This review was written by one of our customers, Ryan Hauge. He is new to 29ers and was looking for a set of wheels to throw on his hardtail that could handle the abuse when the trail gets full of roots and chop. Check out his thoughts on this wheelset!
I purchased the SUN RINGLE Duroc40 wheelset from Worldwide Cyclery a month or so ago to put on my Kona Honzo ST that I built up this summer. Initially I had a set of WTB i23's (being new to 29, I went cheap to see what I liked and disliked about tires and clearances). I rode the i23s for a month and realized that even with a wide tire, Minion DHR/DHF 2.4/2.5, I couldn't run the pressures I needed (sub 20s) to get the bike to handle AND corner like I wanted. At those pressures the tires would 'squirm' around and I definitely wanted a more solid feel.
There are two very separate worlds that the front and rear tires see and this is really exaggerated on a hardtail that is meant to run big trails like the Honzo was made for. Lower pressure in the rear is important since your travel IS your tire. That balance between rolling resistance and bounce is what helps you somewhat control your direction through the chop and chunder that IS the PNW. The front is also important but has a lighter overall load on it typically so it can be run at a lower pressure while not running the risk of slamming the rim since the fork is taking a lot of the impact load. On the front, the resistance to the tire rolling perpendicular to your path is what you really feel at the lower pressures. Finally, lower pressures are REALLY noticeable for the front and rear when rolling along on flat or ascending trails; if you are not pedaling, you are slowing down quite fast! For long rides, there is no break with these tires. EVERYONE needs a break sometime!
With that in mind, and a week or so researching the wider wheels I was seeing for 29ers, I decided that a wider wheelset would allow me to run lower pressures while maintaining a more solid ride. Once the wheels arrived, I mounted my Maxxis Minions on them (super easy with a nice audible POP when the bead was set) with my floor pump only! No tape required as a rim strip was included ALONG with valves and sealant! I was really happy with those additions. I understand this is a wheelset, but to include the strips, valves, sealant and both Shimano and XD drivers are nice touches. The tires mounted on the wheels aren't really any wider at the contact patch or the tread, but the sidewalls are almost parallel now, so the clearance I had before on the previous i23s was almost the same. ANOTHER BONUS! I was ready to ride with less than an hour from start to finish.
My first ride out on the Sun Ringle Duroc 40 Tubeless Wheelset was a real eye opener. I was typically running 25psi minimum in the front and 28-30 in the rear with the i23s. It was a bouncy ride on the roots and chop but any less on the front and the bike would wander through the corners and the rear would smack the roots if I was sitting or on the gas. I am 230 lbs and 6'4" on an XL to give some idea of the pressures and how they work for me. Now that the DUROC 40s are installed, I am running 16-18 psi in front and 20-25 psi in the rear with no root hit or wandering issues. The rolling resistance is still there but not worse and now I actually have a reason for putting up with it. The speed at which I can go through the same roots and chop more than makes up for the larger, aggressive tires whereas before, I had to back off on the roots/chop AND pedal out of them. I can let momentum be my friend again!
Long term durability has not really yet been proven, but with over 50 miles of tough, rocky trails I have to report that they are perfectly true, have no dents and each spoke rings true to tone (I checked!) showing me they are staying evenly tightened. I am impressed and glad I made this purchase. If you have a 29er and are looking to take advantage of the new tires and lower pressure, you cannot go wrong with these. The crew at Worldwide Cyclery has been first rate at following up with me on my order and making sure all was well with my purchase. That's why I keep buying from them! Now, back to the trail with you!