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Hey All,

I have a question I need some help with. I am new to cross but I am already interested in upgrading my wheels to a nice set of tubulars.I already bought the tubular version of the Vuelta Corsa superlites thinking they might work well as a cross wheel however a LBS thought they might be to narrow a rim to safely handle the stresses of a cross race. I already have some 32mm tubular tires so I need to know what I should do about the wheelset? I have seen wheels specific to CX like the Easton EA70X (19mm) Williams CX (19.5mm) or the Grammo Tubolari CX (19.7mm) I think that the Vuelta's are right in the 19mm range so how is it that these other cx specific wheels get away with 30+mm tires on sub 20mm rims??

I have about $500 to spend on a wheel set that is going to be a trainer/racer for this season, which is already here.

Any ideas or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 


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It is not so much an issue of width, as it is how strong the wheel is.  I know the GRAMMO wheel, it is the same as their road wheel just overbuilt with a slightly heaver lay up making it stronger.  One popular wheel for a tublar CX is the Mavic Reflex. Lace those up to a decent set of hubs with DT swiss for about 500 - 600 or so depending on the hub.
the rim width is not as important as the rim material, you may be more prone to rolling a tire off if you have less if glued on a narrow rim.....have you thoroughly considered the advantages of tubular wheels? i am extremely budget conscious and have been rocking clinchers for years. have you been experiencing pinch flats? i know the biggest advantage of  a tubular tire is the ability to run lower tire pressures without pinch flats. but the disadvantage is that if you do flat and don't have an extra wheel in the pit you are not getting back in the race. my budget doesn't allow me 2 sets of tubulars for such an eventuality. i have gotten my clincher tube replacement time down to less than 3 minutes,which is good enough for me since i'm rarely racing to the podium even under the best of conditions.
it's all on the glue job that you should worry about when going tubular. but to state your original question, the theory is the wider the rim, the better traction and footprint on off camber sections. tubular rims have just recently starting increasing widths. i am riding 23mm wide currently for my file treads. however my deep mudders are only 19.5. I am 6 ft/165 lbs and can run them both at sub 30 psi all beacause of my glue job... (mastik one with jantex tape)

Great info guys! I am learning new stuff about this sport everyday. So with a proper glue up a 19mm rim can safely handle a 32mm cross tire around a sharp bend without rolling, nice. So if the rim material is more important than width how do I know what to look for. Looking at what is available online it looks like (to me anyway) many people run normal road wheelsets with cx tires mounted. Joey, I am 6'1"ft/160lb if that is important in finding proper wheels. I am assuming more spokes=strength, I am looking for non-carbon, and already built up. I will keep an eye out and will look for the Reflex. What about Ksyrium SL or Easton EC90 SLX? I am tracking them both online, also, which ends today Sun M-19A II rims/Dura Ace hubs with Cross tires already mounted. 

How about you, what do you all race with?

THANKS again!


those sun/dura ace wheels would be great ..if the price is right.
You can run an easton ea70x wheelset, they are finicky however with keeping true if you aren't a smooth rider. I ran those last season. I upped my game this season and went with some carbon tubulars from neuvation, 48mm. Those are stiff for my mudders. As for my fast file tread wheelset, I am running a low profile 23mm wide tubular rim similar to the velocity major toms. Go for the Ksyrium Sl's rather than the Eastons for durability sake. The Mavics can hold up to clydesdale riders, it can definately hold up to you. With the comment about rim material... doesn't affect gluing, you can scuff up an alloy rim though to make a bit more contact area for glue to bond with. But this is not notable in my opinion when gluing up a rim. All I think you should care about it a clean gluing surface. With the price you pay for mavic reflex, though lighter, you might favor the ride quality or HED Belgium C2 Tubular rims. They come in 24, 28, and 32 hole drilling.

Wait, are you getting a second tubular set, or thinking of returning the vueltas? Either way, for what it's worth, I kind of just went through this same process, ended up deciding that 19mm was wide enough and got some velocity escapes -- primarily b/c they were on sale a few weeks ago at excel (they have a pretty handy wheel builder tool on their website). I had them built up with campy record hubs, dt revolution in front and non-drive side and dt comps on the drive side. It all came to just under $500 and ~1520 grams. Although, like I mentioned, that was when the escapes were on sale for $50 (I think excel normally sells them for $75 or $80).


As for whether they are wide enough... since it's my first set of tubulars I can't really say much other than they've been doing just fine the last few weeks with some fairly intensive training w/ tight cornering and such. I read and watch a number of gluing tutorials and am pretty confident I did a good job. I'm running 34mm Vittorias and I'm 5'10, 155. My previous clincher set were some mavic open pros, which I think are right around 19.5. I like that I can still use those as a back-up wheelset if need be.

Thanks for the input. I was going to run the Vueltas as my cross set but was informed that in addition to being narrow they were also quite shallow. So, after much shop debate we decided to put some nice road wheels on them and use them as a winter trainer. I am still in search of CX tubular at this moment and each time I find something I am close to pulling the trigger on I read about another wheelset that "might" be even better. A built up used set like Mavic Reflex with a CK or DT hub look like the way to go but then again I could get a brand new Williams for probably less money??

It stinks being on a super tight budget!!!

I too have been checking out gluing up my own set by watching the DIY videos. The only tricky part looks to be marking sure the wheel is centered perfectly. 



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