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TIPS | How many spokes should your MTB wheels have?

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Industry Nine’s Sarah Wood, holding the American mountain bike brand’s lightest wheelset. With its 24-hole spoke pattern. (Industry Nine)
Industry Nine’s Sarah Wood, holding the American mountain bike brand’s lightest wheelset. With its 24-hole spoke pattern. (Industry Nine)

That budget BMX you rode or inherited in the early 1980s might have had cool plastic tri-spoke wheels, but steel spokes rule.  

Despite the existence of monocoque carbon-fibre wheelsets, most mountain bike wheels still use the proven steel spoke system.

A mountain bike wheel looks deceptively simple, with a collection of spokes lacing the rim to a hub. But wheel building is an exact science, with spoke choice and tensioning crucial in how durable a mountain bike wheel will be. And how responsively it will ride.

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