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