Joe Meissner is a family man who seeks adventures almost every weekend. He completed the Dirty Kanza 200 in 2019 and recently set out on a 300+ Km day Gravel ride around Ontario. He does not review products for magazines or websites and is just your "Average Joe". Who better to test our products in the real world than somebody who just loves riding bikes and having fun.
Want to ride faster? Want a smoother ride? Want your bike to feel brand new? The best advice I have been given is not to waste your money on a new bike, but to upgrade the wheels!
I have been riding my Giant TCX Advanced SX for a couple of years now. I’ve put it through the wringer with some epic gravel rides, DK200, and more cyclocross races than I can remember. It has served me well and I have zero complaints but it felt like it was time to breathe some new life into this old friend. It was perfect timing that Giant released their all-new gravel wheelsystem, the CXR2.
I was beyond excited when Giant reached out to me to see what I thought about this new wheelset as they provided me with a new goal for 2020: try my best to destroy them. I mean, how hard would it be to destroy a gravel-specific carbon wheelset with a fairly low spoke count? From smooth dirt roads to rock gardens, from rail trails to singletrack, from rough gravel to river crossings, I tried my best to destroy these wheels. And. I. Failed. Miserably. Whether it was during short weekday adventures or an all-day 475km epic gravel ride, these wheels were solid! They felt stiff when throwing down power, allowed me to corner with confidence and yet managed to soak up everything I could throw at them.
This wheelset features a (very) wide rim and hookless bead design which I naively assumed would make my tubeless setup difficult. Again, I was so very wrong. I tested two different tires with these wheels. For both the 40c Maxxis Ramblers and 37c WTB Riddlers, the setup was super simple. The wide rims gave both sets of tires a nice plush feeling; the Ramblers measured 42mm and the Riddlers measured 38mm when mounted. These wide tires, coupled with the hookless bead allowed me to run very low pressures (as low as 30psi) with the utmost confidence and I was still able to rail every corner.
Nothing breathes new life into a bike than a new set of wheels. If you love gravel and are lucky enough to get your hands on a set of Giant CXR2 wheels, you will not be disappointed.