This past year I picked up a Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Grail Pro wheel set to ride on my Niner RLT9 gravel racer. The bike came with some pretty sweet wheels to start with: Stan’s Iron Cross. I loved those wheels did several races on them including a Dirty Kanza 200, Florida Sea2Sea 3-day Adventure Race, Ragnarok 105, and The Bear 100. The Iron Cross are amazing wheels but are a bit more focused on cross racing. They have a limit of 45 PSI which, while great for racing, isn’t designed to be an all-around rim. So I upgraded to the a set of Pro Grails and they are such an amazing ride. I have ridden them with narrower tires at 60PSI as well as 40mm tires down to 30psi and even lower. The rims are a little deeper and wider the the Iron Cross rims so are a little more aero. With a wide rim I was able to ride at very low pressures with feeling much squirm under the tires. And like all Stan’s wheels they make going tubeless as easy as using tubes. Riding on 40mm tires at the Heck of the North this past October I was able to bomb down the rocky sections without fear because these rims are bombproof. The ability to run high volume tires at lower pressures also aided me in the muddy sections and the long grassy sections on snowmobile trails.
I’m happy to be riding the Grails and expect to put several thousand miles on them in 2017. I would recommend them as the best all around gravel wheel out there. If cross racing is all you do, go with the Iron Cross. If you are a gravel racer that wants to ride some road, commute, ride single track, and maybe even race cross, Grails will serve you perfectly.
If you don’t use Stan’s wheels and/or sealant yet, I highly recommend trying then out. I’ve finished 2 Dirty Kanza 200s and only had one tire issue when I had a small sidewall tear that required a shot of Stan’s fluid to get it to seal. During an adventure race in West Virginia, I went over a nail in the rain at about 3am and could hear the tire hissing and spitting. Several revolutions later the Stan’s had sealed up and I never even slowed down. In either case using tubes would have cost me valuable time.