Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Let's Talk Wheels

One of the quandaries facing you when you convert to road tubeless is choosing the right wheel.   Ultimately, there are three ways to ride road tubeless:

1. Tubeless Compatible Legacy Wheels  These are the clincher wheels designed without spoke holes, long before road tubeless was invented.   Such wheels include the Specialized/HED tri-spoke design, all disc wheels, and most other clincher wheels that do not have conventional spokes.   Occasionally, you will find conventionally spoke wheels without spoke holes as well.  With these wheels, you don't need any conversion system, just a valve stem and some sealant.

2. Converted Clincher Wheels  This is what I run.   I have a great set of Ritchey Protocol WCS wheels that weigh in under 1500 grams.  I installed the standard Stan's tape, and have never had a problem.     I did have a little issue with the Vuelta XRP Cross rims that came with my cyclocross/commuting bike.    These rims were pinned together instead of welded, which can lead to all sorts of problems.

3. Dedicated Tubeless Rims  Shimano has jumped on board with their Ultegra and Dura Ace rims, although I find them both overpriced and overweight.    DT Swiss has a decent offering, as does Campagnolo and their  wheel building subsidiary, Fulcrum.    Finally, Stan's does have a new, dedicated road rim called the Alpha 340.   They offer both a range of wheels and they sell the rim.   Additionally, they offer this rim to other builders.   Personally, I would love to get my hands on forthcoming I25sl wheelset from Industry Nine which feature the Stan's rim, straight pull spokes, and their amazing road hubs.    Sadly, the only mention I can find of this product was in this article at Bike Rumor.


  1. I've been super-happy with the Stan's rims, have two so far, one built up to a 32h PowerTap, and also a 24h PowerTap. One is for training/winter bike, the other is for 'cross and road racing. Also have a front built up (24h, laced to a CyclOps matching front hub) and it's pretty light, waiting for a tire for it tho...

    Very pleased with the performance so far.

  2. Has anyone run any of the newer Rolf Prima wheels tubeless? I just built up a set of wheels with Stans A340 rims, DT Competition spokes and Formula Race hubs but haven't ridden them yet. If they ride as well as everyone describes I may be tempted to try my Rolf Prima Vigors tubeless.

  3. This is to see such good work aftr long time...
    i hope u love works.

    Wheels And Tires

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Thanks for the great blog! You helped me figure out that I want to try a tubeless road setup. I ordered Stan's Alpha Pro Wheelset with Hutchinson Fusion 3 tubeless road tires a SRAM PC-1050 12-27 cassette from Competitive Cyclist. Next weekend I am participating in the Insane Terrain Challenge in Madison where there will be 11,000 feet of climbing over 125 miles. The Alpha Pro wheelset is only 1200 grams (2.65 lbs) so I expect they will make the ascents much easier. I am looking forward to reviewing the Alpha Pro + Fusion 3 after that ride!

  6. I'm a bit disappointed with the Stan's Alpha Pro wheelset. In the early miles both wheels lost true quickly. I've only got 200 miles on them so far so perhaps things are settling in but also the front hub is already loose. They seem choppy at high speeds and do not inspire a lot of confidence on the decents. However, the Hutchinson Fusion 3 tires are really fantastic! I love the ability to drop the pressure to 75 or 85 PSI when on bad roads.