In recent years wheels have gotten stiffer and bikes have gotten plusher. Riders are running wider tires at lower pressures and riding more aggressively on rougher trails. Taking all of this into account, SPANK decided it was time to change the wheel. Meet the SPANK SPIKE 350 Vibrocore for DH and freeride and the SPANK OOZY 350 for trail, all mountain and enduro.
With the widening trend found in rim widths, the profile has also gotten deeper. SPANK turns this on its head with both of its new wheels, featuring a much reduced profile while keeping the rims wide. Both rims feature a 17-millimeter sectional profile height, down from the more conventional 22-millimeter height found on many alloy rims. Both new rims will have a 35-millimeter outer width and a 30.5-millimeter inner. According to SPANK’s tests, this lower and wider profile is showing around 30 percent more radial compliancy compared to a more conventional alloy rim – radial compliancy being the wheels inward and outward (up and down) deformation radially from the center.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how does it translate to what we are all here for – the riding? Outside of the machine-built, bermed-out highways that are popping up everywhere, most trails I have ridden have square rocks, off-camber roots or some sort of obstacle just waiting to knock my front wheel off course and send me over the bars when I least expect it. According to SPANK, with their new profile this would happen less often. Instead of jumping off the intended line, the extra radial flex in SPANK’s lower and wider rims move with the rider’s momentum and the bike’s forward direction. In other words, the wheels will track better laterally due to an increase in radial (vertical) compliance.
All this talk of flex might have you thinking these new hoops are a step backward from the stiff carbon rims everybody raves about. But these rims only have claimed extra flex inward and outward from the center – the good kind of flex. Lateral stiffness and torsional strength are reportedly increased with the new profile, keeping the wheel true and reducing chances of the dreaded taco.
Both the SPIKE 350 and OOZY 350 wheels share the aforementioned above updates, but SPANK has also added their Vibrocore technology to the SPIKE 350 wheel intended for freeride and DH. Vibrocore is a biodegradable foam core that when put in SPANK’s bars reduces vibrations or “noise.” When added to wheels, the same foam core increases torsional strength and increases the durability of the rim while also handling said vibrations. Think of it as removing hum or resonance while accentuating strength. It also adds 40 grams to the wheel, which is the downside and why, for right now at least, it is only found in the gravity oriented model. The SPIKE 350 will be the first wheel to receive the Vibrocore technology, so the jury is still out on how it will perform for the masses, but if the feedback from SPANK’s Vibrocore bars is any indication of how the technology will perform in wheels, the SPIKE 350 rims could be a hit.
See what Rob Heran and Gavin Vos think of the wheel after riding it.
Saddles and Grips
SPANK also announced the OOZY 220 and SPIKE 160 saddles. Both saddles have be designed to optimize padding and comfort for sit bones on the ups and downs, along with adaptive edges in high friction areas, contouring to rider’s personal shape and movement. Over the top SPANK included its “Human Factor” grip pattern on both saddles, gripping where needed and avoiding friction where it counts. Both saddles share the same updates, with the SPIKE 160 being a slimmer, lighter seat for racing or freeride applications.
To round out the new offerings SPANK has released the SPIKE 30 grips. A single-lock grip designed to reduce slide while also dampening vibrations.
Head over to SPANK’s website to see their full line of products.