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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
so i'm thinking of building up a wheelset for CX. i'm not a hardcore racer by any stretch of the imagination or skill, but want something a bit more then old RSX/105 mavic cxp i ran last season. i haven't really settled on hubs or rims yet, though i'm trying to do this a bit "economically". these will be clincher, possibly look at tubeless conversion.

either way, here are my questions.

rim width - how does rim width affect anything? are wider/skinnier rims a better option? stronger? easier to change tires? i've seen rim widths from <19mm to 24mm.

will 28h be strong enough? what if i lace them 3x or even 4x? i weigh between 180-200 depending on all the usual factors, hopefully less by the end of summer.

also if you have any economical rim/hub recommendations or "stay clear of's", i'ld also like to hear. and what about using mtb hubs?

btw, i've built several wheelsets, so this isn't my first. i've just never really thought about these factors before.
 

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A wider rim doesn't necessarily mean stronger. You've got to look at the entire cross section, and unless you're an engineer with all the material and cross section specs of a rim in hand, you're better off looking at a rims reputation than it's cross section to determine durability. For example, Mavic open pros are a pretty narrow rim (19mm if memory serves) but is plenty strong for cross.

In theory, a wider rim gives you more tire volume and is less prone to pinch flatting (presuming you're looking at clinchers here). The other place rim width matters, is if you are swapping between 2 or more sets of wheels. You want fairly similar width rims so it doesn't mess with your brake setup.

At your weight, I wouldn't recommend a 28 spoke wheel, unless you've got the hubs lying around. You'd probably be OK on the front wheel, and could get away with it in back depending on rim choice, lacing pattern, riding style and intended use (race only vs training and trail riding for example).

Lacing a 28 hole wheel 4x somewhat defeats the purpose. I suppose you can calculate the weight savings, but with the weight you save from less 4 spokes, you'll gain some back having 28 longer ones. (going from a 2 cross pattern to 4 cross you would gain about 20mm per spoke x 28 spokes, or about 2 spokes worth of extra length). Not worth it IMHO.

The old standby recommendation is 32 hole open pros laced 3x to Ultegra or DA (or insert comparable campy hub). Sure it's a tired recommendation, but that combo is hard to beat in terms of bang for the buck and durability.

If you want to save some $$, you can often find Ultegra/OP wheelsets on line for cheaper than you can source the parts to build them yourself. If you're not happy with the quality of the build, just retension them yourself. Not quite the same satisfaction as truly building your own wheels, but the end result is going to be the same.

The other way to save a little bit of $$, is to look at something other than the Mavic OPs, which aren't cheap. Velocity rims aren't bad for the price. You could do an Aerohead up front, and Fusion in the back and end up just a bit heavier for the wheelset than with OP. The aerohead is roughly the same weight as the OP, but not nearly as stiff laterally. It's probably only 2/3 the price though. Deep V is heavy and overkill for racing even at your weight. Fusion in back is a good compromise.

People often criticise Velocity rims for not having eyelets, but I've never seen a velocity rim crack at the spoke hole, but I've seen all kinds of problems with stress cracks at the eyelet on Mavic rims. The main criticism I have of the velocity rims is that the aluminum is soft, and prone to dented rim sidewalls. Something to consider if you ride lower pressures and really rocky courses.

I'm sure others can chime in with some other durable rim choices. The DT rims look nice, but I've never built with them, so I'll reserve comment.
 

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You don't want to lace up a 28 hole hub 4x anyways. Even 3x on a 28 hole hub is a stretch. If you already have the 28 hole hub around, then buy a 36 hole for the rear and lace them up 2x front, 3x rear. 36 hole hubs and rims tend to be cheap on ebay.

If you have never built a set of wheels before, I recommend using brass nipples and mavic rims. In my experience, Mavics tend to be rounder and truer than Velocities.

If you are weighing 180+ by race season then don't skimp on build for weight. If you are buying the hubs, go with 32 hole 105/ultegra, 14/15/14 spokes and a 3x pattern. So easy to build right.

Then again, pre-built ultegra/open pros are hard to beat pricewise.
 

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A guy from Norway
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36h DA7800 hubs goes cheap now...(more rear than fronts)

A very strong wheelset would be lacing these up with some
Reflex hoops (or Ambrosio's) with some rev spokes. Consider comp
driveside. Then get yourselves some Tufo Tubulars. The elites should
be able to get for a good price.

Now enjoy a whole new riding experience
 

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28 H is a tad skimpy

for a guy your size. 32 - 3x all you need to know
if you live anywhere near an ocean Brass nipples

a wider rim bed seats a wider tire easier, that is the only reason

economy and 'tubeless conversion' kind of oxymoronic, no?

32 hole hubs are usually cheap, nobody wants them anymore (except the really wise)
 

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atpjunkie said:
f
economy and 'tubeless conversion' kind of oxymoronic, no?
Not talking conversion...talking tubular
A tufo T34 pro should be very affordable.

Also remember...don't need a tube..money saved
Tubular rims can be had cheap too. So no

Tubular is the cheapest, safest and the ride that
gives the most pleasure

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for all the suggestions. I was just thinking of what my "range" could be. 28h stuff comes up on ebay relative cheap, so that's why i was asking about them.

as for tubies. I have several vintage tubie rims that are in still good shape. do you think they would be ok to use for cross? they were pretty decent models for their day.
 

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I spent all of last season on two sets of 2nd hand wheels built 32 3x w/ GL330s (I'm 170#). Second season for one of the wheelsets. Not a single problem so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
PeanutButterBreath said:
I spent all of last season on two sets of 2nd hand wheels built 32 3x w/ GL330s (I'm 170#). Second season for one of the wheelsets. Not a single problem so far.
hmmm. i'll have to check them out. a couple might still be attached to old freewheel hubs i could just swap out. now that would save some money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
PeanutButterBreath said:
I spent all of last season on two sets of 2nd hand wheels built 32 3x w/ GL330s (I'm 170#). Second season for one of the wheelsets. Not a single problem so far.
i have a set of 36h mavic red labels, like these


and a pair of 36h Competition Record du Monde rims.
 

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I'm not too familiar with older tubular rims -- which are better, which are a definite no.

I don't think GL330s would be considered by many to be a good choice for CX and they haven't been an issue for me. Since I paid a total of $140 for the two wheelsets, I don't worry too much about what I plow them through.

Given that, I wouldn't have any reservations about building up the parts that you have and racing them on my bike. Obviously, YMMV.
 
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