Cyclocross wheel choices with new gravel wheel options

Hello all!

Planning ahead to CX season 2020, can’t wait! Rode last season on stock wheels, looking at new wheel sets for this year.

While tubular tires and wheels have obviously been the cyclocross go-to for years (and are still the choice for pros), for normal folks/privateers they just aren’t an option for several reasons (cost, maintenance, limited utility, ability to change treads on same wheel rapidly, etc). Also, it seems that tubeless technology has been advancing such that the advantages are shrinking anyway.

Formerly, if tubular tires/wheels were ruled out, picking a decent lightweight set of road wheels did the trick. In the last couple of years though, all the major manufacturers now have some sort of “gravel”-specific option consisting of moderate internal width, direct support for 32mm tires, tubeless setups, low weight, and strong spoke/rim combination. Some even have hookless bead designs. Examples include ENVE G23, Roval Terra CLX, Industry 9 ul250 CX, Santa Cruz Reserve 700c, etc.

These seem like a great option for those of us wanting to run tubeless wheels and tires for CX. I’m wondering if anyone has tried these setups and can comment or at least speculate on the pros and cons?


I’m skeptical of the hookless beads for cx. For MTB where you have much higher volume tires I guess it’s okay, but seems risky for low-volume cx tires which you’re running at fairly low pressure. Perhaps a heavy rider could put enough air in to be fine? Anyway, it’s hard to go wrong with (hooked) tubeless rim. Grails have been great for me. Imo, I’d look for a high-engagement hub vs the pros/cons of the various rims at whatever pricepoint you’re looking at.

Bumping this thread now that’s ~1 year old. Has there been any new information on using CX tires on hookless rims? The lists for road tires is pretty sparse, and I haven’t found much information on CX tires. I guess it’s a matter of trying it out. Also, with quite a few bike refreshes from the manufacturers and lots of hookless rim options is any CX bike coming standard with hookless rims and CX tires?

I guess if no new information is available, I’ll throwback to 2002 when testing ghetto tubeless was an experiment every ride.