Advice for building a wheelset for cyclocross



Hoya1500

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Jul 17, 2005
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Hey everyone,

I'm in the market for a new 'cross bike (in my pursuits to create a cycling arsenal). I've got everything sorted out as far as frame, gruppo, and cockpit are concerned. The only thing left i've got to figure out is a wheelset. I'm 5' 8", weigh a hair under 160lbs, and will be using this bike for basic 'cross riding and potentially racing (also, might use it as a rain/snow bike to keep my road racer safe).

I need help deciding whether to use a road rim (appx 19-20mm in width) or a dedicated cyclocross/trekking/29er rim (appx. 22-25mm in width) and understanding what implications this will have regarding performance, tire options, and reliability. Also, I'm open to any hub suggestions you might have. Currently, I've been thinking about using Shimano Ultegra hubs for best bang-for-the-buck, ease of adjustment and serviceability.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jeff
 

daveornee

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Sep 18, 2003
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Hoya1500 said:
Hey everyone,

I'm in the market for a new 'cross bike (in my pursuits to create a cycling arsenal). I've got everything sorted out as far as frame, gruppo, and cockpit are concerned. The only thing left i've got to figure out is a wheelset. I'm 5' 8", weigh a hair under 160lbs, and will be using this bike for basic 'cross riding and potentially racing (also, might use it as a rain/snow bike to keep my road racer safe).

I need help deciding whether to use a road rim (appx 19-20mm in width) or a dedicated cyclocross/trekking/29er rim (appx. 22-25mm in width) and understanding what implications this will have regarding performance, tire options, and reliability. Also, I'm open to any hub suggestions you might have. Currently, I've been thinking about using Shimano Ultegra hubs for best bang-for-the-buck, ease of adjustment and serviceability.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jeff
If your bicycle can handle 135 OLD in the rear, I suggest Shimano MTB hubs for better weather/slop protection: XT, LX, Deore have nice rubber boots.
For rims I suggest the wider but heavier rims. If you like Velocity: Synergy with Synergy OC makes a strong and reliable build, or for a few $s less Dyad.
As always, the quality of the build does make a big difference.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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Hoya1500 said:
Hey everyone,

I'm in the market for a new 'cross bike (in my pursuits to create a cycling arsenal). I've got everything sorted out as far as frame, gruppo, and cockpit are concerned. The only thing left i've got to figure out is a wheelset. I'm 5' 8", weigh a hair under 160lbs, and will be using this bike for basic 'cross riding and potentially racing (also, might use it as a rain/snow bike to keep my road racer safe).

I need help deciding whether to use a road rim (appx 19-20mm in width) or a dedicated cyclocross/trekking/29er rim (appx. 22-25mm in width) and understanding what implications this will have regarding performance, tire options, and reliability. Also, I'm open to any hub suggestions you might have. Currently, I've been thinking about using Shimano Ultegra hubs for best bang-for-the-buck, ease of adjustment and serviceability.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
FWIW. Most competitive CX riders use 622-15 rims (e.g., Open Pro size) ... some CX riders use tubular rims & sew-ups whose brake surface has the equivalent dimension of a 622-13 clincher rim.

You can EASILY modify any Shimano MTB hub to fit a 130mm rear dropout by removing the 4mm spacer AND (hopefully, this is obvious) shortening the axle by about 4mm. The rubber cone (mud seal) will still fit & clear the dropout.

Since most CX frames have 130mm spacing, you could simply use a spare pair of ROAD wheels if you want.

The attached pic has my old FORT cyclocross frame (sans some parts during a parts "transition" phase ... a one-size smaller frame might have been a better fit for me, or not!?!) shown with a ROAD wheelset (622-13).
 

jstock

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Apr 24, 2006
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On my cross I use Open Pro for the front and CXP33 for the back. XT hubs and DT comp. spokes. I don't race so I can't comment on that. They have been extremely durable though, and have been used through two winters (the ones with snow
wink.gif
) withouth any servicing. I've used up to 700x40C tires so I can't really see any need for using anything else than road rims.
 

FreeHueco

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Sep 9, 2003
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Open Pros with Chris King hubs assuming you can afford to pay for them. Your ride will be that much sweeter... :)
 

daveornee

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Sep 18, 2003
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jstock said:
On my cross I use Open Pro for the front and CXP33 for the back. XT hubs and DT comp. spokes. I don't race so I can't comment on that. They have been extremely durable though, and have been used through two winters (the ones with snow
wink.gif
) withouth any servicing. I've used up to 700x40C tires so I can't really see any need for using anything else than road rims.
If you use a very wide tire on a narrow rim, you risk sidewall or rim failure. This combination causes very sloppy handling at low speeds. Unfortunately, current mountain-bike fashion pushes the edge of this. In the interest of weight saving, most current mountain bikes have excessively narrow rims. Such narrow rims work very poorly with wide tires, unless the tires are overinflated...but that defeats the purpose of wide tires, and puts undue stress on the rim sidewalls.
I am not a bicycle racer, but I am a bicycle wheel builder.
Cross uses quite wide tires.... and I oftern see quite narrow rims. I think the combination of wide tires on narrow rims is bad for rims, tires, and handling.... but it allows the rims to be lighter. I haven't joined in on all the weight savings fads, but I will build wheels with combinations of what I can get that function and provide reasonable value.
 

jstock

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Apr 24, 2006
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daveornee said:
If you use a very wide tire on a narrow rim, you risk sidewall or rim failure. This combination causes very sloppy handling at low speeds. Unfortunately, current mountain-bike fashion pushes the edge of this. In the interest of weight saving, most current mountain bikes have excessively narrow rims. Such narrow rims work very poorly with wide tires, unless the tires are overinflated...but that defeats the purpose of wide tires, and puts undue stress on the rim sidewalls.
I am not a bicycle racer, but I am a bicycle wheel builder.
Cross uses quite wide tires.... and I oftern see quite narrow rims. I think the combination of wide tires on narrow rims is bad for rims, tires, and handling.... but it allows the rims to be lighter. I haven't joined in on all the weight savings fads, but I will build wheels with combinations of what I can get that function and provide reasonable value.
Well I know that 700x40 is not ideal. I use it in the winter with low pressure steel studded tires and it does not feel to good, but not worse than the equivalent MTB tires that I have mounted on my MTB (that has pretty old and, I think, wide rims), so I have put that down to the tires and not the rims . In the summer I use 700x23, 700x28, or 700x32. All of them seems to work well. Maybe it would be better with wider rims, but so far I'm happy.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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daveornee said:
If you use a very wide tire on a narrow rim, you risk sidewall or rim failure. This combination causes very sloppy handling at low speeds. Unfortunately, current mountain-bike fashion pushes the edge of this. In the interest of weight saving, most current mountain bikes have excessively narrow rims. Such narrow rims work very poorly with wide tires, unless the tires are overinflated...but that defeats the purpose of wide tires, and puts undue stress on the rim sidewalls.
I am not a bicycle racer, but I am a bicycle wheel builder.
Cross uses quite wide tires.... and I oftern see quite narrow rims. I think the combination of wide tires on narrow rims is bad for rims, tires, and handling.... but it allows the rims to be lighter. I haven't joined in on all the weight savings fads, but I will build wheels with combinations of what I can get that function and provide reasonable value.
FWIW. I wouldn't consider a 700x30/32 CX tire to be very wide ... unless you are comparing it to a 700x20, that is.

But, it wasn't until a about a half-dozen years ago when someone told me that he was using 700x30 CX tires on his MAVIC MA40 rims (622-15) that the notion of something beyond 700x28 on a "regular" road rim would have seemed feasible to me!

To echo daveornee, a 700x38/42 (hybrid) or 700x58 (29er) tire certainly would be undesireable on a 622-15 rim ... but, the latter won't fit in a CX frame ... and, while the former will probably clear a TOURING frame (with the fenders removed?), I'm not sure that a 700x38 tire will clear a CX frame -- at least, it will be hard to clear the fork (there is a difference in tire clearance between a CX fork and a 700c touring fork with braze-on bosses).

A 622-17 rim might be a good option, but they seem far-and-few between, now (Dave, is that the size of the "rims" you've mentioned?) ... and, probably limit you to 700x25 or larger tires.
 

daveornee

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Sep 18, 2003
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<SNIP>

A 622-17 rim might be a good option, but they seem far-and-few between, now (Dave, is that the size of the "rims" you've mentioned?) ... and, probably limit you to 700x25 or larger tires.[/QUOTE]
Velocity Synergy (& Synergy OC) as well as Velocity Dyad are 17 mm between the bead hooks (Inside).
Synergy rims have an nice stainless eyelet that makes wheel building/spoke alignment easier. Synergy OC also makes the rear wheel more duable because the left side spokes take up more of the share of dynamic loads.
Dyad is a simple strong non-eyeletted rim. We use the Dyads on our 700C touring tandem because they are avaialble in 48 spoke drilling. They work well from 28 to 37 mm actual tire width. I have seen them used with wider (and down to 25 mm) tires, but I don't suggest that combination.
As much as I like to build wheels, I don't like to fiddle with them on my own bicycles. I tend to go with what is most durable and serviceable within my tight bicycle budget. As an example, I also ride 36 spoke wheels on MTB, Cross, Touring, errand biycles (both in 700C and 26" MTB) just because they are more durable (even keep squirrels and sticks out better).
 

alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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daveornee said:
Velocity Synergy (& Synergy OC) as well as Velocity Dyad are 17 mm between the bead hooks (Inside).
Synergy rims have an nice stainless eyelet that makes wheel building/spoke alignment easier. Synergy OC also makes the rear wheel more duable because the left side spokes take up more of the share of dynamic loads.
Dyad is a simple strong non-eyeletted rim. We use the Dyads on our 700C touring tandem because they are avaialble in 48 spoke drilling. They work well from 28 to 37 mm actual tire width. I have seen them used with wider (and down to 25 mm) tires, but I don't suggest that combination.
As much as I like to build wheels, I don't like to fiddle with them on my own bicycles. I tend to go with what is most durable and serviceable within my tight bicycle budget. As an example, I also ride 36 spoke wheels on MTB, Cross, Touring, errand biycles (both in 700C and 26" MTB) just because they are more durable (even keep squirrels and sticks out better).
Thanks for elaborating.
 

daveornee

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Sep 18, 2003
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alfeng said:
Thanks for elaborating.
I have been told the I elaborate too much :<}.
Alex Rims also makes some rims with 7000 Series Aluminum Alloy (supposed to be tougher than 6000 series used by almost all others). One Alex Rims set similar to Velocity Synergy is Crostini T1.2 and T1.1 if my memory serves me correctly. They are for rear and front, like Synergy having Off Center spoke holes in the rear rim to help even up the load sharing from right to left.

Warning: More elaborations are easily triggered... even without further encouragement:].
 

free_rideman

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Mar 20, 2006
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I am going to build a pair of cross/heavy riding wheels soon. They will have salsa delgado cross rims with shimano 105 hubs and wheelsmith spokes. Probably double butted.

Salsa delgado is a nice rim in that it is 22.5mm wide, and fairly strong since it isn't too light. You can save weight by going with less spokes up front. I am doing 32 F/R.

Never make your bike weak, when you can strengthen it with a small price to pay.
 

strummer_fan

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Aug 13, 2004
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free_rideman said:
I am going to build a pair of cross/heavy riding wheels soon. They will have salsa delgado cross rims with shimano 105 hubs and wheelsmith spokes. Probably double butted.

Salsa delgado is a nice rim in that it is 22.5mm wide, and fairly strong since it isn't too light. You can save weight by going with less spokes up front. I am doing 32 F/R.

Never make your bike weak, when you can strengthen it with a small price to pay.
Cyclingnews recently did a feature on the bikes fielded by the teams and riders at the cyclocross world championships - there is some great eye candy in there.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/cross/2007/jan07/CXworlds07/tech/index.php?id=/tech/2007/features/cross_world_bikes

As with road racing, most of the teams are using tubular tires and rims.

I use Mavic Open Pros (With Campagnolo Record hubs) on my cross bike, and recently rode 370 miles off-road from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington DC loaded down with racks and panniers, using Panaracer Pasela Tourguard 700 by 35s. Not one flat. The other guys on the trip were riding similar rims.

Cheers and good luck!