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Hi folks

It's time to upgrade from clinchers, so I'm looking for recommendations for tubeless or tubular wheelsets. I'm getting a lot of peer pressure from friends to go with tubeless but I also see those same people having beads popping off during races, and needing to do lots of "experimentation". I just want wheels that work right the first time. Here are the parameters:

  • cost: $500 (without tires)
  • rim brakes
  • rider weightL 165 lbs on the high side. Will use it for cross racing, but still training on my clinchers
  • I don't want to do a tubeless conversion unless I can be convinced it will "just work" the first time, in keeping with my cross racing philosophy of always keeping it simple.

Opinions? Thanks in advance!

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Replies to This Discussion

Yep - already out ... ZTR Valor. 

Thanks everyone for the feedback, wow what a great discussion! I'll have most of you to blame if my experiment with tubies goes the wrong way! The rest of you tubeless lovers can say told ya so :)

Marc, good luck. Did you find out why the seller is selling those tubular wheels? Any chance he's going to tubeless? Heh heh. Post back next season, or if you ride them this spring! Thanks for starting the discussion.

Great discussion all, thanks.  As the first responder to this thread and the guy Marc is buying the wheels from, I thought both sides were well represented and good information was shared by all.  I definitely learned some new stuff.

And in case it wasn't clear in my first post (it should be), I am getting out of tubs to go tubeless.  For me, with a wife and kid and mortage and 60 hr a week job, and... the potential downsides of tubeless are outweighed by the potential downsides of tubular, especially when the upsides of both don't have alot of differentiating factors.

Tubeless IMO will take a lot of trial and error leading up to your first race. That being said, and raced on tubeless for cx, I'm back on clincher until I get a tubular set up. 

I've asked a ton of cx specialists about what to run for tubular on a budget and the unanimous vibe is Velocity Major Tom rims and Challenge Grifo tubies. 

Tubular is only as good as the psi you run, the glue job that was performed at the shop and the tread you match up with your course conditions.

If you are interested in a fool proof clincher set up where you can run 28psi rr/26psi front, ask away, otherwise I'll keep it to myself. 

Good luck! :)

I'm interested in a fool proof clincher set up Iu can run 28psi rr/26psi front.

tubeless? how much do you weigh? conditions? conversion or ready to buy new wheels? 

My comment was more directed to stickboybikes eluding to a fool proof clincher setup. However I possibly have a deal in the works on a set of Alpha 400's built up with disc hubs. I've been given the opportunity to test them before buying I just need to get tires. I'm 150 lbs and race mostly dry twisty grass crits here in Texas so suggestions would be welcome.

Don't run the Alphas tubeless unless you get the Stan's rim strip they offer for better tubeless performance. That's the most important advice. After that, most tubeless-ready tires will work fine. 

Kenda Happy Medium tires in a 35 - you really don't "need" the SCT version.  As Andrew noted, you do need the rim strip.  I am 190 right now and I run a similar setup (albeit with IC rims) and my rear pressure is about 27 while the front is all over the place - if fairly smooth course I run it as low as 21 or 22.  No burps.  The HM tire is my favorite dry to damp tire ... love it.


For 3 years running I've been using a Road Tubeless wheelset while alternating between the Grifo and the Clement LAS; depending on course conditions. 

The rim width on the RT rims is 21mm outside to outside and is a certified Road Tubeless rim not a BST like the Stans set up.

I throw the cx tubes in a gallon zip lock bag of baby powder, give a shake, shake of the excess and install the tube. 

Once installed and the tire's bead is in the center channel of the RT rim, I mix up a solution of dishwashing soap and water-- 50/50 and use a toothbrush to scrub the tire's bead, get it soapy but not flooded out that the tube is wet.

Next I'll inflate the tube to max psi that's listed on the casing. The Grifo is a snug fit on the RT rim so there's some popping going on when the bead seats. I then deflate the tube and bring it up to pressure again, this time to 40psi and let it sit while I wipe off the extra soap on the wheel. 

The powder allows the tube to float in side of the tire casing and not get pinched when you bottom out.

I weigh 175-180# and am a 'light rider' for someone that is 6'5" meaning I don't crash into stuff on the course. I will however bottom out on the rim at least three times per lap when running the pressure I noted in the thread above.

I get it that Tubulars are the ideal set up but for many it's simply not in the budget. Tubular riders will tell me, 'Oh yea, you need to get on tubulars man so you can run 26, 27psi!' When I tell them that and they ask if I'm flatting, they're sort of at a loss for words and followup with something about tubular feel of rolling into a corner is more fluid. Yea, yea, I get that and I'm still beating guys on tubulars in my category. Guess I'm just lucky. 

I use a set of LAS tires on a set of HED Ardennes LT wheels. Not the Plus wheels. I installed 2 layers of Schwalbe rim tap and then installed the stock HED rim strip. Built up the rim bed for a tight fit. 

I did the same procedure with these tires as I did with the Grifos-- powder, soap the bead, pressure setting. 

And running around 26f/28r psi on the LAS with no pinch flats. Especially after bottoming out every lap on the root section at Nittany Cross last year. 

Check it here---- Product testing: Clement Cycling- LAS clincher cyclocross tires.

I hope this is of some help to you!

28 psi / 26 psi doesn't really mean much if you don't list your weight. Sorry you've had trouble with tubeless - we had a lot of content in Issue 25 on this topic, and if you're still struggling and have any questions, ask away!


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