At the Sea Otter Classic earlier this year we looked at the Irwin Aon DX 38 carbon tubeless-ready wheels, but another offering from the California handmade wheel builder that caught our attention was the Irwin Kova XC 29er carbon tubeless disc wheelset. The Irwin Kova XC 29er is a 24mm wide, 22mm deep tubeless-ready mountain bike wheel that we think could be worth a look for low-pressure cyclocross and gravel riding.
Mountain bike wheels for cyclocross? Given the focus on weight saving among road racers, one would expect road rims to be lighter than their mountain bike counterparts. However, carbon road rims must withstand up to 125 psi of tire pressure, and thus they often require more material to maintain their shape and strength. We have found that for cyclocross and big-tire gravel and mixed terrain use, mountain bike carbon rims are often a lighter option, and they tend to be wider, adding welcome volume to cyclocross and gravel tires.