Spank’s newest all-mountain/enduro wheelset offers an attractive combination of numbers. Firstly, it weighs in at 1,640g; secondly, it’s available in 26in, 29er and 650b (27.5in) sizes; thirdly, the wheels are just over £350/US$590, making them, on the face of things, a bargain.
The chunky 28H EVO Dynamal alloy rims are laced to Spank’s own oversized SSL (Single Spoke Length) flanged hub bodies with some tidy straight-pull spokes.
The Super-Lite CNC optimised freehub offers plenty of snappy pick-up and, despite months of muddy and gritty all-mountain abuse, has thrown up no trace of play or give.
The same can be said of the Japanese-made bearings, which are wobble-free after being tanked into boulder after boulder on a recent Scottish excursion. The tank-like strength felt almost at odds with the light weight and price tag right from the off. These were good.
The Fratelli-made rims are all constructed from a single length of material (as opposed to two or three being cut from a longer length). The result is greater consistency and strength. They are also sleeved and bonded as opposed to pinned, also for increased strength.
After being handbuilt, each individual wheel is then pre-stressed overnight before being re-trued the following day to ensure a fit-and-forget performance. It’s an impressive amount of tech and attention to detail for the money.
The front axle is swappable between QR15 and regular quick-release (QR), with 20mm adaptors for chunkier forked warriors also available. The rear is 142x12mm ready but can also be swapped down to regular 135mm QR, making them an attractive upgrade proposition for plenty of riders.
At this sort of money, the performance of the Oozys is staggering. Those chunky rims let you beast through even the fiercest rock sections yet the scale-friendly weight still promotes plenty of ‘pop’ when the trail requires some wheels-off-the-ground precision. When hitting fast catch-berms, the stiff lateral feel is superb and they tracked brilliantly through loose baby head sized rocks.
Keith Bontrager’s old adage of “Light, cheap, strong – choose two”, is dispelled by the Oozy wheels. We’ve been disappointed by wheels twice the price, yet the Spanks offer a winning combo of reliability, feel and strength, which would have them racing gravity enduros at the weekends while tackling after work cross-country during the week. They’re also available in black, if chrome isn’t your thing.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.