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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I thought I'd jump on this early so I have time to sort it out before the season gets here. I have the opportunity to race this year on some carbon tubular wheels. If I could solicit some advice and opinions from the people who have run them in the past, it would be greatly appreciated. I would like to get all the details on brake pad options and setups, gluing techniques (I already run tubbies on CXP 33's), and your general opinion of the ride and characteristics (good and bad) of the wheels. Pictures are always a good thing too. Thanks :)
 

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an exec from TREK lined up next to me at a wet race (they all have some liquid where I live) kitted out with some blinging Bontrager deep carbon wheels. He was strong as hell, but kept over cooking the corners. He finally went flying over a set of bales at the bottom of a tricky hill. I didn't see him again.

With that said, all the euro cross videos I've seen shows those guys flying through the slop with carbon wheels. Those guys are so skilled, brakes are used to slightly scrub speed.
 

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I'd like to add a second question to the OP

What do people think about durability? Sure, they look sweet. And, obviously under the right person, they help with speed. But what about longevity - assuming you don't go down really hard?
 

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I've used a lot of carbon wheels for cross (zipp 303s, zipp 404 rim on velomax hubs, zipp 404 pave' from '05, newest zipp 303 pave' from '06). They're faster because they're light and they spin up noticably better out of corners, and the deep rim shape is faster in mud and sand. They're generally more rigid than many traditional wheels.

Use the best tires you can possibly afford. Carbon wheels deserve Dugast 32s glued on with Vittoria Mastic 1 cement. 'Nuf said.

Use them when the conditions are right. Ridable mud and sand warrant deep rims. Save them for important races. If there are roots, rocks or loose rugged parts on the course use your aluminum wheels. Unless it's Nationals. If you have them, you should run carbon wheels at Nationals regardless.

Basically, when you're going as fast as you can with 25 psi in your tires the rims will get broken when you bottom the tires out on roots and things. Trust me. They will. If you know there's only one small rooty part and the rest of the course is 2" deep mud and bumpy turf, use the carbon wheels and be careful in the rooty part. If there are extended rooty and technical parts, especially downhill- opt for the tougher wheel.

I don't need to tell you what happens to carbon wheels in a big crash or a pile up. This is often unavoidable, so don't even think about it. If it happens, it happens. It's less likely in cross than on the road though, and tons of people use them on the road.

On the bright side, I find many carbon rims build up quickly and easily- tape your replacement rim to the broken wheel and just start switching the spokes to the new rim. As you cry big elephant tears because the new rim was so expensive.
 

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yeah I bet they are great but

I think I'd be too scared of breaking them. kinda costly to replace.
here's what a rooty course will do to alu rims
 

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okay so ya'll aren't confused.

broken rim was 'A' front wheel on the bianchi. (shown in photo with 'B" front mounted.)
"A" rear not in photo as I loaned it to a pal.
 

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about 225

don't mind at all. that is why I consider myself an expert on clydesdale durability.

saddest thing about that break was I was in the lead, had a nice gap and was riding well within my limits. there was an offcamber downhill to uphill with some soft dirt, some were running it, I'd rode it in warm ups and I took a tighter line and there was a tree root buried in the dirt.

but as a whole, I break things.I've snapped steel BB spindles, frames, cranksets....
I ain't fat I'm big.
 

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So, clearly there must be some weight limits

That is a really destroyed wheel you managed there. Hopefully, you came out okay. A flyweight guy like me could never hope of doing such damage :).

I am sure that Zipp would have weight limits listed somewheres, right? If I am hearing you experienced guys more correctly, beyond possible weight restrictions, it is just common sense:

Rolling bumpy grassy and/or muddy course = Carbons

Rooty, Rocky = alum.

If a combination of the two = be careful if you run your Carbons and you should probably stick to aluminum
 

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wunlap togo said:
I've used a lot of carbon wheels for cross (zipp 303s, zipp 404 rim on velomax hubs, zipp 404 pave' from '05, newest zipp 303 pave' from '06). They're faster because they're light and they spin up noticably better out of corners, and the deep rim shape is faster in mud and sand. They're generally more rigid than many traditional wheels.

Use the best tires you can possibly afford. Carbon wheels deserve Dugast 32s glued on with Vittoria Mastic 1 cement. 'Nuf said.

Use them when the conditions are right. Ridable mud and sand warrant deep rims. Save them for important races. If there are roots, rocks or loose rugged parts on the course use your aluminum wheels. Unless it's Nationals. If you have them, you should run carbon wheels at Nationals regardless.

Basically, when you're going as fast as you can with 25 psi in your tires the rims will get broken when you bottom the tires out on roots and things. Trust me. They will. If you know there's only one small rooty part and the rest of the course is 2" deep mud and bumpy turf, use the carbon wheels and be careful in the rooty part. If there are extended rooty and technical parts, especially downhill- opt for the tougher wheel.

I don't need to tell you what happens to carbon wheels in a big crash or a pile up. This is often unavoidable, so don't even think about it. If it happens, it happens. It's less likely in cross than on the road though, and tons of people use them on the road.

On the bright side, I find many carbon rims build up quickly and easily- tape your replacement rim to the broken wheel and just start switching the spokes to the new rim. As you cry big elephant tears because the new rim was so expensive.
I inherited a wheelset from a buddy that pirouetted on his front wheel in one year's Oceanside (CA) crit. Replacement rim was over $200! Never did get the front... Finally gave the wheel back to him this spring.

That replacement rim went into my 404 track wheelset, so it wasn't a complete waste!

M
 

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atpjunkie said:
don't mind at all. that is why I consider myself an expert on clydesdale durability.

saddest thing about that break was I was in the lead, had a nice gap and was riding well within my limits. there was an offcamber downhill to uphill with some soft dirt, some were running it, I'd rode it in warm ups and I took a tighter line and there was a tree root buried in the dirt.

but as a whole, I break things.I've snapped steel BB spindles, frames, cranksets....
I ain't fat I'm big.
I'll second taht last sentence. Ole ATP's NOT a chubby guy at all! (I am, but that's another story!)

Hiya ATP! about to start riding to work too! My ride's only 10mi/way till I get my fitness built up again!

M
 

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wunlap togo said:
I've used a lot of carbon wheels for cross (zipp 303s, zipp 404 rim on velomax hubs, zipp 404 pave' from '05, newest zipp 303 pave' from '06). They're faster because they're light and they spin up noticably better out of corners, and the deep rim shape is faster in mud and sand. They're generally more rigid than many traditional wheels.

Use the best tires you can possibly afford. Carbon wheels deserve Dugast 32s glued on with Vittoria Mastic 1 cement. 'Nuf said.

Use them when the conditions are right. Ridable mud and sand warrant deep rims. Save them for important races. If there are roots, rocks or loose rugged parts on the course use your aluminum wheels. Unless it's Nationals. If you have them, you should run carbon wheels at Nationals regardless.

Basically, when you're going as fast as you can with 25 psi in your tires the rims will get broken when you bottom the tires out on roots and things. Trust me. They will. If you know there's only one small rooty part and the rest of the course is 2" deep mud and bumpy turf, use the carbon wheels and be careful in the rooty part. If there are extended rooty and technical parts, especially downhill- opt for the tougher wheel.

I don't need to tell you what happens to carbon wheels in a big crash or a pile up. This is often unavoidable, so don't even think about it. If it happens, it happens. It's less likely in cross than on the road though, and tons of people use them on the road.

On the bright side, I find many carbon rims build up quickly and easily- tape your replacement rim to the broken wheel and just start switching the spokes to the new rim. As you cry big elephant tears because the new rim was so expensive.
Did you have any problems with the sewups rolling off, like the ClifBar guys had, a few years ago, with their Cane Creeks?
 

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wunlap togo said:
I've used a lot of carbon wheels for cross (zipp 303s, zipp 404 rim on velomax hubs, zipp 404 pave' from '05, newest zipp 303 pave' from '06). They're faster because they're light and they spin up noticably better out of corners, and the deep rim shape is faster in mud and sand. They're generally more rigid than many traditional wheels.

Use the best tires you can possibly afford. Carbon wheels deserve Dugast 32s glued on with Vittoria Mastic 1 cement. 'Nuf said.

Use them when the conditions are right. Ridable mud and sand warrant deep rims. Save them for important races. If there are roots, rocks or loose rugged parts on the course use your aluminum wheels. Unless it's Nationals. If you have them, you should run carbon wheels at Nationals regardless.

Basically, when you're going as fast as you can with 25 psi in your tires the rims will get broken when you bottom the tires out on roots and things. Trust me. They will. If you know there's only one small rooty part and the rest of the course is 2" deep mud and bumpy turf, use the carbon wheels and be careful in the rooty part. If there are extended rooty and technical parts, especially downhill- opt for the tougher wheel.

I don't need to tell you what happens to carbon wheels in a big crash or a pile up. This is often unavoidable, so don't even think about it. If it happens, it happens. It's less likely in cross than on the road though, and tons of people use them on the road.

On the bright side, I find many carbon rims build up quickly and easily- tape your replacement rim to the broken wheel and just start switching the spokes to the new rim. As you cry big elephant tears because the new rim was so expensive.
dido to everything above!

I raced on 303's last season & 440's w/ am classic hubs the season before with no problems. I do, however, use the Reflex's on more tech courses with rocks & roots. All wheels have Grifo 32's or 34's on them. If you are at all concerned with the cost of running them you may be better off just sticking with a light set of alum tubbies, it will make it less painful if/when you thrash them. Like wunlap said though, the acceleration is out of this world so they can be quite addictive. With some luck i should have another season out of these wheels before its time to replace them. I should probably start saving now. ;)

DP
 

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dlbcx said:
Did you have any problems with the sewups rolling off, like the ClifBar guys had, a few years ago, with their Cane Creeks?
I have never rolled a tire on any wheels. Vittoria glue is the key, I have a way that I glue the tires on that makes them very difficult to get off. With all wheels, including carbon ones, clean the rim with alchohol or acetone before you begin gluing (it is often surprising how much dirt/oil is on there). The bond to carbon isn't as good as to aluminum but if you get everything really clean it will stick fine.
 
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