819s 26ers. But otherwise I was happy with these light rims which shaved pounds off the stock build. The current build of my Caffeine F29 is light with Magura Martas, X9s and carbon this and that.

    But on a fast downhill section of the XC course at Mt Snow Nats this month I hit a jump face pretty hard (actually a mogul on a ski slope) and Taco-ed the front rim causing a pretty major crash and a dnf. Now Im no 140 lbs, but im thinking these rims may be too light for such hard xc riding at my size. Anybody else experience arch tacos?

  6. Technical Glitch: You may have missed this review… | Twenty Nine Inches Says:

    […] Update: NoTubes.com ZTR ARCH 29er Hope Pro II Disc Wheelset First Impression: NoTubes.com ZTR ARCH 29er Hope Pro II Disc Wheelset […]

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