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.
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.
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.