Need advice choosing the internal width of my 29'er wheels

i’m building up my Ripley and it is my first time with a 29’er. My last bike was 27.5 plus (rode 2.6 and 2.8).
I have a choice between rims that are 29 internal or 35 internal width. It seems like 2.2-2.5 would be a sweetspot for me in terms of tire width
So i’m trying to figure out which Rim would be best. I was told the 35 works with 2.3-2.8; width 29 works with 2-2.6.
i’m confused which Rim would be best…i’m an intermediate Mt biker, I ride New England roots and rocks BUT like to climb and do some endurance rides/races.

You’ll be totally happy with either. But this doesn’t help you! I’d pick 35: perfect for 2.4 to 2.6, which are the sizes I’d consider on a Ripley.


Paging Ripley owner @BryceLewis. Any insight on this, Bryce?

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Seems like 35mm rims are overkill for a bike like the Ripley. Unless you are a heavy rider and/or plan to ride aggressively on chunky terrain.

29 or 30mm internal seems to be the way most downcountry bikes are going these days.

FWIW, I have 24mm rims on my 2017 Trek Fuel. DT Swiss XMC1200 carbon. These wheels are very light and plenty stiff. The one downside of the narrower rims is tires don’t set up as wide. Most XC tires these days seem to be specced for 29 or 30mm rims. So will measure a true 2.4” on a 30mm rim. But measure 2.3” or so on my 24s. And on a 35, will measure wider, maybe 2.5” or so.

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thank you Jonathan!

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You’ll get plenty of opinions on this, and they are all opinions.

I am a VERY aggressive rider and have been riding 29mm internal with 2.4/2.5 front tires just fine. But I am as noted pretty damn aggressive and pretty comfortable with getting the bike leaned over. My current rear is a 25mm on a 2.3 tire. I recently decided to take a leap and bought a 36mm front/31mm rear setup but haven’t built them yet. I am hoping I won’t regret the decision, since they are $500 hoops.

In general, if you are less aggressive, you will probably get along with wider wheels. It will be easier to get the cornering lugs in the ground and you can run lower pressures. I smash through a rear wheel every couple of months, but I am a bit more gentle on the front wheel.

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I’m running the carbon version of the Ibis 35mm IW wheel on my Ripmo AF.

I bought them as a total experiment to decide if wider really is better. I absolutely love them and would never go narrower on my big bike, I can get away with super low pressures without dinging rims and have more traction than I know what to do with.

That being said, I don’t think those wheels would be ideal if you drop below 2.4" wide tires. with the maxxis WT designated tires you would probably be good.

It really depends on what your ride dream is, if you want to smash rocks and have all the traction, for sure go 35mm. If I was outfitting my XC race rig, I would go with the 28, but if this is your only bike and will be your trail bike and race bike, I think you would be happy with the 35mm.

I have two coworkers w/ V4 Ripleys w/ the 35mm and they both love them. My boss mounted up some 2.4 Rekons and rode it in the Dakota Five O 50 mile MTB race no problem.

Especially if you are coming off of a 27.5 +, I think you will love the mega volume and inherent grip of a 35mm internal width 29er!


Also, if you can afford it, go for the carbon. I am blown away with the weight and ride quality. I opted for an aluminum frame Ripmo so that I could spend the savings on Carbon wheels, gotta optimize the value!

1650 grams for a burly 29er wheelset is bonkers!

They also have a 7 year no questions asked warranty and I have already had a few cringeworthy impacts that the wheels shrugged off no problem.

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do you think the 35 is better then the 30 for a 2.4?

Good article here:

Your question wasn’t directed to me, but IMO, if you plan to run 2.4” tires, 30mm makes more sense.


No, 30-35 is ideal for 2.4 IMO so either way. I suggested 35 because it’s better for 2.6 if you decide to go that way, and no real downside with 2.4 aside from a little weight.

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2 wheel sets.

I use the S35, because Ibis is awesome. If you huck it and ding the wheel, warranty replacement rim, no questions asked.

Carbon wheel set for racing. 30mm is fine there.

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great article, thank you

I have been looking at getting the V4 Ripley, but wanted to save on drivetrain (using Shimano Deore) and get better suspension, so would need to get a frame and build it up - but I’ve never done this. I would appreciate any feedback from your process. What decisions did you like, what would you have done differently? Thank you

Unless you get a good deal on the bare frame, a full build is cheaper assuming you aren’t reusing old parts. If you work with a bike shop, at the time of order, you can get credit for new, unused takeoffs that they resell as part of maintenance.

Some of the upgrades through Ibis, at time of purchase, are also pretty reasonable.

On my Ripmo, a couple of years ago, I’ve ordered a GX build, but swapped out the cassette to X01, the crank to XX1, and the chain to XX1 black, along with an upgraded fork and shock from Ibis. Then I swapped in my own brakes, because I got those cheaper than the bike shop.