Stan’s Crest Wheels, Bontrager CX0 700x38c Team Issue Tires

So if the shop that you ride out of suddenly becomes a Stan’s No Tubes dealer, what are you to do?

Get some new wheels, of course.

I’ve been wanting to go tubeless for some time on the Vaya.  With the Velocity A23 rims and Velocity’s new tubeless kits, that would be one option.  I had other ideas in mind.

The wheels on the Vaya are bulletproof.  Chris King hubs, stainless steel spokes, the A23s, a beefy lacing pattern.  Let’s be clear–that’s what I asked for.  When the Vaya was conceived, I was heavier and slower.  Now, at the very least, I’m lighter.

So I wanted to go to a lighter rim, a lighter hub, and lighter spokes.  I wanted tubeless compatibility.  I wanted a wide rim–not anything narrower than the A23s.  And running disc brakes, I really didn’t want a rim brake track on the rims.  Sure, aesthetics matter.  Black rims, black spokes.

The hubs were easy.  I have DT240s on the Madone and the Superfish.  With the 36T upgrade, they have great engagement.  They’re light, they sound nice, they look good, they’ve been durable.

Spokes were also easy.  I love me some Sapim CX-Ray.  Light, aero, strong, pretty.

Rims were tougher.  I really, really, really wanted to do a set of ENVE 29XC carbon clinchers.  Really.  I love ‘em on the Superfish.  But ENVE isn’t handing out free rims these days, and that’s a lotta coin to drop.  So I then undertook some extensive consideration of what alternatives there were.  That North Central Cyclery became a Stans dealer shortened the list considerably.  I wanted disc compability, good width, and super lightweight.  I was basically down to either the Iron Cross or the Crest.  I ended up settling on the Crest as I couldn’t see a real advantage to the Iron Cross, weight was identical, width was within a millimeter, and I didn’t see the Iron Cross profile as an advantage.

Chad did the honors of lacing them up.

For tires, I thought I had everything in order.  I was planning on going to the well and using my tried and true Continental Cyclocross Speeds.  In fact, here they are, mounted up on the wheels.

They look good, right?

They didn’t work.  At first, we had gentle bubbling through the sidewalls, with Stans coming through.  You’d hear a leak, and see a bubble start coming through.  If you popped the bubble, the process would start over.  It was not confidence inspiring.

There was also a minor problem with a tire exploding off of the rim.  I think Chad will eventually recover his hearing.

Suffice it to say: Continental does not advertise the Cyclocross Speed as being tubeless compatible.  It is not.  They’re super light, but the casing does not hold air.  Don’t get me wrong–for tubed applications, there’s no tire I’d rather run.  They’re great.  Light, durable, good traction for intended purposes.  But they do not work tubeless.  (I’ve read that elsewhere on the interwebz, too).

So what tire to run?

After some research and soul-searching, I decided to try Bontrager CX0 tires, in the team issue.  But they come in 34 and 38c widths.  Given my lightweight and predilection for skinny tires, that’s an easy question, right?  Wrong.  The CX0s are factory spec’d at 340 grams and 370 grams.  So there’s only a 30 gram difference to go to the wider size.  That’s pretty compelling.  I ended up giving the 38s a shot–and they came in right at and right under the 370 gram weight.  Overall, this wheel/tire combo saved over a pound and a half of rotating mass, in comparison to the Chris King/A23/Cyclocross Speed setup.  A pound and a half.

So far, I only have about 25 miles in on them.  What can I say?

They’re fast.  They’re light.  They’re great.  I ran them in gravel, pavement, grass and mud. The extra width is appreciated in soft conditions, and the lugs on the edge of the tire do a good job of providing some forward propulsion in the soft.  In comparison to the Speeds, the CX0s are an improvement in mud.

On hard surfaces and gravel, the CX0s seem to roll just as fast.  I do not anticipate that they will wear as long.

They mounted up (with a floor pump), seated, and sealed almost immediately.  I started my ride today at 45/45psi, and finished at 35/35psi.  I suspect ideal pressure will probably be around 35 front / 38 rear, for gravel.

One last build point…we had ordered in some Hope 2 piece rotors, as shown in the pic above.  They worked great up front, but in the rear, they would not clear the housing (the actual caliper) on my Avid BB7 brake rotors.  It didn’t matter how you adjusted the calipers–the rotors just didn’t work.  An alternative is in the works.

Note the DTSwiss skewers.  They, like the Vaya, are Ti.  They’re the nice ratcheting ones, and thus far, I love ‘em.

On to the pics.

The whole appearance of the bike has changed.

These wheels look mean.

Tires are beefy.

Vaya has oodles of clearance.

Mounted up on the Stan’s Crest (de-stickered), the 38c tires have a nice, healthy bulge (even at 35psi, unloaded).

I rolled through a mowed wheat field across some stubble…

I also ran some light singletrack and did a couple light log crossings to see if burping would be an issue.  Thus far, it isn’t.

The difference is night and day–they’re light.  They spin up fast.  For anyone on the fence about a bike upgrade, there is absolutely no doubt…a wheel and tire upgrade is the single best thing you can do for a bike.

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13 thoughts on “Stan’s Crest Wheels, Bontrager CX0 700x38c Team Issue Tires

  1. Thanks, so they run a little big (38c stated, 40c actual?
    My chainstays will only allow for a 38 mm tire so it sound like these run a little big. maybe the 34c size (net of 36 actual?) is the way to go?

  2. Thanks for this review of the CX0 and all your reviews. I was wondering if you have an update on these tires? Are you still running them on your Vaya? Would you run them for a ultra long gravel road race like the TI or DK?

    • I am still running them. I have about 1500 miles on them and the rear is pretty shot. I haven’t had any flats, though. I am running them for Almanzo–will replace the rear. I would definitely run them for a long event–they’ve been quite durable (though the tread is soft, minimal, and fast wearing).

      • I agree with the rear wearing relatively quickly. I put nowhere near 1500 miles on mine in one year, and at 185 lbs. the tread down the center was pretty well worn down from light riding on crushed limestone. They ride pretty quickly in dry conditions, but anything with an incline and beyond tacky mud and I couldn’t gain any traction nor shead the mud quickly (perhaps the tread pattern?) (Read: probably shouldn’t use in muddy CX conditions… even just a little.) Overall I liked them and would use them wherever I wouldn’t expect too much slop.

  3. Pingback: ENVE 29XC Update | ridingagainstthegrain

      • Thank you. I just purchased a Trek ION CX and upgraded the wheels to Bontrager Race TLR. I mounted the CX0 38mm tires that came with the bike on the Race TLR rims and with TLR rim strip am running tubeless based on your review. I am using Bontrager Super Juice and it seems to work well. Thanks for this write up. I would not have attempted running the CX0′s tubeless without reading this.

      • Great! They’ve been flawless, tubeless. They do wear a bit fast (particularly on pavement), but they’re great tires.

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