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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 05-28-09, 01:56 PM   #1
pedalpedalpedal
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Do I need new wheels?

Hey everyone,

So I bought a Kona JTS from a guy who used it primarily for commuting, so it has a Shimano 550 wheelset on it. I'm worried about how durable they are for easy-moderate trail riding - nothing too hairy, just what you'd expect in a typical 'cross course really, with some roots and rough sections here and there.

Should I swap out these wheels for a Mavic open pro/ultegra wheelset? Or are they okay for riding as I've outlined above?
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Old 05-28-09, 03:07 PM   #2
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Does one really need an excuse to move to Ultegra/Open Pros?

I'm not a big fan of low spoke count wheels, and I certainly wouldn't use them for cyclocross. On the other hand, you could try it like it is, and if it starts going out of true or braking spokes, switch out the wheels.
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Old 05-28-09, 04:30 PM   #3
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Does one really need an excuse to move to Ultegra/Open Pros?

I'm not a big fan of low spoke count wheels, and I certainly wouldn't use them for cyclocross. On the other hand, you could try it like it is, and if it starts going out of true or braking spokes, switch out the wheels.
I'd rather know whether I should switch them out before I break some spokes


So I guess that's one "yes."
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Old 05-28-09, 05:03 PM   #4
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I have a 2009 JTS with the Mavic Aksium wheelset, and I have been real happy with them. I would put slicks on the Shimano wheels and save them for road use, if I were you, as the low spoke count would scare me for 'cross use.
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Old 05-28-09, 08:10 PM   #5
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I have a 2009 JTS with the Mavic Aksium wheelset, and I have been real happy with them. I would put slicks on the Shimano wheels and save them for road use, if I were you, as the low spoke count would scare me for 'cross use.
But don't the Aksiums have a low spoke count as well?

Would it be best to have two sets of wheels? I was planning on using Ritchey Speedmax or Schwalbe Marathon tires... now they're 700x32 and that's a lot bigger than the road slicks (700x23) I have now, but will the rolling resistance be that noticeable? I'm coming from riding mountain bikes so I'm sure even a 700x32 with "knobs" will be a helluva lot easier to push than my 26x2.3 tires.

Basically, is it really worth keeping a "road set" of wheels?
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Old 05-29-09, 08:11 AM   #6
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It's definitely worth keeping a set of road wheels. The knobs on a cross tire aren't terrible for road use if you aren't trying to keep up with anyone, but road use will wear them down quicker. Plus, the difference rolling resistance will definitely be very noticeable. Not to mention the fact that you'd need to change the tire pressure every time you switched between on and off road use. I mean, you can run a 30-40ish PSI tire on the road, but it's sloooooow.
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Old 05-29-09, 09:35 AM   #7
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i also have 2 sets of wheels, mavic aksiums for my race/off road wheel set and the stock velocity road hubs laced to alex rims for road riding, so 2 sets of wheels is always a good thing.
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Old 05-29-09, 12:53 PM   #8
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Alright so Aksiums vs Ultegra/Open Pro
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Old 05-29-09, 06:48 PM   #9
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I have two sets of ultegra/open pros. Love them. I run them off road on things they were never designed for but handle just fine. Really, you should see the rock ledges I take them over. Well, built, they are wonderfully rugged but light wheels.

Personally, I would run two wheelsets....but you may find yourself just using you Ultegra/Open Pros all the time anyway.
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Old 05-29-09, 08:59 PM   #10
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I have a Shimano R-550 front wheel on my old Trek road bike, so I went out to the garage to compare the two. The front wheel on the Shimano 550 only had 16 spokes. The Askiums have 20 spokes and they are heavier guage. Needless to say, the hubs are much beefier also.

Having said that, I think the Ulegra/Open Pros are great wheels too. How about 700 X 28, as a compromise tire? I think Continental Utra Gatorskins are available in that size.
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Old 05-30-09, 05:39 AM   #11
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if going with a custom buildup, also consider sun cr-18 or the salsa delgado cross rim. the cr-18 is a bit wider than the open pro, and a very solid rim, and a bit cheaper. the salsa delgado cross rim is more of a dedicated cross rim, but can still be used with wider road tires. you can lace either to either 105 or ultegra hubs for a truly solid wheelset that will last for a loong time.
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