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CAADX 105 brakes and wheelset upgrades

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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.

CAADX 105 brakes and wheelset upgrades

Old 06-19-14, 08:58 AM
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CAADX 105 brakes and wheelset upgrades

I have a 2013 Cannondale CAADX 105 that I use for commuting, gravel/tarmac trail riding and recreational CX racing/training.
I'm 5'-9"/155lbs. I use both the stock wheels (Maddux CX 3.0) with 35cm knobbies and a set of Shimano RS-10 road wheels w/ 23cm road tires for longer paved rides.

Brakes: The bike came with Tektro cantilever brakes which are pretty awful. With the CX wheels I get tons of brake shuddering in the fork with the front brake. With both sets the brakes are extremely noisy/squeaky, particularly when it is humid. I like to work on my own bikes, but I've gotten frustrated with the braking and taken it into my LBS a few times to see if they can do any better and they can't. Adjustments seem to stop the squealing for a few days but it quickly returns.

Any suggestions on upgrading the brakes to get smoother and better stopping? At a minimum I am going to try some new pads, but I would consider switching out the brakes themselves if that would help too. I don't want to switch the levers and need mud clearance, so switching to a different style of brake probably isn't an option.

Wheels: I would like to get a set of nicer/lighter CX wheels for occasional CX racing/training. Several guys I ride with run tubeless tires and rave about how much of a difference it makes over clinchers. Anyone have recommendations? I need to keep the cost low, maybe a few hundred bucks. Is there a reasonably cheap set of wheels out there that would be an upgrade and allow me to run tubeless tires? Any downsides to tubeless tires? (i.e. what happens if I get a flat?)

Thanks.
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Old 06-19-14, 10:20 AM
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Brakes: Get a fork mounted cable hanger:



That should stop the front shudder. Noise ... good luck. Toe-in sometimes helps. Scuffing the pads and/or rims with some 200+ grit sandpaper sometimes helps. Different brand/composition pads sometimes helps. I haven't found anything that is a "sure thing".

Wheels: I know there's lots of interest in tubeless, but that good tubeless-ready wheelsets are a little pricey. There are lots of folks having success setting up standard clincher wheelsets tubeless, but probably just as many having major issues. The "issue" with tubeless (aside from the initial setup) is the risk of "burping" from trying to run at too low a pressure. Probably more of a problem for CX racing (where you're always trying to run as low as you can get away with) than trail riding. As for flats, if you get a flat on a tubeless, you can always just put in a tube to finish your ride. For racing, I still think a tubular setup is superior to tubeless. For trail riding, tubeless might be the way to go, but you'll need to do some homework to find a reliable setup that won't flat your wallet.
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Old 06-19-14, 02:10 PM
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If you ARE open to new brakes, I would highly recommend switching over to mini-v's. You can use your existing levers, stopping power substantially increases, no more fork shudder, and set up is a breeze.

I went from the same brake/lever combo you have to using TEKTRO RX6's and I'm never looking back. I'm almost positive these are the exact same brake as the TRP CX9, just a lot cheaper. I'm not sure that they are technically available on the US Market, but they can be found on the eBay (where I found mine). You do give up modulation at the lever, but for me that was a non-issue.

I ride/race in the Pacific Northwest, where courses can be notoriously muddy. Judging by the amount of mini-v's I saw at the last cross race I participated in, I don't think too many people are concerned with any sort of clearance limitations that might be present.

No comment on wheels...

Last edited by justin1138; 06-19-14 at 02:11 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-19-14, 03:46 PM
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I also agree with the fork mounted brake cable holder, it's the best single improvement in braking performance you can make on a CX bike. a Fork mounted cable hanger will eliminate brake shudder. I'll also recommend these Planet X Cantilevers, light, rigid and a wide adjustment range: Planet X Frogs Bollox Cantilever Brakeset





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Old 06-19-14, 09:28 PM
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For brakes I will second the mini V brake solution, all fork shudder will go away and you will likely have much more power to go with it. They are spending but the Paul Mini Moto's are the nicest cross brakes I have ever run.

For wheels I would suggest getting a set of Velocity A23's laced to what ever hub your budget allows, lower end Shimano is great for the money. The A23's work well tubeless and are pretty light and very strong.
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Old 06-26-14, 12:56 PM
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Thank you for the suggestions. I adjusted things a few days ago to have much more aggressive toe-in and it mostly solved my issues. It sounds like the fork mounted hanger and some new pads is a good place to start as well. I found a few other threads on the topic (for anyone else who finds this thread):

https://www.bikeforums.net/recreation...ale-caadx.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/recreation...-blue-cxc.html
https://www.bikeforums.net/recreation...nger-fork.html

The carbon fork on my Cannondale CAADX has a hole in the top that appears to be big enough to fit something like this: Amazon.com : Tektro Front Cable Hanger Black Canti Fork Mount : Bike Shift Cables And Housing : Sports & Outdoors

I also found and read the FAQ thread, and it was helpful (and should have been read before starting this one: https://www.bikeforums.net/recreation...brake-faq.html

Now, for the wheels...
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Old 06-26-14, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by chriskmurray

For wheels I would suggest getting a set of Velocity A23's laced to what ever hub your budget allows, lower end Shimano is great for the money. The A23's work well tubeless and are pretty light and very strong.
$650 for a pair of A23 comps. $900 for pros. That's a lot of cheddar!
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Old 06-26-14, 02:03 PM
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You can usually find A23's laced to 105 or Ultegra hubs for under $300. The builds I'm seeing today use straight gauge spokes. A guy at Universal Cycles once tried to convince me that for CX straight gauge is better, but I don't know if I buy that.

If you're interested in building them yourself you can get the parts for a 105/A23 build for about $300. You can probably get light hubs for less money online.
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Old 06-26-14, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
$650 for a pair of A23 comps. $900 for pros. That's a lot of cheddar!
Andy-k is right, you can find A23's laced to mid level Shimano hubs for some pretty reasonable prices, those are just for the Velocity builds which have higher priced hubs.

I will say I am not buying the straight gauge spokes are better for cross thing though. Straight gauge spokes will make a slightly stiffer wheel but that is marginal at best.
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Old 09-11-15, 02:11 PM
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Just to update this thread a bit. After trying the cable hanger on the stock cantis, I finally gave up and ordered some mini-V's.

I went with the TRP CX9's and they were simple to install and setup and work great. The brake feel is a little more mushy than it was with the canti's, and I have to run the pads a little closer to the rims, but the stopping power is unbelievably improved, with zero fork shudder. I'll probably be giving up a little in really muddy CX races, but for most of the riding I do it's not an issue and the braking is much better!

As for wheels, I found a pair of Psimet AX-100 tubulars on Ebay for $350 (new). They use Velicity Major Tom 23mm wide rims and seem like a good lightweight rim brake option. I'm going to have some Challenge Baby Limus tubulars glued up to them and can't wait to try them out. Should be a smoother ride and a significant weight savings over the stock wheels which will be nice on race day.
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