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Got a lot of great info the last time I posted something, so I thought I'd throw a new subject out there.  I like the ride of tubulars, but they're just not practical for me.  I like to train, race, and gravel road ride on the same 1-2 sets of wheels, and if I invest in tubbies, they just hang in the garage for most of the year.  Frankly, I'm just not fast enough to justify a purchase like that which will only get used a dozen or so times a year, and still require maintenance. 


However, now that I've gotten used to a tubeless setup for mtn biking, I think I'd like to build up a wheelset for CX as well.  My wish list would be...

a wider rim for a good tire profile with a machined sidewall for rim brakes...

a true UST bead to avoid burps or the need for rim strips, etc...

a "tubeless ready" type tire...


The technology seems to have come a long way for MTB the past few years, so what's new in the CX game?


A lot of MTB tire companies seemed to have embraced the "Tubeless Ready" (TNT, TCS, etc.) trend - a tubeless bead on a non-tubeless tire.  Since it's often a good idea to run some sealant no matter what your setup, it seems that the extra weight of a true UST tire is not necessary, and the sidewalls are more supple, but the beadlock still remains tight - no burping even at very low pressures.  Does anyone make good "tubeless ready" cross tires?  


Road tims seem to be getting wider these days, in both clincher and tubular form.  Are there any companies that make a good, strong, wide (though not everly heavy) road rim with a UST bead and machined braking surface?  Perhaps in a 30ish mm depth?  Asking too much?


Constructive suggestions from anyone with knowledge or experience in this area would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks! 

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IMO, cx tubeless isn't there yet.

As far as I know, the only two UST ready rims are Stans and Ultegra 6700.  Neither are deep sectioned.  CX tires just don't have the volume to avoid burping at lower pressures.  More often than not, someone running tubeless in cross has had burping issues.

I would recommend going tubular.  You don't have to buy 50mm carbons to do it.  Get a Velocity Major Tom based build for around 4-500 bucks from guys like Boyd or Psimet.


Like many folks here, I feel that tubeless CX is indeed on it's way. And like Adam, I don't see the point in gluing up tires that get used for 8-10 races a year. Even tho you can go with inexpensive rims like Major Toms or Williams, tubular tires haven't gone down much in price. Don't feel like I'm fast enough to justify tubulars myself.

Tubeless CX is working well really - it's not only folks like myself and Adam but CX Magazine's Andrew Yee is a big proponent it seems. It can be a bit finicky but one you have it dialed in it works great. I had several races last year that I bottomed out several times a lap (transition on to pavement, logs) and I completed two races each event on the same set of wheels, no burps & great grip in the mud. 

Simon does make a good point in that CX tires just don't have the same volume as MTB tires. As well I think you have to look at market share - as much as we love cross and it is indeed growing it's still such a small market share that I'm not sure it's at the point of devloping the rims you are thinking of *yet*. It's probably not far off.

I would have to agree with the majority here...Tubeless for the "non-sponsored" racer is definitely the way to go! As far as tire options if you look at the TPI on higher end tires such as Challenge Griffo's or Limus (very popular) they far exceed the rating of UST tires and can be used with 1oz of sealant per wheel for race applications... I would run the team or comp wheelset by Stan's No Tubes as they flex less...and still come in at a equal to or less than a set of 303's with FMB's weight wise and you cost 75%less!!

I certainly agree that from a performance standpoint, tubular is still the best.  I've ridden a borrowed set for half a season and loved them.  And yes, wheelset cost can be pretty much the same - clincher, tubeless, or tubular.


Tire cost, use, and maintenance are a different issue.  Tubulars are generally double the cost per set (or more).  And not easy to repair on the trail/road if you flat while training.  All of that, for a mid-pack Cat B like myself, adds up to a wheelset that I am not inclined to use for anything other than racing.  So I'd need two wheelsets anyway.  I'd just as soon one of them be set up with dry condition tires and one with more aggressive tread, and feel comfortable using either of them for training (not to mention the fact that you could swap one set out for touring or road tires in the summer). 


In my opnion, all it takes is one good wide rim and one reliable tire bead to make tubeless really take off for cross.  I am encouraged by the new trend in wider road tubeless rims - the new Shimano and Easton come to mind, and the redesigned A23.  Unfortunately all of Stan's rim brake selections are on the narrow side, and frankly I've heard mixed reviews as to their durability.  And there seems to be a new "TNT" (Tube / No tube) tire coming out from Vittoria this fall - all small steps but working in the right direction.


What I want to avoid is the rim strips and proprietary stuff.  Just one rim with a solid and tight bead, and one good tire to go with it.  I don't need strips on my mtn bike setup, and I just don't think it has much to do with volume or pressure.  It seems that a good rim shape and tight tire bead make for a tight seal, and a little sealant stops punctures.  And as more companies came on board, they figured out that the tires didn't need to be heavy, they just need to keep a tight seal at the bead, which required a good tire/rim interface.


My post was mainly to see if there was anything new on the block.

Borrowed a friends Alpha Pro wheelset .......EPIC and SUPER LIGHT!!!!!

What tires were you using?

Vittoria has a new tire, xg tnt.  150tpi, weight on my scale is 388grams.  Its tnt(tube or no tube) design is borrowed from the geax tires. I've been running the same barro race tnt tires on my 29er for years, bombproof.

I have some a23 rims, with 1 layer of stan's tape, 2 oz of sealant, and the tires aired right up with a floor pump.  I am not a fan of the ultegra tubeless wheels, I do like the new stan's rims, the a23 vlecity, or the h+son archetype. 

stan's rims, 24/28 to light hubs and spokes would run 1260 grams and $450.  Tires add $90.  Tape/valves add $20. 

Though there are limited tire choices out right now, I am completely sold on tubeless for CX, road and mtn. I have been running Stan's Alpha rims/Cafelatex with WTB hubs & Specialized Capt 2Bliss cx tires for a year+. Not a single problem or complaint. The ride quality, handling and setup couldn't be better. Rode this setup all winter in MN and just finished the Almanzo 100 gravel grinder on it last month wihout any issues. I hear more tubeless ready tires are coming out this summer-fall but try the Captains. I get about 900-1,000 miles out of the rear tires on mixed gravel, cx, dirt, pavement etc. 1,500 or so out of the front. Most Specialized shops will sell them for about $45 each when purchased in pairs. Good luck.


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