Scottsdale, AZ Trip. 28t cassette too small/50mm wheels too big?

Hey y’all,

Moving to AZ tomorrow for a couple months on a work assignment. I have two questions as the title says are my wheels too deep and is my cassette too small for Zona? I’m from Texas so the roads are flat as could be.

Running a 52/38 crank with a 11-28t cassette and ENVE 5.6SES wheels. I have an extra set of nice alloy rovals so I am likely going to bring them just to help with my confidence descending. But I wonder if anyone runs wheels that deep in the mountains? Arizona doesn’t look like it has anything wildly steep, but would like to hear people’s thoughts who live there/have ridden there.

Additionally, if anyone wants to share some local’s routes I would love them for it!


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Calling @KorbenDallas

I use my 5.6 in the Sierra and coastal mountains of California. And it’s windy AF near the SF bay where I ride. Can’t imagine not using them in Phoenix area.

Where in Phoenix?

Lots of Phoenix is flat so that gearing should work. Why not bring an 11-32 as a spare? (or buy it there). That should work fine.

In Tucson I usually run compact with 11-32. My friend there loves to take me up 15% grades cause he’s fit and I’m fat.

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I’d use my 5.6 up and down Mt Lemmon if I ever get the chance to ride in Tucson.

No worry with the gearing or depth. I have the same gearing and my shallowest wheels are 50’s. Use them up and down everything. Wind isn’t really a thing here and your 5.6’s handle what little breeze exist better than any other wheels (I have the 7.8 SES).

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I will be in the north part of Scottsdale and I am planning on hopping in the car and heading north from time to time to ride in the hills.

How’s the wind? I am a little nervous about flying downhill and a gust on my deep wheels. Idk we get some big 30-40mph gusts here in Texas that have me clenching (bars and cheeks lol).

Thanks, man.

Any must do routes? Looking maybe to do the mingus mountain climb one weekend where I drive up to start - looks like a nice one from a Texas boy!

Wind depends on the day. Its a desert so it can be strong or absent. From memory if you are in the rainy season the wind can kick up otherwise not bad. Monsoon season is from July to Sept in Arizona. One day it will 110+. Next it will be 75 with wind, thunder, and lightning.

Out of curiosity, maybe rent a set while you’re there? May be cheaper and more manageable in your case. Lots of cycling shops there would help you out

Just did mingus last week end. A must do for sure. Others include Mt. Humboldt (N. Scottsdale/Carefree) , Mt Graham (North of Tucson), Mt. Lemmon (Tucson), Tortilla Flats (Apache Junction), Skull Valley loop (Prescott), Usery Pass (Mesa)…Flagstaff has some great climbs expecially going up to Snow Basin Ski Area. Lots of good gravel stuff too if you’re bringing a gravel bike…


I wanna say it was about 6 years ago I was out in Scottsdale on business and did a nice ~60 mile ride…until a storm blew in. Was climbing up E Rio Verde Dr, which is a long, straight climb. As far as the eye can see, it is just uphill.

Wind was coming straight down the hill at 20-30mph…block headwind the whole time. Cold, some rain…utterly miserable. Was just crawling along…didn’t think it would ever end!!

Did the loop a few years later in much better weather conditions…it was wonderful. :wink:

here is the gps file if you are interested.

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We are planning a trip to Flagstaff/Zion/etc, how is the cycling in Flagstaff? Also considering retiring there as we visited 10 years ago and conceptually seems better than some of our alternatives in the Pacific Northwest.

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Flagstaff has a lot to offer. My road experience is a bit limited to Mormon Lake loop, west to Williams, a little climbing in and around town. The real allure of Flagstaff is off road. From the center of town in any direction there are endless trails and dirt roads to explore. I would not recommend going to Flagstaff and limiting yourself to the paved roads.

Tough choice between the PNW and Flag. Depends on where (duh) in the PNW. So much to do and offer it would be hard to narrow down exactly where to retire. I’d move to Hood River, OR or Spokane in a heartbeat. We used to spend summers in HR and I have had many many overnight is Spokane. Portland, Seattle as well and if forced to choose between those two I’d pick Portland for it’s proximity to HR and Mt. Hood, better weather (maybe) and lower cost of living. The one nice thing about Flag is the winters are so much more mild and sunny. Growing up in Michigan I got used to the grey but, now I’ve been spoiled by the sun. I think that would be a factor for me personally. I can’t really speak about the communities of each but, like any city, there are pockets of really great people. The Flag community is a little more liberal and/or natural than down here in the valley. There is a very strange conservative, gun loving, territorial yet mixed with the transient materialistic typical Scottsdale/Paradise Valley peep that is a turn off for me.

All the best. If you get close to AZ let me know. Would love to ride. My schedule will be pretty open until August…

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I am based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Feel free to reach out or check out my strava profile (Mark Lyons) for some routes.

Depends what type of riding you do with regards to the cassette. I run a 50 / 34 and 11 - 32 on my climbing bike, but in all honesty I could probably get by with a 11 - 28, 53/39 as while there is climbing here, it is mostly short and sharp. There are one or two longer climbs (south mountain), or Via linda, but they are not steep. Of course as others have stated, further out in Flagstaff and Tuscon there is more serious climbing.

I run 50 cm deep wheels on both my TT bike and road and I have no problems at all; never had an issue with wind gusts in Scottsdale personally. Generally, the wind is pretty chilled around the Scottsdale area, unless there is a storm around, then it blows hard for a short time.

There are some pretty good group rides around the valley too, but most are closed down due to Covid, but happy to share one or two, or venture out for a ride when things return to normal.

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I lived in Tempe/Chandler for 28 ½ years and found it overall to be about the least windy place I’ve ever lived. Most days the winds are pretty low but during the monsoon season you do get winds around the storms. And there are always the occasional Haboob dust storms that blow through.


And Tempe/Chandler is also the flattest area I’ve ever lived. Up north and east you are able to find more hills but in town it is pretty flat. Of course there is always South Mountain which has some decent climbing. They shut down the roads to vehicles one Sunday per month so you don’t have to deal with traffic which is always nice.

Yeah, also grew up in MI and went to the arctic tundra for college (go Hockey Huskies!). Moved to Bay Area for a decade and then Portland for a few years. Decided that I had been spoiled by nice CA weather and we came back. So that is reason for looking into Flag, nicer weather and mountain living so I can ski in the winter and ride in the summer. The peep thing you mentioned sounds vaguely like Oregon and Portlandia. I really like Sun Valley area (Hailey is affordable), and Jackson Hole, but both might be a little too remote.

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You’re in Truckee IIRC? Have not been through in a while but, that seems like somewhere I could retire except the taxes perhaps…

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90 minutes down the hill in Sac. Huge fan of the skiing in Tahoe.

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wheels and gears are fine, bring sunscreen :slight_smile: There’s lots of great riding around north Scottsdale, cave creek, paradise valley and fountain hills. Bartlett Lake is awesome, South Mountain has silent Sundays til 10am (no cars). head up to Prescott, Flagstaff or Payson if you want to get out of the heat. If you can bring a mountain bike, there’s lots of great trails too.

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Golden Eagle in Fountain Hills. Short and punchy but 22% or so I have heard.


Live in Mesa near Usery and ride a 28 and 50mm Rovals. Never had an issue or longed for more gearing.

Everyone says their favorite ride in the valley is to end of the pavement (EOP) / Tortilla Flats like @KorbenDallas mentioned. By far my favorite ride

Usery pass and out to Saguaro lake is always a great ride

Fountain Hills is a good spot to cruise through as well, good mix of short punchy (Golden Eagle) and nice rolling hills, plus a few longer hills

Needle Rock is another fun one