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Need cyclocross wheel basics...(5 posts)

Need cyclocross wheel basics...dawg
Nov 24, 2002 6:25 AM
I'm a bit confused about the best wheels for cyclocross bikes. I am planning on using my CX for just about everything: city commuting to trails of various terrain. My impression from reading posts here is that road rims such as Velocity fusion, deep V, and aeorhead to Mavic OP's or CXP are what people are putting on their bikes.

Questions:

Is there an ideal sopke count for CX wheels? Logically, I would think 32H wheels would make sense. But I see others have 20H to 24H in some cases. Can that really be that tough?

Alloy vs brass nipples, does it matter?

Thanks for the input.
re: Need cyclocross wheel basics...jrm
Nov 24, 2002 8:41 AM
I use a 32H 3x 14/15 open pro/ultegra wheelset on my CX bike. It holds up well.
when you're light...weiwentg
Nov 24, 2002 7:12 PM
v-section rims will shed mud better than box-sections. that said, if you don't taco it, anything goes. low-spoke wheels will probably have deep aero section rims, which are strong. that's why people run 'em, I guess.
wheelbuilding frame of mind....Steve_O
Nov 24, 2002 7:29 PM
I spent part of the weekend relacing an MTB wheelset from 2x to 3x so I'm in a wheelbuilding frame of mind...

V section vs. traditional rims - V section rims are usually a little heavier. Their bonuses include a strong rim and shorter spokes, both contributing to a stronger build. I read here several months ago that some racers like the V section rims for the ability to act like a "rudder" in mud sections. Also, as Wentweig mentioned, the ability to shed certain types of mud might be better with a V section rim...

Spoke patterns - I usually run 32H 3 cross pattern, If you are light in weight then a combination of 28h or even 20h with V section rim could probably be run. Remember that the main benefit of reduced spoke count wheels is aerodynamics with weight savings as a seconday bonus. In CX aerodynamics is not nearly as much of a concern as in road racing. I'd stick to 32h or even 36h if you are a heavy guy...

Nipples - Supposedly brass holds up to corrosion better the aluminum. If you are going to be doing a lot of racing on muddy courses the brass might make sense.

Other concerns - Rear wheel spacing can sometimes be tricky on CX bikes. Most frames are 130mm (road spacing) but some frames are 135mm (MTB spacing). Surly came up with a nice solution for their frames by specing the rear dropouts at 132.5mm allowing for either road OR mtb hubs to be used on the same frame. The wider hub makes a wheel that better withstands lateral loads.
wheelbuilding frame of mind....atpjunkie
Nov 25, 2002 6:27 PM
as a big guy I say 32H 3x. I'm going to replace my rear O/P with a deep V after the season. Running Aeroheads on bike 2 3x 32 spoke and they work quite well