Spēd Precision Wheels – First Look – Sea Otter 2017

Apr 21, 2017
by AJ Barlas  
Spēd Precision is one of the more recent brands to jump into the fold of carbon wheels. The company's founder is no rookie to the industry, however, with a background that stems as far back to a time where many of us were more than likely either in nappies or beginning to roll about on training wheels. After some moving about in more recent years, the decision to start a wheel company was taken and they haven’t looked back.

Sp d Precision Maul wheels
  Sped Precision Maul wheel

The goal was to create a carbon set of wheels for most dirt disciplines; DH, trail/enduro, XC, and Cyclocross, with a number of slightly different approaches taken in an effort to create something that was durable, rode really well and was still durable. In an effort to maintain better control over the complete wheelset, rather than just a rim, Spēd chose to invest in tooling to manufacturing their own hubs, as well as the carbon rim. They partnered with HT for their spokes.

The brands' more aggressive wheels come with the Maul name and include the Maul DH and the Maul Trail—which they state can do anything up to competitive enduro racing. The rim profile in these wheels is the same, but the layup is different for the DH version in an effort to account for the extra abuse that downhill has on a wheel. On the topic of DH, Harry Molloy’s rider led, FS Patrol Funn World Cup team are on the Spēd wheels for 2017. With the changes to the layup, there is a claimed difference of about 80g between the two Maul rim variations and the full DH wheelset weighs in at a claimed 1,975g while the Trail wheels weigh in at a claimed 1,775g.

Sp d Precision Maul wheels
  A look at the Maul DH front hub.

Sp d Precision Maul wheels
Sp d Precision Maul wheels


Aside from the changes to the rim layup, the only other difference is in the hub spacing options, with the driver and the spokes in each being the same. Both wheelsets are built with 28 straight-pull, HT spokes (while the XC wheels are built with 24 spokes in the front and 28 in the rear) and they include a socketed spoke nipple, which is said to make it easier to build a wheel or replace spokes.

A lot of the quality control on the wheel build comes into play at the spoke interface. Spēd’s rims contain a supported, reinforced nipple support that is directional to match spoke entry, which Spēd claim that along with their own manufactured hub, creates a more controlled wheel build. They mentioned that one reason for this is the nipples fit flush against the rim bed, rather than being pulled to an angle and only having a portion of the nipple contacting the surface, ensuring a better interface.

Sp d Precision Maul wheels
  The supported, reinforced, directional nipple support to match spoke entry.


The rim bed is also a little different too, with the inclusion of a four degree angled tire bed to help with seating the tires, and a bead hook—each, they claim to help with tire security as well. Spēd decided to use a bead hook after seeing elite level riders burping or rolling tires completely off their hookless rims, even going so far as mentioning that some riders may even be using materials such as silicone in hopes of keeping the tires in place. Including the bead hook, the internal width of the Maul’s is 28mm, and 30mm without the hook.

Sp d Precision Maul wheels
  The four-degree slant to the tire bed of the Maul rims.


The internal width was a process too and rather than picking a number that seems like it would sell well, Spēd mentioned that they instead worked with tire manufacturers to find an optimal width for competition size tires (2.3"–2.4"). Sample tires were also mounted and tested during the process, allowing the brand to be sure that they seated well to the rim and provided a good profile.

The Maul wheel builds each use the same rear driver, which is a fairly impressive looking unit in and of itself. It contains an oversized race that butts against a large bearing inside the drive-side of the hub. The hub consists of 6 pawls, each double stepped and supported by another good size bearing. The pawls are offset so that three are engaged on 42t drive ring in the hub shell, and create 3.5 degrees of engagement.

Sp d Precision Maul wheels
  Sped's six-pawl double step Maul hub driver.


The Maul DH wheels retail for $1,900 USD and the Maul Trail retail for $1,750 USD. The Sparth XC wheels are built with all of the same ideas as the Maul, only in a slimmer, lighter package. The driver is more traditional, but said to still be a completely reliable system and includes four pawls and 4.1 degrees of engagement. The rim is a lower profile to save weight and comes in at 1,370g for the 27.5” and 1,420g for the 29. While working with the tire manufacturers on the XC rims a 1.9" wide tire was used and resulted in a 21mm internal width for the rim. These retail for $1,550 USD.

The wheels are available in all of the modern hub offerings and we’ll be putting a set of the Maul Trail wheels to the test in the very near future. For more on the wheels, you can check out their website.



MENTIONS: @SpedPrecision



Must Read This Week

63 Comments

  • + 44
 $1900 buys quite a lot of alloy rims and j-bend spokes.
  • - 6
flag WrenchRy87 (Apr 21, 2017 at 5:21) (Below Threshold)
 How many 3.5 degree hubs does it buy?
  • + 7
 If you want straight spokes and carbon rims they are all useless though ;-)
  • + 8
 @WrenchRy87: For ~$1,111 USD LB, North America will build a set of hoops with i9 hubs.
  • + 1
 @corvus1: Yeah, but the craftsmanship that goes into these wheels seems to be second to known. The innovation with the spoke beds being angled, and that they double checked the profile of the tires to get the perfect width is impressive. The i9 wheels are equally as impressive, but if you go with i9's carbon wheelset they are even more expensive than these. I'm honestly surprised they are not more expensive, when you consider when an ENVE on Chris King's costs. Depending on how these hold up, I'd almost rather save the $500-600 over the ENVE's.

@Jubbylinseed: Aluminium rims are so good nowadays because of the relatively expensive $1000-$1500 aluminium wheelsets of 10 years ago. We all thought those were crazy-expensive then, but they are the reason you can get a $400 alu wheelset now and it's the quality it is.
  • + 2
 @mackster23: agreed. Personally, I wouldnt shell out 2k for wheels but these rims are very clearly a big step up from my lb rims
  • + 2
 @WrenchRy87: For $600 you can get a Bontrager Line wheelset with 29mm internal rim width and a 3 degree hub.
  • + 1
 What's with all this 28 hole straight pull
  • + 3
 @mackster23: I don't need the latest innovation I need robust light wheels I can afford. 3yrs+ of regular riding on some Light Bicycle rims and Hope hubs build up for under $900. Excellent wheels so I just built up a second set.
  • + 1
 @vikb: But these rims won't de-laminate at the spoke holes like LB rims do. LB also does not do proper R&D, using the customer as the tester. Knowing that the layup was done by a professional laminator instead of disposable labor makes a HUGE difference. I know, as I laminated carbon aircraft parts (spars).
  • + 2
 @HerrDoctorSloth: I'm 3yrs in on my first set of LBs. We have 5-6 other sets in our riding group all 3yrs+ old. So far zero damage. Zero problems and everyone is stoked to buy more LB as they need new wheels. We ride Coastal BC trails at home and vacation in UT/AZ. So they see year round use and abuse.
  • + 1
 @vikb: Good to know, glad to hear it!
  • + 25
 What, no poster or t-shirt?
  • + 3
 And enough stickers for a house.
  • + 18
 Wait what. 1.9" tyre??? Is this the 90's??
  • + 14
 Someone tell me if this is unreasonable... 1,775g for a carbon trail wheelset, when an Stans Arch/Hope Pro 4 build is 1,792g. I'm the extra THOUSAND POUNDS was worth it.
  • + 6
 Although I'm not ready yet to jump onto the carbon rim train, people I know who've been trying/ riding some argue that a gain is very noticeable. Weight is only a part of the answer ( marginal here), the other one being stiffness and reactivity. Even if the weight is the same, do not forget that different materials involve different characteristics and behaviours under load. I thing that where the increased performance is, if any.
Hard not to be weight weeny though . Smile
  • + 9
 @polarproton: A lot of this reactivity thing is BS when your putting 2.4-5 inch tires inflated to 24 psi on your "stiff" rims.
  • + 5
 @polarproton: I ended up with carbon rims on my Altitude simply by chance. Local shop "loaned" me a set when my stock rear wheel exploded, then offered me the carbon wheels at a price I couldn't pass up (well played, shop!). My stock wheels were fairly decent aluminum, but switching to carbon hoops... "Night and day difference" is a VAST understatement. They weigh slightly less which does help, but the stiffness is what carbon's got going for it. So worth it.

Performance aside, I'd never pay the prices these "high end" wheelsets cost. Get yourself a set of Light Bicycle rims and have some beers afterword! Can't say enough good things about LB.
  • + 0
 @MTBrent: In what situations can you feel the difference in stiffness? I keep reading about this but my gut feeling is that I couldn't create visible flex in my ALU Spanks if I tried (although I haven't).
  • + 2
 This is keeping me up at night , which is heavier 1775gr of carbon or 1775gr of aluminium ?
  • + 11
 "The hub consists of 6 pawls, each double stepped and supported by another good size bearing. The pawls are offset so that three are engaged on 42t drive ring in the hub shell, and create 3.5 degrees of engagement."

I'm getting a different number.
6 pawls offset (2 pairs of 3 offset by 1/2 a tooth) effectively doubles the amount of teeth, so that would be 42x2 = 84 teeth. 360 degrees divided by 84 teeth = 4.2857 degrees of engagement (round up to 4.3).

The Maul hub driver looks like it's derived from Novatec technology. The bearing, circlip, pawls, springs, and the piece which they sit in look identical to the Novatec X4 Type cassette body used in the D542SB and XD602SB hubs. Just the flange that sits against the side of the pawls looks a bit different. Not a bad thing at all, just an observation.
  • + 3
 I'm getting the same numbers as you. Can't figure out how they ended up with 3.5 degrees.
  • + 4
 @lRaphl: presumably PB just repeated ad verbatim what they were told :-/
  • + 2
 @hungrymonkey: I guess.

3.5 degrees of engagement = 102,85714285714285714285714285714 POE.

Where is the missing 0,14285714285714285714285714285714 POE? Wink
  • + 1
 This is how Spēd calculate their engagement: 42 ring teeth/6 pawls = 7 degrees, 7 degrees/2 phases (3 pawls per phase) =3.5 degrees
  • + 5
 @AJBarlas: You're getting the same results as them but it's defenitly not the right way to calculate the number of degrees per engagement.
  • + 4
 @lRaphl: There appears to be even more WTF to this...that freehub is quite clearly the Novatec "Synergy" six-pawl hub used in the D542sb "Cantilever" hub. Looking at the website, the rear hub appears to actually be a straight-pull version of the D542sb, in fact. I have two of these (j-bend flange version) in my shop right now and they are in fact 88 poe (44 teeth six-pawl). What's even more interesting is that the two pawl sets are not exactly 1/2-tooth offset from each other...that means that the degree of rotation between POE's alternates...it's not even. It results in a "clickclick clickclick clickclick" sound when rotated slowly.

Regardless it is a very precise and nearly bulletproof hub. Very high quality and not that expensive.
  • + 2
 Who gives a rats ass about degrees of engagement, go ride your bike.
  • + 2
 @TheRaven: So a good way to make a big profit from a high priced wheelset!
  • + 2
 @joose: Bike nerds (like me), that's who.
  • + 3
 @TheRaven: so, you aren't going to ride your bike then??
  • + 6
 @joose: HAHA no I still ride. I was going to say that but I thought my comment had more impact without it.

In the end I do "just ride my bike"...but when i'm not riding i'm a real gear geek.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: Good round dude, I was expecting a good rebudle. We are all gear heads inside. I'll have to de-engineer their hub on lunch.
  • + 1
 @lRaphl: Yes, that's how they are doing it, not how we do it. We get the same numbers as mentioned here in the comments.
  • + 2
 @AJBarlas: WTF? This can't be real. High school dimensional analysis should tell them this is a load of crap calculation. 1 degree = 1 tooth/pawl...? And them some shit about pawls per phase? Uuh.. Yeah bro... and here I thought circles and the number 360 had to come into play somewhere.
  • + 9
 Carbon wheels are like arse holes. Every manufacturer has one.
  • + 2
 ...and they're all at least 584mm in diameter?
  • + 1
 and do they all stink?
  • + 9
 Woo! Yeah! More carbon wheels! Just what we need! I'm pumped!
  • + 1
 "While working with the tire manufacturers on the XC rims a 1.9" wide tire was used and resulted in a 21mm internal width for the rim"... What tire manufacturers? And when? Did they use a time machine to travel 15+ years back to consult tire manufacturers, when 1.9" wide XC tires where all the rage? And 21mm internal width rims, even for XC?... Really? That's Spēd Precision's idea of entering the market with a bang?..
  • + 1
 Hi Everyone,
We just woke up from a midnight run from Monterey and have some time to answer a few questions while we take a break from unloading the van. Feel free to post a few questions and we will try and get back to some of them over the next few days.
-Why we are doing what we are doing with all the wheels out there..
-What our design philosophy is..
-Questions on shape etc...

We are an open book here and working on getting a world cup level wheelset into your hands at a real world price.
Want our riders and customers to see the engineering they are paying for instead of just taking a brochures word for it.

Look forward to talking to some of you guys(and gals)

Thanks for stopping by..

Sped Precision
  • + 1
 1,975g CARBON DH wheelset ? Where the f*ck did all of that weight come from ?
Or you can spend about 1/3 less and buy yourself a mavic deemax wheelset which weighs 1,965 grams which has an alloy rim and is still somehow lighter and probably better Wink
  • + 1
 Hopetech's on some mavics or stans are my go to. With how often standards change these days, you would have to be a dummy to spend this kinda cash. Definitly will be obsolete in like 2 years time regardless.
  • + 1
 So that corp is essentially a marketing front for Taiwanese sweatshop produce. Good luck with that - I will keep buying Novatec original wheelsets at 1/5 cost. 1600$ for a brandsticker is quite a ripoff..
  • + 4
 steel is the new carbon, waiting for cr mo ultralight rims eh eh
  • + 3
 They named it Sped!!! lol lol lol
  • + 1
 The company's founder is no rookie to the industry,"

Absolutely.
Mallets underfoot? Same gentleman.
  • - 1
 If all those damn dentists would stop buying these carbon wheels, maybe the overpricing would stop. Have you been to the dentist lately?Bring your checkbook and be prepared to cry.
  • + 10
 Try bringing your insurance card instead and save yourself some tears.
  • + 4
 @SlodownU: A lot of folks bring their insurance card and then pull out their checkbook when their deductible is the same value as a pair of these Sped wheels.
  • + 1
 straight pull spokes!? Argggh.... this set is more of a Ride till Spoiled then Throw. Gimme an ARC30 anytime.
  • + 1
 Whats that...£1500 roughly??
  • + 1
 1n a half bontrager carbon wheelset. Or 2 light bicycle wheelset..
  • + 4
 @scar4me: or a handbuilt wheelset with hope pro4 hubs
  • + 0
 You can get a pair of carbon Roval sl fatties for less than these aluminum wheels. I'll pass.
  • + 0
 Typo, didn't mean to say aluminum.
  • - 1
 It seems that with the ever increasing widths of rims there is no major weight saving over alloy anymore. Except in your wallet.
  • + 1
 Is there that many people buying carbon wheels?
  • - 1
 What's up with all the wheels all of a sudden? Is it pinkwheels now?
  • - 3
 its not as bad as every bike review being a 29er lately. if the 2008 version of pinkbike were around itd kick 2017s ass. seriously i never thought this is what it would come to.
  • + 3
 Not all of us can ride a bike without wheels

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