Cyclocross Magazine

Cyclocross Community, Forums, Classifieds, Photos and Videos

I'm in the market for a new cross specific wheel set to use as my race setup.  I was originally set on a carbon tubular setup.

However the LBS is really pushing tubeless.  They have a set of Ultegra 6700 tubeless ready rims in their shop.  They look pretty sweet, but that said I have some concerns.

Obviously there's the burping issue.  I've done some reading and the consensus is unless you're running a cross specific rim (stans?), that trying to run a cross tire on a tubeless road rim is asking for trouble.  The carbon beads on the hutchisons help the issue slightly, but you're still running the risk of burping at lower pressures (which is why I'm trying to move away from clinchers to being with, to run lower pressures.)

Second is wheel durability.  The spoke count on the 6700's are pretty low.  16f/20r I believe.  I'm 160lbs on race day.  

I've searched around this forum and others, and most say that if the cross world was ready for tubeless, we'd see it more on the pro tour - but we don't, so that's indicative of something.

That said, I'm wondering if there are any new experiences now that the season has wrapped up (for most of us).

Your insight would be very helpful.  Thanks!

Views: 3221

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Actually, search this site for "tubeless" and you'll find a 3-part series on running tubeless as well as others who are working it. Erik Tonkin, I believe, has been killing it on tubeless.

As for the tubeless-specific rims, it's not a deal breaker. I ran Fulcrum 7's last year tubeless with great success. The burping is more a function of the fit of tire on the rim and some tires won't make the cut. That said I did burp my front in a race this past season but I was running pressure too low for me and it was on a sloppy remount.

Tubeless works great. But in the above scenario it sounds like your LBS bought a bunch of tubeless rims and is trying to move them so he doesn't lose his shirt. If that's the situation I'd be wary.

A bit more detail: Fulcrum 7 wheels, with a Panaracer CrossBlaster up front and a Kenda Kommando in the back. I had to run several layers of the yellow tape and then the NoTubes Rim Strip (I just went ahead and bought the NoTubes CX kit) all was good. The front I run about 28-29 lbs and in the back about 29-31 lbs and I'm in good shape. When I burped the front I really railed a corner (flying downhill into the S) and was running about 24 lbs.  Neither of these are "tubeless ready" tires - just off-the-shelf tires with 126 tpi casing.

In one particualrly muddy (exceptionally muddy) race I ran this set up with 27 up front and 28 in the rear. There was three time a lap where I would bottom out (transition on to pavement and a small log) and I was able to pedal up the muddy grassy hill where others were slipping. I'm sold.

I was going to set up a second wheelseet as tubeless but I just picked up some Tufo C T30 (tubular/clincher) tires NOS (steenkin' cheap) so we'll see how that goes. I'll probably set up the second wheelset tubeless by August. 

I've used the ultegra 6700s, they kind of sucked.  super flexy, went out of true every race, bearings go bad after riding in wet conditions and freehub goes bad after 500 miles.  For the money, you can get some stan's alpha 340 rims built to velocity or c-4 hubs right around $400.  Weigh 1/2 lb. lighter at 1380 grams with 28/28 spokes.  I've been racing 28h stan's on my ss all year and haven't needed to touch them.  Or, for $550, get some 20/24 hole 1200 gram wheelz.



Shimano will stand behind their product though, I'm not trying to bash them.  They've replaced the freehub free of charge and offered to replace the rear wheel since it was always out of true.  I weigh 170lbs as well. I ended up loctiting all the nds spokes and that worked for as long as I owned them before selling. 


I'll bet the 6700 tubeless wheels are great for road riding, but for cx they are heavey and unreliable.

What year are your 6700s? I've been using a set of 2011s all season on my road bike and had zero issues. I think I heard somewhere that Shimano made a lot of improvements from 2010 to 2011 model.


Check out my post on the notubes forum:

Essentially, after much issues with a DIY setup on non-tubeless wheels (Felt), I went with a Stans CX wheelset based on the Alpha 340's.  As others have stated, as well as what is discussed in the 3-part article, the tires are the main issue.  There is enough variability among the same tires, that depending on what tire you "pull off the shellf," you may or may not get a good enough fit.


That being said...I found the "holy grail" to be using Alpha 340's with two layers yellow tape (standard) and the Alpha specific rim strip.  I was able to set the bead using a hand pump with Vittoria tires and no burping, running 30-32f & 32-34r at ~185lbs.  My wife used the same wheels all season with only 3 layers of yellow tape using Vittoria tires and not a single issue running <30psi in both at ~130lbs...I did have to use a compressor to set the bead though.


Vittoria tires are the most supple at 150tpi, and this plays a major role at how well the tires will hold up at low pressure. NOTE:  Vittoria now makes tnt (tubes, no-tubes) tires, which I'm not using.  The tnt tires are only 32mm versus 34mm for the standard ones.

I really like the Ultegra setup with Hutchinson tires. I don't have burping issues, the tires are extremely durable (dozens of Goat Heads later) and traction is superb. My Ultegra rear wheel had one spoke that routinely loosened, Lock-Tite cured that. I also use these same rims for training throughout the road season and find durability to be excellent. I weigh 165 lbs and am not a particularly smooth rider.

I am a HUGE fan of tubeless.  I had everything set-up tubeless, road, mountain, and CX bikes.

This season, I purchased 3 sets of Stan's 340 wheels, and used a set of Ksyriums for my 4th.

I have used, Michelin Mud 2s, Michelin Jets, Challenge Grifos, Panaracer Crossblasters, and Hutchinson Bulldogs.

Hands down, the Bulldogs are the most RELIABLE.  I burped all the others.

That said, I can't use them, since I race UCI and the 34mm Bulldog on an Alpha 340 inflates to nearly 36mm.  They're huge.  Here in NE, they check at every race.

I recommend tubeless to everyone, and think it's a GREAT option for most people.  Buy the Hutchinson tires if you're racing masters, 3s or 4s.  Use the Stan's rim strips if you use other tires. 

I would NOT recommend the Challenge Grifo as a tubeless option.  It seaps A LOT of air.

Tubeless has a ton of benefits.  The tire offerings need to advance a little bit before we see it really wide spread in the CX elite ranks.  Same as when tubeless mtbs were new.

I haven't used the Ultegra wheels, but have used the Dura-Ace tubeless wheels with great success.

As another options, I have some Stans Alpha 340 rims on American Classic hubs 28H F/R that I would like to sell.

Good luck!

I agree with Adam. I've had really good luck with running Hutchinson Bulldogs on Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST rims.


Heya! I raced tubeless for most of the CX season here (in Victoria, BC) - and i'll give ya a quick rundown of my experience. On the whole, i'd say go for it if you have a good setup!!

So i've got Stan's 24h Alpha340 rims (would not recommend for the rear, blown the nipples out of both 24h and 32h rims, seems fine on the front). Favorite all-around tires for this area is the Specialized Captain's.  Been riding the 'regular' tires, but was having burping issues - anything below 35psi was awful.

I opted to try the 2Bliss Ready version of the same tire, and it was a freaking godsend!! No burping issues at 30psi, and felt SO GOOD!!! I played around to see 'how low' i could go, and got down to 20psi, and they were holding on, although really squishy (as expected).

So, no surprises, if you go with a tubless tire as well as rim, then you're going to be golden. I imagine the tubeless tire on a 'regular' rim would be fine (i'm having no problems with a Hutch road tire on Mavic rims as an example), but my experience has been that non-tubeless tires will be the most problematic.

As for spoke count, i've been fine w/24h front and back..and same weight as you. Previously i've run Easton's, which were 20/24 i think, and also were fine...the main trouble is if you nail the rim and it does go out of true, it's gonna go much 'bigger' than if you had more ride smart. ;)

That's my experience, hope it's helpful. =)

Are you using the alpha rim strip in the 340s when using the 2blis captain tires.  Doing a set up like this soon.


They're set up for road, so two layers of tape actually.

Proper and meticulous set up is key.  That being said, there are just some tire/rim combos that just won't work.  Figuring that out will take some patience and experimenting.  I don't believe you need a dedicated UST or TLR (tubeless ready) tire/rim combo. A supple bead and a super snug fit (so snug you sweat and get blood blisters getting that bead over the rim...) is the deciding factor, IMO.

I raced 20 races this season on non-TLR tires and rims and only once had a burp issue, but that was my fault as I was pushing the psi envelope at 22psi under my 200# and had a messy mount with the bike bouncing all over the rocks.  My go to set up was Corsa Concepts 1.2ACR with Clement PDX's.  One layer of yellow tape and the rim strip was all it took.  I also ran TLR Bulldogs with no rim strip, no burping, but I just didn't like that tire.  My training wheels are plain old Deep V's with Conti Speed Kings.  The conti's were tougher to setup, they have a pretty stiff sidewall and are pretty porous, but once seated and sealed, I've put about 500 miles of forest road/ST training on them and have had zero issues.

When setting up, if you can get the tire on easily with your bare hands, take it off and put another layer of tape in there, make it snug.  If you need a tire lever, make sure it's plastic and you use the concaved side up to lever it in.  Dont use a lever on the carbon beaded hutchinsons.

Now that CX season is over, I've since pulled the tires off the Deep V's and put on Hutchinson Intensives tubeless for the winter.  2 layers of tape was all it took and they seated right up.  Now this is a bombproof setup.


Sold something in our classifieds? Find this site valuable?

Consider a donation to the cause. We're cheaper than eBay fees, and it helps us here at CXM keep the lights on!

Enter any amount below, and click on the cow for some good karma. Thanks!




© 2024   Created by Cyclocross Magazine.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service