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  1. #1
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    Wheels and tires for tour of the battenkill

    Assuming I get in, I am planning on racing the tour of the battenkill this spring. 62 mile with lots of climbs and somewhere around 16 mile of dirt and gravel roads. Looking for recommendations on wheels and tires.

    I will be riding my Cervelo RS and have either older zipp 404's or kysrium sl's. I would even consider buying a new wheel set if I knew it would survive the race. Something in the $500-800 range. I usually use 23 mm conti 4000s. But thinking on 25's. If it helps, I weigh 158 and hope to be near the front in the CAT5 group.

    I don't have a cycross background and uncertain how I will do ongravel.

    Any recommendations?

  2. #2
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    Gator skins

  3. #3
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    I don't know of any wheelset on the market today that couldn't survive 16 miles of dirt roads. Just ride what've you got, I'm sure it will be fine. Most road wheels take a full season of CX racing with nothing more than a bit of truing at the end of the season. If you make a habit of riding off-road on road wheels (as I do) then you'll appreciate something with a slightly higher spoke count (24/28 perhaps) and a wide rim (23mm) with a 25mm tire (i.e. Hed Ardennes). Other than that, just ride what you've got, a set of 404's can handle the rough stuff just fine.

  4. #4
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    I've ridden quite a few miles on New England dirt roads and even some jeep trails on my HED Ardennes with 23mm Pro3s at 90/100 psi front/rear and 165 lb. The wheels have a total of 10K miles and are fine. Of course the main concern is pinch flatting and vigilantly avoiding rocks is key. IMO, wider tubulars would be the safest bet, and some might suggest tubeless. If I were to ride Battenkill, and I'm considering it, I'd probably just throw some 25mm tires on and call it good.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  5. #5
    Dr. Flats a lot
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    Rode Battenkill maybe 6 times now. There is more potential for flats there, than any other race I know. The pro race, the neutral support cars have to resupply halfway through the race.
    Whatever you do, put some sealant in. The best wheels I've used for Battenkill were hutchinson intensive tubeless with sealant in them.
    There's a lot more you can do from a riding perspective on avoiding flats, but you'd be smart to get some durable tires (such as the gatorskins) and tube sealant. Buying new wheels would be crazy.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Wheels and tires for tour of the battenkill-523739_366942066682583_1003629915_n.jpg  

  6. #6
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    I agree with Zoikz. I did Battenkill two years ago with Hutchinson Intensive tubeless on Ultegra wheels. You don't want to make the trip out there and not be able to finish due to a pinch flat.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by porttackstart View Post
    I agree with Zoikz. I did Battenkill two years ago with Hutchinson Intensive tubeless on Ultegra wheels. You don't want to make the trip out there and not be able to finish due to a pinch flat.
    I dont know a lot about tubeless tires. How hard is it to convert standard rims to tubeless? What if I have dings in the side of my rim? Can I easily convert them back?

    If I use gatorskins, I assume I would use these with a tube. Is that correct? Or are these also tubeless?

  8. #8
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    Gatorskins are for commuting, not racing. I wouldn't want to be following you through a gravel corner if you're on those garden hoses. It's a race, so get race tires--wide, high-volume race tires. Challenge and Vittoria make excellent tires just for races like this.

  9. #9
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    I've used Vittoria Rubino Pro 3s (latex tubes with sealant) and conti gatorskin tubies on carbon rims.

    No problems with either.
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  10. #10
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    Vittoria Paves are another good option.

    If your wheels can take the pot holes and railroad tracks of non-gravel riding they'll be fine on the gravel so just use what you have. Unless you're from dreamland where the roads are all perfect and you use weightweeny wheels you won't need anything different from regular road wheels.

  11. #11
    Dr. Flats a lot
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjengstrom View Post
    I dont know a lot about tubeless tires. How hard is it to convert standard rims to tubeless? What if I have dings in the side of my rim? Can I easily convert them back?

    If I use gatorskins, I assume I would use these with a tube. Is that correct? Or are these also tubeless?
    You can't convert a road clincher to tubeless. You need a tubeless compatible set. Not a lot of options, but the Ultegra's are excellent wheels. I saw maybe 6-7 sets of Hutchinson's tubeless in my heat of the Cat 3's.
    I think the Hutchinson Intensive were so popular because they are the only tubeless tire in a 25c.
    Wider tires also make sense. You don't need to go wider than a 25c (IMHO). My favorite race tire for clinchers is Schwalbe DD (it has the same sidewall and belt reinforcement as the Gatorskins-but race rubber on it and lower weight) but they are pricey and don't last nearly as long as Gatorskins.
    Bare knuckles version- get a decent set of clinchers, fill them up with sealant, make sure you have more than 1 tube, more than 1 CO2 cartridge. Stay in the track, arms loose, weight off the saddle, don't pass in the rocks, stay smooth, and get ready for one of the best races of your life.

    *As people have accurately pointed out, you can get conversion kits for standard clinchers. It's not a beginner move to tubeless. Tubeless can be a pain, you need to inflate them (at this point) with an air-compressor or CO2. The sealant makes a bloody mess if you have to change it. The tires sit super, tight on the rim. But they do ride like butter and they are super reliable. Generally I can ride a full season on a set without a single flat.
    Last edited by zoikz; 11-15-2012 at 10:56 AM.

  12. #12
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    I did 2 Battenkill races and 2 preview rides. I went with a new GP4000s 23mm up front and with an 25mm armadillo on the back. Wheels were Easton EA70. Never had a flat.

    I say you should also sign up for the preview ride. You get to ride the course about 3 weeks before the race. You get to judge how much training or lack of training you did over the winter

  13. #13
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    Mavic Kysrium Elite's don't claim to be tubeless.... but...

    2010 Specialized Secteur Elite upgraded with 32T cassette and does not have Stan's (yet)
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er upgraded with 36T cassette and Stan's Arch EX rims and tubeless. Considering a 1x10 upgrade
    2013 Cannondale CAADX-6 Tiagra upgraded to 32T cassette and Stan's Alpha 400 rims and tubeless
    2008/2009 Burton T6 156cm with Burton Triad Bindings & DC Judge boots

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoikz View Post
    You can't convert a road clincher to tubeless. You need a tubeless compatible set.
    Tell Stan Koziatek he's wrong.

    Road Tubeless

    Use Stan's Road Tubeless bundle to convert any existing 700c clincher rims to tubeless use. Use two layers of Stan's Rim Tape to seal the spoke bed air tight, specially designed valve stems handle inflation duties and the Tire Sealant seals any tire imperfections and provides puncture protection for thousands of miles.

    Please note, unlike with mountain bike conversions, specific Road Tubeless tires are required for conversion. They have been designed with a folding tire bead that will not stretch and cause catastrophic blowouts. Road Tubeless tires must be used and we have partnered with Hutchinson to provide three excellent options.
    2010 Specialized Secteur Elite upgraded with 32T cassette and does not have Stan's (yet)
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er upgraded with 36T cassette and Stan's Arch EX rims and tubeless. Considering a 1x10 upgrade
    2013 Cannondale CAADX-6 Tiagra upgraded to 32T cassette and Stan's Alpha 400 rims and tubeless
    2008/2009 Burton T6 156cm with Burton Triad Bindings & DC Judge boots

  15. #15
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    ANY clincher rim can be run tubeless with stans tape. Even carbon clinchers. Tubeless rims offer the ability to not have to run any tape which barely helps with getting the tires on. Usually a non tubeless ready version with stans tape is lighter than the tubeless version of the same rim.

  16. #16
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    I race battenkill every year, I run new pro races on 28/28 DTswiss rims and hubs and never had a problem. A standard joke about the race is that the dirt is smoother than the road, it's hard packed dirt with a few potholes and real slick in the rain. The race itself is a blast and very well run you'll have great time

  17. #17
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    Boyd Vitesse 24/28 build with Vitt Open Pave 25c tires. And we're done...
    formerly "backinthesaddle"

    Strava is Latin for 'bench-racing"

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