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Swiss Cross tube­less tyres test pos­i­tive on the trails £2069.98

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Swiss wheel be­he­moth DT Swiss cat­e­gorises all of its wheels by in­tended us­age in or­der to help cus­tomers find the per­fect wheels for their type of cy­cling. The Cross Road cat­e­gory of­fers five wheelsets ap­par­ently in­spired by cy­clocross, and they aim to ex­cel on rides where there may not be any roads. There are three with alu­minium tube­less rims, one with car­bon tube­less rims and this car­bon wheelset for tubu­lar tyres only.

If that sounds a lit­tle too spe­cific and in­volved for you, hold on, be­cause tubu­lar tyres don’t have to mean days in the garage stick­ing them on, one layer of glue at a time. Thanks to Ef­fetto Mari­posa’s Carogna dou­ble-sided, gel-like tape, we fit­ted a pair of Chal­lenge cy­clocross tubs in an hour and a half. If you fol­low the in­struc­tions and don’t rush it’s very ef­fec­tive – tyres we fit­ted with it three years ago are still go­ing strong.

Why tubu­lar? Tube­less tyres are very ef­fec­tive and, with the right tyre and rim com­bi­na­tion, they can be raced at typ­i­cal sub20 psi cy­clocross pres­sures, but even the best are still heav­ier and less sup­ple than good tubs. In a sport with dozens of re­peated ac­cel­er­a­tions, sprints and off-cam­bers aplenty, where low ro­ta­tional weight and ev­ery scrap of grip mat­ters, it makes a dif­fer­ence.

So it is with this wheelset. Their 38mm tall car­bon rims are deep enough to be lat­er­ally stiff and slice through mud, with­out be­ing af­fected by blus­tery winds. They’re

26mm wide and have a rounded rim bed with a 5mm wide flat cen­tral band, to­gether of­fer­ing ex­cel­lent sup­port to a

33mm wide tubu­lar tyre.

They come with wheel bags, stick-on valve guards, six-bolt ro­tor adap­tors and 15mm end caps for the front wheel. With 12mm thru-axle end caps in­stalled, our pair weighed just 1329g. That’s an im­pres­sive mass for a topflight road wheelset, and even more so for one de­signed to re­sist the rigours of ’cross. DT Swiss 240s hubs with SINC ce­ramic bear­ings keep things silky smooth and have 24 straight-pull aero­lite or aero comp spokes per wheel.

Af­ter a cou­ple of sea­sons rac­ing ex­clu­sively on tube­less tyres, re­turn­ing to light rims with tubs was a rev­e­la­tion. Ac­cel­er­a­tions feel more ur­gent and the CRC 1100s are ex­tremely ag­ile, chang­ing di­rec­tion at will. They’ve been sub­jected to steep ups and downs, ruts, holes, sand, gravel and count­less mid-cor­ner po­si­tional dices and come through with fly­ing colours. Even af­ter plenty of pres­sure wash­ing, the hubs spin per­fectly smoothly, the rims are true, and the tubs still solidly stuck on.

If you’re still un­will­ing to take the tubu­lar plunge, the tube­less CRC 1400 Spline wheelset only weighs a claimed 71g more.

EASY AC­CESS 01 DT Pro Lock Squorx Pro Head alu­minium nip­ples are de­signed not to loosen, but if ad­just­ments are re­quired, they’re easy to reach WATCH YOUR WEIGHT 02 The rec­om­mended max­i­mum sys­tem weight that these wheels are de­signed for is 120kg for the bike, plus rider TUBU­LAR SELLS 03 Tubu­lar rims mean that you need to glue or stick tyres on. Low­pres­sure ’cross tyres need far bet­ter ad­he­sion than road tubu­lars

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