Two years ago we caught wind of the rebirth of the tri-spoke Spengle brand with all-new made-in-Europe carbon wheels. Now after 15 months of producing those unmistakable monocoque wheelsets, Spengle is rolling out lighter & stronger versions these days. They’ve teased even lighter wheels in the works, as well as more sizes coming soon. And promise that since these latest wheels are such a performance improvement, they’ll be upgrading all original buyers as a thank you for the early support…
Spengle Carbon next gen tri-spoke all-mountain wheels
After more than a decade on hiatus, Spengle relaunched in Jan 2018 with one all-new monocoque carbon design. Using a single 27.5/650B mold with a 24mm hookless internal, they were building carbon wheels in Europe that were modular in the sense that Spengle could bond in either regular or Boost-spaced alloy hubs. That meant it was simple to create a 650B gravel wheelset or a 27.5″ trail bike wheelset out of the same mold.
Developed to be pretty bombproof since they were full-carbon and you couldn’t simply replace a conventional steel spoke if you ran into a rock, these Spengle wheels were never meant to be really lightweight. But they did suffer from one big weight penalty – the original weight estimate was an internal miscommunication between engineering & marketing. Spengle first told us that the wheels would start at 1750g for the set, but that was apparently the weight of that carbon monocoque before hubs were added. Oops. That meant the real wheels were more the 600g heavier, giving early adopters a sour taste of having been misinformed.
I spent some time test riding v1.0 wheels that weighed in at 2372g for the set, but surprisingly they didn’t feel that heavy on the trail.
So what’s new in this latest generation of Spengle Wheels?
After producing wheels since Aug 2018 in a new carbon facility they set up in Slovakia, Spengle has made a number of layup refinements to those first v1.0 wheels. That has helped them shave some grams off. Spengle claims that the latest wheels are up to 300g lighter. In reality, the test set I got in a few weeks ago (which they called v.1.4 with gold decals) dropped 182g, down to 2190g for the pair using the same Boost hub internals.
But it wasn’t really just about saving weight. In fact, the big push was to refine the wheels to make them even more durable. Getting the engineering & manufacturing teams to work more closely and collaboratively together, Spengle says that they’ve built a wheelset that is much more durable.
No carbon wheel is indestructible, bash it directly into rocks at ultra low tire pressures and eventually the carbon will crack. But Spengle wants their wheels to continue to be rideable, even when seriously damaged – they even offer a lifetime warranty on the wheels that essentially covers any damage from the intended riding, from gravel all the way to enduro. That was why the developed this latest layup to build better wheels. And even while shedding up to 10% off the weight of the originals, these v1.4 wheels are said to be stronger, more durable, and specifically are significantly more impact resistant.
So what about those early adopters getting free upgrades?
Now with lighter & significantly stronger v1.4 monocoque carbon wheels rolling out of the factory, Spengle says they are going to upgrade the hundreds of original buyers of the 1500€ wheels over the next several months. The original wheels are still safe to ride they say, but these new ones are such a huge performance improvement, that they feel that it would be more fair to upgrade those cyclists who supported them from the beginning. (They also will now come with a vented set of tubeless valves à la ENVE.)
While it almost sounds like a voluntary recall at first blush, Spengle tells us it is more about satisfying those original customers. Since they offer a lifetime warranty anyway, if original buyers ever had problems with their wheels, Spengle would have upgraded them anyway.
So what’s next for Spengle v2.0?
These new v1.4 wheels still use the same heavy hub internals as the originals, and that has always been a bit limiting. Available in two thru-axle widths, they are only compatible with Shimano style cassettes and with the prevalence of 1x drivetrains that is severely limiting. The Boost hubs will fit a NX 1×12 cassette (like mine above), but there isn’t enough clearance to fit even many of the largest gravel 1×11 cassettes on the non-Boost version.
So, Spengle has a new set of hub internals in the works, partnering with Italian-made Damil hubs to machine new lighter & more versatile internals. Those hubs are set to drop another 250g off the wheels in the next generation, and will bring with them full XD & MicroSpline compatibility, sometime in early 2020.
Beyond new hubs, a 29er version using the same 24mm hookless internal width is in the immediate works to come in early 2020. Plus, a more proper enduro wheelset with 30mm internal will come, likely as early as next summer.
v1.4 Spengle wheels on test now!
Attentive readers may have seen me riding version 1.0 of Spengle’s MTB wheels in my review of the capable Merida One-Forty, having ridden them for four months or so (with those orange decals above). It is hard to miss their unmistakable & often polarizing looks. They held up well to a lot of trail, enduro & international bikepark abuse, before getting small but visible damage from hitting a sharp rock in a rock garden, soon after losing a lot of air pressure.
Like their early customers, Spengle wanted to replace them with these new v1.4 wheels (with gold decals above). So, I’ve now been confidently bombing trails and have been back in a couple of Czech bikeparks since on the new wheels. And I will ride them into next spring to see how they hold up, and report back on the improved durability claims. Until then, we’ll wait to see the next generation hubs & sizes…