Spada Rapido SLItalians are not the least bit shy when it comes to pouring as much passion as they do performance into their machinery. In this regard, Spada is no different when it comes to these racing hoops. While not an enormous company, they more than make up for their size with experience considering the owner/designer is the 3rd generation of his family in the bicycle business. He also happens to be obsessed with improving every detail of everything Spada makes.

Spada sent us a set of their colorful & crazy light Rapido SL 29er wheels to put through the paces, but the first thing I had to do was take a closer look and get these beauties on the scales! Check out the details and actual weights ahead…

Green Wheels IMG_8131

At the helm, Corrado Spada is a 3rd generation craftsman in the bicycle industry who took on frame building like his grandfather and father before him. However, he took interest in making other components better and lighter… particularly hubs. Spada is located in Tirano Italy, a small town on the Italian/Switzerland border where racers have been climbing their way out of the Valtellina valley during the Giro d’Italia since the 1950’s. Since climbing is a necessity in the region, Corrado Spada saw a demand and started to develop some insanely light wheels for both mountain and road bikes. And when I say light, their Spillo road wheels come in at HALF the weight of Zipp’s Firecrest 303’s (830g)!

Spada sent us these lightweight green machines that, like many things Italian, stand out on their own in appearance (don’t worry, they also come in black for those not into all things flare). While not the out-of-this-world light like their Rapido Carbon XX 29er wheels (1250g!), the alloy Rapido SL (in 2016 World Cup Edition green), version is lighter than many of the much more expensive carbon wheels on the market.

Green Wheels IMG_8134

The Rapido SL’s rim has a hookless bead and while thin, sports a lip on the outer edge to give the wheel a little more protection from getting hit as well as eliminate any sharp tire-cutting edges. I measured a respectable 25mm inner width which should become a nice home to much of the tubeless ready 2.1 – 2.2 inch race worthy rubber on the market. Spado used 6082 alloy which they claim is up to 20% greater in strength compared to 6061… and while these aren’t meant for endurotastic conditions, the 210lb weight limit on these wheels does exceed some of the competition’s sub 200lb maxes. The Rapido SL wheels come in every size, (26, 27.5 & 29er), so even those not on the wagon wheel train are good to go.

Green Wheels IMG_8142

The rear wheel is laced asymmetric to better distribute spoke tension with 0.9mm Sapim double butted spokes. Visually the wheels look robust enough, but when you pick them up they feel almost scary light. All of Spada wheelsets come with their own made in-house hubs that increase the weight savings without what appears to be any sacrifice in durability. The rear is available in both QR and 142mm thru and with either a SRAM/Shimano 9/10 or SRAM XD 11 speed cassette.

Green Wheels IMG_8149

Up front, the high flanged hub is available in QR, 15mm thru, and even Lefty configurations. The forged alloy hubs house bearings with a seal incorporating a triple protective lip and have very little drag when doing the customary spinning of the axle, (you know you all do it). While light, I do like that Spada built the wheels without having to use any proprietary parts or tools to maintain them. Sometimes keeping it simple pays off.

combine_images

One of the lightest wheels in this price range ($900/£695), the Rapido SL wheels are nice to look at *(note: I thought these looked hideous… until I saw them in person), and don’t look dainty despite their weight. Coming in at 1,495g with tape and valve stems (claimed is 1,440g so that is pretty close since they likely weighed without anything installed). I’m looking forward to trying these out and seeing how things feel when I strap these on in place of the current wheels (which are about 300g heavier). While I know the benefits in the back of my head, I’ve never ridden a set of mountain bike wheels this light, so look for my impressions soon and whether or not they hold up under my near max (200lb suited up) weight limit.

SpadaBike.com

SpadaWheels.co.uk

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Dennis
5 years ago

Hope these are stiff as well as light. Then again, my American Classic MTB race 29er wheelset is even lighter (1440 g with tape, no valve stems).

Carlos
Carlos
5 years ago

Lighter and cheaper also european, http://newrace.eu/en/default.asp?menu=product&id=1

ChrisS.
ChrisS.
5 years ago

“Spada built the wheels without having to use any propitiatory parts or tools to maintain them.” From your second last paragraph….what is this P.R.O.P.I.T.I.A.T.O.R.Y. parts….I had to look that up in google and I still don’t understand what it means.

AlanM
AlanM
5 years ago
Reply to  ChrisS.

Why point out a simple mistake when you can be a jerk about it too? Bravo!

ChrisS.
ChrisS.
5 years ago

Sorry, didn’t mean to be a jerk! I just thought it was funny since it must be right next to proprietary in the spelling box! I still had to look that up since that word I’d never seen before, _proprietary_ I be familiar with over here at Specialized. Sweet set of wheels, remind of the NukeProof from way back in the day!

xxx
xxx
5 years ago

USD900 is more than alu wheels but in the ballpark of china-ebay-carbon-wheelsets (600USD with novatechs, 800-900USD with DT350)

The XX wheelset cost 1780USD though, at 1250gr claimed (24mm inner) which is either really good (even thus pricey) or really flimsy 😉

Basically if their hubs are at least as nice as a DT350 these wheelsets are well priced. If not, meh.

Ryan
Ryan
5 years ago

Did I miss it somewhere, or is there no mention of inner or outer rim width? It kinda matters…

B.J. Honeycutt
B.J. Honeycutt
5 years ago

What do the hubs weigh? I always have a problem taking wheel set weights as a reference point without knowing the weight of some specific parts, particularly the rim or the hub.

For an example, two different front wheels, with identical weights. But one wheel is heavier at the rim and the other is heavier at the hub. In use, the one that is lighter further from the center of rotation is going to feel lighter while riding.

I typically build my own wheels and I like high engagement rear hubs, which tend to be heavier. But I think the extra weight at the center of rotation is negligible with all else (spokes, rim, nipples) being the same. So I figure the weight penalty is worth the higher quality and engagement.

Heffe
Heffe
5 years ago

Do they offer wheels with more, um, ‘normal’ colors as well?

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

Ba ha ha. That movie’s awesome.

Allan
Allan
5 years ago
Reply to  Heffe

Nah man, those green rims are suh-weet! Although you’d kind of have to have the “Monster Energy Drink” black/green scheme already going on your bike…

Marin
Marin
5 years ago

Very light considering the width.
I’d be interested in component weights because its pretty hard to make comparable wheelset.
For instance, going with DT XR331 or XM401 rims (820 or 760 per set), Race spokes (about 400gr) and decent hubs (~400gr for set) plus tape and valves is going to weigh 1600-1700gr and feature narrower rims.