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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) 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 : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

One vs Two Wheelsets

Old 12-09-21, 06:57 PM
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Noonievut
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One vs Two Wheelsets

Iíve never had a strong view on this and with the gravel bikes Iíve owned over the years I donít feel I had this paradox solved.

There are stock 700c WTB rims i19 / 32 spoke on the bike. Running the stock 40mm Ventures for now. These can be one of a pair of wheels, should I go with two wheelsets.

Although I have a skinny tire, lightweight road bike, Iím gravitating to the idea of one bike that can do 100% paved, 50/50 road/light gravel and 20/80 road/gravel. I live in Ontario and our gravel is fairly tame, and I have access to a few nice rail trails as part of mixed surface rides.

Iíve been thinking of pros and cons of
1) One really good wheelset and maybe 38mm tires, tubeless that are good enough at both road and gravel
2) Two Wheelsets: one with 30-32mm tires for road rides, other with 43ís for gravel/mixed surface

Wondering how others have thought this through? I love getting lots of perspectives before deciding.
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Old 12-09-21, 07:47 PM
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If you're riding solo, I don't see much of an advantage to a second wheelset. I have a Specialized Diverge with 700x38c tires that does fine on paved roads, in addition to light gravel. New wheels might increase your speed a bit, but I don't think it will increase the enjoyment of your ride (and may decrease it if it results in a harsher ride).

That said, I did get a second wheelset with 700x30 tires... but I also got a second bike to go with the new wheels (Cervelo Caledonia). I can tell that the Caledonia is faster and more responsive than the Diverge, but all-in-all, it is no more enjoyable to ride, and I ride them interchangeably even on 100% paved rides. If I'm riding with a group, I'll take the Caledonia to help me keep up. Otherwise, the Diverge is as enjoyable as the Caledonia. Based on my experience, I don't see the value of a second wheelset.

But, you said you have a lightweight skinny tire road bike. So (1) why not just keep that to use if you want different wheels? Also (2), you can see the difference new wheels would make, at least somewhat, by comparing your road bike with your gravel bike. So, you could answer your own question.
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Old 12-09-21, 07:49 PM
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sean.hwy
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I have a aero road bike systemsix and a gravel bike giant. I prefer to ride my gravel bike with my road wheel set. It's also nice to go out town with the gravel bike with two sets. The gf and I can take two gravel bikes and two wheel sets and not take up that much room to ride 95% of anything.

I have a few friends with aero bikes that like to fly. On those days I will take my aero bike out and try and keep up. I think my aero bike with aero carbon wheels is probably about 1mph to 1.5 mph faster than my gravel bike with the same carbon wheel set on it.
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Old 12-09-21, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
Iíve never had a strong view on this and with the gravel bikes Iíve owned over the years I donít feel I had this paradox solved.

There are stock 700c WTB rims i19 / 32 spoke on the bike. Running the stock 40mm Ventures for now. .
What gravel bike did you finally get? I've gotten confused by all the threads, I must have missed it.
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Old 12-09-21, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
What gravel bike did you finally get? I've gotten confused by all the threads, I must have missed it.
Bombtrack Hook
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Old 12-09-21, 09:01 PM
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I got a second wheel set for my Topstone, has 28 mm tires, which on wide rims ends up at 31mm. I run 70-80 psi for a very comfy ride, better than my carbon with 25mm at 110 psi. As well, when I go on vacation its great to just carry a 2nd set of wheels, two bikes in one, gravel and pavement ready.
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Old 12-09-21, 09:30 PM
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Definitely two wheelsets, if only for seasonal variation. It’ll make getting the knobby rubber on for winter and spring a breeze, and you can run smoother, lighterweight rubber in the warm, dry months.

Also, i23s are heavy, so if you get a lighter wheelset, you can improve the feel of the bike…assuming you’d think livelier is better. Admittedly, there are conditions where sure-footedness is appreciated, too.
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Old 12-10-21, 08:52 AM
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I sold my road bike so I have two wheelsets, one for road mode and one for gravel. Also the original wheelset is fairly heavy so I wanted my other wheelset to come in under 1500 grams for the set.
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Old 12-10-21, 10:54 AM
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If you have tame gravel why not get a set of semi-slick gravel tires? I can still hang with my road bike buddies, while still being able to roll on dirt packed trails and gravel. You can also consider something like 35c tires, which would be a nice all-around width (decent acceleration and more traction/cushion than 32c). I rarely put on my 2nd wheelset mainly because I still have to adjust my brake calipers and I have different brand rear cassettes which also require cable tension adjustment.

Last edited by jonathanf2; 12-10-21 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 12-10-21, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy View Post
I have a aero road bike systemsix and a gravel bike giant. I prefer to ride my gravel bike with my road wheel set. It's also nice to go out town with the gravel bike with two sets. The gf and I can take two gravel bikes and two wheel sets and not take up that much room to ride 95% of anything.

I have a few friends with aero bikes that like to fly. On those days I will take my aero bike out and try and keep up. I think my aero bike with aero carbon wheels is probably about 1mph to 1.5 mph faster than my gravel bike with the same carbon wheel set on it.
My experience exactly. My carbon wheels with nice tires gain me 1.5 mph average on any given ride. I refer to them as my "something to prove" wheels.

I have a Trek Domane with my road wheels and a pair of gravel wheels with 38mm Schwalbe tires. Unless I am riding with people on road bikes that want to go fast, I would prefer to ride gravel wheels. Better ride, more road options and fewer wheel changes before rides. I bought this bike as a "one bike" experiment and I find that it works well.
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Old 01-11-22, 09:39 PM
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I replaced my WTB stock wheelset with a custom one. The WTB wheelset is solid with 40mm WTB tires a worthy backup. Don’t want to be riding out at Big Bend NP have a wheel go Kaputz! without a backup. I have 2 wheelsets for my MTB for the same reason. It doesn’t have to be high dollar to serve backup duty.
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Old 01-14-22, 06:08 PM
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An advantage to a 2nd wheel set is big gravel tires on one set, skinnier slick road tires on another, bring both on vacation, best of both worlds,.
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Old 01-14-22, 08:08 PM
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I ended up with the Ďseasonalí approach. Stock wheels with 700x40 Ventures that are very sticky so great for winter. 650x42 supple tires tubeless for rest of the year, paved and gravel roads.
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Old 01-15-22, 12:24 PM
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The answer is one quality wheelset with one quality set of fat slicks, 650b preferably. I use Rene Herse Switchback Hills for everything from single track to road. (Rene Herse can oí worms officially open now)
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Old 01-15-22, 03:51 PM
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Noonievut
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Originally Posted by walnutz View Post
The answer is one quality wheelset with one quality set of fat slicks, 650b preferably. I use Rene Herse Switchback Hills for everything from single track to road. (Rene Herse can oí worms officially open now)
My 650b is the Babyshoe, and I agree about one quality wheelset. However, for short rides exclusively on loose gravel, dirt, mud, and winter riding, Iíll keep the Babyshoeís at home.
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Old 01-15-22, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
I ended up with the Ďseasonalí approach. Stock wheels with 700x40 Ventures that are very sticky so great for winter. 650x42 supple tires tubeless for rest of the year, paved and gravel roads.
You're probably aware, but this will change the BB height considerably. Gravel bikes are often spec'd with 700x40-42C or 650x47-50B to minimize that difference...
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Old 01-15-22, 07:11 PM
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Noonievut
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
You're probably aware, but this will change the BB height considerably. Gravel bikes are often spec'd with 700x40-42C or 650x47-50B to minimize that difference...
I am, thanks. With 700x40 Iím higher up than I like, with the 650b the very bottom of the pedal is more than 9cm above the ground, which feels good
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Old 01-17-22, 10:04 AM
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Been enjoying having two sets.

One set is lighter and has tubed 28c road tires. Tubed tires can sit forever and require no "maintenance" and are always ready to go. Worst case I just need replace a tube.

My other set is built a little more stout and runs WTB Resolute 42s (the best tires). They're tubeless and it's hot where I live so they aren't totally maintenance free. The sealant dries out. I have ripped a hole in one once and it's a whole ordeal to get it running again. I use these for up to light single track and on mixed rides.

The only thing is that the rotors don't align perfectly between sets. So swapping from one set to the other isn't as easy as you might be hoping. It's not hard though. Just fiddle with the pad alignment (easy for me w/ my TRP Spyres) and then you're off.
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Old 01-17-22, 10:10 AM
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I've enjoyed having multiple wheelsets for a long time, and right now I have three wheelsets I can swap between two different frames. The rims are identical so I don't even need to adjust the (rim) brakes. I can ride skinny, medium, or fat tires, and choose between drop and flat bars. It's like having six different bikes.
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Old 01-17-22, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by showlow View Post
Been enjoying having two sets.

One set is lighter and has tubed 28c road tires. Tubed tires can sit forever and require no "maintenance" and are always ready to go. Worst case I just need replace a tube.

My other set is built a little more stout and runs WTB Resolute 42s (the best tires). They're tubeless and it's hot where I live so they aren't totally maintenance free. The sealant dries out. I have ripped a hole in one once and it's a whole ordeal to get it running again. I use these for up to light single track and on mixed rides.

The only thing is that the rotors don't align perfectly between sets. So swapping from one set to the other isn't as easy as you might be hoping. It's not hard though. Just fiddle with the pad alignment (easy for me w/ my TRP Spyres) and then you're off.
Originally Posted by Jeff Neese View Post
I've enjoyed having multiple wheelsets for a long time, and right now I have three wheelsets I can swap between two different frames. The rims are identical so I don't even need to adjust the (rim) brakes. I can ride skinny, medium, or fat tires, and choose between drop and flat bars. It's like having six different bikes.
I love the idea but so far Iíve not enjoyed the finicky brake alignment Iíve needed to with the few bikes where Iíve tried this (hydro brakes). Iím still figuring this out, hope to solve it one day!
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Old 01-17-22, 11:51 AM
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Have you tried shims. I saw some online. When I get a second wheel I may beg too try them.

For now I use tubes and swap tires. I hand the tires not installed with the tubes partially inflated. This make swapping quicker.
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Old 01-17-22, 12:11 PM
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Noonievut
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Originally Posted by biker128pedal View Post
Have you tried shims. I saw some online. When I get a second wheel I may beg too try them.

For now I use tubes and swap tires. I hand the tires not installed with the tubes partially inflated. This make swapping quicker.
Yes, on a previous bike. It was a CX bike with Spyre brakes. That system worked very well.
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Old 01-17-22, 12:16 PM
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Never thought much about a second wheelset before but since putting knobby Senderos on(which work great for my regular routes where I live but are overkill at other times), I've been contemplating it--would be nice to have a second set on the other end of the spectrum--something slick. I personally found Ventures to be a pretty acceptable middle ground though - might go back to those and keep it simple . . .
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Old 01-17-22, 01:54 PM
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I like having multiple wheelsets on my CX bike. I have one nicer carbon wheelset that I mainly use with road tires, and run the off-road tires on my heavier alloy set. During the fall CX racing season I'll switch that around and run CX tires on the carbon wheels, and use the other set as either a backup or with road tires for easy swapping.

So far the disc brake adjustment between sets hasn't been an issue. I had my shop install shims on one set to get them better aligned.
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Old 01-17-22, 04:44 PM
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Two sets. Buy more stuff. Moderation shows a lack of commitment!
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