Back to the mountain bike & a flashback to the 90s, Spengle is aiming to transcend traditional hub & spoke construction with their new European-made, full carbon enduro mountain bike wheel project. Twenty years in the making, Spengle Carbon brings together engineers who’ve been developing more innovative wheel building, and now have their one-piece monocoque carbon enduro wheels ready to hit the trail.
Spengle Carbon Monocoque tri-spoke mountain bike wheels
Dropping standard hub+spokes+rim mountain bike wheel construction conventions, Spengle has developed a new carbon bonding technique, using methods ported from motorsports & aerospace industries. That allows them to create a one-piece monocoque wheel with a three spoke design that allows for more continuous carbon fibers and better transition of loads throughout the entire wheel. The overall design is aesthetically not so different from aluminum wheels that the company developed in the 1990s, but the carbon construction and performance improvements are all new.
For now Spengle’s new tri-spoke wheels are only available in 27.5″, being targeted at all mountain trail & enduro riding. But this is apparently a first step to return to wheel building, and Spengle says more carbon mountain & road wheels are in development. Their development timeline seems pretty defined for the next 18 months or so, with a tease of other new products in that timeframe. But a 29er enduro wheel is slated for the second half of 2019, at earliest.
Their fully carbon rim section uses a hookless UST tubeless bead with an internal width of 24mm. While that’s at the more narrow side of the current trend for aggressive trail riding, Spengle does rate the wheels for everything from cross-country up to proper enduro riding. They say they’ve run tires on the wheels from 37mm up to 62mm (1.5″-2.5″), with 2.35″ Magic Marys hitting right in the sweet spot.
Part of that wheel durability comes from the tri-spoke’s one-piece design & their carbon construction that Spengle claims to eat up impacts and improve long-term durability. Spengle also says the hookless design allows them to use a wider bead with continuous fibers, making the rim significantly more impact resistant. Spengle also says that their reinforced hookless bead works especially well at super low tubeless pressures, going so far as to call it ‘Failsafe’ tech that even makes it possible to ride home on a shredded tire.
And with that, they also offer a lifetime warranty on the wheels, and a claim of premium level customer support.
The wheels are built around their own alloy hub internals, with either standard or Boost spacing and a Centerlock rotor interface, but 15mm front & 12mm rear thru-axles only. For now the wheels only get Shimano style cassette bodies. But Spengle confirms they are working on a SRAM XD driver body solution, with XD wheels launching in summer 2018. Total wheelset weight is claimed to start at 1750g.
The wheels carry a 120kg/265lb recommended weight limit. And while that sounds like more than most trail wheels, Spengle includes rider and gear, plus the bike, effectively bringing it closer to a more common 100kg rider figure.
Pricing & availability
A set of entirely made in the EU, 650B tri-spoke Spengle Carbon wheels will set you back 1490€ with VAT, including direct shipping worldwide. That’s actually cheaper than most normal carbon trail wheels, and half the price of Bike Ahead’s albeit much lighter carbon spoked Biturbo wheels. They also come with a 30 day no-hassle return policy, taking some more risk out of the equation.
Or if you want to avoid the hassle of setup altogether, Spengle will sell you a ‘Plug & Play’ wheel setup for 1790€ that includes the carbon tri-spokes, a Shimano cassette & chain, premium Shimano RT99 rotors in whatever size you need, a pair of tubeless Schwalbe Nobby Nic, Hans Dampf or Magic Mary tires already installed, and a bottle of sealant. Drop them into your current bike, squeeze the sealant through the valves, set your tire pressure ,and ride off.
You do still have to wait a bit for the wheels. Spengle is finalizing their production facility as we speak, so wheels are a pre-order now. Delivery is slated rather vaguely for ‘early 2018’, but Spengle quoted to us that these wheels would be hitting the market “in the coming weeks”.