The new Sapim CX-Carbon is billed as the stiffest and lightest aero spoke ever, and with a weight of just 3g each, they’re backing that up.
The construction is full carbon fiber until the very end, where there’s a bonded stainless CX-Ray threaded end that uses a standard nipple. So, they can be built to any rim, but for now they’ll have to be built with a specific new hub set from Edco. The Swiss wheel and component brand co-developed the spoke with Sapim and is featuring it on a very lightweight new wheelset we’ll cover separately.
Assuming other hub manufacturers come on board, aftermarket retail price will be around $16 per spoke when they come out in early March 2016. The first batch will be sent to builders they’re familiar with to get their feedback, but eventually they should make their way to the rest of us.
The head of the spoke has a 4.5mm bulb that needs to be trapped inside the hub somehow, which is a common design used by Mavic and others. But the shape is unique, so the hub needs to be designed specifically for these spokes.
It’s at least 25% lighter than their other spokes, which is the main benefit, but they’re also about 10% stronger, which means they can be built into a stronger wheel. They have virtually zero elongation, so you could use a very high tension, but they say it should be tensioned like a normal spoke so it doesn’t rip your rim apart. They also say it’ll make for a comparatively stiff wheel, so it’s designed for crits or climbing, not cruising all day fondos. For comparison:
The spoke is 3.0mm round just above the head, then flattens to a 3.0×1.9 oval shape, then round again to 3.5mm diameter before the 14G threaded insert.
Why? Because they could, and they want to remain at the top of the spoke industry in terms of technology and reputation. And hell, because it’s freakin’ cool.