Factor bike’s Black Inc component brand has launched the FIVE, a lightweight 5-spoke carbon road bike wheelset developed to make you go fast and stand out from the crowd while doing so. Calling the wheels “the pinnacle of performance and luxury” the tubeless, disc brake Five wheels promise to bridge the gap of all-rounder aerodynamic performance on par with mid-depth aero wheels, but at a light weight that pits them against dedicated climber’s wheels…

Black Inc FIVE versatile 5-spoke aero carbon road wheels

Black Inc FIVE aero carbon 5-spoke tubeless disc brake road bike wheels, black

c. Factor & Black Inc

The idea of fast multi “solid spoke” carbon wheels is certainly nothing new… we’ve seen aero 5-spokes from Pro-Lite, PRO & Mavic for over a decade when it comes to TT, tri & track racing for example. But more versatile, lighter carbon-spoked wheels have remained more elusive, with BikeAhead’s multiple 6-spoke Biturbo variants and Merit’s gravel 5-spoke Windmill coming to mind.

Black Inc FIVE aero carbon 5-spoke tubeless disc brake road bike wheels, Factor Ostro VAM

For Black Inc, the new Five aims to take advantage of the one-piece monocoque carbon rim, spoke & hub construction to create a lightweight climber’s wheel that delivers aero wheel performance. The result is a claimed 1318g weight for the tubeless clincher, disc brake wheelset and “superior handling and faster performance over traditional mid-depth steel spoked wheels.” That also makes them a full 1/3 lighter than Black Inc’s THREE 3-spoke TT wheels.

Aero road wheel – Tech details

Black Inc FIVE aero carbon 5-spoke tubeless disc brake road bike wheels, CFD aerodynamics

CFD aerodynamic analysis

Black Inc doesn’t get into specific aero performance claims for their new Five wheels, other than to say that they were developed & optimized in CFD for “exceptional aerodynamics”. That could boil down to the fact that you aren’t likely to be racing these wheels anyway. They are not UCI-approved for any mass-start (read: road race) events, so the target audience is more likely amateur road riders looking for a unique aesthetic, and then just a generally fast-feeling ride.

Black Inc FIVE aero carbon 5-spoke tubeless disc brake road bike wheels, front wheel

The wheels do incorporate plenty of proven aero wheel tech and details, though. Their rims feature a wide NACA aerofoil-based profile with a hooked-tubeless 21mm internal width, 28mm external width optimized for 25-28mm road tires, and a 30mm rim depth.

Black Inc FIVE aero carbon 5-spoke tubeless disc brake road bike wheels, angled pair

The five carbon spokes themselves also feature NACA/Kamm tail profiles, starting off with a complete aerofoil shape as they meet the rim, then moving to a lighter truncated aerofoil profile throughout the body of the spoke blade.

The Five wheels are laid up as one-piece by hand, presumably in the same carbon manufacturing facility in Taiwan as the other Black Inc carbon rims & components, featuring a mix of TeXtreme, Nippon Graphite Pitch-Based Fiber, and Toray carbon fibers.

Black Inc FIVE aero carbon 5-spoke tubeless disc brake road bike wheels, hub detail

At their center are a set of in-house designed & manufactured alloy centerlock disc hubs, with a mechanical and bonded interface to the carbon construction. The 12mm thru-axle hubs spin on CeramicSpeed ceramic bearings for durability and low drag, and are available with Shimano HG or SRAM XD-R freehub bodies

Black Inc FIVE wheels – Pricing & availability

Black Inc FIVE aero carbon 5-spoke tubeless disc brake road bike wheels, side

Black Inc FIVE road wheel

The 5-spoke aero carbon Black Inc Five road wheels are unabashedly luxury, and come with a fitting $3600 price tag (3052€ excluding VAT, making them +/- the same price as the angular made-in-Germany Biturbo Road).

Black Inc FIVE aero carbon 5-spoke tubeless disc brake road bike wheels, riding

The wheels are available now direct from Black Inc or Factor, with free global shipping.

BlackInc.cc

16 comments

    • mathew shotbolt on

      My experience of riding the BikeAhead biturbo wheels was that they’re significantly stiffer out of the saddle and off-road i had to reduce my tyre pressures as these were so stiff that they skipped over rooty/rutted corners as opposed to the mild flex on a standard spoked wheel that gives a little more traction as a result.

      Reply
  1. Seraph on

    I ride 38c tires on a 21.5mm internal rim. Does that mean I’m a rebel for not riding rims with a width “optimized” for my tire size?

    Reply
    • Dinger on

      Two years ago I was running 38’s on 19.5mm rims in CX and it worked really well. I’ll be running 35mm with 25mm rims this season. If you’re not trying to run super low CX-like pressures it’s unlikely you’d notice any significant difference in going to wider rims.

      Reply
  2. Matt on

    It’d be fun to give them a ride. I’m surprised they didn’t make the carbon around the hub bigger/deeper so that it would match the size of a rotor to shield it from cross winds.

    Reply
  3. Crash Bandicoot on

    What is the point of wheels like this if they’re banned from road racing? In a TT a tri spoke and a disc is faster, and you need a mass start legal bike for Merckx. People really dropping $3600 to “win” the group ride?

    Reply
    • Dinger on

      So very few “race” bikes are ever raced. I expect they’re catering to people who want exotic tech and don’t care about UCI rules.

      Reply
    • Mike on

      They are not UCI legal, but let’s be honest, most amateur race promoters “maybe” look for a saddle bag and to make sure your numbers are visible and that’s it. They couldn’t care less what wheels you are using.

      Reply
  4. chris on

    Nothing actually technically new here. Probably using a lost inner bladder structure which is easily removed after curing. Been used for 15 years. Their spoke profiles will do nothing to improve the biggest weakness of all thin spoke carbon wheels and that is compression failure due to side impact. Lot of money for a short ride to the local coffee shop with the bling, bling non-riding types.

    Reply
  5. G Brine on

    Alex Dowsett gave them a good test and reported on his podcast that they are fantastic. Said the have a great ride, excellent cornering and seem fast.

    Reply

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