View Full Version : Road wheels on cross bike

01-28-2012, 07:53 PM
So a few threads ago (http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?1654-Brand-New-Felt-Aero-Wheels-Setup-375), I asked if it's feasible to put road wheels on my CX bike, with the idea of just being able to change out the wheels relatively quickly for different conditions.

Based on what I learned, I decided not to try to do it myself. Instead, my shop put a set of lightweight road wheels with a cassette that has some slightly higher gears for greater speeds. At this point, I haven't taken the full plunge to narrow, highest pressure road tires -- I put on 700x28 touring-ish tires for now, which I ran at 85psi today (seemed fine).

Anyway, the new wheels are Mavic ksyrium elite (http://www.mavic.com/en/product/wheels/road-triathlon/wheels/Ksyrium-Elite). They roll great, and I appreciate the extra gearing to try to keep up with my spouse on the downwind segments!

I haven't tested how easy it will be to switch out the wheels yet. Turns out one of the Velocity Dyad wheels I have the cross tires mounted on had a bad spoke, so I left them at the shop for repair. I do know that the rim width is a little different, so I'll need to adjust the brake cables every time when switching wheels. We'll see how it goes!


01-28-2012, 09:10 PM
I have a set of normal wheels and tires for daily use and a set of wheels with studded snow tires on them. I swap them when the WX sucks... which has been all of once this year so far. You'll get greasy but it takes all of 3 minutes.

01-28-2012, 10:15 PM
Looks good. I notice a big difference in rolling resistance between road tires and cross tires.
Do you have barrel adjusters for your brakes?

01-29-2012, 07:26 AM
Looks good. I notice a big difference in rolling resistance between road tires and cross tires.
Do you have barrel adjusters for your brakes?

Yes, but I'm not sure that'll be enough to tighten the brakes sufficiently when I change to the road wheels. I think tightening up the brakes for the smaller rims on the road wheels will require actually pulling the cable manually and retightening the cable clamp/nut. Still, that's a less annoying operation than replacing tires and tubes on an existing wheel. Plus these new wheels are much lighter and I really like the different rear cassette for riding on the road.

After yesterday's ride, I'm really psyched about this setup. The tires are still wide enough to handle the bump and grind of commuting occasionally, like if the commuter bike has a problem or is in the shop. So I'll be able to leave the road tires on most of the year. It's like I've got a lightweight road bike now whose only downside is sketchy cantilever CX-brakes, but with the advantage of being able the put on cross tires/wheels fairly easily for bad weather days or off road riding. I'm really pleased.

01-29-2012, 08:32 AM
Congratulations, after the contact points (bars/stem, saddle, pedals) I think wheelsets are the best upgrade for bikes. I love how a light wheel accelerates

01-29-2012, 12:00 PM
Looks good. 28's are a great do-it-all tire size, you'll enjoy them.

01-30-2012, 10:40 AM
I missed the original thread. My commuter is a 'cross-style frame, and I use cross-width & road wheels/tires without major issues. The mix includes 28 and 32mm road tires for normal riding (I'd call these good for year-round use), studded 35mm for snow/icy conditions (used them a lot last winter!), 23mm for summer/try-to-go-fast days when I didn't use my road bike (which will not take anything larger than a 25mm or seriously underinflated -can you say "pinch flat"? - 28mm).

01-30-2012, 11:07 AM
The thing to be careful with when switching back and forth between wheels that use canti brakes is the brake pad adjustment more than the cable adjustment. As brake pads wear on the brakes you're using, they place where they contact the rim moves further away from the tire and closer to the spokes. Adjusting cable tension will make the brakes feel the same, but the pads on the narrow rims may be contacting the rim away from the machined area where they're designed to. The difference between the Dyad and Ksyrium isn't huge, but you will want to look at the brake pad contact point when you change wheels (something you should do anyways). Having a brake block drop onto the spokes is NEVER a good thing.

There are linear pull brakes which get rid of this problem. Shimano XT and XTR as well as the Avid Arch series have a parallelogram linkage for the brake pads that make it so that the brake pads travel in a line much closer to perpendicular to the rim surface. Unfortunately these will require some kind of cam mechanism (Google "Problem Solvers Travel Agent") so that your STI levers will work with linear pull brakes.

Avid no longer makes the arch brakes. They are still available on ebay. I got a dozen hits when I searched. I honestly don't know if Shimano's current design still uses the linkage.

Hope that helps a little.


01-30-2012, 11:34 AM
I found the easiest way of ensuring a quick easy swap on the cx rig was to have two of the same wheelset, cassette and all. Only takes a moment to check where the brake pads hit when you are switching the wheels.