Finding the Best Cyclocross Clincher Wheels

What Is Imporant When Seeking the Best Cyclocross Clincher Wheelset

Clincher Cyclocross Wheels
At some point, Cyclocross riders often debate about whether to go with tubeless or tubular Cyclocross wheels. Regardless, cross wheels must keep up with the demands of gravel, rocks, mud, sand, and all sorts of slop in between, while remaining lightweight and sturdy. If you have decided to go tubeless, you’re now deciding on carbon vs. alloy, factory vs hand built, hub quality, spoke count and rim width. Our CX25, CX25s and C45 tubeless Cyclocross wheelsets are hand built in the U.S. and have seen the top of the podium during Cyclocross Nationals.

Commuter / CX Recreationalist
For commuters and weekend cross racers, dependability and cost are the primary focus points for a clincher cyclocross wheelset. With an impeccable reputation on RoadBikeReview.com the SLR is a proven go to alloy cyclocross wheelset for riders who are getting into a variety of road rides and cross rides, while pounding out commuter or training miles every day. With an extra spoke count, this wheel rides true through miles of punishment and will please those who have decided that the flexibility of clincher cross wheels is preferable over tubular. Best Clincher Cyclocross Wheels

Racers & Pro CX Riders
If weight and acceleration are a top priority for your cx wheelset ROL offers the C45. This carbon clincher cyclocross wheelset is a mid-depth rim that sheds mud, stays light on sand, is stiff on climbs and accelerates fast without compromising braking power. With carbon coming at a variety of price points, riders often overlook the most important aspect of a wheel, and that is the build quality. Our wheels are hand built in the U.S. ROL’s founder and wheel builder, Sean Lambert, helped CX rider Gage Hecht reach the top of the podium at Cyclocross Nationals in 2013.

Race SLR

$700 - Weight: 1,595g

With the world-class ride and build spec of the Race SL wheelset which includes wide, aero rim and SAPIM CX-Ray spokes, the added spokes laced to the SLR make it a road bike wheel very much up to the challenges of abusive terrain as well as gravel roads.

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The Race SLR wheelset is the big brother to the Race SL alloy clincher wheelset, with the same proprietary hub and wide, aero rim design but with four more Sapim CX Ray spokes per wheel for more aggressive or larger riders or more abusive terrain.

The Race SLR wheelset features the same rim as the Race SL, with its tire-boosting 23mm width and 30mm height, these road bike wheels provide great aerodynamics and stiffness. 

Recommended rider weight limit is 109kg/240lbs.

Build Summary

//  Proprietary 30mm Alloy Aero Rim
//  Matte Finish, Welded Seam
//  23mm External Rim Width, 18mm Internal Width
//  Tubeless Compatible
//  3D Forged Alloy ROL Hubset - 9, 10, and 11spd
//  SAPIM CX-Ray Spokes - Black
//  DT Swiss Alloy ProLock Nipples - Black
//  24 Spoke Front - Radial
//  28 Spoke Rear - 2X2X
//  ABEC 5 TPI Steel Sealed Cartridge Bearings
//  ROL Skewers and Rim Tape Included

“Quite light for a stiff, tough wheelset. I like the wide rim. The Sapim CX-ray spokes are awesome, particularly at this price range. Great customer service from Sean and his team.”     - Paul

“Rode these road bike wheels across the country this summer, still perfect (and I was riding down stairs on occasion). Got back and my 170lb brother fell off his bike and into my rear wheel, only a slight knock in the true that was easy to fix. And, no joke, was faster right out of the gate as soon as I put these on my bike, so cool.  Bottom Line: Buy them.  You won’t regret it.”     - Sean

“I bought these wheels to replace the Roval Fusee EL28s that came with my 2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert. I'm 6'6 and range between 210-230 lbs. depending on the time of year. This is the first high performance bike that I have owned, and after around 5,000 miles on it I got tired of replacing popped spokes and decided to get some new wheels. A friend of mine recommended the ROL Race SLR wheelset as a replacement. The transformation was incredible. The first thing I noticed is absolutely NO wheel flex. I never realized that the old wheels were so flexible. My climbing performance increased by almost 10%, and the cornering is super crisp and confidence-inspiring. The crosswinds here in Colorado were also un-nerving, especially during high-speed descents, but now the bike tracks straight ahead and my high center of gravity doesn't seem to be much of an issue anymore. These wheels are super light and smooth, and the construction is perfect for us Clydesdales. I have almost 500 miles on them and they are still surprising me. I'm sold.”     - Scott

CX25 Disc Tubular

$650 - Weight: 1,470g

Hand-built with 2x2x lacing to world-renowned SAPIM CX-Ray spokes, the lightweight and sure-footed CX25 won a CX National Championship in its first year. Whether you’re racing cyclocross or dirt road races, this wheelset is a worthy performer.

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The CX25 is a perfect blend of light weight, stiffness and on-demand acceleration. Hand built with our 390gr alloy tubular rim, the CX25 has just the right amount of profile to add stiffness, avoid mud buildup, and track straight through mud and deep sand. The CX25's 23mm wide rim-bed mates perfectly to all cyclocross tubular tires. One ride and you'll understand why the CX25 is a fantastic choice for the CX rider who chooses not to pay carbon money to get a fast, precise-handling wheelset that can handle the abuse and rigors of cyclocross competition. The CX25 features our own ROL CX 6-Bolt hubs, carefully designed to minimize spoke stress and tension differentials and laced with premium SAPIM CX-Ray stainless steel spokes. Like all our wheels, the CX25 is hand-built to perfection in Denver, CO. 

Build Summary

  • 25mm Deep 6066 T-6 Alloy Tubular Rim
  • 23mm Rim Width 
  • 3D Forged Alloy ROL Hubset Centerlock or 6-Bolt
  • Available with 12mm, 15mm or QR front endcaps and 12 x 142mm thru-axle or QR rear endcaps
  • ABEC 5 TPI Steel Sealed Cartridge Bearings
  • Sapim CX-Ray Spokes - Black
  • Sapim Alloy Locking Nipples - Black
  • 24 Spoke Front - 2X
  • 28 Spoke Rear - 2X2X

“We had been training and racing on a variety of clincher wheels, such as Roval Pavé SL and DT Swiss R1800 with a tubeless set-up. We got tired of pinch flats and the weight and decided to go to tubulars. What a difference when we got our ROL CX25 alloy tubular wheelsets! We noticed immediately when we unboxed them that they were very light weight, spun easily, and came with extra spokes. The finish was flawless. We glued up one set with Challenge Fango's and the other with Tufo Primus tires. We had no trouble gluing them up using just Vittoria Mastik. Our first ride impressions were that we just felt faster! We noticed how well we could corner with them They were stiff and tracked very well. After a hard season of cyclocross racing, including a race crash that resulted in my wife being hospitalized,  they are still as true as when we got them out of the box. We would highly recommend this wheelset to anyone who wants to get the advantage of tubular CX wheels but don't have megabucks to shell out. You can easily afford two sets of these for the price of one set of the competitors and have your mud tires as well as your dry or all-around tires ready for CX season! We not only race on these wheels, but also have no reservations about using them as our daily trainers. They are just too fun to not ride!”     - Richard and Maurine