Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Hope Pro2 on Stans Flow rims, or American Classic 26 Disc wheels?

Posted by Matt | November 11, 2010 | 23 comments so far

Red Hope Pro2 hubs on white Stans Flow rims
Well, I’m conflicted, as our American friends would say. It sounds like a bad case of too much Co-codamol(e) to me but actually my problem is choosing a new set of wheels for my Orange Five.

I’ve never bought new wheels before. Isn’t that strange? New bikes, forks, kit, clothing – yes. But new wheels – no. Which is odd since many advise that’s the key purchase area if you want to improve your bike. I guess it’s one of those things where the perception of value isn’t too great as they all tend to be round black hoops.

And yes, I’m old enough to remember them being round silver hoops!

So I’m a novice. What prompted it was a desire to switch to tubeless for both my main bikes, by putting the Hope Pro2/819 wheelset from the Five onto the singlespeed. Which created the opportunity for some bling wheels on the Five.

For months I’ve hankered after some white rims – which means by the way that fashion is about to swing convincingly back toward black – but if I’m going to actually spend money on wheels I want them to look good.

So, my preference was for some white Stans Flow rims on red Hope hubs which I’ve already found to be very durable hubs. Unfortunately, this combination is probably one of the most popular this year (OK, maybe not the red colour!), so white rims have been like hens teeth.

Merlin and Chain Reaction have both been out of stock for months. I’ve managed to track down a keenly priced source at Moonglu however. The Stans Flow has the advantage of being much wider than usual and are reliably convertable to tubeless running; the only downside being that at around 1880g or so for a Pro2 wheelset with 20mm bolt through at the front they’re no lighter than the Pro2/819 combo.

White American Classic 26 Disc Wheelset

But then yesterday I saw on Chain Reaction that they have an American Classic 26 Disc wheelset for sale at £320 which with a discount voucher I have brings the price down to £288 delivered. The best bit about these is they’re just 1486g in weight although there may be differences between how the manufacturers weigh them – with or without skewers for example. Even so, that a 20% weight saving over the Flows.

Now, I realise these are aimed at slightly differently user groups, with the American Classic more XC oriented but since I’m a light rider I don’t see that as an issue. What is a problem is that the AM only has a QR front hub which can be converted at a push to 15mm. This looks to be a deal breaker for me.

It would mean the wheels going on the singlespeed and they would certainly do good service there at that weight. They have a special ‘double tooth’ pawl which means they totally disengage when freewheeling, making them very quiet with a very fast pick up. But it would mean the Orange Five staying as is and I’m really keen to get more rugged wheels on that and develop a red, white and blue theme round them.

So, like I said, I’m conflicted. Two great wheelsets but no obvious fit for my needs. I think I’ll go for the Pro2/Stans option but it’s mighty frustrating and I really do hanker after the American Classic wheels. Especially in white.

Like I said, I’m conflicted!


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 23 comments on ‘Hope Pro2 on Stans Flow rims, or American Classic 26 Disc wheels?’

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  1. tony says:

    The perennial MTB head vs heart, or should that be bling vs function.

    Well for me HopePro II / Stans Crest or 355 would be the perfect combo. Light as the Amercian classics and very nearly as strong as the flows. Or a Mavic SLR wheelset (but then I’ve spent far too much money on Mavic raod wheels over the years).

    I wouldn’t bother with the flows unless you plan to start a new MTB career in jumping.

    BTW 200g can easily be the difference between a couple of different UST / tubeless ready tyres.

    I’d also get the best wheels for the best bike. The Five!

  2. Andy661 says:

    200g is nothing! I could eat that in 30 seconds.

    Sure DaveW has dropped that weight [literally!] in the same time frame 😉

    That said i’m starting down the weeniesque path shortly by going tubeless!

    As some riding god once said – Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades! Lol

    [Don’t think he said Lol. That was me. . . ]

  3. tony says:

    “As some riding god once said”

    As Eddy Merckx once said…..

  4. Muddy John says:

    White wheels? OMG – don’t go there, they are so this year. Just another 2 months and they will be so last year.

  5. pij says:

    I’ve got the Stan’s 355 / Pro II combination on the PACE and I’m pretty happy with them. No problems at all even after a year of abuse. The only issue, as documented by moi, is that sometimes some tyres can be a right pain to fit.

    But if the 200g saving is a real one, then that’s quite a bit on a set of wheels and you would notice it initially. Long term it’d probably not make much difference to your ride – all things being equal it is just 30 seconds worth of muffin, or 200ml in the Camelbak. 1,800g is about the right weight for rough XC use in my humble.

    Oddly enough I’ve never ridden a bike with standard wheels fitted; always swop them out for new. Generally because I want a Hope hub, but on one of my bikes I have Fulcrum Red Metal’s fitted and they are a very good set of wheels. Superstar are also getting good reviews, and come in at around £200 for an 1,800g set.

    Really, as you say, it comes down to what you can get hold of though doesn’t it??

  6. paul901 says:

    Coming to a road near you sometime soon John

    at least I might succumb to a pair of these next Spring

  7. Dandy says:

    I agree with Tony, and think you’d be better off with the Hope/Crest combo.

    I’m fitting a Flow rim on the rear of the Pace for 2 reasons. Firstly, I have managed to heavily dent the current DT Swiss rims after the uplift day at the Cwmcarn DH track; and secondly, I’m still determined to push the ‘freeride’ aspect of my riding (stop sniggering at the back) once I manage to get back on the bike.

  8. DaveW says:

    200grams is not a lot, but the rim is where it matters most and where the difference will be most noticeable.

    I could be tempted by American Classic hubs, but not those whole wheels with ‘American Classic’ written in great big letters around the rim. Yuck. Not entirely compatible with the subtle ‘Handmade in Halifax’ sticker on the five’s frame…

    However, I agree with Tony that Flows are not necessary, particularly given that you have 5.5 to 6 inches of travel and low pressure, high capacity tubeless tires to soften any impacts.

    If you had a stiff alu hardtail and made a habit of hucking big drops to flat or battering through rock gardens then maybe.

    Crest or 355 are lovely and light, but reputedly still strong and on Pro2 will work with your maxle. Although American, the decals are a lot more tasteful than on the Classics too!

  9. Matt says:

    Great advice guys. I hadn’t seriously looked at the Crest as the Flows are getting all the press but as you say, they’re quite heavy given the riding we do.

    The 819 rims are listed as 470g as are the Flows, whereas the Crest comes in at 340g, so I’d save 130g a wheel – quite a lot. Added to the fact the Crest measures 21mm internally vs 19mm for the 819s I reckon as you’d say I’d get most of the benefits of Flows for much less weight. Good call Tony/Dandy/DaveW.

    Of course, finding white ones on red Hope Pro2s is the real problem.

    On the looks side, I really fancy being a bit more ‘individual’ with the Five. I mean, everyone’s got one haven’t they? :o)

    So a red, white and blue will be pretty cool I reckon. I already have a red cassette, red banjos on the disc brakes and levers and a red seat clamp.

    White wheels with a white saddle, maybe even white grips and I’m all set…

    Paul, white Kysrium wheels? Ooooh, go on then!

  10. tony says:

    The hope website lists the weights of the all the Pro11, SPro11, SPro111 hub/rim combos. Crests and Pro11’s will be in the ballpark of the Amercian classics.

    Of course the big plus with the Hope hubs being that you can easily take them apart and service them. Then get them working sweetly again.

    Ahem…..can’t you Matt!

  11. Turner Guy says:

    I have Stans 355 on Pro 111 – nice and light.

    I got them from – he does proII with ZTR rims for £262.

    He is a renowned wheel builder but now just takes Hope Hoops and trims up the spoke tensions as he likes them as he reckons they come out too tight from the factory.

    So you get some of the benefits of a decent custom wheelbuild.

    Personally I would go with that rather than stock.

    I also have some American Classic hubs from a Dahon Zero-G folding mtb – the problem with these was that they used non-standard sealed bearing sizes and the ones they sold as spares weren’t great quality.

  12. Rob says:

    I am running 355’s on Pro 2 hubs with 20mm bolt thru up front. Factory built and just 2 broken spokes in a year ! In comparison my 7 year old hand built 717’s on Hope XC hubs have never had a broken spoke and are still as true as the day I bought them. The Stans wheels are great value, strong and lightweight. However, if you wanna go for a bling wheelset you should consider a hand built set from a reputable wheel builder. In terms of weight saving it is very important to note that 200g saved in rolling weight is very different to 200g saved in carried weight.

  13. Andy661 says:

    Rob, could you just explain the difference in carried and rolling weight pls? 🙂

  14. Rob says:

    have a look at the above article – it’s quite detailed but explains the reasons why.

  15. Muddymoles says:

    That’s going to hurt isn’t it? MTB wheel fail

    Downhill riding pushes things to the extreme and failures do occur. Ouch!

  16. TurnerGuy says:

    The broken spokes on those hoops could well have been because of the excessive tension that Roger trims out of the wheel.

    Where did they break?

    I have some 717 on XCs that were built at Nirvana – never gone out of true but if you look at the spoke tensions they would not count as a good build according to the Park guide.

    There is a good deal on a DT wheelset on the wheelpro site, which he has built.

  17. Rob says:

    Nearly bought from Wheelpro but got a better price elsewhere. I agree, his tweeking may well have prevented my broken spokes on the “non fettled” factory set I got.

  18. Jem says:

    I agree with Rob on the 200g weight saving rolling mass is very differant to saving weight elsewhere.

    Also consider that saving weight is one thing, but making sure that the wheel is still strong and not going to flex or break on a heavy landing for example.

    Having been down this road myself, I would be happy recommending Mavic wheelsets. How about a set of Mavic Crosstrail , or Crossmax ST not as exspensive as the SLR’s but still very light. Also will be a bit stronger as they are not just XC wheels.

    A set of Hope pro 2 hubs with 819’s is about 1900g

    Crossmax ST wheels 1615g.

    Matt, they have got White hubs.

    Also the Fulcrum wheels are fairly good and tend to be a little be cheaper.

    Happy hunting

  19. Tim Wheeler says:

    I got a pair of Stans Crest wheels from JRA but I just couldn’t get my tyres on them. Apparently they’re designed to run ordinary tyres as tubeless. Therefore they are impossibly tight for acutal tubeless (and I’d say any) tyres. JRA re-rimmed my wheels with 355’s for free.

    Regards, Tim W

  20. Matt says:

    Tim, I’d be hoping to run ‘normal’ tubeless ready tyres on these rims with a tubeless conversion kit (rim tape).

    The reason being proper tubeless tyres are much thicker in the sidewall but it’s not needed here, only for the UST system. In theory i’d get the tubeless benefits with a suppler tyre which sounds good.

    My problem is getting hold of white Crest rims and building a wheelset economically – the Hope Hoops version is available for £300 or so (maybe less) but is basically ‘Henry Ford black’ only. And I definitely want white with red hubs.

  21. Timmy W says:

    Matt, I notice that JRA currently have white 355 26″ rims in stock for £63. You could do a lot worse.

  22. Related: Review: Stans Crest rims on Hope Pro2 hubs | Muddymoles

  23. Related: That's going to hurt isn't it? MTB wheel fail | Mutterings, Stuff & nonsense | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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