The Oozy 26AL EVO Wheelset is the latest complete wheelset to come from Spank Bikes. Aimed at the AM/ Enduro/Aggressive Trail disciplines the Oozy Evo’s are light enough to pedal uphill and strong enough to bomb down.
Before I talk too much about these wheels, it’s worth disclosing that I have grown quite fond of both the brand and people who are Spank Bikes. Spank do great things to help out the MTB community and I am no exception. Mike Dutton, Brand Manager for Spank Bikes, gave me the opportunity to ride a prototype set of Spank Oozy 26AL EVO’s into the ground and I naturally obliged.
From the start Mike has been very up front about what he wanted me to do with these wheels. The words “don’t go easy on them” and “put them through the wringer” came up often. With the confidence that Spank would sort me out if I did destroy these wheels, I really have aimed to give them some grief.
Unboxing the Spank Oozy 26AL EVO Wheelset, I was immediately impressed with the finish. I’ve owned some Spank Spike Race28 wheels before so I knew what to expect, but the polished finish on my Oozy’s really blew me away.
I am running a 15mm thru-hub up front and 142x12mm rear hub however the Oozy 26AL EVO Wheelset can be converted to a 9 or 20mm front hub, and a 10x135mm rear.
My wheels are tubeless using tubeless valves and Fratelli tape. In fact the majority of testing on prototype Oozy 26AL Evo wheels was done tubeless. I only used one lap of tubeless tape and a scoop of Stans sealant per wheel. The profile of these rims combined with Spank’s double “BeadNip™”, means getting tyres on can be a challenge, but once they are on I can’t see how you could ever burp these. My front tyre (Maxxis) held pressure without sealant, which I put in later through the valve. I think I punctured some rim tape on the rear when putting the tyre (Kenda) on – there was a slow leak for a week or so before the sealant sorted it out. Both have been problem free since.
After getting the Oozy 26AL EVO Wheelset on my Transition Bandit I have tried my hardest to find any weaknesses in them. I am a lightweight rider – usually around 70kg and I know that heavier riders will be piloting these wheels, so I wanted to push hard. Jumps, drops and rocks were first on the list – I’ve cased my fair share of jumps and flat landed enough to know if they will flat spot easily. They haven’t. From there I have really tried to put some serious kilometres on them. No hub issues in sight.
The prototype wheelsets are running straight pull 2.0/1.6/2.0 triple butted spokes. I’m familiar with the benefits of straight pull spokes, but I put it to Spank Mike – why run them on the Spank Oozy 26AL Evo Wheelset?
“Weight savings primarily, ability to build a strong wheel with lower tension, more convenient adapter assembly, and to be honest the light techy look/feel that today’s trail crowd demand.”
If anything, the biggest challenge these wheels may have is convincing people to have faith in 4 less spokes. The Oozy Evo is a very strong rim for the weight – neither of mine have a ding or dent in sight. In Mike’s words:
“With a very high end hoop like the Oozy EVO, you can save weight in other places without compromising stiffness or strength. That’s another reason why we could go with small flange straight pull hubs – the rims were simply strong and stiff enough for it and the spokes we’re using are top of the line. I know some people will be skeptical about this configuration, but after spending time riding on them, I’ve been convinced. With the 3cross 28H straight pull build…I think they look pretty rad too.”
I didn’t touch my spokes for at least a month and in that time I did lose a bit of tension in a few spokes. This happened to another prototype wheelset so erring on the side of caution the production run will 2.0/1.8/2.0 triple butted spokes. The 1.8 spokes will allow Spank to add a little more tension without spoke twisting and will retain torque longer. Obviously spoke loosening is to be expected on all wheels, but with the aim of providing the best possible product to their customers Spank try to reduce this as much as they can.
While Spank Bikes don’t have exact numbers yet, the Oozy 26AL EVO Wheelset weight is looking very close to 1650g. These wheels will also come in a 29″ and 650b spec which should weigh in around 1800g and 1690g respectively.
Spank are shipping these worldwide in December 2012, so expect to start seeing these around the place very soon. If there is anything I have missed or anything specific you would like to know, feel free to ask in the comments below.
For more info on Spank Bikes, check out their website at http://www.spank-ind.com.