Are carbon tri-spoke wheels the next big thing?

U.K.-based wheel maker Spengle touting radical monocoque design

Video Wheels
Are carbon tri-spoke wheels the next big thing?

Something is different here…

Don’t look now, but the tri-spoke wheel could be making a comeback — in enduro. Indeed, U.K.-based wheel maker Spengle has been making waves on the internet this week, touting the benefits of its full-carbon tri-spoke 27.5 wheel, going so far as to call it the most advanced bike wheel in the world.

As you can see, the Spengle hoop ditches tradition hub-and-spoke lacing for a one-piece monocoque design, which is claimed to spread riding forces across the entire wheel and not allow them to be focused on one area. Spengle also says this improves overall shock absorption without sacrificing strength or stiffness.

Are carbon tri-spoke wheels the next big thing?

Key metrics include a 24mm internal rim width, centerlock disc attachment, hookless bead, tubeless ready, and hub availability in boost or non-boost. The hub itself is a custom Spengle design. Claimed wheelset weight is 1750 grams, and price starts at $1824 for the wheelset or $2191 for a wheelset, rotors, cassette, and tires. Here’s a look at the wheel in action.

Among the benefits Spengle touts are enhanced safety, the ability to run extremely low tire pressure, and the aforementioned even distribution of riding forces, which presumably means you’re less likely to crack the rim bed or snap a spoke. They even espouse on the idea that because there’s less surface area, the rims will produce less air turbulence, and are thus more aerodynamic.

For those unfamiliar, Spengle has been in the wheel game for a long time, producing product for triathlon, time trial, and BMX bikes, where tri-spoke wheels are commonplace. But whether that trend can take hold in the mountain bike world remains to be seen.

What do you think? You ready to rock a set of tri-spokes on your Nomad, Enduro, or Mach 6? Learn more at www.spengle.com.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympics, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the Mtbr staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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  • Spuggy says:

    They are Hope brakes that he is running with Stainless Braided HOSES.
    At some angles it may look white but they’re definitely NOT CABLES

  • meh says:

    I guess .. no thanks
    heavy, slightly more dangerous, when it breaks-it-breaks (instead of just the spokes), more expensive, etc.
    note that they are indeed more aerodynamic, but who cares on a mtb? (and they’re banned on road because too dangerous in races)

    i’m not sure about the lower tire pressure claim either.. does it also make you better looking and fills your bank account? because the rim beds are the same with regular spokes or solid 3 spokes…such bs scares me

  • gg says:

    Haha most interesting is > 45sec view looks like Moab blue dot trail before the drought !

  • Steve says:

    Enduro wheels with only 24mm internal width? Pass….

  • A. Rider says:

    Any concern about a stick getting in the spokes?

    • NobleFishing says:

      I ran 3-spoke Spins for years, and then 5-spoke Aerospokes. I ride through woods and brush, and the fewer spokes you have, the more easily sticks pass through the wheel and do not hang up. Unfortunately, the carbon monocoque wheels have some other drawbacks, but sticks in the spokes is not one of them.

  • justin says:

    120kg total weight limit. Sheesh.

  • HAMP says:

    I’ve been considering spoke carbon wheels. The ones I’ve been looking at are 5 spokes. My LBS placed the rim on the floor and jumped up and down on the rim, and I was surprised. My hesitation was looks, but I think I’m passed that now.

    http://www.encorewheels.com

    I can’t really remember, but I think I priced a set for less then $1000. Thinking about putting a set on my trek carbon superfly.

    Kinda hard for me to pay that much for a trek marlin, but I’m always popping spokes on it and I’m getting tired of having to have them fixed.

    • Spinderella says:

      Those Encore wheels appear to be the same company in Milford MI that used to make Spin brand wheels. Last I heard fixed gear bikes’ popularity gave them a whole new market and lease on life. Beyond that I haven’t from Spin for a long time. 23 mm width is pretty narrow on the Encore 29 inch wheels.

    • NobleFishing says:

      Do not buy 5-spoke Aerospokes! Ran them for less than 2 years, had a design-related problem that the factory did not want to hear about. Also way heavy, hubs cannot be replaced or upgraded, and expensive. New wheels shaved 2 lbs off the unsprung weight. Not worth the weight penalty and the mechanical issues.

  • Midgemagnet says:

    I wouldn’t want a wheel I could stick a limb through in the event of a nasty tumble, even if it didn’t have a meat-slicer brake rotor. If I took my helmet off I reckon I could get my head through that gap.

    These are probably great wheels for a track bike, but enduro? Carbon rims if you must, but it’s nice to have 32 spokes under tension adding strength to the rim, knowing that if a spoke breaks you’re not going to be receiving a stern lesson from Professor Faceplant.

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