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So,  long story made short, I recently bought a CX bike frame with the intention of building it up to have a bike more suitable for the trails and weather in Missouri. I also plan on to use this bike to start doing some entry CX racing this next season. My budget is limited because of my road bike (also a new build... long story, was bidding on two frames won both, didn't need both). 

Anyway, because I'm trying to build two bikes I've been trying to build the CX bike on a budget. So far I've built up:

2009 Blue CXC Frame (it's in great shape, I don't think it's ever been off road) built up with Avid Shorty 4, SRAM force shifters, rival rear derailleur, 105 front derailleur, 12-27 cassette, chain, blah blah... Needless to say it's a pretty decent set up on an older hardly used frame. My problem is the wheels. Because I'm building up another bike I've kind of blown up my budget. I"m sitting at around $850 into this bike currently and I'm trying to find a nice set of budget cross wheels that can hold a heavier rider. I'm currently running about 240, but even if I get into better shape will probably be running around 210 or so. I'm just a bigger guy. What wheels would be good on a budget? I'm trying to keep this bike around $1200 totally built. I'm not worried about the cost to build the bike as I have a cousin who works at a bike shop and is going to help me put it together. 

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What about a set of Fulcrum 5 CX for $200, or Oval 327s?

Stout used wheels abound.  Start scouring ebay and bike forums.  I don't think it would be a problem to find a set of decent used wheels for $350.  You can probably find some with tires glued.  Example:

You won't need more than 32 spokes rear even at your weight, 24 up front is probably fine.  Another plus about handbuilt wheels like those in the ebay auction above is if/when they do get out of true/need maintenance, you can take them to any LBS and they should be able to work on them.  Not always true about all factory built wheels.

With some smart shopping and combining new and used parts, you can easily build up a set of tubeless ready clinchers or tubular wheels that will rock and stay in budget. 

Used set of 105 Shimano hubs = $120 probably, if not less

New double butted spokes (64) = $40 shipped

New rims (Tubular = Velocity Major Tom, Tubeless ready clincher = WTB ChrisCross) = $140 shipped

Then you just need tires and to build the wheels. 

Thanks for the suggestions. I think part of my problem is actually the abundance of parts... hubs, rims, spokes, or buy prefab set constructed already.  It's much more complex tan road wheels as far as rim depth/diameter, type of tire, etc... etc.... makes my head spin.


Thanks for the advice. I've got an extra set of Aksiums I may just lace up with 32mm clinchers until I figure out what I want to be running in the fall. (is there any horrible downside to that?)

Clinchers at your weight would just have to be run at higher pressures to avoid pinch flats would be great for training maybe not the best choice for racing, if your interested in tubulars I have a couple sets of very durable tubulars for sale with a couple different tire choices depending on the ride or durability you want and I can easily make it work for your budget. Send me a PM and we can talk about it.

Not sure what you mean by road vs. CX wheels.  They are basically the same and probably more choices for pure road than for CX if you include all the carbon deep rim wonder wheels.  You likely wouldn't run 88mm deep rims in CX.

The two options I outlined would be more than serviceable.  Your Aksiums would work just fine too.  Maybe not ideal, but I did a whole season on similar Mavics with no issues.  If you are on a budget, why drive yourself crazy.  Use as much of what you have and then re-assess after some time on the set-up.  

Heck, why build up both bikes?  Focus all your cash on one and re-sell the other.  The CX will be more versatile if you are going to pare down the quiver to 1.

Well Kris, it's probably more of my perception of wheels. I ride on roads with clinchers. I've never raced, I'm not sure if I'm going to (I'd have to cut weight, which I'm working on) so I don't really have a concept of running tubuler or tubeless tires, and with roads I don't find the reason to run them quite as relevant. When looking and researching how to build up a decent CX bike I ran into a wall of wheel options with everybody advocating for different things. It just became a bit overwhelming.

Why build up both bikes? Why not! I built a 2011 Cannondale Carbon Synapse with Ultegra 6800 11 speed and Aksium wheels for $1350. I think that's a pretty respectable rig at a good price. At that price I'd be looking at Aluminum frame, carbon fork, and 105s in a new bike.

Race wheels in nearly all "road" disciplines are more often than not tubular.  Tubeless is relatively new to road/cx, but pretty standard in MTB.  There is a great thread in this forum on Tubular vs. Tubeless for CX.  Everything has pros/cons.  Want to run the lowest pressure possible and have the highest performance - tubulars win most of the time.  But changing tread patterns is a real pain (multiple day process).  Clinchers/tubeless can't get you quite the low pressure capability, but changing treads is easier.  Tubeless wins for low pressure most of the time vs. clinchers with tubes (although latex tubes offer some benefits over standard butyl).  Tubular tires are often more expensive than tubeless/clinchers, but tubular wheelsets are often lighter where it counts (the rim) and are nearly impossible to pinch flat.

So really it is about figuring out what you want to emphasize and then dealing with the downsides to whichever system you go with.

I've got a set of Reflex rims laced to 105 hubs. Super strong and basically new (3 rides maybe on them). They are tubular and have a basically new set of Specialized Tracer's already glued up. I am getting a disc bike and these are rim brakes or I would be keeping them.

$250 and we could work out something with shipping costs.

As much as I'd really like to talk wheelsets, right now I need to wait and see that everything goes as planned for getting these bikes put together. I say these because I'm working on a road bike too.


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