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well are carbon wheels for cross really worth it? or do they just get trashed fast?
i'm thinking of a set of carbon wheels for dry days and a set of alloy for the mud, but they come in at the same weight? i would plan on using the carbons for summer road use so the 50mm rim would be an aero advantage.
so what do you think?

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I have had the same thoughts, but am too new to cross to know the answer...

I was amazed by the number of carbon wheels I saw at races this year, since I had assumed that they would be trashed quickly. If not, getting an aero set to double up with the road seems like a good way to go.

I'll be interested to see what the experts say...

Actually what you want them for are muddy and sandy courses, where they don't scoop up junk as your wheels roll thru.

I suppose it would depend on what you already have. Do you already have mud and dry tires? Do you have a tubular wheelset? Do you have a spare bike? Do you have a coach or have you attended a clinic? I think that is going to make a much bigger performance difference than carbon wheels, even if you can double them up on the road.

There is some chance they are going to get banged up, primarily in crashes.
hey Chris thanks for the info.
long time crosser since 1990 i'm 51 and racing age 52! yicks!! i'm running clinchers AC with vittoria's and some time mich mud2 and i run a pit bike. so as for knowing what i'm doing yes i have it down, oh and i'm a little past a coach.
and so it sounds like it's a go! thanks all of you.
The second half of the cyclocross season I raced on Mavic Cosmic Corbone Ultimates($$$). The first time I used them I got the hole shot and went on to finish second in Cat. 1/2(because the buckle on my shoes broke during a crash and everytime I'd dismount I'd almost run out of my shoe and leave it in the mud). I never get the hole shot and usually don't want it but after that it was hard to switch back to my mavic kyserium es wheels---they just stayed in the pit as back ups. The carbon wheels have held up perfectly and I have hit some big bumps. I wonder if it(any advantage) is all in my head---I wonder that a lot about a lot of things. I've watched a lot of euro races on youtube and have tried to see what they use for wheels--I don't remember seeing any carbon wheels on Nys. I would have nevery used my Ulitimates for cyclocross but I saw them for sale on saying they are great wheels for cyclocross. Bam, there's my two cents. Oh yah, and cleaning the glue off of tubulars sucks.
hey guys,

just chiming in here with a few random comments, great discussion:
1) sven nys definitely rides carbon tubulars - he's riding the new shimano dura ace c35 wheels, which weigh about 1240 grams. we've got his full bike profile here:
but here's the wheel:

2) we've got a ton of wheel reviews in Issue 8, finally mailing shortly.

3) the rims can hold up pretty well. the biggest problem I've seen this season are spokes pulling through or nipples breaking, both on wheel models with exposed nipples.

4) gluing can take a little more diligence when you're going carbon - partly because of the surface and also because of the new shapes you're seeing

5) the rims aren't that light, with the exception of edge's superlight low profile rim that they don't recommend for cx, unless you're jonathan page and get a special set built for you! the main weight savings are from less spokes that the rim allows. often wheels come with very light hubs too, so that's some of the weight savings.

6) as you may have read in issue 7, we're highly skeptical of deep rim's sand-shedding ability.

7) if you race road/tts or tris you have double the justification to pick up fancy carbon hoops, as the aerodynamics can be really compelling!

good luck dan, let us know what you decide on.
hey Andrew.
well my banker gave me the go for a set of the C50 from neuvation for summer use and cross, and then closer to Cross season 2010 i'll also get a set or the R tubulars for the muddy days.
thanks everybody for all the input on this i can't wait to give them a go next cross season!
Yes they are worth it. They are not as 'delicate' as we may used to have the notion of. They are built tough enough to withstand an entire season and excel at handling due to their stiffness and ability to really spin up quickly which is the most advantageous thing you want for a cross race wheelset. If you can't commit to tubular - consider carbon clinchers as in the new Easton EC90SL. Tubulars by far offer a great feel for having carbon rims - the two are meant for each other.

I have more thorough thoughts here.
They are most likely not going to make a difference as to whether you get on the podium. It's all about increasing your puke threshold, bike handling and race strategy. I witnessed a guy this year win just about every race on an old 90's steel mountain bike.
If you're close to making the podium it could make a difference. My carbon wheels are a pound(440 grams) lighter than my other set. Then add the tubular tires(I ran Dugast Flying Doctors). It could be the difference in matching some attacks, getting a better start, accelerating out of corners quicker, being able to run a lower tire pressure, take some corners better or quicker, etc. For me it's worth it and the physics is behind it. Add in the placebo effect(priceless) and it could mean be the difference between a few places or a win and all that cash they give out at cyclocross races(that's a joke by the way....the cash part). Wait, Socalcross did give out enough cash to cover my gas.
I was on the podium several times this year with a tubeless setup. Not one guy that finished in front of me had carbon rims or for that matter tubular tires. Personally I think it's kinda rediculous for someone new to the sport to think that they have to have all the cool shit to do well. And let's face it, matching an attack comes down to fitness, not what kind of tire you got.
hey Chiva
Your right if you are new to the sport stick with the basics and clinchers would be that. but if you’re like me and have been in the sport of cross since 1990 and I’m as fast as I’m going to be(I’m 52) then going for carbon wheels may pick up our game a bit.
I’m up here in Oregon and you would be surprised at how many guys in the men’s C field are running edge carbon wheel. I figure is you have the money ride what you want, will it put you on the top step? Most likely no but you sure will look fast!
P.S. I started racing cross down your way in Santa Rosa.
every rolled tire i have seen over the last three years of racing has been on carbon tubulars. clearly how you glue is critical but there are some good write ups showing that glue does not stick as well to carbon as it does to metal. width of gluing surface has a big effect as well (hence why new zipp 303s being wider is a good thing). little 19 mm wide rims just don't hold glue as well as a 23-25mm wide rims. not sure why you would drop > $1000 ( >$2000 for zipp 303s) on carbon tubulars when you can buy really nice alloy tubulars for under $400. you don't have anywhere near the aero advantage that you do on the road and the cyclocross magazine article was convincing in showing that they don't help in the sand or mud but actually hurt. i haven't done a lot of mud racing so i can say one way or the other on the mud build up point.


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