My 44 Bikes Marauder Hardtail is Steady Shreddin on Ibis 941 Wheels

Since this bike first showed up at my door here in Los Angeles, I’ve really enjoyed riding it. While the kit that Kris from 44 Bikes delivered for the review interim was more than acceptable, it felt good putting both my old parts on it and new wheels, which made a world of difference. Wheels are like that though. You think everything is peachy-keen one day and the next you’re rolling on new wheels, having your mind blown. Call me naive but I didn’t think a wide rim like the Ibis 941 would make that big of a difference on a hardtail. Truthfully, it didn’t feel like it until I seat the WTB Trail Boss 2.4″ tire on the 41mm outer, 35mm inner width rims.

To say it was like a whole new bike might be over-doing it, or perhaps it captures my enthrallment or excitement. Either way, I do not want to take them, or these tires off my 44 Bikes Marauder anytime soon.

My 44 Bikes Marauder Hardtail is Steady Shreddin on Ibis 741 Wheels

Wide Load
Ok, let’s get real. We all know wider is better in terms of rim width. Everyone from the pro peloton to Jan Heine are in agreeance with that. The problem is, can your bike, like, your current bike benefit from a wider rim. In my opinion, you’ve gotta be able to cram at least a 2.3″ or 2.4″ tire into the rear triangle of your bike to make them worth while. In past trails, I’ve ran smaller tires and felt I wasn’t able to nail down the correct feel. It wasn’t until the 2.4″ Trail Boss tires that the bike as a whole really began to sing. And by sing, I mean hook up on corners and what many people would consider “shred.” Sure, there’s tons of technical mumbo jumbo that plays into this, all of which I am not capable of diving into, nor do I care to, these are simply anecdotal references.

My 44 Bikes Marauder Hardtail is Steady Shreddin on Ibis 741 Wheels

Wheel Talk
The Ibis 941 wheels have been updated since I received this set to review. They’re now the Ibis 942 wheels, with an asymmetric rim design, the same width, a lower height, but are lighter, stiffer, etc. I.e. they’re new and improved. These wheels I’m currently riding are, as far as I’m concerned, the shit. So I can’t imagine them being any better but that’s technology for ya.

Here are the current specifications: The front and rear hubs are the trusty, hassle-free DT Swiss 350. The 941 rim width is 41mm outer and 35mm inner, with a 32h drilling. They’re super easy to set up tubeless, even with just a floor pump. The spokes are triple butted and in the year or so of thrashing and crashing haven’t needed a single true. The cost on the new 942 wheelset is around $1,800 depending on where you get them from or the wheels pictured here can be purchased for $1099 from Ibis. These weigh around 1780g.

My 44 Bikes Marauder Hardtail is Steady Shreddin on Ibis 741 Wheels
Plenty of Rubber
As mentioned before, in order to take advantage of a wide rim, you really need to go as big as you can with your tire. Contrary to what some might think, no this does not make you slower, depending upon the casing and tread. In short: with the right tire and a wide rim, you won’t notice any sort of lag like you would going full on plus or fat. For a 29’r, I found 2.4″ or 2.5″ is the way to go, personally. I really can’t sing the praises of these tires enough!

My 44 Bikes Marauder Hardtail is Steady Shreddin on Ibis 741 Wheels
Why Carbon?
Ok, I’ll be really honest here. I love wheels like the Velocity Blunt SS but I tend to go through those rims almost twice or three times as fast as I would go through a carbon hoop. Having never broken a carbon rim, I can’t say for sure how long it’d take to actually ride one until it fatigues and cracks, so I’m just guestimating. Carbon rims are stiff and on a mountain bike, I love the way they feel. The problem is, you’re either staring down the barrel of an ENVE wheelset with King hubs for $3,000 or some mystery eBay wheels for under $1,000. The nice thing about the Ibis wheels is they’re all reasonably priced and backed by a three year warranty. Some of them even come laced with Industry Nine hubs now.

My 44 Bikes Marauder Hardtail is Steady Shreddin on Ibis 741 Wheels
Closing the Gap
Look, wheels are pricey and they can be a daunting thing to consider, which is why it’s best to actually ride the damn things if you can before buying them. Your local Ibis dealer will have a demo day (hopefully soon) so make sure you pedal around on a bike with these wheels before you pull the trigger. Personally, I couldn’t be more pleased with their feel and performance and if I had to buy another set, I would without hesitation. The only qualm I have is wanting a louder freehub, with as mentioned before, has been since resolved with the Industry Nine spec.

If you have any questions, drop them in the comments and see all the specs your heart desires at Ibis.

  • hans

    i do love those tires. only used on the rear so far, but it’s wearing super well and rolls good

  • breed007

    I tend to think the sweet spot on tire size/width varies significantly depending on your soil. And you’d probably want a wider tire in super-dry L.A. than you would in other places.

    But I haven’t ridden a standard 29er tire on rims that wide. Would like to try it.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Yeah, but I’ve ridden this bike all over California. From peaty / damp soil in Santa Cruz, to the Sierras and in LA / the desert.

      • breed007

        Fair enough, there’s a lot of personal preference that plays into it as well. I just went back to a 2.25 rear (on a 28mm rim) because the 2.4 I had on there previously felt sluggish. But I also hate dropper posts and carbon, so take my opinion for what it’s worth.

        Great build, by the way. Kris is on my short list for my next frame.

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          For sure. Totally agree.

        • http://www.44bikes.com Kristofer Henry

          The key measurement is the internal width FYI. 30mm+ internal width opens up the sidewalls making them stand more vertically which translates to more control out on the trail or rather a more “sure footed” feel. 2.25 / 2.3 or 2.4″ tires all will become “fuller” mounted on a rim with an internal rim width of 30mm+. That sure footed feel and fuller tire profile also translates to better traction and the ability to run a bit lower air pressure I’ve found. IMO: Those are the key benefits. So even if you prefer a 2.25 over a 2.4, you’ll get the same basic effects/benefits I think. Personally, I’m running WTB 2.4 Trail Boss’s out back with a WTB 2.3 Breakout up front (which mounts up closer to a 2.4″ I think) for a bit more sidewall protection and a bit more aggressive cornering capabilities. But you can’t go wrong with those Trail Boss’s!

        • jtbadge

          I want your Unit if you move on from it.

          • breed007

            Probably won’t get rid of it when I pick up a new frame. It’ll just become a parts bin rigid ss.

    • http://www.skiinskioutdesign.com/ workingoutinjeans

      Another really nice option is the easton arc 30 rim. 30mm internal width, affordable and tough.

  • Kyle Marmesh

    Beautiful build. What type of housing is on the Thomson? That gold is too good.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Pretty sure it’s Jagwire. It was a scrap piece of housing laying around the shop.

  • Brett

    741s with Dt Swiss 350s are still available, and at $1099.

    http://store.ibiscycles.com/ibis-741-carbon-fiber-wheel-set—dt-350-rear-hub-p235.aspx

  • boomforeal

    weird of ibis to mislabel your rims ;-)

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      dowh…

  • Sean Jones

    941s or 741s? The pictures are of 941s. Thanks

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      It’s 941.

  • Alex Hillis

    So, how to these compare to the Roam wheels on the Stinner Eagle? Also, looking forward to more thoughts on that sweet whip. Haven’t seen much about it since the photoset.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Yeah… more on that later. The frame was too small for me to ride, so the parts went to a new bikepacking rig I’m building for Tasmania. Eagle, Roam wheels, etc. Gonna be fun!

      • Alex Hillis

        Sounds awesome! I’m a little shorter than you, happy to demo that frame ;)

      • Frank

        Tasmania!

  • Raymond Epstein

    Extra-rad bike and wheels. I actually have one of those sub $1000 carbon wheelsets, but not from eBay exactly. I purchased a set of 27.5 35mm LB rims AM front/DH rear and had them built up with Sapim Race spokes to my Hadley hubs. They will be two years old in March. I have ridden these wheels at least a couple of times a week or more in N. GA, W. NC (Pisgah), E. TN, and trips to bike parks in CO as well, beneath my Banshee Rune V2. I have beaten the stew out of them, with my bumbling angry bear riding style and 200 lb weight. So far, they’ve never gone out of true and I’ve had to replace a couple of spokes only from some wayward branches getting thrown into my wheels. They’ve outperformed wheels costing three times as much and still have my local wheel builder and friends scratching their heads.

  • timetobrapp

    I may have missed this in the review of this amazing rig and I can’t tell from the photos, but how much suspension is that fork? Also, if you’ve ridden them, how do these tires compare with Maxxis Ardents 2.4″?

    • http://www.44bikes.com Kristofer Henry

      So I’ve ridden both the WTB Trail Boss 2.4’s and run Maxxis Ardent 2.4’s. I’ll say this: In pretty much every situation, both the Ardent and Trail Boss are about equal in terms of grip and confidence with these exceptions: WTB’s Trail Boss excel’s when the conditions turn wet and slimy where the Ardent is less predictable (IMO). On the flip side, for here in NH/New England where there is a lot of granite (it’s called the granite state of course) the Ardent shows more toughness in terms of side wall wear, in contrast to the Trail Boss which shows abrasion much quicker (They have a tough version but it’s over engineered according to my opinion. I really think WTB needs to do a similar sidewall protection treatment for the Trail Boss akin to their Breakout which is equally an excellent tire FYI). Other than that, the Trail Boss I’d say is an excellent tire with lots of traction and excels in just about every condition the trail throws at you. And there are two different compounds / constructions for different applications.

      • timetobrapp

        Cool, thanks for the info. I am really impressed with the Ardent’s durability. I just finished a 25 hour mtb race in Southern Utah where there are tons of abrasive rocks with sharp edges and the Ardent’s don’t show any sidewall damage. Since it’s mostly dry here in Utah, I was mostly curious about wet conditions on the Ardents, so thanks for your input.

    • AaronBenjamin

      I can’t say I’ve ridden the Trail Boss, but the Ardents don’t seem to like being on super wide rims. I had 2.4″ Ardents on some 30mm internal rims and they seemed markedly slower rolling and had odd cornering/breaking characteristics (definitely more floaty feeling). Something to do with squaring off the tread too much and having the softer knobs in contact with the ground while straight line rolling, but then not having enough tread to properly corner. I have a buddy that is on the Trail Bosses mounted on 40mm wide carbon rims and he really likes them. I think that particular tread pattern and carcass is more welcoming of the wide rims than the Ardents.

      • https://timetobrapp.wordpress.com timetobrapp

        Interesting, thanks for the impressions. I’m running narrow rims for now and the Ardents seem predictable enough. If I get wider rims though, I’ll definitely keep this in mind.

  • breed007

    Another similar option is the i9 Enduro305 wheelset. 30.5 internal width, 1795 grams, $1255. I haven’t run these particular rims but my i9 trail 24H wheelset is the best I’ve ever run.

  • Robert Mead

    the handlebar is an rsr or dh ?(dh i believe)

  • P Fin

    By ‘go through’ Blunt SS’s what do you mean? Fatigued? Crash damage?

    • AaronBenjamin

      The Blunt SSs are just a little bit more fragile than you would expect from the way they are billed as light yet wide “trail” rims. I have the same rims (laced to Chris Kings) and I can attest to them not really holding up to the abuse I put them under. I am not kind to my bike, but I’m 180 lbs geared up and I am on a hardtail, so I have dented my rear rim in 4 or 5 different places and I’ve only had the wheels for maybe 6 months. I don’t run crazy low pressure either.

      Let’s be real though, these rims are something like sub 400 grams in a world of 500g+ 29er rims… you can’t expect them to be super bombproof. All things considered, despite the damage these rims are still holding a tubeless seal, which means I’ll just run ‘em till they totally fail or just won’t hold spoke tension… then probably get a beefier rear rim. (The front rim is still flawless actually.)

      I love them otherwise, but Blunt SSs are just not the burliest rims, at least for a hardtail.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Spoke holes cracking, rims denting from minimal impact…

  • Martini Omron

    homo maximus crabonus-minimus-dollarusOR bikesnob NYC
    log lady was his favorite, then niner crabon, now 44, next favorite is???

    how about a just naming a keeper? mine is a V2 soma b-side….some people want to buy and keep a bike for more than a couple of years. Like my ’95 jetstream breezer, or ’96 WCF DBR both keepers for life. Any such thing these days or is everything “buy and sell if I don’t immediately bond to it?”….ok, cranky mcCrank old school wondering where money replaced talent or “hard work”

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      So you’re saying I don’t work hard? Or that opinions shouldn’t change with time and experience? I never said the Log Lady was my favorite, nor the Niner carbon (I didn’t even review that bike) and I’m pretty sure I’ve always called my 44 my favorite personal bike. Get your facts straight and loosen your collar, no need to make personal stabs here.

  • Doug Sullivan

    Ibis “gets it” while other companies try to dump their inner 24-28mm rims with marketing BS like “wide right” Ibis knows that i30-35 is the best way to go for 2.3 to 2.5 tires. I have the Velocity Blunt 35’s and it’s true they’re soft and bend easy. They also have a great feel and mellow out a fully rigid bike. I also have the WTB ASYM i35, and the DT Swiss XM481. Both a bit more durable but I’m sure not as bomb proof as the Ibis carbons. Personally I would be a little apprehensive to put super stiff carbon rims on a fully rigid bike but if I did, a forgiving steel or Ti frame would be the best call.