E-bike wheels: component guide

Building the best e-bike wheels

The modern eMTB. Capable, powerful, and if we’re honest, somewhat heavyset most of the time. While building up a sub-1200g XC wheelset is certainly impressive, selecting the most robust and reliable components possible is paramount when building hoops for the high torque and load demands of an e-bike.

Our TR38 and TR41 rims are the clear choice for eMTB platforms, but when it comes to hub, spoke, and freehub pairings for your custom NOBL e-MTB wheelset, the best options may not be so clear. Let’s break it down! From hub design, spoke selection and the benefits of steel drivers, this is your guide.

For e-bike riders, the best suited hubs need robust construction, high-quality materials, strong axles and flanges and a durable engagement mechanism that withstands torque without premature wear.

The top three e-bike hub choices are DT Swiss 350’s, Chris King mountain hubs and Onyx Classics. Here’s what makes each highly compatible for e-bike riders:


The renowned reliability of DT350 hubs extends to e-bike use. They feature solid steel bearings and a simple, hearty design, while still being among lightest in the class (440g per set). Their best feature is the 36t ratchet system, which gives rock-solid engagement. You can beef them up further with DT’s e-bike specific 24t steel ratchets for extra toughness, and these can be selected directly through the builders on NOBLwheels.com.

Chris King

The premium build quality and perfected tolerance of their steel bearings and RingDrive system makes Chris King hubs a prime choice for eMTBs. The stainless steel RingDrive system moves the engagement mechanism from the freehub to inside the hub shell, where it’s less vulnerable to wear and torque stress. With 72pts of engagement, your ride will feel responsive and secure.


Onyx’s original hub has always suited powerful riders, and this also works well for the demands of e-bikes. Two full rows of sprags in the unique sprag-clutch give soft but sturdy engagement with imperceptible drag, and the hefty hub shells are built to last.

The Classics can also be specced with steel freehubs. Compared to their alloy counterparts, steel freehubs do of course add some weight (~60g), but protect the freehub from frustrating cassette bites under torque, which Onyx doubles-down on with their anti-bite freehub wires.

An honorable mention on the e-bike hub podium is Hope’s new e-bike specific Pro 5 hubs, also offered with steel freehubs. We’ve yet to test them, but we’re confident about the performance of their 6-pawl mechanism for e-bike riders.


What spokes should you lace your TR38 or TR41 wheelset with? For most riders, Sapim Race double-butted steel spokes are the optimal choice, and Sapim D-Lights are suitable for weight-focused set-ups and lighter-duty riding.

Depending on rider weight, bladed Sapim CX-Rays may not always give the stiff and stable performance you want from your wheels. Berd spokes are technically rated for use with some e-bikes, but we highly suggest sticking with a robust steel option!