Have you ever thought about how your hubs and spokes affect the quality of your bike ride? If you haven’t maybe it is worth considering. We have constructed a guide about why we have chosen specific hubs and spoke counts for the many different facets of cycling.
Do not fear though we have not loaded the article with jargon. We will be telling you everything in plain English with no marketing spin. What we say about our own carbon fiber wheels can be taken and used to compare against other brand’s wheels.
We have broken this article down into riding styles making it easy for you to find the section that relates to your daily riding but the article reads best as a whole.
Road Bikes With Rim Brakes
The whole world may have gone disc brake crazy, but there are still many of us that prefer good old rim brakes. Our rim brake wheels are specifically designed to help work in conjunction with rim brakes.
If you are a road cyclist with rim brakes, your number one aim will more than likely be speed. Going fast is after all what road biking is all about. One of the best ways to help you go fast is to build an incredibly light set of wheels.
One of the easiest ways to reduce weight on a set of wheels is to lower the spoke count. When you lower the spoke count, you will be removing material that has a mass. The more you remove of these spokes, the lighter your wheels will be.
It is pretty apparent when you see it written out like that, isn’t it?
There is an issue though, and that is you still need the wheels to be able to support weight and to transfer your power. You need to find a balancing point between lightweight and strength. You have to design your rims, hubs correctly, and spokes to work together to balance these ideals.
That is why our road bike wheels tend to feature 20 spokes on the front and 24 spokes on the rear. We use more spokes on the rear as the wheel has to be able to cope with the torque you are providing. We don’t want the rear wheel flexing when you stamp on your pedals.
You will find the 20/24 spoking pattern on wheels such as our Fast and Light series. Our wheels feature a choice of hubs that work well with our rims in the 20/24 pattern you can choose from our standard hub the R13, a straight pull Novatec hub 511/522SB, or on 2:1 spoke hubs our own R51 hub. We will be talking about 2:1 spokes in a forthcoming spokes article so be sure to check back for that.
We now need to tell you about our Aero range. Our Aero range took where our Fast and Light series went and made the wheels lighter, around 100g per wheelset since you asked. One of the ways we managed to achieve that was in a redesign of our front hub.
We took our R13 hub and managed to create a stiff hub flange that was lighter and allowed us to drop down to 18 spokes on the front wheel. We still use 24 spokes on the rear wheel as we want your power to transfer to the road.
Road Bikes With Disc Brakes
You will still be wanting light wheels for your road bike even if it has disc brakes. Disc brakes though add another force to your wheels. Disc brakes are powerful, and without a super stiff wheelset, you will feel your wheel twist under braking pressure.
So you still need a superlight wheelset, but it has to be built more stiffly. That is why we use a 24/24 spoking pattern on our disc brake wheels. You need the 24 spokes on the rear the same as your standard road bike for putting the power down.
It is less necessary to increase the spoke count from 24 on the back as you will only be using your back brake to balance your front brake. Your front wheel needs to have the spoke count increased as this is where the majority of your braking power comes. You don’t want a front wheel that can flex under load.
To keep you safe while still being light was the guiding principle for our D01 hubset. We have fitted this hubset to all of our road disc brake wheels except for our DT Swiss equipped models, either their 240S hubs or their 350S hubs. The DT Swiss equipped models also use a 24/24 pattern to keep you light and safe.
So, we took all the knowledge of building safe, light, and strong wheels for riding across smooth tarmac and we beefed them up a little. You need wheels that are still light, particularly if you are racing, but you also need them to be able to deal with terrible surfaces and highly rutted race courses.
To help stay lightweight but to deal with all the forces coming from offroad conditions and heavier braking our engineers decided that 28 spokes front and rear was the way to go. You do not want to be in the middle of a 200mile gravel race and have your wheels fail, so we have worked hard to make our wheels as reliable as possible.
Our standard gravel/cross wheels feature the use of Novatec D711/712SB hubs. These hubs use a standard J-bend spoke, we will have more on that in our spoke article, unlike the straight-pull spokes that are found on our DT Swiss hubbed gravel/cross wheels. The DT Swiss hubs also feature a 28/28 spoking pattern no matter if you pick a 240S hubset or a 350S hubset.
Mountain Bike Wheels
As you can see as the terrain has gotten harder and tougher to ride spoke count has increased. Extra spokes give you extra strength and can also help your wheel pop back into shape if you hit an unexpected rock and there will be a lot of unforeseen rocks when riding mountain bikes.
As well as being strong you do not want to overdo weight. You need to find a nice balancing point again. That is why all our mountain bike wheels use 32 spokes front and rear. It is not overkill, and it still makes your bike a pleasure to ride.
You get 32 spokes whether you buy a wheelset with the Powerway M81 hubs, Novatec D711/712SB, or DT Swiss hubs, again in your choice of 240S or 350S. These choices mean we can offer you carbon fiber mountain bike wheels to suit everyone’s budget.
After all, you deserve high-quality carbon fiber wheels.