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I'm looking at building up a new wheelset for this upcoming season.  I've got the hubs and spokes sorted but I'm unsure on the rims.  Are the Stan's Alpha 340 rims strong enough or should I look for some 355 29er rims instead?


So far I've got this planned...

Chris King Classic cross hubs - 32/32h

Sapim CX-Rays 


Also most of my training occurs on singletrack so I'm leaning towards the 355 rims but Stan's sure thinks the Alpha 340 rims are strong enough.


Any and all input is greatly appreciated.  Thanks!!!



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Don't know how much you weigh, but the alpha 340 should hold up well with a good 32 spoke build. Advantage also is the width will allow a neutral wheel. The 355 29er is 5 mm wider and I like the wider profile that give the tire.  Wider may (or may not) have an edge in bead seal.

For my money, neither.  Keep in mind, your situation may be different, but...  at my weight, the 340 is too light, and a tad too narrow.  You just can't build it up tight enough to stay true.  My road set w/ a 32h rear wheel is starting to give me trouble after less than 1000 miles.  I'm afraid to even try riding them off-road.


I tried the 355 in a 'cross application, which worked well, but they don't have a true brake track and what braking surface there is is narrow and thin.  Your brake pads have to be aligned perfectly as there is no leeway.  I didn't keep mine long enough to have this problem but I've heard from more than a few sources that if you're racing in the wet very often your brakes can wear through the rims in a season.  The mud/grit will just eat through the thin wall of the rim.

I'd look for a rim that's known to convert to tubeless well, that has a true honest-to-goodness brake track, isn't weight-weenie light, and has some width.  For me, it seems a good choice would be the Velocity A23, but I haven't seen one yet so I don't know.  Another good choice, assuming it will work well in a tubeless application, would be one of the HED 'Ardennes' series rims. 


If anyone reading the thread has any experience with those rims, I'd love to hear what they have to say.  I'm trying to figure out a rim choice myself at the moment.

Thanks for the replies Scott & c-note.


I never thought about the A23 as I was looking for a tubeless specific rim for ease of inflating but it seems like a good option since the 355 29er rims are getting scarce.  The Alpha 340 rim does seem flimsy even for the road so that is why I was interested in rider opinions for cross.  My weight is around 200lbs so the stronger the better.


Actually I've been riding on a set of second hand 355s laced to King hubs for the last few months but my wife recently took them for her cross bike.  They have been a great wheelset so far with really no problems at all but then I've only been training on mixed terrain not racing.  I do find the narrow brake track a bit more tedious to adjust pads but I haven't found much of an issue braking then again I'm using TRP CX9s so there is so much power to them anyways.


Regarding the tubular Cole wheels elgee pointed out, I already have a pair of ENVE 2.45 rims I was going to laced up but decided I want a dedicated "do everything" wheelset instead.  I don't think I can get away with training on tubulars especially as I often use my cross bike for long excursions in the mountains.  Flatting a tubular on a dirt trail 25 miles away from civilization doesn't sound too appealing.  I guess flatting a tubular is probably similar to flatting a tubeless tire but at least I can pop a tube if needed.

Check out the new CX specific wheels from Cole, the T24 CX will be available next month, 23mm wide, 25mm deep, DSA hubs made by Cole and BOMBER, designed with input from Richard Sachs, they race em. and the T45 Carbon at only $1695 retail is a steal.
So, a guy asks about tubeless rims, and you spam us trying to sell tubular wheels?
Not Spamming you Scott, this is a new wheel set which is CX specific, CX mag will be doing a review soon as they have them in hand.  Just trying to add a possible selection for ya. The hubs are super beef and perf for CX (Cole DSA). The rims have a seam (channel) for better adherence of tubular glue as the tire seam sits in this channel, they are also 23mm wide. I'd highly recommend checking into them as an option, but whatever, if you want to take it as spam, then simply disregard, and move on. You asked, I thought you and others might be interested.
Hey Larry, The new Cole T24-CX wheels arrive on Monday.

elgee - where did you get that art file? it's a comp, not the final iteration.

here's what it will look like atmo.


I agree with what was said about the Stans Rims, they are light, but a tad on the soft side. A great rim that is very much like the A23 in terms of height, weight (470 grams a hoop) and width (23mm) are the HED Belgium Series C2. They are slightly better due to a welded joint and a better machined brake track They come in 24, 28 and 32 hole. clincher or tubular too. I built mine up and have a handful of training rides. They work really well!

so by using an A23 or a Hed C2, will a 32 width tire be too wide for the UCI limit?   It will make the tire wider, Correct?
Most tires seem to be narrower than the label would suggest.    But, are you saying you're going to do a UCI-sanctioned race on clinchers?


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