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Cyclocross Wheelset: DT240s hubs + DT Swiss Rims + Sapim Spokes/Nipples

2012-02-22 updated 2012-03-06 - Send Feedback
Related: Cyclocross, gear, Moots, tubular

For my Moots Psychlo X RSL cyclocross bike, I asked Palo Alto Bicycles to build a lightweight but durable clincher wheelset, and ditto for a tubular wheelset ( delayed due to parts availability as I write this).

The clincher wheelset is for away-from-civilization use, where flats could be more of a problem; the result of the time I would normally ride tubulars.

The wheel build

I asked for a lightweight and reasonably durable wheelset; the normal wheel build at PAB would use brass nipples and slightly more durable rims and would be rated for a decade of use with a warranty befitting that build.

The silver alloy nipples are aluminum and thus less durable than brass nipples; they will break sooner. Weight versus durability is always a tradeoff.

HOWEVER, I wanted a lighter-weight build, even if that meant I might have to rebuild the wheelset after a few years. So this lighter build is NOT for those looking for the ultimate in durability, and one should not expect the usual lifetime warranty for this wheel build, since it compromises long-term durability.

Weights

The two wheelsets turned out to have similar weights in most respects, but the clincher wheel build utilized rims totaling 119 grams heavier. However, the tubular rim used more spokes on the front, negating some of that advantage, for a net reduction of 91g of weight in favor of the tubular wheelset, with 119g less weight in the rim section, an advantage that should make them feel just a bit quicker.

The tubular tires weighed almost exactly the same as the clincher tires + tubes, not counting glue (tubulars) or rim tape (clinchers).

Wheel Build Tubular front Tubular rear Clincher front Clincher rear
Rim 384.7 387.3 423.0 468.2
DT Swiss 240s hub 107.2 210.9 107.2 211.2
Nipples 9.5 9.6 8.2 9.9
Spokes 158.2 179.0 133.0 175.2
Built wheel
(no glue, no rim tape)
659.1 786.5 672.0 = +13g 864.7 = +78g
Glue     - -
Rim tape - - tbd tbd
Tube - - 131 131
Tires 426.1 421.6 296 296

Tubular tires:Challenge Grifo 32
Clincher tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralph HS 425

Tubular wheelset

I wanted a tubular wheelset for most riding, because I love the feel and grip and ride quality of a good tubular tire, which also allows running lower tire pressure for greater comfort (clinchers are subject to pinch flats).

Front wheel (tubular)

The front wheel uses the RR415 rim, which does not have grommets on the internal spoke holes— less durable, but this saves 50 grams on the rim.

Rear wheel (tubular)

The rear wheel is built more heavily, since it must survive a lot of pedaling torque.

Clincher wheelset

I wanted a clincher wheelset for travel, or for riding in remote areas, where having to glue on a tire could be problematic.

Front wheel (clincher)

The front wheel uses the RR415 rim, which does not have grommets on the internal spoke holes— less durable, but this saves 50 grams on the rim.

Rear wheel (clincher)

The rear wheel is built more heavily, since it must survive a lot of pedaling torque.

On the Moots Psychlo X RSL

2012 Moots Psychlo X RSL titanium cyclocross bike
Moots Psychlo X RSL — DT Swiss 240s front hub on custom wheel build
Moots Psychlo X RSL — front wheel with DT Swiss 240s hub
Moots Psychlo X RSL — rear wheel and brakes

On the rear wheel, the drive-side spokes are the stronger rounded spokes, with bladed spokes on the non-drive side.

Moots Psychlo X RSL — wheel closeup
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