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Is the 16X still the best all-round wheel?


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I'm looking to get a new wheel, but when I compare the current batch of wheels for sale, I'm more and more leaning towards buying just another 16X. I just don't seem to find another wheel that's an equally great all-rounder and suits my needs. Unless someone can convince me otherwise...

What I'm looking for in a wheel:

Usage: The wheel is my main (commuter) vehicle, I only switch to a car when there's heavy rain forecasted, need to transport heavy loads, or need to go someplace far. The trajectory I take by wheel involves very mixed terrain, ranging from concrete to single track dirt, and includes cobblestones, curbs and what not. I also occasionally go on half-day trips 40-70 km or full day trips with charging break at a restaurant (100-120 km). I usually gravitate towards mountain-bike trails for these, but sometimes it can also be mellow cruising on paved surfaces.

Speed: In Belgium PEV's aren't allowed to go faster than 25 km/h. I usually ride around 35 km/h with tiltback at 40 km/h. Normally that means I could get fined but shouldn't lose my driving license.  While I regularly hear 'please decelerate', I don't feel the need to go any faster and don't want to draw unwelcome attention to my riding or EUC's in Belgium in general. I also stick rigorously to all other traffic laws and always give priorities, never run red lights, stop for pedestrian crossings, etc.... Also I don't want to have to suit-up in full motorcycle gear.

Torque: Never really had an issue with the 16x. But I do occasionally go up steeper terrain and overall I do think torque is more important to my riding style than speed.

Range: Most of the time the range on my 16X is sufficient, but sometimes I really have to watch my riding style on longer trips, and sometimes I don't do a certain loop because I'm not sure I would make it. More range would obviously be welcome.

Weight: I usually carry my wheel at least once or twice a day, including a flight of stairs at work. When the tire is wet or muddy I will carry it for a longer time at work, out of respect for the cleaning staff. While it's ok if it is a little bit heavier than the 16X I'm not looking for a 30kg+ wheel.

Durability: I'm a heavy dude at 100 kg and I usually carry at least 10 kg of gear + backpack. I don't go looking for stunts and I try to ride in a way to minimize strain on the euc (by flexing knees, jumping up curbs, etc...) but I don't go out of the way of difficult terrain or jumps, so it doesn't  have an easy life either and it will get dropped. My current wheel has over 10.000 km, but it seems like now either the axle or the pedal hangers are starting to giving out.

Price: Obviously cheaper is better. If I have to fork over 1000 euro annually for a wheel, then the gap between the cost for a wheel and a car starts to diminish. I have a second-hand car that costs less than a Sherman and it' lasting a lot longer than 10.000 km. 

Suspension: I've never ridden a suspension wheel, so can't say much about it. On very rocky terrain or tracks with lots of tree roots it seems like it could be an advantage, but I'm worried I would be less in control on steep descents with lots of twists.

Light: In winter my commute starts and ends in the dark, so a decent headlight and a visible taillight are a must.

Handle: Lots of trolleying around, while shopping and at work if the tire is clean. A good handle is important.

Seat: Unnecessary

Tire: I'm not a fan of tramlining. I really enjoyed the original Chao Yang H-5167 on my 16X. I have two new ones at home, so even if it's no longer the stock-tire I could easily swap them out. I ride on all types of terrain and have never fallen because of the terrain, except once during a tight, fast-turn on micro-gravel. But that would have happened with any tire. 

Anyway, curious to see if anyone can convince me there's a better all-round wheel for me out there than the 16X.

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I will not be able to convince you to get a different wheel. Maybe someone else can.

The wheel that I would definitely replace if broken or worn out is the 16X. I gives me more smiles per mile than the others, for many of the same reasons you listed. 

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There really is no wheel that fits your list better than the KS16X. Points 2-5 alone really narrow it down. The 18XL technically fits but is more dated in terms of amenities (light, sound etc) and more importantly has considerably less torque (but a bit better high speed which you do not need). Overall the 18XL is considered the 16X's boring cousin. Suspension might bring new fun and comfort but the S18 has less torque and insufficient range. The V11 has even less torque (judging by RagingGrandpa's pull force measurements) and is borderline heavy. And I guess suspension means extra upfront cost and extra maintenance expenditures (by the way, when comparing to cars, you have to count in gas, insurance, registration, parking, maintenance repairs. It adds up quite quickly even if the car itself is cheap. Then there are non-tangible profits from riding a fun device vs of sitting in a car)

When (and if) the S16 arrives (in a few years) it might be a great contender!

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Gotway RS19 HT? - If you wanted bigger diameter wheel. But only if you don't ride in rain. (Otherwise you need to open whole wheel and put silicone everywhere. And i mean everywhere!!!)

Could also go V12HT, it offers everything 16X has, but "bit" better. -More speed, more range, more torque. (Doh it has its own problems..)

If wheel diameter don't matter to you 16X can't be beaten. I personally like bigger wheel, as it simply can roll over all road imperfections.

I also ride my 18xl ~35kph and my speed alarms are at 40kph. It's awesome long range cruiser. I personally was choosing between 16x and 18xl. I loved how 16x looks and that big 16x3" tire. But i didn't like the 16x handle, that square angled handle felt awkward in hand while carrying. So at the end i went with 18xl simply because of handle. :D  

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9 minutes ago, Spaghetteh said:

I've heard the 18XL being described as "boring" or "unremarkable" before and while I'm not here to argue that it isn't I will say that I've got both a 16X and an 18XL and generally I prefer the 18XL when cruising - it's just so dang comfortable to ride. It's not as bulky between my knees and the pedals feel slightly lower to the ground (being around 6'/2m I'll take any help lowering my center of gravity). On pavement the ride feels incredibly smooth and the slightly larger wheel diameter makes a big difference when going over minor bumps at speed. I feel a lot more "one with the wheel" on my 18XL than on my 16X which makes me very aware of every bump and always feels like it's fighting against me ever-so-slightly in turns or while carving.

That being said, it's a different story on rough terrain at lower speeds. The 18XL gets pushed around more easily by rocks or roots sticking out of the path and despite never having an issue with torque on the 18XL the fact that on paper the 16X has better torque means I'm generally more willing to take on steeper grades with it. The headlight on the 18XL, while being a bit better than the light on my previous 18L, really can't compare to the width and distance of lighting provided by the 16X (I have to turn off the high beam on bike paths as it blinds oncoming cyclists) and I'd recommend having a secondary headlight or a flashlight in-hand if you're going to ride the 18XL in the dark. The brake light however is IMO better on the 18XL as it is bigger and brighter and the design is more akin to the brake light on a car or bike vs the array of smaller lights on the 16X.

Last few things I can think of is that I get tilt-back a lot sooner on the 16X (~27mph/~43kph) than on the 18XL (personal speed record of ~31mph/~50kph and still haven't actually gotten tilt-back). Additionally, if you take your wheel apart often you'll want to mod the stock padding on the sides of the 16X as most of the screw holes are hidden behind it whereas with the 18XL most if not all are exposed. Otherwise, they are nearly identical in most other aspects. About the same weight, the handle design is solid and intuitive (and adequate for taller people), similar battery range and performance. Both great wheels of their generation and I'd say you couldn't go wrong with either; but personally I reach for the 18XL when I want to zen out on a ride at the end of the day.

I have mixed the 16x and 18xl. :D

I got myself aftermarket pedals. Which lifted my whole shell upwards by ~2cm. (Also added 2cm ground clearance on pedals.) And have added 80/80-14 tire. Meaning it's little bit bigger than regular 18x2.5" tire. Even with lifted honeycomb pedals, it still feels so stable at speed.

I have almost the same ground clearance as of 16x and same time 18" M/C tire. Win-Win. :thumbup:

I also have never had problems with torque. And i weight 280lbs.

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13 hours ago, Tazarinho said:

anyone can convince me there's a better all-round wheel for me out there than the 16X.

This will be a very half hearted and lame attempt... these are my niggles with my 16XS.LR (XS+second battery)

Handle: 16X handle is always annoyingly loose feeling and while it truthfully always does its job, it's annoying for about a quarter second.
Seat: good thing it's not necessary, because while some think it's the very best stock seat out there (it's very nice!), it bounces off so you have to add a safety strap
Tire options: this one is a valid one, the choices in the 12" rim size are much more limited than the larger 14" rims (18-20" outside diameters). However, since you like and have spare CY5167s, it's not an issue. I'm an H666 fan myself in spite of its tendency to tramline... they're expensive nowadays.

I'm a bit like @Scottie, I won't be parting ways with my 16XS.LR anytime soon. It is my hop-on-and-go wheel without a doubt. Yes, I have an MTen for fiddling around the neighborhood and an S18 because the trails I frequent are shared with horses and the suspension really helps return the enjoyment (dried hoof prints are murder bumpy), and I have an S22 on order (for the time being) because the S18 just doesn't have the range... but the 16XS.LR is the wheel I feel I can really count on for pretty much anything and everything. And it doesn't break.

EDIT

I realize I didn't suggest an alternative! You don't list any requirements that demand gigantic batteries (speed/autonomy), or more torque (dodging cars, downhill mountain bike trails, big air), or even suspension.

As it turns out I'm a fan of suspension because it allows me to not have to focus as much attention on the road ahead—it dials down the on-alert level just enough to be noticeable and it's quite nice actually. Enough so that I do at least think about hopping on the S18 for a routine cruise. I might ride my S18 more when I'm in town if it weren't for the soft TR1 tire-that-hates-to-turn. So maybe, just maybe, a V11. It's nowhere near as worry free as a 16X, but folks that own them love them. Although I must mention that while the V11 owners I know truly did love their wheels, they also sold them before a year was past.

Edited by Tawpie
add weak recommendation
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I have both the 16X and the V12 HS. Both are great wheels in my opinion, but I just love the V12. I actually think the extra weight of the V12 makes it a little more stable over bumps. I also ride on a lot of 35mph roads and I like being able to do the speed limit especially if a car is behind me. Both are a joy to ride and I get about the same amount of range out of both. If speed is not an issue and weight is, the 16X is probably a better choice for you.

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On 8/1/2022 at 9:57 PM, yoos said:

There really is no wheel that fits your list better than the KS16X. Points 2-5 alone really narrow it down. The 18XL technically fits but is more dated in terms of amenities (light, sound etc) and more importantly has considerably less torque (but a bit better high speed which you do not need). Overall the 18XL is considered the 16X's boring cousin. Suspension might bring new fun and comfort but the S18 has less torque and insufficient range. The V11 has even less torque (judging by RagingGrandpa's pull force measurements) and is borderline heavy. And I guess suspension means extra upfront cost and extra maintenance expenditures (by the way, when comparing to cars, you have to count in gas, insurance, registration, parking, maintenance repairs. It adds up quite quickly even if the car itself is cheap. Then there are non-tangible profits from riding a fun device vs of sitting in a car)

Thank you! I would indeed put the 18XL as second on the list. I also agree on the costs of a car not just being the acquisition price, but then again they also have some benefits. Passenger and cargo space, and range, to mention some. :)

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On 8/1/2022 at 11:40 PM, Funky said:

Gotway RS19 HT? - If you wanted bigger diameter wheel. But only if you don't ride in rain. (Otherwise you need to open whole wheel and put silicone everywhere. And i mean everywhere!!!)

It's a tempting wheel. But I live in an appartment with wood everywhere and am a bit reluctant to get a Begode wheel because of the potential fire hazard. And I do ride in light rain. If it's for more than a few minutes I put a backpack cover on the wheel. But this is Belgium, it's impossible to never ride in the rain (even though we had the driest July in 180 years). Together with the south of England and Wales we have pretty much the least sunshine in the world. Though allegedly the Aleutians (and some say Bergen) have more rain. ;)

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1 minute ago, Tazarinho said:

we have pretty much the least sunshine in the world

and that totally explains why you also have some of the very best beer in the world.

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On 8/2/2022 at 12:43 AM, Tawpie said:

As it turns out I'm a fan of suspension because it allows me to not have to focus as much attention on the road ahead—it dials down the on-alert level just enough to be noticeable and it's quite nice actually. Enough so that I do at least think about hopping on the S18 for a routine cruise. I might ride my S18 more when I'm in town if it weren't for the soft TR1 tire-that-hates-to-turn. So maybe, just maybe, a V11. It's nowhere near as worry free as a 16X, but folks that own them love them. Although I must mention that while the V11 owners I know truly did love their wheels, they also sold them before a year was past.

I've wondered on some trails, mostly tree-root or rock-ridden ones, whether I would like suspension. But it seems like it's also a trade-off, added suspesnion means less room for battery and more maintenance. Perhaps I will change my mind in a couple of years if my knees get worse. 

Though I have to say that of all suspension wheels I would most lean towards the V11. 

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On 8/3/2022 at 6:08 AM, GreyRider said:

I have both the 16X and the V12 HS. Both are great wheels in my opinion, but I just love the V12. I actually think the extra weight of the V12 makes it a little more stable over bumps. I also ride on a lot of 35mph roads and I like being able to do the speed limit especially if a car is behind me. Both are a joy to ride and I get about the same amount of range out of both. If speed is not an issue and weight is, the 16X is probably a better choice for you.

It's a good option indeed. However, I don't know why but I don't like the look of the V12, and it seems to struggle with teething issues, unless I'm confused with a different wheel.

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5 minutes ago, Tawpie said:

and that totally explains why you also have some of the very best beer in the world.

True! We can drown our sorrows away :D ! Post-ride of course! 

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26 minutes ago, Tazarinho said:

It's a tempting wheel. But I live in an appartment with wood everywhere and am a bit reluctant to get a Begode wheel because of the potential fire hazard. And I do ride in light rain. If it's for more than a few minutes I put a backpack cover on the wheel. But this is Belgium, it's impossible to never ride in the rain (even though we had the driest July in 180 years). Together with the south of England and Wales we have pretty much the least sunshine in the world. Though allegedly the Aleutians (and some say Bergen) have more rain. ;)

You could always get a metal "box" for the wheel. I got myself one for my 18xl :D https://www.se.com/ww/en/product/NSYCRN86300P/spacial-crn-plain-door-with-mount-plate-h800xw600xd300-ip66-ik10-ral7035-/  (Even put "rockwool" inside.. So it gets somewhat insulated.)

Add some bricks under the box, drill some air vents. And the fire will be contained. Only damage from the fire would be the smoke - making everything "black".

As for rain - as i said, simply silicone everything. :D I also use backpack cover - best thing ever, for riding in rain. 

Edited by Funky
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