Cyclocross wheels - silly questions alert!

Hi all,

After a good few years of time trials and road biking, I’ve just started cyclocross. Got a 2nd hand bike and after a few races which I’ve really enjoyed (near the back and suffering…but enjoying!) I’m looking to make few upgrades, in particular to the wheels (current set are Mavics and weigh about 2.4kg). However these are disc brake wheels which after years of road bikes and rim brakes are a mystery to me (I’m actually a decent mechanic on road bikes but never had disc brakes before).

With this in mind are there any things I need to consider when comparing and buying disc brake wheelsets. May seem obvious but do they come in different sizes (I know they are 700c wheels but hub width?), axles (mine have QR at moment…are all wheelsets suitable for QR?), brake rotars (Can I just take them off my existing wheels - will they fit any new wheels?)

Sorry for numpty questions!
Also any other things to consider for cx wheels and any recommendations ( based in UK and budget only about £200-£250 max). Would consider hand builds or 2nd hand but as can see don’t know much about good/bad options!

Any advice much appreciated!

Brake rotors: there are two standards, 6-bolt and centerlock. Just see if your rotors are attaches with 6 bolts to the hub or seem to have slot on directly. (Theres an adapter to use 6bolt on centrelock hubs, but I haven’t tried that).
The rotors come in different sizes, 160mm and 140mm diameter are common for cx bikes. Sram also have hydraulic and mechanical specific discs.
You can reuse your old rotors on new wheels. When you change rotors and/or pads, you need to brake them in first. Pads also come in different versions.

Hubs/QR - most decent hubs allow for conversion between thru-axle and QR with adapters. Its obviously something to check/ask before buying.

You can buy wheels 2nd hand - its worth knowing that 29er MTB wheels are also 700c, though the rim width might be too much for cx. Go for disc specific wheels, some have both options of disc hubs and a brake track, but that just adds weight. Reckon most new wheels that are worth upgrading to are about £400, so I’d look at 2nd hand for £200. Or see if planetx have decent wheels in.


Oh, when you buy new wheels, consider if you want to be able to run tubeless or tubs. Both allow you to have much lower pressure and thus more grip. IMO tubeless is easier to work with, but tubs are still gold standard for cross.


Not sure when your CX season starts but in my experience there are usually at least a few fellow racers selling used wheelsets at CX races. At your next meet, ask around or put up a cardboard sign saying that you are looking for disc wheels. Almost everyone in CX has exactly one set of wheels too many. Haha.

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Any recommended from planet x? Cheers

I’d suggest getting two pairs with the same hubs. Reason is to keep best tyres for racing, the other for training. Training will take the edge off the tread, which is the critical factor for traction, especially in the mud. If dissimilar hubs, the rotors may not align and become a real pain to keep from rubbing on the pads.

There’s some decent cyclocross buy and sell groups on Facebook for UK stuff, worth keeping an eye on

Picked myself up some 2nd hand tubs for this season, glueing them wasn’t too bad… Fingers crossed they stay on!

I’ve no doubt my discs won’t be the same alignment as my commuter wheels but hoping to shim a little or worst case realign the calibers each time

Nope sorry, just something to keep an eye on for you, they do get good offers from time to time.

This is the North West CX buy and sell group on FB .We aslo see kit from Yorkshire and beyond.

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