Ideal Wheel Rim Width for 45-50MM Gravel Tires

Yes I am very happy with the AR25s. After a couple of thousand km’s, no issues whatsoever to report, but given they are running the DT180 hubs and Sapim spokes, I wouldn’t expect there to be! This includes riding them through more ‘XC’ style ‘chunky’ terrain, including rock gardens and the like.

I am glad that I chose the ‘no spoke hole’ option, which removes the need to run rim tape. I know it’s a small thing, but it has improved the overall tubeless experience for me and I’m definitely not losing as much air pressure as I do with the ENVE M525s on my hardtail MTB. The obvious downside with this option is that it makes rebuilding/truing more difficult, but i’ll cross that bridge if/when I get to it!

Don’t have any experience with Nextie rims, but I was very impressed by the LB order/customisation process and would happily order another LB wheelset in the future. As to whether you go with the AR25s or a wider rim profile - that’s more a question of personal preference / tire size / terrain! As I’m unlikely to ever run anything wider than a 45mm tire, the AR25s were a good compromise between rim width & weight, and I wanted the hybrid hook design as opposed to hookless given I’m likely to run narrower tires at a higher PSI compared to say a 2” + MTB tire.


I’ve built half a dozen wheel sets from direct from China rims now, they’ve all been great. My wheel builder noted a small radial variance in one set, but it seals up fine.

Anyways, best reason to go direct is custom options. My last two sets of rims are tapeless tubeless, which your wheel builder might hate you for if he/she is inexperienced, but I won’t go back after seeing how great it is to not deal w/ rim tape.

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I’m curious how you fish the spoke nipples through the rim w/o the holes? I’ve built a 1/2 dozen wheels and it seems like a pain. I assume you use a magnet an if so, does that mean you can’t use aluminum nipples?

They screw something metal into the nipple. I’m pretty sure that brass nipples aren’t magnetic either. Check youtube for videos. When you watch someone do it, it looks pretty easy.

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Video here:

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Cool. I’m feeling the need to build some new wheels now.

Other than the max width available (I can only find “gravel” wheels with 29-30mm ID and ~40mm ED), is there any other difference in product characteristics between “road wheels” and “gravel wheels”?

You wouldn’t want a rim that wide (ID or OD) for a true road bike.

The true/faster road tires are still pretty narrow and I think the only one currently that meets proper ISO/ERTO standard is the continental GP500 AS TR 700x35 (maybe a few others).

What I want is not the question, though… I know what I want, which is 38mm tires AND aero-optimized wheels to fit them, which means a wheel with ~40mm ED. Whether that fits a “true road bike” or not is irrelevant.

What I am trying to understand is: other than “gravel wheels” having wider options available, is there any significant manufacturing difference between “road” and “gravel” wheels in the actual products?

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Other than the sizes available, I don’t think there is much difference. The weight of rims marketed towards gravel appear to be similar as that of road.

There is a bit of overlap in sizing (width) if one’s road bike will take wide tires. Most modern road bikes though max out at 32mm which means a max inner width of 25mm (if you are following etrto guidelines).

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I apologize for the confusion then, a 700x35 tire is going to get you closest to the 105% rule for a rim profile like a NXT45AGX. I can only think of (1) tire off the top of my head that is mainly a road tire characteristic and that is the GP5000 AS TR 700x35.

On my NXT45AGX with a 700x35 Pirelli Cinturatio H tire it measures out to be 39mm at the most bulbus area of the tire. It looks like a perfect match to me.

In terms of rim construction, I would need to verify but if you look at a Nextie ARX vs AGX rim in the same rim depth there is roughly 30g of difference between them. The ARX is only 25mm ID, I would venture to say that they are similarly constructed and the weight is mostly from the expanded rim bed.


Gravel rims can supposedly have a carbon layup that optimizes for compliance/comfort versus stiffness. I don’t know how true this is, though.

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Thanks for all the input! Much appreciated.

Mmm, I understand better then how several people I’ve asked react to this kind of question. I’ve been looking exclusively at endurance and “all-road” bikes, which now mostly provide clearance for 35-38mm tires, up to 40mm in some cases. And my current bike, used only on the road so far, is a Diverge (700x47 clearance) because I didn’t even have the flexibility or core strength for endurance bikes when I started riding 4-5 years ago. So I’m not used to worrying about clearance much.

Yes, that does sound perfect. I’m a fan of René Herse tires, been riding their 700x44 slicks in complete bliss for years now. I was thinking of using their 700x38 tire on my new wheels when I buy them, but I see your point… the 700x35 might be a better choice!

I run this exact setup (Nextie 45 AGX and a Conti GP5000 AS TR 700x35) and I love it! The Conti goes to 38.1 mm W.A.M on those (I use the hooked version with the 29 mm inner width).

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I’ve been running the Josh Poertner Special setup on the road lately: 3T Discus 44/40 wheels with 32mm GP5000s. This is a 30mm ID hooked rim, 40mm external, very round cross section. This violates ETRTO of course, but Josh has said he’s tested them extensively and they exceed all blowoff requirements.

The result, as Josh said, is a ~37mm wide tire with great aero characteristics. I’d guess they’re a bit less aero at 0 yaw than a narrow rim, but in real world conditions I think they perform great. Of course you need a frame that can take the width; I run em on a 3T Exploro or Orbea Terra, both gravel frames. Very comfy and fast on poor pavement and light gravel. Definitely love these.


Out of curiosity: how do you like it? I have the narrower Discus 45|32 on my 3T Strada, and I wonder how they compare.

I think they’re great, in general. The wheels are on the heavy side, but really nice quality, very comfy, stable and predictable even in crosswinds. CarbonTi hubs are absurdly loud when coasting, but “loud hubs save lives” as they say. I got a great deal on 'em; not sure I’d have purchased them at full price, but I have no regrets.

I also have a pair of LB WG44 rims on DT240 hubs. These are about 200g lighter than the Discus, cost half the list price, and so far have held up great to some pretty aggressive use. I use them for actual gravel racing, and have pushed them hard on rough single track with no issues. 3Ts have a slightly different (more bulbous) shape, and I suspect they’ve actually been optimized a lot more in the wind tunnel, but if I were buying only one set it’d be hard to pass up the weight and $$ savings of the LBs.

On paper their narrower cousins also fall into the same category, although the hub isn’t obnoxiously loud: they are not light and are not cheap, but they handle very nicely in the crosswind and are very comfortable. They are not hookless, so I have to worry less about tires popping off my rim.

I got them as part of a package deal with the 3T Strada. Like you, I probably would have looked elsewhere if I had to pay retail for them.

Out of curiousity, did you and @teddygram order the Nexties with 24 spoke count?

I’m finalizing my order but wondering if I should go 28. I’m around 66kg/147lbs if that helps.

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I have 24 spokes. Myself I’m 66 kg only after a long bike packing race… :wink: I packed in more muscle over the last year and am now around 70 kg.