Founder/owner Colin Esquibel of Spēd Precision focused on performance wheels for dirt riding. The company designed their own rims and hubs for the best interface with the spokes linking the two, and even specified spoke parameters made from Sandvik wire. The result is a line of purpose designed wheels for maximum performance and durability. We reported on these wheels when they were introduced at Interbike 2016 in September.
The $1550 Courseque CX wheelset in either tubeless clincher or tubular form is designed specifically with cyclocross in mind. This is one wheelset designed to balance lightweight with durability for a range of rider weight and conditions from short punchy ’cross courses of the winter, to long rocky gravel events of the summer. For each wheel design from Spēd Precision, whether it be for downhill, XC or CX, each rim set has its profile and layup optimized for the intended use, including number of spoke holes and resultant angle of drilling. The Courseque CX uses a 26mm wide rim with a blunt, rounded profile that is 39mm deep that the company says is its proprietary design. Perhaps of most interest to tubeless users is the internal width, and the Courseque sits right around the “new normal” of 17.5mm internal.
We have a Courseque CX tubeless clincher wheelset for review and have been rolling over any terrain that crosses our path. We took field measurements and have tires mounted up for testing over ‘cross and gravel courses. Standard dress for these wheels is thru-axle 15mm or 12mm front, and 142x12mm rear with an XD driver. I asked for 15mm TA front with a QR rear, QR caps for converting the front, and a Shimano/SRAM cassette body. That configuration gave us some versatility to swap amongst some older bikes we have in the test fleet, though Esquibel told us conversion is easy if we changed our mind.
The wheel dimensions are verified and measured wheel weight is 720 grams for the front and 870 grams for the rear, yielding a 1590 gram wheelset. That’s not superlight for carbon, and a bit heavier than claimed, but with a stout 28 spoke 3X rear build, we expect great durability. The front is 24 spokes 2X, saving a few grams where it’s not needed. The nipples are external, making truing easy, should there be any problems.
The rims have an attractive bullet cross-section with a reinforced valve hole, a hooked wall, deep channel and a broad bead shelf that slants towards the rim wall, so the bead doesn’t slide off the shelf into the channel, adding to burp resistance. The round profile is more blunt than other rims, giving a unique appearance that some of us found attractive.
The Courseque CX tubulars, with a wide 22mm tire bed radiused particularly for ’cross tubulars (32-34mm diameter) will save 100 grams over the clinchers. Those tubulars are routinely put to the test by sponsored rider Rebecca Gross, a top women’s masters ’cross racer who took the national 30-34 title in 2014.
The hubset is a Spēd Precision design for straight pull spokes and has a four-pawl freehub system. Esquibel says all four pawls engage simultaneously for maximum strength against the torque load of your power to the pedals. The rotor mount is 6-bolt IS and the axle configuration change is easily accomplished with a set of cone wrenches.
I taped the rim to seal the spoke holes and installed 60mm valve stems. A Maxxis ReFuse smooth tread tire, labelled 40C mounted easily with a compressor and measured 38mm with 35 psi. A Terravail Cannonball, also labelled 40C also mounted easily with a compressor and measured 40mm with 35 psi. For my initial test ride, I set the tires with sealant and lowered the pressure to 25 psi for a mixed terrain loop that included a fair amount of pavement and kitty litter covered fire road, as well as some loamy rooted single track.
The wheels arrived round and true with even, tight spoke tension. Tires remained secure—I couldn’t burp them with the finger test, or riding test. Upon return, the wheels were still round and true despite the mild pounding of long gravel descents with some buried rocks, or bouncing over roots through the single track. On the road, given the heavy tires (500+ grams each) the wheels did not feel sprightly, but they didn’t feel heavy or sluggish in anyway. In a sprint or hard cornering, both on and off pavement, the wheels felt assured, laterally stiff to hold the line despite the paltry tire pressure.
Stay tuned as we swap to light cyclocross tires, and take the Spēd Precision Courseque CX clinchers on fast and slow ’cross courses in a late-season race, as well as more trail rides. Certainly, they look to be durable performers with the four-pawl hub and 28 spoke X3 rear build.
It’s a crowded market out there nowadays, with hundreds of options competing for your dollars in the carbon tubeless market, but the Spēd Precision Couseque CX Tubeless wheels attempt to stand out not in weight but in their attention to the details. They’re also versatile, as the company says the rims can handle up to 130 psi—they’re not your low-pressure mountain bike wheels adapted for cyclocross, which also explains why they’re not flyweights with the extra material needed to handle higher pressures.
Stay tuned as we put these to the full test.
Spēd Precision Couseque CX Tubeless Clincher Specifications:
Rim: Carbon tubeless clincher, 430 gram rim weight (+/-6 g) (claimed), (carbon tubular is 395 grams claimed). Max 130 psi, minimum tire width 25mm.
Width: Outer width 26mm, Inner width 17.5mm, 39mm depth
Hub: Spēd Precision 4-pawl XC/CX, 28 hole rear, 24 hole front, straight pull
Freehub: XD Driver or Shimano/SRAM cassette
Spokes: Stainless bladed, straight pull, X3 rear, X2 front. Brass nipples
Weight: clincher 1525 grams (claimed), 1590 actual (720 f, 870 r), tubular 1450 grams (claimed)
Max. rider weight: 200 lbs
Warranty: 2 years against defects, crash replacement available
More info: spedprecision.com