Spank Industries has injected its unique Vibrocore foam into these shallow profile aluminium rims in order to damp vibrations. Previously used in handlebars with some success, does adding it to wheels aimed at gravel riding have the same result?
Spank claims the 700c Flare 24 OC rims weigh 430g each, and they’re built in a three-cross pattern with 28 triple-butted J-bend spokes.
They spin on Spank’s large-flange Hex Gravel hubs, which take six-bolt disc rotors and can be converted to quick release or 12mm thru-axle, or 15mm front thru-axle.
QR and 12mm end caps are supplied, but they’re almost too easy to remove, which can allow the freehub body to drop off. The Hex Drive freehub has 102 teeth and six pawls, for an extremely rapid 3.5-degree engagement.
The front rim is symmetric, the rear asymmetric, and they measure 24mm wide internally, 27.5mm externally and just 16.5mm deep.
With the support of the internal foam, the rims can afford to be of reasonably light construction, and my test wheelset weighed 1,701g, including tubeless tape and valves plus 12mm end caps. For the price, and their anticipated usage, I can’t complain.
A set of Pirelli gravel tyres slipped onto the hookless rims quite easily and inflated immediately with a track pump. I noticed a slight step at the rear wheel’s welded rim joint, which was the only spot where air leaked after initial inflation. With sealant added, there was further leakage of a little air and sealant for several days.
I’ve never been aware of rim vibration, and with low pressure but high-volume tyres it’s hard to perceive. I tested these wheels at a variety of tyre pressures on tarmac, gravel and rooty trails, and they always felt undeniably smooth. They aren’t especially quick though.
Rolling along with measured accelerations seems to suit their character – although the freehub wants to make progress, the wheels seem to be on an eternally relaxed siesta.
They’re well-built, coping gamely with low-pressure rim hits, and the tyres demonstrated fine manners by not burping, even at very low pressure.
- Front: £290 / $299 / AU$499 / £299
- Rear: £380 / $399 / AU$653 / €399
|Price||AUD $1151.00EUR €798.00GBP £770.00USD $798.00|
|Weight||1,701g – including tubeless tape and valves plus 12mm end caps|
|Rim internal width||24mm|
|Spoke count||28 front, 28 rear|
|Tubeless compatibility||Tubeless ready|