Wheels & Tires -
The Phena comes with Shimano 495 hubs and Alex rims wrapped with Kenda Small Block 8s. There is noticeable flex in the wheels when going through technical rocky sections but it isn’t enough to be alarming, just enough to keep you on your toes. They held up to the abusive trails here in Santa Barbara without developing any wobbles or broken spokes. The main downside is that they’re heavy. Swapping out the wheels would be a great way to help the bike respond quicker and pedal easier if it’s in the budget. The tires worked really well too. I’d leave them on until they wore out if it was up to me. They didn’t have additional sidewall protection but I never got a pinch flat. I was running about 37psi, so for my weight they were pretty full, but the knobs are so sticky I could get away with it and not sacrifice a bunch of traction.
The Phena is powered by a triple ring Shimano Deore drivetrain that doesn’t leave much to be desired. It’s totally functinal and reliable, as I never had any problems with any of it. The rear deraileur is a Shadow (awesome) so there’s less to worry about when riding in tight conditions. The one thing I’d suggest changing would be to replace the outer ring with a bashgaurd and, if you can afford it, add a chainguide. If you plan to use the bike as an all mountain rig, you’re most likely going to be riding rough chatter and rocks, so something to keep the chain on would be good. I had the chain shake loose a couple of times, and it’s always frustrating to have to convince it to get back into its proper position. A dual chain guide, like the Gamut P30 could be a solution: http://www.gamutusa.com/news.html