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Chris

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Reply with quote  #1 
I looking to upgrade my wheelset and was curious what others bought.  I ride gravel, dirt with lots of potholes, and even a little singletrack.  I'm trying to decide between something like a set of Grails or Iron Cross or maybe even a 29er wheelset like the Arch. What say the people?  Thanks
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drick

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Reply with quote  #2 
You didn't say what you're upgrading from, or mention a budget. For timed events, I run a pair of Iron Cross Team wheels. The cost was reasonable, and they are much lighter than my factory wheels. The main knock on them is they are only rated for 45 PSI. I'm not running tubeless, so I need to use much higher pressures than that. (I think the Gails don't have this limitation.) So far they've held up to plenty of gravel and mild single-track riding, but they could use a bit of truing now. The great thing about disc wheels is I can ignore that and ride 'em anyway. I wouldn't run these wheels if I was going to routinely abuse them -- I'd run something like Mavic CrossMax.


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Chris

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for the response, drick.  I am upgrading the stock Maddux wheelset on a2015 CAADX Rival.  It is 11 speed, so that seems to somewhat limit the 29er options.
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Walt Brown

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Reply with quote  #4 
How do you like the CAADX? Debating between that and a Crux. Probably looking at Tiagra/Sora level.
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Chris

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Reply with quote  #5 
I sold my Crux and bought this.  It's not really a fair comparison because the Crux had cantis and the CAADX has hydraulic discs. So far, I'm loving the CAADX.  It fits me a little better than the Crux.

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Walt Brown

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Reply with quote  #6 
How would you compare frames and ride? Is the Crux more race oriented? Is the external cables of the CAADX an issue?
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Chris

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Reply with quote  #7 
I don't even have 50 miles on it yet, so I'm not sure about the cables.  The one that runs on the top tube is the hydraulic line.  I've never had an issue with external cables and they are easier to replace.  I would say the CAADX is a little more relaxed than the Crux.

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hooter

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Reply with quote  #8 
Chris,

Did you decide on a wheelset yet? I'm in the same boat, looking for a 11 speed disc wheelset for my Caadx.
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Chris

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Reply with quote  #9 
I found a great deal on a set of Crossmax with Hutchinson tubeless tires.  I ended up taking of the 2nd highest (smallest) gear off and reset the limits.  So far it's been great.  I don't miss the gear and I have ridden it hard on wild pig trails with briars and even singletrack.  I think Mavic has a freehub to convert to 11 speed, but I'm fine as is.  I my go with a mtb rear derailleur and cassette if I decide I need lower gears.  I am very happy with the Mavics.
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hooter

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Reply with quote  #10 
Interesting, I didn't think about taking off one of the gears and resetting the limits. I may have to give that a try until they start coming out with some more 11 speed disc wheels.
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readycpa

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Reply with quote  #11 
Although I'm running mine with SRAM 10-speed, the American Classic Disc 225 rear hub is Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11 speed compatible. Not only are the hubs super smooth, they are a great value as far as price to weight etc.

I've been riding a set of AC Disc 130/225 hubs with Stan's Crest rims just like these on my 29er for 2 seasons with great results- http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-CUSTOM-STANS-CREST-29ER-MOUNTAIN-BIKE-WHEELSET-W-AMERICAN-CLASSIC-DISC-HUBS-/250821737880?pt=US_Wheels_Wheelsets&hash=item3a6623fd98

In the process of a new build for my disc cx/gravel bike with AC 130/225 hubs and the new AC 101 rims which are similar to the Crest.
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dgaddis1

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Reply with quote  #12 
Hi folks, I'm new to the forum but have been lurking around the site for a while now.  I own a wheel building business, so this thread caught my attention haha.  And as a wheel builder, I highly recommend looking into custom wheels, there's a lot of good options now for disc road/cross bikes that the factory wheels haven't really quite caught up yet.  Going with custom (whoever builds them) opens up lots of options you don't get from a pre-built set.

As for hubs, pretty much everyone has disc brake 11spd hubs now - Shimano, King, Hope, I9, White Industries, DT Swiss, etc.

For rims, I'm always weary of using MTB rims for these type builds.  MTB rims really aren't rated for high pressure, and I know a lot of gravel riders want the option of putting slicks on and pumping them up for paved riding too.  There's a handful of good options now though.

H Plus Son Archetype - actually a rim brake rim, but the brake track is anodized black so it blends in nicely. 17mm inner width, cool graphics treatment.  Good option if you don't want to go tubeless and don't want to deal with tight fitting rims/tires.

Velocity Aileron - Heavy-duty-ish deep-ish wide tubeless rim.  Disc specific. Velocity's build quality isn't quite as good as the other options.

Misc. Velocity - lots of their rims can be had without a machined sidewall for disc use, so if some other rim isn't a good fit for someone for whatever reason (say a heavy rider who needs 36 spokes), Velocity will have something that'll work well.

Stan's Grail - Disc specific, wide, tubeless ready, and works equally well with road or CX/monstercross tires

Pacenti SL25 - dang near identical to the Grail dimensionaly and weight-wise.  Slightly different cross sectional shape, taller sidewalls, and the center channel is a little deeper which will probably make mounting tires easier.

My "gravel bike" at the moment is a Raleigh Clubman set up for more for commuting than real gravel riding, fenders, dynamo lighting, rear rack, etc.  But it's got tubeless 28's (on Pacenti SL23 rims, which are rim-brake rims) that work pretty well on our local dirt/gravel roads.  However, I'm in the queue for a custom Zukas frame which will be a disc brake bike, and I've already got the wheels built for it.  I went with White Industries hubs, Sapim CX-Ray spokes, and Grail rims. Polished silver hubs, silver spokes, black nipples and rims - they look hawt!  I'll eventually build a 2nd set of wheels as well and use the Pacenti SL25s just to try them out.  Put 40's on one set and 25's on the other.

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AlanEsh

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Reply with quote  #13 
Two sets of wheels is a must for me; one for my gravel tires, one for my slick, no compromises needed!
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readycpa

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Reply with quote  #14 
I have 2 sets as well for gravel & road riding. If you are only going to have one set for both, unless you just like heavy wheels, the American Classic 101 29er rim is a way better choice in my opinion than the much beefier Stans Grail. Unlike the Stans Crest, the AC 101 does not have a low psi limit for running tubeless road tires. 
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dgaddis1

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Reply with quote  #15 
The problem with the 101 is that, like the Crest and Iron Cross, it's very light, and not very stiff, and not as durable as the options with more beef to them.  They're more likely to get flat spotted, and require a higher spoke count than stiffer rims.

Bike Rumor had a recent article on road tubeless and at the end had a list of rims that Hutchinson gave their official stamp of compatibility for road tubeless use, and there were several American Classic wheels/rims listed, but the 101 wasn't one of them.  

Of course, there was no Stan's or Pacenti rims on that list either, though they have proven to work.

AND, road tubeless vs cross/gravel tubeless isn't the same thing, and there are a variety of standards and designs, and some stuff works together as expected and some doesn't.  In other words: YMMV




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readycpa

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Reply with quote  #16 
Good point on the "your mileage may vary"! I know alot of these choices just depend on what your looking for. Also, I know lots of tire/rim combinations will work even though not approved by the manufacturer. I've trained/raced sevl thousand miles of gravel/pavement on the Challenge Gravel Grinder Race 38mm tires setup tubeless on Iron Cross rims with great results even though it's not even a real tubeless tire. Hutchinson Sector 28mm road tires on Stans Alpha 340 disc rims setup tubeless have been solid for a few thousand miles of pavement so far.

That new Stans Grail rim does look like a good choice for a do it all rim if you are not concerned about weight. And the Grail appears to be only rim that says designed for road/cross/gravel. I just built up the AC 101 wheelset and have not even ridden them, but in theory I see no reason they wouldn't work with a wider tubeless road tire like the Sector 28 since the bead barb design is identical between the AC rims and there is no psi limit on the 101 like there is on Crest/Iron Cross rims.

As far as the 101/Crest/Iron Cross being too light and flimsy, I'm looking for the lightest rim out there for gravel racing/training but I also want it to be somewhat durable as well. I've put over 5,000 miles of gnarly Western NC gravel on Crest/Iron Cross over the last 2 years and had great results with no flattened rims and maybe one minor truing. But I also weigh 155 and probably ride with a little more finesse than some. When I'm trying to be competitive in a 50-70 mile monstercross race with 7,000-10,000 ft. of elevation gain, I want the lightest rim that will get me to the finish. 80 grams on a rim doesn't sound like much but I can tell a noticeable diff. on my 29er when I swap the rear wheel between a Crest for race day and Arch EX for training.
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dgaddis1

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Reply with quote  #17 
Agree all around.  

Where you have to be especially careful with light weight rims is what happens when you flat at speed, I've flat spotted a not-even-that-light rim when bombing down a gravel road I had no business being on with my road bike - it's steep and super chunky with lots of big sharp edge gravel.  Had the Sectuers, tubeless, but cut them on some chunky gravel at about 30mph, before I could get slowed down I bottomed out the rim pretty hard a time or two, and that flattened it out a bit.  It flat spotted more because of the cross section not being very stiff radially than because it was too light, it was a wide shallow box section rim (the Pacenti PL23, the lighter first generation version)

That was only the 2nd flat I've ever had tubeless where I had to put in a tube to finish the ride!  Not bad for 6 years of riding without tubes haha

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Quinn

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Reply with quote  #18 
I'm new to the forum here, but have a fair amount of experience with gravel riding and CX bikes. I have a few sets of the Arch EX wheels and also recently bought a set of the Grails. I've stayed away from the Iron Cross wheels due to the weight limitation of 195lbs, even though I weight about that when I'm outfitted for a ride. I initially bought the Arch EX wheels because they have a 230lb limit (32 spoke version). I would have bought another set of these, but I just bought another gravel bike and it came with 11 speeds and the Arch EX aren't compatible with 11 speed yet so I bought some Grails. The Grails can be run at higher pressures, but the larger the tire, the lower the pressure rating. Not all of the Stan's wheels have this level of information on pressure vs. tire size so it's a bit difficult to know what the real limits are.
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2015 Tamland 1 with RS-685 Shifters
2014 Niner RLT SRAM Red
2014 Raleigh RXC Pro Disc CX Race
2008 Lemond Poprad SSCX Racer
2006 Trek Portland Commuter
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Noah_Deuce

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Reply with quote  #19 
My experience with the 101s is that they're a bit too light to stay true. Hit a nice big pothole with my rear, knocked it out of true. Tried fixing it up myself, couldn't get it to even approach true with near-equal tension.
Switched over to a HED Belgium C2+ - that's been great. Even set up some CX0 tubeless on it with no problems.
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