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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 10-23-12, 02:09 AM   #1
teamtrinity
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Carbon rims for cyclocross...question...

Are carbon rims ok for cyclocross? I'm guessing they're strong enough. But what about the brake surface? Sand, dirt, mud, all wet...do the brake surfaces hold up ok? Anyone have experience? Did your rims last more than two seasons?
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Old 10-23-12, 08:34 AM   #2
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Braking is the real drawback IMO, which is why disc brakes make a lot of sense for amateur racers.
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Old 10-23-12, 11:34 AM   #3
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Yeah. Braking is the biggest drawback. Plus with cantis they make that horrible sound.

At typical cross race speeds you will not get much aero advantage from them. A lot of people claim deeper rims shed mud better, and I can see this under certain conditions (mud deep enough to cover a box section rim), especially if you sprayed the rims with PAM or some such.

I have no personal experience with how long they last, but obviously your braking surfaces are going to be exposed to a lot more grit than on a typical road ride.

I would not personally bother unless:

1. they are tubular
2. they are cheap or already paid for
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Old 10-23-12, 06:14 PM   #4
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i have Boyd 38mm tubulars....love them.

Super light, so far bulletproof and they've taken some nasty hits. I've never had an issue with braking. I'm using Shorty Ultimates with Swiss Stop yellows.

As said above, I don't even know why anyone would consider anything else but tubular.
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Old 10-27-12, 10:50 PM   #5
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2 sets carbon wheels, 3 cross seasons of mud and sand in the pacific NW. 1 set trashed. Other ones I only use on the road now. Teammate trashed his too.... eventually wore through the brake surfaces. Thats with swisstop yellows.

Now I run old mavic heliums. Braking is much better, and not fearful of ruining them as they are aluminum.

You can do it, but it will accelerate wear, especially in the slop races i would think.
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Old 10-31-12, 10:11 PM   #6
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Yeah. Braking is the biggest drawback. Plus with cantis they make that horrible sound.

At typical cross race speeds you will not get much aero advantage from them. A lot of people claim deeper rims shed mud better, and I can see this under certain conditions (mud deep enough to cover a box section rim), especially if you sprayed the rims with PAM or some such.

I have no personal experience with how long they last, but obviously your braking surfaces are going to be exposed to a lot more grit than on a typical road ride.

I would not personally bother unless:

1. they are tubular
2. they are cheap or already paid for
I have a pair of tubular Zipp 303s 20/24 spoke wheels that are about 1lb lighter than the clincher Aksiums that they replaced. Using the cork braking pads with Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes I have no brake squeal or shudder. However, I managed to crack both rims in just one rocky, bumpy race a couple of weekends ago (I weigh 166lb, BTW). Zipp is going to repair/replace the rims for $310 each. I will keep using these wheels, but I am going to pick the races in which I use more carefully in the future.

I have also ordered an el cheapo pair of chinese rims to put on another set of Zipp hubs, so I can see if there is any difference between Zipp and the competition.

Steve
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Old 11-01-12, 12:48 PM   #7
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I might try the Chinese carbon thing at some point. I have a disc bike, so braking surface wear is a non-issue.

Light-Bicycle is going to be offering DT 240 hubs and DT spokes on their builds. Seems like a good option. Boyd offers disc too, but 2x lacing, a 24h front, and mystery hubs don't inspire confidence.
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Old 11-01-12, 01:13 PM   #8
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I have also ordered an el cheapo pair of chinese rims to put on another set of Zipp hubs, so I can see if there is any difference between Zipp and the competition.

Steve
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I might try the Chinese carbon thing at some point. I have a disc bike, so braking surface wear is a non-issue.

OK, so since it's been brought up, I need to ask if anyone going the "cheap Chinese carbon" route is familiar with Yoeleo rims? I've been considering a pair of carbon tubies as race wheels for next season, and in searching around I found their 38mm deep 23mm wide rims. I've not found any negative reviews of their stuff, but the positive reviews I've found seem to have a lot of people questioning the "shill-factor" of the reviewers.
I'm willing to give them a shot for the price, if no one's got anything horrible to say about them. The price is right that I'm willing to make an experiment of them, and from their website, it looks like what they do more of than individual sales is OEM orders.
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Last edited by CliftonGK1; 11-01-12 at 01:37 PM. Reason: fixed typo: Yoeleo, not Yeoleo
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Old 11-01-12, 01:42 PM   #9
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Surprised I'm not seeing sintered brake tracks,

to be hard and abrasive for the Brake pads to grip.
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Old 11-01-12, 01:56 PM   #10
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I only use carbon on the road. If they had aluminum brake tracks then that would be better not so much for braking but just because sand is evil when braking on carbon tracks.
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Old 11-01-12, 05:43 PM   #11
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because sand is evil when braking on carbon tracks.
True enough. It's pretty evil on aluminium rims as well (I rip through commuter rims in short order due to the use of sand on the roads in the winter), but my justification is that there's only 3 really sandy courses around by me, and I typically only race on 2 of them. For as few races as I ride each year, I'm willing to chance an experiment for a season. (mostly because a couple teammates went that route this year with good results, so there's a bit of a proven track record)
Can't say I'd be willing to do the same if I raced in a considerably sandier area, or if I was looking at a $3000 pair of MadFibers.
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Old 11-02-12, 08:03 AM   #12
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True enough. It's pretty evil on aluminium rims as well (I rip through commuter rims in short order due to the use of sand on the roads in the winter), but my justification is that there's only 3 really sandy courses around by me, and I typically only race on 2 of them. For as few races as I ride each year, I'm willing to chance an experiment for a season. (mostly because a couple teammates went that route this year with good results, so there's a bit of a proven track record)
Can't say I'd be willing to do the same if I raced in a considerably sandier area, or if I was looking at a $3000 pair of MadFibers.
Yeah there is only about 2 or 3 races around me that have sand pits. I've just decided to always run those from now on. The sand is just way to destructive. It's fun to ride and all but I can't stand the sound of sand in my drive train
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Old 11-08-12, 11:55 AM   #13
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I wore thru a set of cheep aluminum rims in one season. Last season was great, plenty of mud. However it comes at a cost.
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Old 11-08-12, 01:06 PM   #14
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OK, so since it's been brought up, I need to ask if anyone going the "cheap Chinese carbon" route is familiar with Yoeleo rims? I've been considering a pair of carbon tubies as race wheels for next season, and in searching around I found their 38mm deep 23mm wide rims. I've not found any negative reviews of their stuff, but the positive reviews I've found seem to have a lot of people questioning the "shill-factor" of the reviewers.
I'm willing to give them a shot for the price, if no one's got anything horrible to say about them. The price is right that I'm willing to make an experiment of them, and from their website, it looks like what they do more of than individual sales is OEM orders.
newbie here, I have a set of cheap chinese carbon from yishun bike and they are great wheels on the road. At appx $500 for the set, no reason I wouldn't want to glue up a set of tubular cx tires on them. Can't imagine racing CX with zipps, My pockets just aint that deep!!
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Old 11-09-12, 05:03 PM   #15
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if you finish a lap down as it is, the fancy wheels wont help that much..
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Old 11-13-12, 06:59 PM   #16
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if you finish a lap down as it is, the fancy wheels wont help that much..
Finished up 7th in my series, so I feel justified in a little bit of a splurge purchase.
Still a little leery over carbon wheels, though; even after training and racing all season on a carbon fork without any issues, and prior to the season *it* was my biggest concern.
I may just go with aluminium to save myself the heartache. Haven't decided yet.
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Old 11-14-12, 01:57 AM   #17
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Just received a set of carbon wheels from Volcker Bikes in KC. Britton built up them up on Chinese 24/28 rims with Enjoy (Chinese) hubs and Sapim CX-ray spokes. The cost was a little more than if I had ordered directly from China, but I got Sapim spokes and the delivery was fast. The race that I was hoping to use them in has been moved from a grassy/muddy area back to the rocky rim-cracking area that I have raced before, so I will be using my aluminum clinchers for that one.
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Old 11-14-12, 11:06 AM   #18
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Switching from alloy to carbon rims saves about half a pound of rotating weight. So it's not nothing, but once you factor in the weight of tires, and consider that it might be more advantageous to have a larger quiver of tubular treads to choose from, I think the cost/benefit equation tilts toward alloy rims for most amateurs.

As fietsbob always points out, if you are truly serious about performance, you had better have a second bike and somebody running your pit. That's really a huge practical advantage that translates to multiple places over the course of a season.
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Old 11-20-12, 12:59 AM   #19
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I weighed the benefits against the likelihood that I'd do something stupid and destroy them, and opted to go with a pair of HED C2 rims instead of carbon. Financially, I can't afford the hit if I bork a carbon rim, even at a discount price.
The pair I'm building up will be slightly heavier than if I went carbon (1540g vs. 1320g) but they're still around 400g lighter than the bricks I'm rolling around on now.

I feel a little silly and wimpy for having chickened out on the carbon rims, but even with losing a bunch of weight I'm still solidly in the Clydesdale category and I am not dainty with my equipment.
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Old 11-20-12, 05:58 AM   #20
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Riding heaps of Chinese carbon here--/ from 20/24 -- 32/32 --- 2x & 3x configs - hand built to DA & DT240 hubs all wheel smith dbl butted--- 130-150$ a hoop 23mmwide tubulars - perfect no issues yet - guilt free cheapness. Rock them!!they won't dent on roots and rocks like major toms -
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Old 11-20-12, 08:50 AM   #21
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Riding heaps of Chinese carbon here--/ from 20/24 -- 32/32 --- 2x & 3x configs - hand built to DA & DT240 hubs all wheel smith dbl butted--- 130-150$ a hoop 23mmwide tubulars - perfect no issues yet - guilt free cheapness. Rock them!!they won't dent on roots and rocks like major toms -
How much do you weigh? That's really where my concern is. I'm 6'6" and my goal weight is still barely under 200 pounds. I'm hanging around 210 - 215 now.
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Old 11-20-12, 08:58 AM   #22
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How much do you weigh? That's really where my concern is. I'm 6'6" and my goal weight is still barely under 200 pounds. I'm hanging around 210 - 215 now.
Same weight ... I wouldn't be overly concerned with weight on anything 38MM-60MM deep ~ Build them with quality spokes by a skilled builder and you'll be fine. Avoid radial lacing.
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