Do-it-all wheel set recommendations (cross, road, gravel, etc.)

HI all

I’m in the market for a wheelset that would make great all-around wheels for a variety of racing. I race road, crits and cyclocross at a cat. 3 level. I do want something performance oriented but obviously at a budget friendly price point.

I run a 2019 Giant TCX (Disc brake, 12mm through axles) for cross and gravel. I currently don’t have a disc / through axle compatible road bike, but there seem to be a lot of options for disc / 12mm through axle frames that can handle fairly large (up to 30mm) tires. I’m currently considering: The tarmac, the new supersix evo (or maybe CAAD13), or maybe even the Allez Sprint. Lets try to keep the conversation on wheelsets, but I wanted to provide those road frame options for context.

My ideal wheelset would:

  • Be usable for cyclocross and gravel (e.g. rugged, durable, probably 24+ spoke count)
  • Be aero (Optimized for 28 mm road tires) and light enough for crits / road racing
  • Be able to accommodate a range of tires including 28 mm road tires, 33 mm cyclocross tires, and 42 mm+ gravel tires
  • Be tubeless ready
  • Be affordable.
  • Have a good warranty / customer support (e.g. not cheap Chinese wheels)

So far the best option that I’ve come across are the Zipp 303 Firecrest disc, which tick most of the boxes but are very pricey. I was hoping to find recommendations for more affordable / maybe less well marketed options.

Thanks all!

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I don’t understand this bit. What is the relevance of these bikes? I’m a bit unclear.

Value for money, two popular choices on the internet are Hunt wheels, based in the UK, or Light Bicycle wheels which are made in China I think, which can be laced to a variety of hubs including DT Swiss.

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Another vote for LB rims - I’ve got a set on order at the moment and had pretty much the same requirements as you. Worth looking at their catalogue but I went for Falcon Pro WR38 rims that I’m going to get my wheelbuilder to build up with DT 240s.

Seemed to strike a good balance on price point, nice wide internal width (no intention on riding anything less than a 28c tyre), aero and strength/durability etc

I’ve got a dedicated 650b wheelset (Stans Arch mk3 with Hope rs4) that I use for the pure gravel rougher rides but my intentions are to use the LB wheelset for near enough everything else next season (inc hopefully the Transcontinental if I secure a spot again).

Might be worth browsing through this thread if you want more details on LB stuff:

https://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=113&t=152443&hilit=light+bicycle&sid=f176097595c0415a1c821f8f6e809916&start=930

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The Bontrager Aeolus is a great wheel with a great shape

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ENVE 4.5 AR Disc meets everything except budget. However recently they have dropped around $500 if you go with ENVE hubs.

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Thanks!

I just wanted to list those frames as options I am considering to use with this wheelset, as I will be getting a new bike soon as well.

Hunt Wheels look great. I talked to them though and they don’t recommend their road wheels be used for gravel / cross. But for the price of them I could have two Hunt wheelsets for what one set of 303s would set me back.

I will look into the LW wheels, thanks for that.

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I drool over Enves. Their warranty is enticing, but I’m sure there are better priced options out there that would fit the bill for what I want.

Out of curiosity, do people use the 4.5 ARs for cross / gravel?

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For what its worth, i bought one of their cheaper $400 alloy gravel wheelsets for CX use and its been great. I’m thinking about picking up one of their deeper, more aero sets for road use.

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There might be a Reynolds wheelset that meets your needs as well. I would say though it might be tough getting a good CX and good road wheelset all-in-one.

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Buy two cheaper wheelsets. Especially if you’re planning to go tubeless. Changing tyres on one wheelset gets old very quickly.

Have one set for road and one set for off-road, with a gravel tyre in summer and a more knobbly tyre in winter for cx.

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Check out November and Next cycling. Some great options there.

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november bicycles has some really good options: https://novemberbicycles.com/collections/all-road-disc-wheels or https://novemberbicycles.com/collections/rcg36-wheels or https://novemberbicycles.com/collections/goat28-carbon-wheels , probably.

they build all their wheels by hand, use quality parts, and have a good reputation. Look at the specs of each of those wheels, but they are all pretty on-trend and very competitive on specs and price

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Buy a Canyon Grail and Hunt 4050 Road hoops.

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I’d love to see someone use a Grail in a crit, that would be awesome.

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Well, If you’re looking for somewhat affordable, I “probably” wouldn’t look at ZIPP…

Check these out. If not this specific set, there are lots of other models. Very versatile, light, strong, fast, and half the price. The company is growing and corporately based in the USA.

I purchased them for a new gravel bike just bought, and love them.

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Thanks all for your suggestions, there are some really interesting options that tick all of my boxes from Lightweight bike, November, Hunt and Next. I didn’t know 3 out of 4 of these companies existed as of this morning.

Thanks again! Lots to think about

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You may also want to check out Knight Composites – they’re running a 50% off sale on what seems to be their entire lineup, including sets with Chris King hubs, with the trade-in of any rideable wheelset. Haven’t personally ridden on Knight rims, but they seem broadly well-regarded, and several friends have them and review them favorably.

Not as aero-optimized as some other options on the market, but still fairly wide, and seem to tick the rest of the boxes.

For aero optimization (assuming the tires run true to size)

28mm tires = 29mm rim at the widest point
33mm tires = 34.65mm rim at the widest point
42mm tires = 44.1mm rim at the widest point.

See where the problem is?

I’m iffy about running CF rims for longer “non supported” gravel events. I’d much prefer the Astral Wanderlust since it’s bombproof. Yeah, there’s a bit of a weight penalty but I’m OK with that so long as I finish my event.

For less expensive CF rims I’m OK with Light Bicycle. I’ve also owned 5 pairs of Boyd wheels since they first came on the market. I love that brand and their products. Boyd + Nicole are amazing people and stand behind their products. I have yet to hear of a true issue with their stuff (not the case with with other brands).

IIRC Boyd is also one of the few brands running Pillar spokes. They’re super high quality. As good, if not better than, CX Rays.

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Going to give it a go in the New Year!!

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Huge second for November wheels. Dave is great to work with. I just got a set of Allroad 38s with White industries hubs. Awesome and reasonable (not cheap). Would live to get a set of Cafe Racers too.

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