Photo by ashmtnadv
Our top choices
DMR Pro Disc Wheel
DMR and the Pro wheel are specifically designed for dirt jump riding so you can't go wrong.Check Price
Saracen DT Swiss
Originally designed for downhill riding, this wheel will hold it's own in any arena.Check Price
Spank 359 Vibrocore Wheelset
The insane technology of the vibrocore means we have to choose this for the upgrade pickCheck Price
The wheel. It's always been important, whether it's on a car, a plane, a tank, or a dirt jump bike. It's the way you and your bike interact with the road; every adjustment you make due to the feel of the environment starts with the wheels.
We describe the wheelset as though it's just one part but it really isn't. It's built up of several different very important and technical parts. The hub, rim, spokes, tires, and even spoke nipples can all be changed and chosen for a different riding style or feel.
I've been riding dirt jump and slopestyle bikes for over a decade so I've had a fair amount of experience with many different DJ wheelsets. I'm going to use my experience to recommend some of the best wheels and parts you can buy for your dirt jump bike.
Parts of a Dirt Jump Bike Wheel
Unsurprisingly, dirt jumper wheels are very similar to BMX, downhill, enduro, road and cross-country wheels. They're all built from a rim, a set of spokes, a hub, a tire and spoke nipples.
Of course, there are a lot of factors that make DJ wheels different from the wheels of all other cycling disciplines. These factors make riding huge jumps with heavy, frequent impacts much more acceptable.
Wider rims are more common on the wheelsets in this article. Unfortunately, this does increase weight but the strength improvements are very beneficial for common impacts. Wide rims also allow you to use any size tire without it feeling too narrow and unstable.
Spokes are another part that you'll notice is very different from BMX wheels. The majority of spokes are screwed into the spoke nipple, attached through the holes in the rim. At the hub end, they are normally threaded through a hole in the side of the rim. A butted end on the spoke, at a right angle to the shaft, is used to stop the spokes from sliding through the holes.
You'll notice a lot of wheels on this list have implemented their spokes slightly differently. They've attempted to remove all the weak points of the spokes. By removing the bend and butting in the spokes, they have majorly increased strength. The way to install these new spokes is by screwing them into holes in the hub and the spoke nipples.
1. DMR Pro Disc Wheelset
Photo by angusarchibald
It's surprising how well the DMR Pro wheelset works on a dirt-jumper bike. I have used DMR parts on my slopestyle bikes for years and they've never disappointed.
The Pro disc wheel is strong, well-designed and has a good all-round rim for the more advanced riders. DMR has used BlackLine rims, which have a broad deep box section with double eyelets throughout.
These characteristics have been chosen to give you a huge choice when it comes to your tires. Almost any sized tire can be used here without worrying about losing balance.
I do have a few downsides to this wheel. While 36-spoke wheels are great for strength and heavy landings, it creates quite a heavy wheelset. Heavy wheels ruin your acceleration and make it much harder to maneuver in tighter spaces.
A three-pawl engagement has been used on a nine-speed rear cassette. The ability to attach a nine-speed cassette to this wheel is great for enduro or mountain bikers but slopestyle riders generally don't use many gears.
Obviously, you can change this to a single sleep setup with spacers but I've done that before and it's never as good.
Finally, three pawls provide a significantly less amount of engagement than other wheelsets on this list. I would consider changing the hubs if I bought these wheels.
Photo by angusarchibald
- Holes: 32
- Weight: 990g
- Axle Size: 20mm through axle hub
- Rim: DMR Thret
- Spokes: Black plain gauge spokes
2. Industry Nine Dirt Jump 305 Wheels V3
Photo by stevemokan
Industry nine was founded back in 2004 to create high-end performance cycling wheels. Interestingly, Clint Spiegel chose the name as it was the 9th company to come out of his Turnamics machine shop, which was founded by his father, Harvey.
Industry nine has expanded to cover half the shop floor of Harvey's Turnamics warehouse. Having this machining ability has been a massive advantage to the company. They can now create a wheel for pretty much any bike almost immediately.
These wheels can be seen on so many dirt jumping and slopestyle podiums all around the world. Tomas Lemoine and Griffin Paulson, the two top riders on the FMB world tour for 2023 both ride successfully with these wheels.
I think the third generation of this wheelset is a great product for any level or dirt jump rider, whether you're throwing them into the local trails or the massive jumps at Red Bull Crankworx.
This generation has a 45% wider bead, helping landing impacts. Integrated nipples are used on the 32 aluminum spokes, which feel much thicker than any used before. Thicker spokes carry more weight but reduce the likelihood of one of the most common breakages on a dirt jump bike.
Taking a look at the hubs of these wheels, you will notice the reason these spokes are much stronger than others on the market. Instead of bending the end and attaching it through a side hole in the hub, I9 has used a completely straight spoke to eliminate any weak areas of the spoke.
Hydra Freehub is the name of the best part of this wheel. This hub feels great when riding. A massive 690 points of engagement give a clear feeling of quality. Any slight crank turn of just 0.52 degrees will find the next engagement point. This is the lowest amount of slack of any cassette hub on the market.
I can only find a couple of small issues with this wheelset. Firstly, the price. It's not surprising that the wheels of the best freeride mountain bike riders are extortionately priced but it does prevent a lot of amateur riders from accessing the best parts.
Photo by johnnyelectric
- Size: 26”
- Wheelset Weight: 1710g
- Front Wheel Weight: 790g
- Rear Wheel Weight: 920g
- Rim Weight: 460g
- Inner Rim Width: 30.5mm
- Outer Rim Width: 35.7mm
- Tire Width: 2.3” - 2.6”
Industry Nine's US Made Hydra System Wheels - The Full Rundown
3. Atomlab Pimplite Slopestyle Wheel 2023
Photo by bnorthro
Atomic Laboratories, founded by Mike Flaherty, is a dirt jump mountain biking brand that's been around since the mid-90s. Flaherty was a BMX racer growing up so working in the cycling industry wasn't a big surprise.
The Flatboy pedal, one of the original products released by the company, took off quickly and gave the brand a good name in the DJ world. It's interesting how Atomlab started as a BMX brand but quickly became a dedicated mountain bike company. So many of the top downhill riders loved the products that it was impossible not to.
6 pawls have been packed into the freehub of this wheelset. Immediate response is an understatement. As you can tell from the constant clicking sound in the video below, the pawls are always a minute's distance from the next engagement. These are called the PimpLite hubs.
29mm rims like this wheel are super strong and durable. They're extra wide so they make any size tire feel super stable and able to withstand massive rock drops and impacts. It's a bit more of an investment to purchase wheels that have been designed in this way but they're sure to keep you safe over a longer period.
Stepped spokes, similar to the Industry Nine wheel, are there to reinforce the connection between the spokes and the hub. It's an intricate connection and can be the source of much bike maintenance when done incorrectly.
Photo by bnorthro
- Size: 26”
- Rim: Pimplite
- Hub: Pimplite-SS
- Axle Spacing: 10mm x 135mm bolt on
- Spoke Holes: 32
- Spoke: Triple Butted
- Nipple: Torque Alloy
- Weight: 1119g
Atomlab Pimplite Wheel Review
4. Saracen DT Swiss Downhill Wheel
Photo by saracen.co.uk
A great all-around mountain bike brand, I trust Saracen parts on any of my bikes. Their dirt jumping selection is large and well worth investigating.
Although these wheels are designed to be used on Downhill tracks, I think their durability and design will work well on dirt jumps. If you follow the downhill mountain biking world cup you'll probably already know that these are one of the most popular wheelsets in the competition.
The full 30mm internal rim width matches with a lot of the other wheels on this list. A wider rim will be heavier but it will hold the tire much better along with a greater acceptance of hard landings.
You must take weight into consideration when buying wheelsets for a dirt jumper or slopestyle bike. You need strength to take a horrible case but an adequate weight so that you can gain speed quickly and throw the bike around in the air. I think the Saracen DT wheels might be slightly too heavy for a lot of riders, 2,002g is a little more than most products I've included in this list. If you have the funds you can upgrade to the carbon spec but it's effectively twice the price.
Classic J-bend butted competition spokes are great for dirt jumps. They're strong and easy to locate and replace whether you're out on the track or at home.
- Weight: 2,324g / pair
- Tubeless: Yes
- Sizes: 26”, 27.5” & 29”
- Rim Width: 30mm
- Inner Rim Width: 25mm
- Rim Height: 22mm
5. Spank Spoon 32 Dirt Jumper Wheels
Photo by porkercon
Spank is featured on this list a lot. Their all-around mountain biking wheels are designed well, brilliantly built and super strong. They're using loads of new technologies to improve riding comfort and durability on the trails. Whether you like these products or not, you have to respect the effort they're putting in.
A durable, alloy construction is used in the construction of this wheel. Unlike the other Spank wheel on this list, this product isn't designed to be tubeless. However, I hear that you can run this wheelset tubeless without an issue.
A corrugated center has been applied to the Spoon rim to increase rigidity, surface area and rim width without adding extra material. Unsurprisingly, this corrugated material is another impeccably designed technology from Spank. They really do put themselves above other brands with their dedication to improving technology.
Photo by slopestyleworldwide
Photo by porkercon
- Hole Count: 32
- Inner Width: 26.5mm
- Outer Width: 32mm
- Profile Height: 24
- Tyre Fit: 1.8” to 2.4”
- Hub: Spank Spike Hub
- Spokes: J-Hook
- Nipples: Brass External
- Lacing: 3 cross lacing
- Valve: Schrader
6. Spank 359 Vibrocore Mountain Biking Wheel
Photo by spank-ind.com
As you may have seen in our list of the best dirt jumper handlebars, Spank has developed a fabulous proprietary technology that they're using in several of their product lines.
The Vibrocore technology is essentially padded foam that's inserted into high-stress areas of a mountain bike part. In the handlebars, it's placed around the riser curves while in the wheels it's placed around the center of the rim.
Vibrocore aims to reduce a certain frequency of vibrations when riding. There is a certain frequency range that causes most of the arm pump and cramps when riding your bike. By using foam to remove this the rider will last much longer without the inevitable trail vibrations tiring them out.
When testing these wheels you might not immediately feel the benefit of the foam. It really gets going as soon as you start hitting dirt jumps. The rough terrain is almost converted to concrete.
It isn't all about the Vibrocore with these wheels though. Spank has included a super tight 3.5° between engagement points. If you can't imagine this it's a gorgeous sound of constant clicking when freewheeling.
I'm happy with the no-nonsense setup of this wheel. Spank gives you a lot of options, the wheelset isn't too heavy and they easily hold their own when being bashed around.
- Hole Count: 32
- Inner Width: 30.5mm
- Outer Width: 35mm
- Profile Height: 19
- Tyre Fit: 2.0” to 2.6”
- Hub: Spank Hex J-Type
- Spokes: J-Hook, Triple Butted
- Nipples: Brass External
- Lacing: 3 cross lacing
- Valve: Presta
Best Parts for Building your own Wheel
A lot of intermediate and advanced riders enjoy building their own wheels. You get so much more customization for your riding style and brand preferences while also getting the opportunity to keep the cost low.
Below I have included a few products that I recommend when building your own wheel for dirt jumping. You can also use these ideas to improve on a wheelset you previously bought. If your riding discipline changes then you can go to these different products to improve your bike.
Rims for Your Wheel
Alienation 440 - A great, wide rim for brakes but some riders might find it a little heavy.
Halo Chaos DJ Rim - Another product from Halo. They make so many varieties of top-notch products. Designed with dirt jumping in mind.
DMR DeeVee - A DJ-style rim suited for V-Brakes and disc brakes. Strength and versatility.
Sun MTX Series - A very strong wheel initially designed for downhill mountain biking but easily used on DJ bikes.
Spank 359 Vibrocore - The rim used in the Vibrocore wheelset is included above. You get to use cutting-edge technology with your choice of rims.
Hubs for your DJ Bike
Hope Pro 4 - Unsurprisingly Hope makes the best hubs for most types of riding. Insane metal quality, almost instant engagement, and an almost endless amount of variations.
Halo DJ Supadrive - Halo's version of a dirt jumping hub. They don't normally concentrate on DJ so the fact they concentrated all of their experience there is amazing.
Industry 9 Hydra - A revolutionary 0.52° between engagement points.
How to Choose the Best Dirt Jumping Wheels?
Dirt jumping is a tough riding discipline. You'll be taking tough landings and your wheels need to hold up. Bending your rim, blowing out a spoke or tire is the start of a bad day when riding slopestyle.
Look closely at the rim material and how many spokes it's laced with. You want a super durable design, made with aluminum or an aluminum alloy. Spokes are normally around 36 holes but can be lower.
This higher number is much better for dirt jumpers as the more spokes will spread impacts through themselves far better.
The hub is the centerpiece of a wheel. A narrow engagement distance with 5 or more pawls is the sign of a good hub. This hub needs to match the number of spokes used in the rim.
Weight is important when spending so much time in the air. You need a better power-to-weight ratio than downhill bikes but you can't give up any of the strength or durability.
Are Tubeless Wheels Good for Dirt Jumping?
Tubeless tires are great for certain things but I wouldn't say they're perfect for every style of riding. Generally, you need to spend a little bit more money and take a little extra time with maintenance but overall you'll have more freedom and arguably more safety against punctures.
You can get away with running super low tire pressures without an innertube solely due to the fact you aren't worried about pinch flats. Not a great idea for dirt jumping but very helpful when you need more traction.
What Size Should my DJ Wheels be?
Dirt jumping wheels should be 24” or 26”. These are the best-size wheels for maneuverability and comfort when riding dirt jumps.
20” BMX bikes are often used on dirt jumps but mountain bikers normally steer clear of these. On the other end of the spectrum, 29” wheels are normally a bit large for the bigger dirt jumps and can make maneuvering your bike hard.
Should I use Gears on my Dirt Jumper?
Like a lot of things, this is a purely personal preference. I do not like using gears on my dirt jump bike because it adds a lot of parts to my bike that likes to rattle around, come loose and break.
I've found that bike chains are very prone to coming off when riding on rough trails or dirt jumps. Something you absolutely don't want to happen when you're bearing down on a 20-foot gap jump.
If you ride a mixture of mountain bike disciplines or need to be able to ride long distances on your bike then gears might be a good idea for you.
How to Keep Dirt Jumper Wheels in Good Condition?
As with all bike parts, it's important to keep them well-maintained and cleaned. Otherwise, you'll have a very unexpected breakage, which often causes bad injuries, as I can attest to.
Given the name, it's no surprise that dirt and debris get caught up in your spokes, rims and hubs when riding dirt jumps. A simple cleaning with a regular all-purpose cleaner and brush will keep your wheels going for years.
Lubrication is such an important part of so many bike parts. You need to lubricate your hubs, spokes and other bearings on the bike. This will prevent dirt and debris from wearing down the bearings.
Regularly checking over your wheels is more beneficial than you would think. Every few weeks or months you should take your wheels off your bike, check your spoke tension and how well your cassette is spinning. Doing this will identify parts that need replacing much earlier.
Why Should You Trust us?
My name is Michael, I wrote this article on the best dirt jump and slopestyle wheelsets for Tresna. I have been riding BMX and mountain bikes for well over a decade.
Throughout that time I have tested so many different parts it's crazy. From simple upgrades on my bike to new parts my friends are using and even replacing my old stolen bike; I have found a way to ride and test most of the popular parts designed for dirt jumping.
I've ridden these bikes on the street, at skateparks and at dedicated dirt jump tracks to make sure what I'm recommending is the best on offer.
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