Cx wheel/tire pairings

Hi all,

I have found myself with a mashup of wheels/tires for cyclocross and I’m hoping to get thoughts and opinions regarding how to pair them up. I realize I’m most likely over thinking things but if nothing else, it’s another excuse to talk bikes.

A few general context points – I’m at the pointy end of cat 2, working on those upgrade points. I’m comfortable using filetreads more than most people (perhaps too much) and I do well on technical courses. I tend to use either filetreads or grifos for probably 70-75% of my races. Typically use mud tires for 1, maybe 2 races a season. Oh, and I don’t have a pit bike but that’s a conversation for another day.


  1. Enve 3.4 AR (39mm front/43mm rear, 1390 gm, enve hubs)
  2. DT Swiss CRC 1100 spline Tubular (38mm deep, 1322 gm, SINC ceramic bearings, 240 hub)
  3. HiFi EPCX tubular (35 mm deep, 1230 gm, HiFi hubs)
  4. Roval C38 tubeless (38 mm deep, 1560gm, dt swiss 350 hubs)

Tires - I’m not married to challenge tires, just what I have used and liked

  1. Challenge Chicane
  2. Challenge Grifo
  3. Challenge baby Limus or new Flandrien
  4. Challenge Limus


  1. Enve 3.4 with chicane – arguably the “best” wheel I have and the most aero. I understand aero is of minimal importance for cx but if there’s a time to have aero benefits, it’ll be the courses I’m running filetreads. Additionally, for the same reasons, the PSI benefits of tubulars seem less important here.
  2. HiFi with grifos – Although the DT Swiss is probably the better tubular wheelset, it’s hard to pass up the rim depth/weight combo of the HiFi’s paired with the grifos for the bulk of the races I’ll do during a season.
  3. DT Swiss with baby limus/flandrien – really just a function of the other wheelsets already accounted for above. Oh, if anyone has real world info/thoughts on the new flandrien, I’d love to hear it.
  4. Rovals with limus – I know I won’t have the most important tubular benefit here in terms of lower PSI but I would find it wasteful to use one of the more expensive wheelsets for basically 1-2 days a year. Plus, if a wheelset/hub is going to get ruined by mud, I’d prefer it be the cheapest wheels I’ve got. Perhaps next year I’ll look into a cheaper set of tubulars such as the Hunt’s or Carver’s specifically for a mud tire.

I feel pretty good about pairings 1 and 4 but I constantly go back and forth with pairings 2 and 3. Again, I realize this is most likely a thought experiment and in reality, I know I’m fortunate to have these options and really can’t go wrong no matter how I pair things up. Curious to hear what you all think!

I made the jump from baby limus/pdx (I’d get which ever was available for the last few years, they’re identical as far as I’m concerned) to grifo and now to chicanes as much as possible.
Zipp 303 with the chicanes, hifi tubs with the grifos and roval c38 for pdx

I don’t think the wheels matter one bit but for sure notice the difference between tires. Going from the baby’s to the chicanes almost feels like I’m on an e-bike! Looks like the weather should be good this weekend at charm city for chicanes!