What is the rationale for using a gravel-specific wheel for a gravel bike over a lighter cross-country mountain bike race wheel?


I'm looking for a wheel with an internal width of 20mm to 22mm to fit some wide 45mm tires on my gravel bike.

I've seen that some cross-country mountain bike wheels are lighter than gravel specific wheels.

For example, Mavic's new ALLROAD ELITE UST DISC has a 22mm internal width and weighs 1720 grams. But Mavic's CROSSMAX PRO cross-county wheels also measure 22mm internal width but weigh 1595 grams, for only $200 more. Both wheels have bladed spokes and a similar depth for aerodynamic purposes.

If this is the case for wheels generally, what factors contribute to the rationale of choosing the heavier gravel specific wheels over the lighter cross-country wheels?

  • While i imagine they would both work close to equally well, gravel specific wheels are generally tailored to longer rides and are built a little more rugged and durable than a XC specific wheel. XC wheels are bred to be light and nimble, Gravel wheels are made to take abuse and heavier loads over a long distance. Not to say you couldn't get away with using a XC wheel for gravel use, that is just the marketing side of it. – Nate W Sep 28 '17 at 21:07
  • What about higher tire pressure and potentially bigger load due to panniers? You don't usually race XC with 50psi in tires and 10kg of luggage. For example, LB rates their lightweight XC rims for 40psi max. – Klaster_1 Sep 29 '17 at 3:57
  • Well, there's the price. You would be saving 125 grams for only $200, which many people wouldn't consider effective use of money. The Crossmax is specced for heavier use than Allroad, but that might be just marketing. – ojs Sep 29 '17 at 6:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.