A bike must be built up in the correct fashion. If the frame does not come with a fork then the fork must be the next thing on the list, it needs its skeleton. It’s the rules.
The Litespeed CX frame has an oversize headtube, allowing the use of a newish-fangled (at least in the CX world) tapered fork. The choice of a Kinesis CXD fork was a no-brainer, and not just because there aren’t too many disc specific tapered CX forks about. I used the CXD when it was plugged into their Crosslight Pro6 frame and loved how it transformed cyclocross riding from a vague noodly experience into a laser guided point and shoot attack mission. Wonderful. Full carbon, tapered steerer, a fistful of tyre clearance, post-mount disc attachment, and a neat hose guide on the back of the left tine all for 505g uncut. Done.
Next on the hunt were wheels and, like forks, disc ready cyclocross wheelsets are still a bit of a rarity so it was a lucky happenstance that Strada wheels had a pair of handbuilt disc CX wheels that needed trying. Oooooh. Novatec disc hubs built onto Stans new Iron Cross disc specific tubeless ready CX rims with Sapim D-Light spokes and Vittoria tyres rounding up the package.
I’ve tried tubeless on the ‘cross bike before, and when it was good it was very good, eliminating pinch-punctures in a stroke whilst still allowing for low ground-hugging tyre pressures. Only the famous double-tyre slash incident and swapping tyres a lot stopped me from staying tube free, but it’s a great alternative for those that are scared of tubs, or can’t face the financial outlay of new tubular wheels and tyres. Converting normal rims to tubeless has always been a bit hit and miss so the Iron Cross tubeless rims should banish those woes, and they’re designed for burp resistance when running low-pressures, which is a reassuring, especially when pushing hard into that fast corner on the last lap.
Nice people that they are Strada had already seated a pair of Vittoria tyres on, a Cross XM Pro on the front and a Cross XM Pro out back. I’ve tried the XM Pro before as a tubed tyre and really rather liked it so it will be interesting to see any performance gains when converted to tubeless.
The Strada wheels weigh 1577g for the pair without rotors or QRs, and fondled they feel that pleasing compromise between light and sturdy. The pair of anodized red nipples bracketing the valve for fast finding are a lovely touch. Just lovely.
Trouble is the red and white accents of the wheels are clashing with the blue and white of the forks, this could prove troublesome later.