If you are a mountain biker, you should definitely understand that one of the most important features on your bike is the wheels. The wheels are what keep you moving and keep you riding regardless of the style and type of riding you are doing. If you improve the quality of the wheels, you are going to have a better ride, period.
The crank and chain push you along and the frame keeps you light, agile and stable. But the first thing that you will have to do if you want to have a great ride is to make sure that you have a great mountain bike wheelset. You want wheels that can actually change and adapt as you move ride through uneven terrain.
Your wheelset will need to be able to transition with you if you want to have a great time on your mountain bike. One major part of your wheelset will be your hub.
Most wheelsets come with hubs, so you don’t really need to look specifically for this part. Unless of course, you are a professional or your child is a professional. For this article though, we will cover entire wheelsets, this will include rims and hubs (hub shell, axle, etc…).
A nice high-quality wheelset is going to allow you to ride more efficiently. Basically, you want a good set of wheels that are going to transfer your energy from pedaling and efficiently get over small and large obstacles in your way.
Of course, there are many types of wheels that react differently to different environments. Mountain biking often requires you to ride through different types of terrain like going from pavement to off-road quickly, so you need a wheelset that will provide you with the best ability to transition quickly.
The Best Rear Hub
One thing you should consider when diving into hubs and mountain bike upgrades for your child is that they are often expensive. In fact, most upgrades could cost more than some of the kid’s bikes that are on the market. That being said, some hubs are more affordable than others.
By choosing to upgrade your wheels and hubs, you take riding seriously. If this is the case, then you will find that you can have a much higher quality of ride when they have a great set of hubs and wheels.
Downhill Wheel Hubs
These wheels are made for the mountain biker who will be doing a lot of riding downhill.
These wheels are a great choice for any kid who is going to spend a lot of time riding downhill. Downhill rides are generally reserved for more advanced riders so children who are riding downhill should very good, high reliability riding gear.
Where to Buy: You can pick these up online view MooseJaw.com here.
Another solid axle choice for the kid who wants to ride downhill. These wheels are a great choice for riding as they are made to help your child have the best possible ride in the safest conditions when riding downhill. They are strong and agile, making them perfect for hard impacts and sharp turns.
Where to Buy: Pick these up directly via Chain Reaction Cycles right here.
Trail Wheel Hubs
There are many wheels on the market that perfect for those who would like to hit nice, flowy trails. Here are a few of our top picks.
These wheels feature high-end technology and super high functioning hubs. They are very strong and known for being one of the best choices for trail riding.
Open the door to the plus-size revolution, without closing it behind you! SPANK Industries' OOZY Trail 395+ wheelset is an ultra-wide, hand-built and trued wheelset that's optimized for "Plus" sized tires, yet is seamlessly compatible with a wide variety of modern "high volume" tire options.
Another great choice of wheelsets. This one features full carbon rims (carbon wheelset), making it much lighter than most. This means that you will be able to maximize compliance and top performance from this wheelset.
Carbon cross-country rims save rotating weight at the most important place. At the rim. Mavic, being Mavic, has found a way to make carbon MTB rims as durable as they are light and laced them up into these Crossmax Pro Carbon Wheelset.
Consider Going Custom
If money is not an issue, then the best choice for your hubs is to find a custom builder and have them built just for them. This helps them to perform exactly how mountain bikers want them, while ensuring maximum safety.
The most popular and common custom build today is the bespoke wheel. Custom builds help with the look of the bike, the performance, and the performance. All of which ensure that you will have a fun and comfortable ride.
When you purchase a custom build make sure that you consider the following:
- You want the wheels to be hand built and you want the builder to have an expert level of knowledge.
- You will want to be able to tailor the wheels to the type of riding that you do.
- Consider looking at the full range of wheels that are available for your budget and determining which is best for your needs.
By choosing a better wheelset you are setting yourself up for a better ride. This is something that everyone will appreciate if they are a rider.
The Parts of the Wheel
The wheel of a bicycle features four main components. Each of these has an influence on the overall performance, weight, and durability of the wheel. If you upgrade the wheel you can drastically improve the performance of your bike in most.
Sometimes you might actually want to downgrade certain parts of the wheel in order to have the performance that you desire. The ride feel will be affected which means that you can get your bike to ride exactly how you want it to.
The effort that you have to put into the ride can also change. This is very important and something that you should consider. This means that you can ride faster, or in this case that your child will be able to ride faster and keep up.
The braking performance can also be improved with some tweaking which is going to come in handy if you are a rider who enjoys different downhill rides and are a little more daring. This is equally important when you are riding with children because you want them to be able to stop with ease.
It is really important that you understand each part of the wheel and how to ensure that your child has the perfect wheels for how he or she will be riding.
The spokes are another part of the wheel that you should consider when you are looking at your child and their bike. The spokes are the pieces that go from the hub to the rim. There are different numbers of spokes between the front and back tires.
The rear bike should have more spokes than the front wheel. Spokes are there to improve the strength of the wheel and help to ensure that your wheels are not going to lose their shape.
When you are looking at mountain bikes for your child, you really need to pay attention to the spokes and make sure that there are enough spokes to ensure that the wheels are secure for the type of riding that you will she will be doing. Spokes can vary in shape and diameter which can make them stronger and lighter.
The rim is the part of the wheel that the spokes attach too from the hub. It is what holds the tire tread on mountain bikes. This is important to note because if something happens to the rim, your child is not going to be able to ride. In fact, riding after something has happened to the rim could be incredibly dangerous.
The width of the rim is important to note. If you have a wider rim you will have more control over the bike and will have a better grip on the trail. This means that you will be able to ride easier in all conditions.
But this also means that your tires will rotate slower. So, when you are looking at mountain bikes for your child, you will want to make sure that you are getting a wheel that is wide enough to grip the terrain that you will be riding on and fast enough to make turns.
There is a special nut on wheels that attaches the spokes to the wheel. This nut is called the nipple. The nipple is necessary for being able to adjust the spoke and tension and will result in a wheel being able to efficiently spin straight. If the nipple is not adjusted properly, you are not going to have a wheel that moves in the way that it is supposed to.
The hub is the center part of the wheel. This is the part of the wheel that helps the wheel to spin and rotate on its axis.
The chain on the bike is going to wrap around the sprockets and this allows the chain to be secure. Then the shifters and the crankset are going to help propel the bike forward. This is one of the parts that are essential for top performance.
So, when you are looking at mountain bikes for your child, you will find that it is essential to have a good set of hubs to complete your bike. Each mountain bike is actually powered more from the rear wheel hub than the front wheel hub. This is what will allow you to be able to coast downhill rather than having to pedal to keep moving.
When it comes to mountain bike hubs, you can rest assured that your child’s bike is going to be the offer the best ride if they have high-quality hubs. Of course, understanding the wheels and the different parts is important if you want to know how to get the most out of any mountain bike.
The hub is one of the most vital components of the wheel. This is the part of the wheel that anchors the spokes to the wheel to allow for the wheels to spin. You might notice that the front wheels on most bikes have a very simplistic design in their hub.
However, the rear hub is likely to be more complex. The rear wheels usually feature a freehub (sometimes called a freewheel). The reason that they have a freehub body is to allow the rider to be able to coast and move effortlessly.
Today the most common width for hubs is either 135 mm, 142 mm, or 148 mm. The standard on most mountain bikes was 142 mm for a long time. One of the biggest trends in hubs is to be able to have more space which is known as “boost” spacing.
This is the reason that more and more manufacturers are going with the 148 mm hub size. The increase in the hub width allows for a few key things. One of these is that you can use tires that are wider and handle better more easily. Another is that the chainstays are different and do not work as a regular frame would typically allow.
One of the things that affect the wheels on the bicycle the most is its weight. This is something that will majorly affect the way that your child’s bike feels as it is maneuvered down the trail. In addition, this will help you to ensure that your child’s bike handles well on the trail. Each style of wheel is sure to have its own weaknesses and strengths.
Depending on if your child is a racer or a casual rider, it is going to be important to know about the weight of the wheels. Lightweight wheels are great for children who are going to be riding up and down hills and through higher elevation.
This is going to make their life easier as they ride through the hills. Those riders who are riding long distances or riding downhill are going to prefer wheels that are heavier. These heavier wheels are often stronger as well so they are better with the rougher terrain. They are going to last longer and endure better.
When you are trying to make your bike lighter, there are some things that you should consider. One of these is that lightweight wheels are going to actually reduce the overall strength and durability. When your child is riding, you do not want them to lose too much durability or strength. This will help to ensure that they have a safe ride.
There are many different materials that a rim can be made from. These are going to vary drastically in quality based on the class of bike that you purchase. If you are looking at beginning or intermediate level bicycles, the wheels are probably going to have aluminum rims.
The higher quality bicycles are going to have wheels that have rims made out of carbon fiber. This helps to reduce the overall weight of the wheel which can drastically affect the weight of the bike. It increases stiffness as well even though it is lighter in weight. This is why the highest quality wheels are made with carbon fiber.
Alloy is another common material that is used to create bicycle wheel rims. This is a more popular choice of material and is really just aluminum. Aluminum or alloy is used because it is very cheap to produce and manufacture. However, even though it is cheap, it does not skimp on quality.
Alloy wheels are known for being the best option for comfort while you are riding. This means that if your child’s bike features alloy rims, you can rest assured that they will be comfortable hitting the trails with you, even if you are going to be riding all day long.
Lastly, carbon fiber is a material that is gaining popularity. This is because it can be produced cheaper than it once was and it has been manufactured to be stronger thanks to a new manufacturing process.
Carbon fiber is lightweight and can be very helpful with multiple styles of mountain biking. Basically, the wheel can be lightweight, stiff, and tough at the same time.
One complaint that riders have is that with this stiffness is that the ride is not as comfortable. That being said, there are modifications that can be made with the suspension and tires that can make the bike a more comfortable ride.
There are two different tire types to choose from with mountain bikes. The two different tire types fit into the same wheel, but each one requires its own rim. There can be both tubeless or clincher.
The wheel is going to offer you specific choices that will be compatible with it. To be able to understand mountain biking and the wheels. It is something that you should learn.
Clincher Style Tires
Clincher style tires are the type of tires that you most commonly see on bikes that are targeted at beginner riders. This is important to note because a lot of bikes that are made for kids feature clincher style tires.
Just remember that if you are going to be buying your child a bike, that bike is probably going to feature clincher style tires. These tires have a tube in them that you have to fill with air so that they are inflated.
These tires have a bead on the edge of them to hold them into the rim. The bead can be made from kevlar fiber or steel fiber. This is very important to note.
Tubeless Style Tires
Tubeless tires are a simple tire that does not require you to have an inner tube. This type of tire actually uses air pressure and tight tolerances in order for it to have an airtight seal.
This is a technology that was formerly seen in the tires on motocross bikes and cars. Mountain bikes have often featured tubeless style tires. Today the majority of the mountain bikes feature wheels that are fitted with these tubeless tires.
One of the quickest ways that you can upgrade your wheels is by getting tubeless tires. You can also purchase tubeless ready rims which allow for you to have tubeless tires if you want them.
One of the reasons that riders often prefer tubeless tires is that they feature a lower rolling resistance and this allows for you to be able to have a lower tire pressure. The lower tire pressure allows for more control, more comfort, and better traction.
If the tires lack the tube, you can be sure that you do not have to worry about popping tubes nearly as often as with traditional tires. This is something that rarely happens. Your child will appreciate the fact that they have an easier ride with tubeless tires.
Mountain Bike Wheel Dimensions
A Look at the Width, Depth, and Size of the Wheels
The Width of the Wheels
One of the newer trends in wheels is to have a wider rim. This is going to help with a few different things. For one, your ride is going to be more comfortable. Another is you will have a greater air volume in your wheels. This means that the wheels will be better equipped to ride on different terrains.
This allows the wheels to shift and move over different surfaces more easily. It will help you to be able to ride at a lower tire pressure which helps you move easily through different styles of terrain. There are two ways in which you can measure rim width. The width of rims can be measured both internally or externally.
This can make shopping for a bike difficult if you do not know what you are looking for. In fact, some people become confused by looking at these numbers. The traditional wheel width is 17 mm as this was the most popular option for years. Today wider rims are becoming more popular. This leads to a more stable ride.
There are some set standards that you should be aware of with rims and width. A narrow rim is said to be any rim that measures 19 mm or less. However, today with many bikes being taken internally, the standard is measured between 21 and 25 mm. The wide rims are those that are over 28 mm.
The science behind this means that the external rim is what is going to influence aerodynamics. This is also what is going to influence comfort and the efficiency of the wheel and tire shape.
The Depth of the Wheels
The depth of the wheel is also very important for performance and riding. The lateral stiffness of the wheel is affected by its depth. Plus, you will find that how the bike handles is also affected by the depth.
The rim depth is not the main emphasis of the wheel. There are other aerodynamic benefits that you will have with a deeper wheel. So, one of the changes that you might make when changing your child’s wheels is to increase the depth.
Most wheels that are made today have a depth of 30 to 35 mm. However, depth is being looked at today as one of the main ways to improve the wheels. This means that you can see a stronger wheel with a deeper depth.
Size of the MTB Wheels
The size of the wheel is something that riders often emphasize, but you might assume that this is because you do not want a bike that is too tall or too short to ride for comfort. One of the biggest topics that riders often talk about is the size of mountain bike wheels.
Parents need to make sure that their children have a bike that has the right size wheels for their size. They also need to maintain having the right sized wheels by being willing to increase the size as their child grows. Some kids go through more than one bike in the summer if they hit a growth spurt.
Today you will find that there are many different sizes of wheels. The most common sizes for kids mountain bikes are 16”, 18”, 20”, 22”, 24”, and 26”. Most kids bikes stop at 24” or smaller but some of the adult bikes that are 26” are a good fit for taller kids. While larger wheels get more traction, this means that it can be harder to find a wheel size that is appropriate for your child. For adult bikes, the wheels are generally either 27.5” or 29”.
All About MTB Spokes
Spokes are something that varies completely with the bike. This is because there are a number of different spokes with different shapes, material and even different numbers on each wheel. This is something that varies greatly.
The wheels that have more spokes or a higher spoke count are going to be more durable and have a better ability to withstand harsh conditions. They will have a heavier weight so they might not move as easily through all conditions.
There are many materials that spokes can be made out of. The most common materials are aluminum or alloy, titanium, steel, and carbon fiber. The most common of these are steel.
Now, you might notice when you are looking for your child’s bike that the spoke count on the front and rear wheels are different. This is normal and not anything that you have to worry about.
Spokes can actually be made to have two different shapes. One of these is the J-bend and the other is Straight Pull. The straight pull spokes are not going to have any bend at the head.
These require specific hubs that match the shape and size of the straight pull spokes. However, J-bend spokes are the traditional option. They have a 90-degree bend at one end which makes them look like the letter j.
Both straight pull and j-bend spokes have their own benefits. Straight pull spokes are going to be a little more stable and durable because they do not have the bend that the j-bend spokeshave.
The biggest problem with the straight pull spokes is that they are typically made specifically by the manufacturer per style and sometimes per brand. This means that you will have a harder time finding a hub or other replacement parts that are going to work and in most cases, you will have to purchase something that is manufacturer and brand-specific.
J-bend spokes are not as sturdy or durable, but they do not have to have specific replacement parts so that makes them easier to use.
We hope that this article has educated you a bit on wheelsets and necessary considerations you should make when purchasing your child new gear for their mountain bike. What wheelset does your child use? We would love to hear from you!