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Kinesis Crosslight CXDisc wheels



Tough, disc-brake compatible cyclocross wheels easily able to withstand knocks and bumps, super-smooth bearings… they look good too

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Kinesis Crosslight CXDisc wheels are an excellent value wheelset for disc-equipped road/cross bikes. Most disc-compatible CX wheels currently available are towards the higher-priced end of the spectrum; while the Crosslights might be a little heavier than this exotica, they are a lively, tough and well-built wheelset at a great price.

This year there's been a lot of talk about disc brakes for road bikes, with high-end manufacturers like Colnago, Time and Parlee going all disc-o-bling at recent shows.

Cyclocross (CX) bikes, of course, are already starting to see disc brakes being specced fairly widely, and Kinesis have got in on the act with their disc-compatible Crosslight Pro6 frameset. To go with this (and their Decade Tripster) they have launched a disc wheelset for cyclocross and road use.

Wheels are a perennially popular upgrade for cyclists and for good reason – arguably more than any other upgrade it can change the feel of your bike. At present, only a few other manufacturers are offering a 700c disc wheelset aimed specifically at road or CX riding – Easton, HED Reynolds and Stan's offer more expensive options.

Another option is to have some custom built, or you could use a 29er mountain bike wheelset - but this will be a heavier option lb-for-£.

At £274.99, these Crosslight CX Disc wheels are a competitively-priced and good-looking set of clinchers. Labelling is fairly discreet and smart – these are certainly not an out-and-out bling wheelset like the Reynolds AssaultCX. We liked the sticker marking where the valve hole is.

The rims are from WTB and according to Kinesis were designed to meet their particular requirements for a rim tough enough for hard off-road riding with a relatively skinny tyre, coupled with 'real world cost and weight, and high durability and function". They are 24mm wide and 22mm deep with a tapering disc-brake-only profile. The wheels are built up with 28 triple butted spokes and aluminium nipples, with two-cross lacing all round. The hubs are Kinesis's own, made from 7075 aluminium with standard 6-bolt mounting for the brake rotor. The front hub has three sealed cartridge bearings (with two on the disc side) and the rear hub has four bearings.

The rear hub's freewheel is a three-pawl one with 36 engagement points per revolution. Freewheel clicking is audible but certainly not Hope/King loud. The first production run are only compatible with a Shimano-type cassette, but the distributor (Upgrade Bikes) told us that the 2013 model will have a Campagnolo option. The bearings run impressively smoothly – when you set the front wheel spinning in a workstand, it seems to go on forever.

Lighter wheels means faster acceleration. However, while the weight of wheelsets is commonly discussed, the reality is that it's the weight of the rim that makes the big difference to the wheel's rotational inertia (as it's turning at the largest radius). How light you want to go will of course depend on your intended usage. From the total wheelset weight of 1,828g, Kinesis claim a rim weight of 550g. By way of comparison, Mavic claims 435g for an Open Pro rim.

Obviously, the Open Pro is a road rim, and Kinesis are marketing these wheels as a tough 'cross rim, so you'd expect a bit more mass. We asked Upgrade if there were restrictions in terms of rider weight, tyre pressure and so on and they were pretty relaxed, saying that the CEN tests which these wheels have passed should mean there are no particular restrictions.

WTB recommends tyre sizes between 28 and 62mm to fit their rim, although we doubt that many CX frames could accommodate 62mm tyres. Kinesis said they'd had no problems using skinnier tyres and we had no issues with any of the tyres we used (Schwalbe Durano 23 / Vittoria Randonneur 28 / Ritchey Excavader 35). Equally, tyre fitting proved straightforward.

The Kinesis Crosslights replaced some basic Ritchey wheels on a Boardman crosser and the 300g saving was immediately noticeable, particularly on the road, giving faster acceleration when stamping on the pedals. Once up to speed, they rode very nicely too, with a pleasing 'over-engineered' feel and no discernible flex into corners.

We took them off-road and deliberately aimed at pot-holes on-road to see how they fared and they shrugged it off, remaining perfectly true throughout. Obviously with disc brakes, slightly bent wheels aren't a huge problem anyway as you don't get brake rub, but the Crosslights (interesting that Mavic doesn't own a general trademark on Cross-something wheel names) simply didn't budge. Fingernail plucking revealed that spoke tension also remained perfectly even throughout our test period.

Probably the toughest test we gave the wheels was on a trip to Cataluña where some navigational issues and the gathering dusk left us no choice but to cane it along some stony cross-country trails with 23mm road slicks fitted. This was quite exciting with minimal grip from the deeply unsuitable tyres, but the wheels remained true despite several big hits, so it seems that Kinesis's spec for the wheelset was bang on the money.


Tough, disc-brake compatible cyclocross wheels easily able to withstand knocks and bumps, super-smooth bearings… they look good too test report

Make and model: Kinesis Crosslight CXDisc wheels

Size tested: One

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Disc brakes are coming on strong in Cyclocross, but the choice of wheels is lagging behind. Our first CX disc specific wheelset, is a mid-level 28h clincher, aimed at the club rider and racer. We have designed these wheels to work perfectly with our 'Crosslight Pro6' frameset and they are a great partner for The 'Decade Tripster' fast commuter too.

We have worked with 'Freedom/WTB' on the true disc-specific rim profile and these wheels use the same high-tension triple butted, stainless spokes and alloy nipples as our Maxlight wheels.

Hubs: Rear: 9mm QR. 7075 alloy, High quality 3 pawl alloy freehub, 4 large sealed bearings, 6 bolt disc mount. Front: 9mm QR. Lightweight 7075 alloy, double sealed bearing, 6 bolt disc mount.

Spokes: Triple-butted Stainless Steel, with Grey anodised alloy nipples. 28h 3-cross build. ( note - ours were 2-cross)

Rims: 28h, Clincher. 24mm width, 22mm depth, true disc-specific profile, High Strength alloy.

Weight: Front: 840g. Rear: 960g.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Rim weight: 550g

Front hub: 136g

Rear hub: 262g

(manufacturer's claimed weights)

24mm rim width

22mm depth, no braking surface (disc only)

Includes QR skewers and rim tape.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Very well-built wheelset, needing no trueing during the test period.

Rate the product for performance:

Felt spritely on the road and bomb-proof off it. For pure road use, a lighter rim would make for a faster-accelerating wheelset, but may not cope so well in the dirt.

Rate the product for durability:

Remained perfectly true with even spoke tension throughout our test. I would have preferred brass nipples, but that's a minor complaint and perhaps would have spoiled the aesthetic.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

For the money this is a fairly lightweight set of wheels. For more cash you can get something around 1500g a set.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

On-road they felt pretty smooth. With 'cross tyres on they felt a little harsher than the basic Ritcheys that they replaced. Anyway, what do you mean, "comfort"? Cyclocross is supposed to hurt.

Rate the product for value:

Even taking in to account the limited comparable competition so far, this is a great-value wheelset.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Fast and smooth on the road, tough as old boots off it.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good looks, lovely smooth bearings and the ability to withstand knocks and bumps.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not a lot.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? For CX use, definitely. For pure road use, I would certainly consider them but might opt for something with a lighter rim.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 6"3  Weight: 81kg

I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute  My best bike is: Fixed-conversion Eddy Merckx MX-Leader

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,


Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels.  His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding. 

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mtbtomo | 6 years ago

Does that explain why the spokes on my Crosslight wheels went loose then and now need all new spokes cos they creak as the spokes have worn each other where they cross.

The alloy nipples on these were incredibly soft too and just disintegrated over time.

They might be good for cross but I wouldn't have another set for road.

rjfrussell | 6 years ago

A note of concern here about running these at high pressures.

Don't know if this is accurate or not-  DYOR.


"Disc Rims

We have waited patiently for good disc-specific rims to evolve.


There are two variations;


low pressure CX (large tyre specific)

true road-specific which can handle high pressures.


Previously, some of the strength in a rim has come from the braking surface (which is thicker than the rim side-wall) and the depth of the rim itself. If you remove the braking surface then the entire rim will be weaker and the hook can be forced outwards with high tyre pressure. 


This can lead to considerable spoke tension loss which can lead to nipples loosening off and the the wheel going out of true. In extreme cases of overinflating tyres on a CX specific rim, the hook can even flare out and the tyre will blow off the rim. The larger the tyre, the greater the effect.


Some of this "hoop-wise" deformation can be avoided by using dedicated "tubular-clincher" tyres from Hutchinson, Tufo, Schwalbe etc, but there is still a noticeable compressive effect at very high pressures on a rim not able to take it. (We have ruled out Stan's Grail rim for this reason, and won't perform any remedial work on wheels designed for cyclocross which are being used with road tyres: Kinesis Crosslight V3 for example)."


alotronic | 6 years ago

Been researching these as a good enough all round wheel for my Datum and it's worth noting that they are up to version 4 of this wheelset now:

Weight dropped a bit since this review and the price, of course, up!

CMB | 8 years ago

meant to add I've just purchased the cxd fork and awaiting it's arrival. it's supposed to be 500g Watch this space.

CMB | 8 years ago

Good wheels they may well be but I don't know why companies insist on lying (actually i think i do know) about the weight of the product. I get that there might be the odd gram here and there but i've just purchased a pair of the CX disc version 3 . Weighed them on 5 scales, 2 of which are professional and validated and the wheels come in at a whopping 75 grammes more than claimed in their website. Surely companies like these must know that they are lying. I challenge them to find me a pair of these wheels that are the same weight as claimed on their website. Short of them chipping off a bit here and there i dont think they would be able to. To me that's just as bad as watering down the beer, short changing or giving you 900grammes of fresh produce when you've paid for 1kg. It's all misleading. Its time these companies were prosecuted in the same way retailers are when they are found out. Weight is part of the edge against their competitors. I bought these with their weight as a consideration.

sawalkusz | 8 years ago

Pro Lite have just released three New Road/CX disc wheels called Revo: C50T (carbon tubular), C28W (17c carbon clincher), A21 (19c Alloy clincher ) all three are tubeless ready and available in either 6bolt disc or centre lock. The A21 centre lock is 28h/32h 1470g srp £350 and seems to be a better proposition than anything else at the moment.

Chrisbpr | 9 years ago

Got this reply when I asked the same question

The FH Body is alloy as many brands are, they are not as soft as the like of Hope or DT Swiss. Customers just need to apply some anti-seize and tighten the cassette lockring up to the recommended 40nm. Like what Hope recommend cassettes with spider type carriers like Ultegra work a lot better on alloy free hub bodies.


Patrick Blake
Reynolds Brand Manager

velovoice | 10 years ago

These look really good. Fret, did you get a reply from Kinesis about the excessive wear to the freewheel?

fret | 10 years ago

Good wheels for the money. In 8 months and 2500-3000 miles of road use and commuting I have never had to true the wheels. They spin nicely and are a vast improvement over the OEM Ritcheys
However, during a cassette service I find there are extremely deep gouges in the aluminium freehub from the individual cogs, especially on the ones I use the most.
Badly scored to warrant brute force to remove the ratios and then file the ridges flat in order to re-fit the new cassette.
I doubt they will last a year and at this price they should use steel and not freehubs made from butter, especially as these are aimed at the cyclocross market.

I have contacted Kinesis and hopefully will get a reply.

wrevilo | 10 years ago

The hubs sound ace - would love to build a wheel around them.

I applaud the provision of a Campagnolo option too!

mikroos | 11 years ago

What's the OLD of the rear hub? Is it 135 mm?

Dom replied to mikroos | 11 years ago

Yes, 135mm.

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