Review: Spank 359 Downhill Wheels - Alloy Wheels Turned up to 11

Aug 31, 2023 at 18:52
by Henry Quinney  
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When recently reviewing some E13 LG1 Race wheels, one name came up in the comments several times - Spank. Yes, I think there is a leaning towards alloy wheels within the Pinkbike community, and not without fair reasoning, but the kudos going to these wheels felt too intriguing to ignore.

I might be going against the grain here, and indeed the feelings of the very community that I'm trying to serve, but I do quite like carbon wheels. Not just for their feel, or any one particular ride characteristic, but rather because they don't ding or dent.

Spank 359 Vibrocore Details
• Wheel size tested: 29/27.5"
• Intended use: Downhill
• Rim dimension: 30.5mm width, 19mm profile
• Hubs: Spank Hex 3.5° engagement
• Weight: 2199g total (actual)
• MSRP: $349.99 front / $479.99 rear
• More info: spank.com

In fact, in my experience, the only way to guarantee imminent wheel failure is to wax lyrical about how reliable they are on a podcast and then wait for wheel failure to strike at the most inopportune times.

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However, when weight isn't so much of an priority you can build them both strong and heavy. Unburdened by the restriction of gram hunting, I've enjoyed great success with carbon wheels on downhill bikes. After testing the E13 wheels, and having a really positive experience, going to the alloy Spank models I wanted to not only compare ride quality but also longevity. Because, so far, a carbon wheel that has had no breakages or issues is quite a hard prospect to find fault with. That said, it isn't particularly difficult to find fault with the price tag that could be nearing $2,000 USD.

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Much in the same way that carbon wheels were once novel, I think you could argue that Spank's approach is also novel and features some fresh takes. Firstly, these wheels feature Vibrocore. This is essentially a pressurized foam inside the rim. Why? Well, to reduce and deaden vibration. It might sound trivial, but Spank is all in on this tech. It works in a way similar to how you might try and reduce echo in a room by putting padding on the walls. Secondly, they have no interest in making carbon wheels. Thirdly, in the same way some notable bike brands from Taiwan also make frames for customer brands, Spank does the same for other wheel brands.

Claims, specs, and making rims for the great and the good are one thing, but let's look at these wheels in particular.

Design & Specs

At the heart of these wheels are the 102T, 6-pawl 3.5-degree Engagement Hex rear hub. The engagement is fast, and the hubs sing out in a characterful ring. They're less of a dull clack and are more of a high-pitched clicking. When going to more teeth on a ratchet, it can be the case that these teeth have to become shallower by their design. This can then mean that there is a risk of slipping or intermittent drive. To get around this, the freehub uses 6 independent pawls with 3 steps per pawl. This means there are 18 engagement points per click, and this should safeguard against any slipping.

The hubs, front and rear, are J-bend. That, coupled with alloy rims probably says something about these wheel's intentions and the core mountain bikers these are being aimed at. The hubs can go between 150 or 157 mm spacing and the endcaps to change between were supplied.

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The wheels have an easy-to-interpret rating system. This rating puts in simple terms what the wheels are able to withstand. According to Spank these wheels will work well for a rider of any weight under heavy impacts. In fact, kudos to Spank for a well-sorted website and copy. I know it seems small, but all the information is clear and concise. In recent years, mountain bike websites have started to feel like you have front-row tickets to a David Copperfield light show. The simple clarity of the Spank website was something of a tonic when looking up tech specs.

The wheels on test were 32 hole rims, with triple-butted spokes and brass nipples. Should you choose, these wheels are available without the Vibrocore foam for $20 less. Spank puts a lot of the details you would want or need on the hubs or rims, such as something like ERD. However, I wouldn't be opposed to them marking flange diameter too while they're at it.

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Test Setup

These wheels have been used over the peak months of summer riding in Whistler Bike Park. While it hasn't been wet, it's certainly been dry, dusty, and rough. The wheels have been mounted to Specialized's Cannibal tires in 2.4", or my favorite, the 2.4" Maxxis DHR2. The 29er Cannibal tire weighs 1397 grams. It's well-damped and incredibly supportive. My experience with the tire is that it can feel wooden at higher pressures but when getting down to 25 psi and lower it really comes alive. I run the same pressures in both front and rear. When on the Maxxis tires, I would run 26 psi front and rear in the 2.4" width downhill casing. I do tend to find the Maxxis sidewall slightly less supportive for all-out ability at withstanding compressions, but I also find it a slightly more malleable and better tracking casing at lower speeds. Both are good but, much like the compression damping in your suspension, more damping is better at high speed and less can feel like it offers more grip at lower ones.

These wheels were tested on a Santa Cruz V10. I love this bike. During testing, the difference in feeling when doing back-to-back testing with the E13 carbon wheels on the same tires was stark (during back-to-back I used the DHR2). I tried to experiment to see if I could show this with a BYB Telemetry kit but sadly I couldn't extract anything conclusive. I was hoping to see a difference in axle speed on high-speed chatter but it was just too difficult to replicate, as well as control line choice and pressures to within tolerance.

The bikes came pre-taped with valves installed. Tire installation was a breeze.

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On the Trail

These wheels offer a muted and controlled ride. Ultimately, they're not that stiff but it wouldn't be right to call them flexy either. I would say they're very middle of the road in this regard. They are noticeably less stiff than the E13 wheels and lack that sharp, precise feeling that a carbon rim can give, but so too do they forgo that bite-back you can get with a stiff wheel.

While I did notice the flex, I wouldn't say it was light-years ahead in terms of radial flex or comfort through the big chunder. If mountain biking was just taking straight-on hits that only require radial flex then I think the carbon wheels do a great job. The difference is when the wheels have to manage both direct and twisting forces at the same time. These wheels handle torsional load very well and have a great amount of flex for keeping momentum when taking off camber hits, like when you are at risk of getting pushed off line or coping with harsh braking bumps and setting up for a turn

Is the Vibrocore a silver bullet in terms of comfort? Truthfully I can't discern that. They do offer comfort and I would say that these are more comfortable than the LG1 Race wheels in some instances, but it's not universal - and on square edges when the bike is lined up on its y-axis, any benefit is negligible or non-existent. Plus, all the gains in comfort are bought and paid for with what's given away in steering precision, compared to a stiffer carbon rim.

What this wheelset excels at is granting the rider less deflection through choppy terrain. Does that come with less precision? Yes, especially in high-load turns that want to chew you up and spit you out. But if you're a rider who likes fast, techy trails and loves getting yourself into trouble on rough trails, and then getting yourself back out of it again, it's probably a worthwhile trade-off. The 359s are not so razor-sharp as some stiffer wheels, and in the right situation that's not a bad thing.

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Durability

These wheels have been great at taking a beating. There have been square hits, side-glancing hits, front-and-rear-all-at-once hits, and both wheels still spin true. I did have to retension the rear once, but when I did so the bike was still very much rideable. With a tire fitted at 25 psi, the spokes had a deflection reading of around 15, as opposed to the 20-25 that it should read. (I tend to measure spoke flex with tires installed at pressure as the compressing force of the inflated tire can change spoke tension quite significantly). It was an easy-to-remedy problem though and I think in keeping with my expectations of a downhill wheel.

When driving the bike into compressions through the apex of catches on Whistler downhill, one of my favorite test tracks, the front has felt like it has hit nothing but pure rock. The ability of this alloy wheel to shrug off this style of hits, the type that in my experience usually ends up with a dented or buckled rim, is very impressive.

The hubs sometimes squeal, which is annoying. Quickly pulling them apart remedies it though.



Pros

+ Strong and reliable
+ Blends torsional and radial stiffness well
+ Comfortable through chunder

Cons

- Not the most responsive to steering inputs in high-load turns
- Intermittent squeal from hub seals



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe 359s blend some interesting features with the style of wheel that your average mountain biker loves. A simple and effective product that represents what the right blend of design, clear language, and familiar technology can achieve, all at a price around half of what a carbon wheelset might set you back. Is the Vibrocore revolutionary? I'm not sure it is, but I also don't think it has to be - it's more about maximizing the package of an alloy wheelset than trying to fundamentally reestablish what an alloy rim can or should do. Henry Quinney


Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
324 articles

197 Comments
  • 75 13
 My son's had multiple replacements of his spank wheels, and they all fail in the same way. Where they're joined/glued they come apart and then don't hold air. The mechanics at Angelfire said they see it constantly with Spank rims. One replacement started coming apart again within a week or putting it on. No thanks... DT Swiss 541 from here on.
  • 14 5
 I had the same experience. On the first ride, the joint started to become unglued and separated. I was told no warranty as the separation was caused by an impact. I will never buy a spank product again.
  • 16 0
 Is that on the same model Spank wheel as reviewed? IE, is he using Oozy trail wheels in DH settings?
  • 10 4
 I had one set of Spank wheels and they are the weakest I've ever used. The hub was decent, but the rim and its construction was lack luster at best.
  • 5 3
 Heard great things about Spank, put a set on my Stumpjumper and I think I probably got two months of riding before a wobble developed that my LBS could never get out. Can't say I would use durable to describe my experience with Spank wheels. Granted the EX-511 is about the only alloy wheel that i haven't bent or broken, but Spank came in well below my expectations.
  • 4 0
 @iian: My experience was with the 350. It has the same "laminated" joint that you can see on the 3rd picture down in the article, though.
  • 7 0
 For what its worth, WTB rims have the same problem. The rim seam just doesn't hold.
  • 8 0
 I flatspotted numerous spank rims, switched to a ex 427 and its lasted way longer than any spank so far, and that's saying something because i built it myself
  • 18 7
 Spank and WTB. the softest tacos around
  • 11 0
 Welded rims are always worth the extra €€££$$ over sleeved options
  • 12 1
 Dissapointing to see this issue repeated so frequently, I want to love Spank wheels... I had the same issue, though. Aired up a brand new wheel, and actually watched the seam separate...then the tire blew off the rim and I had to pick Stans out of my beard with my ears ringing. Warranty process was fine, and the next several years on that wheelset was trouble free... but I wouldn't want to risk it again.
  • 8 1
 @gearbo-x: a lot of the rims at WTB are soft, but the KOM Tough series and HTZ hold up really well. Not quite as nice as DT EX511 though.
  • 26 0
 These wheels are really getting a spanking in the comments...
  • 6 0
 No other way than to be blunt about this, but from what I've seen the mechanics at Angelfire bike shop aren't good at building wheels. Seen many wheels built by them come apart (regardless of brand) quite quickly
  • 8 1
 For the last 2 years I've been riding Spank Spike 26" rims of this generation with "glued" joint, at 15 up to 34psi, all year long through -5°C to hot summer temps, without any issues. I think they have superb performance to weight ratio.
Before Spikes, I literally bashed 26" Tweet Tweet rims for 10 years, a bit heavier but bombproof rims.
  • 2 0
 @IsaacWislon82: I don't think they were referencing wheels they've built... just talking about blown-up wheels of customers they've seen come into the shop. They've never built any wheels for me, but the dudes in that shop are super cool and have always done great (and not insanely-priced cosidering... bike park) work for me.
  • 5 0
 @Hogfly: isn’t that a sleeved joint with no glue/lamination at all? I thought that spank says it’s supposed to move and it’s okay for the sticker to break. Issues with tubeless seem more like problems taping than with the rim, in my experience. I’ve had to use 35mm tape on a 30mm internal rim to get full coverage.
  • 3 1
 It's not just the rims. The hubs are junk too. I stripped the ratchet ring out of the shell of one of their hubs - I'm a fairly powerful rider, but I'm not Robert Forstemann or Dangerholm. I've not done it to any other hub before or since. Spank didn't want to know.
  • 2 0
 @Phaethon85: Disagree. My KOM tough underwent almost complete separation after a small impact (with Rimpact insert). Yes I'm a somewhat heavy and rowdy rider, but this was on an XC course... Very disappointed.
  • 1 0
 The FR 541s on Onyx hubs struggle to stay true and dent free on my RM Altitude powerplay. Wish I went carbon tbh.
  • 8 0
 I've been running 32h (non-vibrocore) 359s laced to Onyx hubs for a little over 3 years (>3000 miles) across 3 different bikes (hardtail/120/170). Always with CushCore Pro in the rear, variety of tires (EXO/DD/Enduro casing). No park, lot of rocks/roots/high speeds.

Rear finally developed a wobble after experimenting with low pressures in rocky terrain. Started breaking spokes after 3 years. The rim is pretty hammered but no problems at the joint.

Replaced the rear rim with another 359. Front 359 still going strong. Chips in the logo finish and scratches/nicks is all.

Ran an Oozy Trail345 for a while after killing a RF rim on a different bike. Rode that for a few years, including a decent amount of park. Was in good shape when I sold that bike.
  • 9 0
 been using 359's on my DH/Enduro bikes, zero issues
  • 5 0
 Angelfire is so fun. Just got back. Except that drop on Iced Tea that is actually a gap.. f***er almost killed me lol
  • 3 0
 @dresendsit: lulz. I slow rolled that stupid drop and landed rear wheel straight on the knuckle so hard that my goggles flew off my helmet.
  • 4 0
 @Symmech: 541 rocks for downhill. we replace rear rim every year. well worth the $150.00
  • 9 0
 @ratedgg13: Feel free to disagree, I've had 3 sets of them on different wheels and use them for downhill. They ding up and such but I have yet to have a failure at a seam. In other news, I saw 3 We Are One rims crack in the last month on various friend's bikes and my Chinese carbon rims are holding up fine after 3 years. It seems like no matter how robust a rim is, that they cannot survive worst case scenarios.
  • 1 1
 @iian: I kinda had the same issue with my Oozy 345’s. I love the way they ride, and had my local bike shop lace them up to some “modern” hubs, just to claim they wouldn’t seal, or even seat!
I sent pics of the suspect seam to Spank support, and he said it looks fine- meant to have some movement.
After trying again, we got them to seat, and seal, and they’ve been good ever since. And I do stupid things on a short travel bike..
The trade-off of comfort and control is right on the money for my, and with my carbon frame and Trust Message fork, the lateral stiffness seems totally up to the task. Sorry, but I love them..
  • 2 2
 @IsaacWislon82: Right!
And the mechanic that installed my new Specialized Eliminators on my Spank Oozy 345’s was an idiot, and was fired soon after he failed to get my tire mounted. He blamed everything on the seam, and now I’m running them hard for two seasons already.
Simply put- when airing up a tire on a Spank rim, pay extra attention to the tire staying concentric on the rim. Might take two tries instead of one..
  • 9 0
 Tell your kid to stop casing jumps!
  • 3 1
 For me they've been great. Sad to hear about your experience though! Was it the same rim?
  • 3 0
 @lukeb: I bought a used rear Spank hub for my bike build- excellent condition…
It was clean, too clean, all four bearings were destroyed.
Funny, I’ve been running my other Spank hubs for years with no issues. Lucky for me, my SRAM hub adapter fit right in.
Just two bearings to swap, rather than four.
I never use a high pressure washer.. Coincidence?
  • 5 0
 @Glenngineer: so you've had a SpankBang?
  • 1 0
 @Hogfly can't say that I have experienced this problem. But at 150lb, fully kitted I taco'd a brand new front wheel loading it up in a berm. A week later, the rear did the same thing. They did warranty one, and the other on crash, which is complete BS. Will never buy Spank wheels again. Don't mind their Vibrocore handlebars though.
  • 1 2
 had this happen to me too. a little jb weld and the glued junction on the rim there and you are good for the rest of the life of the rim
  • 1 0
 @lukeb: I have done the same, these new hubs are different than the one I stripped though.
  • 1 0
 Yep same with me. I won’t buy spank rims again
  • 9 0
 @IsaacWislon82: I’m surprised by the comments, I’ve built two sets of wheels with these, and haven’t had a single issue. I’ve been riding both sets for over a year now without any issues. Both are set up tubeless and have had multiple hard rides on them. It could be bad wheel building causing failures. I’ve been building wheels for a long time and I’m rarely impressed with factory built wheels. The spoke tension is almost always way off. However there are many complaints on here so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that mine will not come apart.
  • 4 0
 @jhess8: spank spoon hubs are practically bomb proof I love mine but I have them laced to some sun ringle rims
  • 2 0
 @laerz: I'm in the same boat, I've had 3 sets of spank wheels over the years and the only one that gave me issues was the one built by spank. The ones I've built myself have been great
  • 3 0
 @mhoshal: I've had great luck with their spike 33 race wheels too- the same wheel Amaury Pierron won the 2018 DHWC overall on FWIW. Paired it with a 359 up front for a little more compliance where you need it, I think its a great combo
  • 4 13
flag upundu (Nov 1, 2023 at 21:34) (Below Threshold)
 I refuse to buy anything spank just based on their names. Spank? Oozy? Never paying money for anything with those stupid words on them. I don’t even think I’d run them if they were free.
  • 2 1
 @upundu: so im assuming you dreamt up some Context huh? funny stuff, hope you dont own a slash,
Given the flag im sure you own an American made bike?
  • 3 0
 Have put over 15,000 trail miles on a set of Oozy 295 trail wheels with zero rim joint issues. Tacoed first front rim by rolling big rock into it, replaced it with another 295 and years later wheels are still going strong. They now have a good many dings and dents, but still hold air & even spoke tension and feel as round & true as the two carbon wheelsets they share time with in my quiver. Compared to most other aluminum rims I've built with over last 4 decades, the 295s use a rather stiff alloy that tends to kink rather than bend smoothly. This makes it much tougher to straighten dings at the bead w/ crescent wrenches, but they've lasted far longer than any alloy MTB wheel I've owned. If I need to build another wheelset and carbon rims are not in the budget, Spank is right up there with DT at the top of the list of alloy rims I trust to go the distance.
  • 1 0
 Same here! spank destroyed by 14year old on local trails. No response from spank whatsoever!
  • 1 0
 @fluider: yep same here. Been building wheels with Spank spike rims and Hope hubs now for years. Both 26” and 27.5” and they both have done several seasons of DH and enduro riding and racing with zero issues. These rims are the best bang for the buck out there.
  • 33 3
 Why do I need a DH wheel with 102 POE? Seriously, unless a DH track throws in an unexpected trials course in the middle I’m fairly certain a DH wheel would be better off with less so as not to be influenced by anti squat. Cue O-chain comments in 3,2,1
  • 3 0
 I did one run without a chain once. Was so silent, I loved it.
  • 6 3
 Came here to ask that exact question. Regardless of pedal kickback, less POE could mean either less drag or better durability. 102 POE is overkill on most trail bikes, let alone a DH bike.
  • 13 1
 People like buzzing noises for whatever reason
  • 3 1
 @jlauteam1: sounds like a cobra rattler
  • 2 0
 Exactly. Not to mention that engagement matters less and less when speed and gearing increases.
  • 5 0
 @DaneL: cough cough... 690 PoE goes bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Big Grin
  • 8 2
 Insane engagement is a weird modern trend. I can see it being important in xc, trials and trail riding that involves technical climbing, but for enduro and dh it's completely counter-productive. Just get a dt350 with reasonable drive rings and never worry about pedal kick or having to get an O-chain.
  • 6 0
 @Darwin66: I think any trail that has significant technical climbs it's a lot nicer having decent engagement so you can ratchet through stuff better. Most of my rides are like 40min climb minimum and far less time to get back down and one main climb route is nonstop rocks. I like a high engagement hub. I don't care at all at the bike park.
  • 9 2
 It's not cut and shut regarding engagement's effect on suspension feel and really depends on the speed you're going. I totally know what you’re getting at though. I imagine a brand like Spank invests a lot in one tech, and they simply want to get as much return for that investment as possible by bringing to as many varients as they can, and who can blame them? I think it's the obvious thing for a business to do.
  • 3 0
 @jlauteam1: Drowns out the myriad expensive-sounding noises coming from every other part of my bike...
  • 2 1
 @Darwin66: you need to combine with other modern trends to get the full benefit. Get a high pivot frame to eliminate the kickback!
  • 2 5
 All pawl hubs with really high engagement blow out after a few hard years.

Want faster engagement than you need? I9, but you’ll burn up bearings, snap axles and/or break the drive ring (which you can’t service yourself.

Want fast enough engagement and bulletproof function? DT star ratchet hub, laced to a DT rim.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: I just had my dream set built and I just stuck to DT 350 hubs for this reason
  • 2 0
 I do like higher POE on my bikes that I do technical climbing with. Which is only one of my bikes. And when I say "high", I have a 42 POE Hope on that bike and it is totally fine. I have had hubs with more POE, but they didn't aid me any more than 42 has.

I don't need high POE hubs on the road, at all. That trend is also silly. My deep Roval wheels have 36 tooth and that is more than enough. 66 on the Zipps is a waste. Just more drag.

I'd rather have a 36 POE DT on a DH bike.
  • 19 0
 I've had various Spank rims built to Hope hubs on all my bikes for years, my go to setup, been really reliable, good value, light and beadbite holds tubeless tyres on really well, no burping here, my only complaint is i've been wanting to build another set up for a while now and i've really struggled finding stock in the UK, especially as i want the green colour to match what i already have, not sure what's going on with supply, i want to give them money but can't and it's probably going to be worse now Hotlines (uk distrobutor) is tied up in the whole Wiggle CRC fiasco.
  • 4 0
 I had such good luck with the last set of spikes on spank hubs that I just had a set of these wheels built on hopes also. Super stoked to give them a try soon. Spank wheels have been great to me.
  • 3 0
 I love my Spank Spike 33 wheelsets I built. Strong and with reasonable weight. The bead bite really holds the sidewall beads in and it's hard to get the tire off, which is a good thing. I've never had burps even with the Michelin Force tire that didn't seem to pop in place with the initial blast of air. The only thing I dislike about the Spank rims is the Oozy wavy internal profile. It's really hard to tape and it's hard to get a good seal at the valve hole once the sealant starts to dry out. Other than that, the tire seals really well even without sealant (to see how long the tubeless setup is before adding sealant).
  • 9 0
 The Spank rims call for triple butted spokes like Alpine 3s. 25 on the park tool gauge is about 160 kgf on an alpine, way over the maximum 130 high tension side recommended max without a tire. They also require tension within like 5 percent deviation, and are actually round enough to do that. As by some comments about Angelfire bike park, clearly letting them run to lower tensions like 15 (60 kgf average) is a bad idea- bike park rentals aren't the best kept though...
  • 4 0
 Poor spoke tension is the bane of Spank's otherwise great 350 and 359 rims
  • 3 0
 I used quite high tension for the rear wheel at around 120kgf and 125kgf with asymmetrical bracing. On the front wheel, I use less tension at around 90kgf and 100kgf with symmetrical bracing. Both wheels use Sapim Race double butted spokes with washers and 3-Crossed. My wheelsets are fairly strong and still true after one full season. These are the older Spank Spike 33's. Love'm! The worst thing you can do to wheels is to lace them with low tension.
  • 8 0
 I’ve run a set of Spank 350 vibracore rims on i9 1/1 hubs since last August, hand built at LBS, zero issues of any kind. Both wheels true after a year of riding. Props to the LBS on the quality build. They’re a gateway drug from crap OEM spec to a quality wheel; good enough for me given the budget, will happily buy again.
Why the i9 hubs? Parts availability last summer, was my only option to get riding again. Never going back.
  • 9 0
 A good wheel builder is worth his/her weight in gold!
  • 1 0
 My LBS built me a rear Spank 350 w/ DT hub about a year ago and it’s been great so far. Comments here have me worried though.
  • 2 1
 @VtVolk: if I was worth my weight in gold, I'd be worth right about 5 million dollars. The average life insurance payout after death in the US is 168 000.00$. My takeaway is that you value your wheelbuilder very highly.
  • 8 0
 Been running Spank for a few years now and I’ve noticed:

1. These wheels need consistent spoke tension on the upper end of the spectrum (110-130kgf)
2. The wheels tend to be built poorly, so have them done up properly before riding, and broken in properly.
3. Get them right and they are indestructible.
  • 1 0
 Second this
  • 2 0
 Yeah, I have some 395+ laced with CX-rays on Hope hubs that I've beaten the hell out of on a hardtail on really rocky and rooty terrain.
Have moved them over to my full sus now, and they still holding up great.
  • 15 7
 Truthfully... why would you buy these over the Reserve Aluminum wheels? It seems like a no-brainer to get the set with the lifetime warranty...
  • 32 4
 No-brainer to get the DT rims that won't need any warranty Wink
  • 5 2
 I can't think of a reason, but critical thinking is the other national deficit. We are all just tall children searching for a new way to love our bikes. Harmless fun.
  • 4 0
 Those wheels were reviewed really well, and I can see your point. I really enjoyed riding these wheels and I think they offer something worth considering. There's room for them both in the big world of MTB.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney:
Spank rims, in a word- compliance. I don’t want to give that up for anything, even if it would match the carbon motif of the rest of my bike..
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: It's a shame spank doesn't want to investigate carbon... I've never found a set of Alu wheels that are "twangy" and resonant the way certain carbon wheels can be. Vibracore tech in lightweight carbon hoops could be a neat project...

I've got some spray foam laying around...
  • 1 0
 @ridedigrepeat: lilienthal wheels used to have a carbon model with foam filling however i don't think they still make them.
  • 6 0
 My experience with Spank is the rim and hub is great but their wheel building isn't. Nowadays I build my own wheels, and they hold tension FAR better when they are properly de-stressed, plus good mechanically locking nipples and stans powder help a bunch too. I definitely see a lot of Spank complete wheels lose tension due to poor wheel building, and thus the rim suffers far more abuse which is just frustrating to see a brand ruin an otherwise good product like that
  • 3 0
 I always have a few rides an then take new wheels for my builder to have a final tweek after spoke heads an nipples have bedded in
  • 2 0
 its amazing how strong even a crappy wheel can be with good, even tension.
  • 8 1
 Been thrashing this wheel all summer in the bike parks and it’s held up incredible! Not to mention it feels incredible. Props to Spank!
  • 5 12
flag mi-bike (Nov 1, 2023 at 7:21) (Below Threshold)
 Least you can expect from a 4k wheel.
  • 1 1
 Deleted
  • 4 1
 @mi-bike: what? these are cheap as.
  • 7 2
 I'm a fan of some Spank stuff like their handlebars. IMO Vibrocore is a bit gimmicky though. If you want to reduce vibrations on your bars, ESI Chunky/Extra Chunky grips are a superior solution. If you want to reduce vibrations in your wheel, use inserts.
  • 5 0
 Yeah, I totally agree. Grips and setup are a great place to go to. I would say even things like casing could arguably have a greater impact on comfort than foam on the inside of a handlebar. That said, Spank really believes in it (I genuinely believe they do, and it's not a gimmick in their eyes). Maybe @mattbeer could do round 2 of his comfort bar test, but maybe an alloy version?
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney:
In the moto world, pumping your bars full of silicone used to be a thing.
That’s a lot of liquid grams..
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: it could be a matter of measured vs perceived reduction. Our machines shows XXX value w/o foam and XXX with foam BUT those difference might not be as tangible when applied in real world scenario. Also it seems carbon and alu rims have been more focused in 'comfort' lately so the benefits comparatively probably are not as great as they use to be.
  • 3 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: You're totally right. Whatever it was - these wheels were comfortable and strong. Plus the logo is cool.
  • 1 0
 I feel the same way about butter cups.
  • 1 0
 Blind test needed, tape off the bars so tester can't tell what's on there and do some back to back runs.
  • 6 1
 I've broken every aluminum wheel I've ever owned, cheap or expensive they all break. But going strong for two years on a pair of We Are One Unions.
  • 4 1
 I've had a set of these wheels since 2020. First on my Capra and then moved them over to my Enduro. They have been fantastic for me. Haven't done any maintenance on them until this summer when a rock bent a bunch of spokes.
  • 4 1
 @henryquinney you say:
"(I tend to measure spoke flex with tires installed at pressure as the compressing force of the inflated tire can change spoke tension quite significantly)"

Does any wheel manufacturer say to use that methodology? If they say X tension it is almost certainly just as the rim, spokes and hub. While you are obviously more knowledgeable than me as I've never built a single wheel but that struck me as an interesting point.
  • 4 0
 I've ridden a 359 vibrocore for about 5 months, that's 5 months longer than wheels normally last me. I love it and am gonna run it on all my bikes!
  • 2 0
 Shop around. I got a set of 359 Vibrocore rear and 350 vibrocore front for less than $600cdn pesos. Just got them today, so we'll see how they hold out. They will be going on my short travel trail bike. So I dont expect them to take that much of a beating.
  • 1 0
 Good chance you've already read my many comments on this review, but do yourself a favor and get a solid re-tension after a few hard rides. I love spank rims... but... poor spoke tension will wreck them fast
  • 2 0
 Currently running a couple of rear hex hubs, one red, one blue, one laced with Sapim race spokes one with D-lights both on Spank's spike race 33 rims, built up myself and took my time getting the tensions as even as possible, and they've been faultless, not had a single issue apart from getting the tyre bead to seat, nothing a bit of Fairy liquid can't fix ( other washing up liquid brands also available) in the past I've had issues with plenty rims such as Stan's, arc 30's, WTB, I'd agree DT Swiss rims are hard to beat and I'd definitely put WTB at the bottom of my list, but I rate Spank stuff, it hasn't let me down so far.
  • 3 0
 I been riding spank spike 33 rims for 4 years now. NEVER had a serious issue with them ..That being said I had a flat spot once after a tough case so i changed out the hoops . But 10/10 will buy again
  • 3 0
 I had some Spank wheels years back, they treated me well until the axle broke. Then Spank treated me well (lbs actually), and provided a steel axle to replace the broken aluminium one.
  • 2 0
 I love Spank rims - I rode Oozy 295 back in good old 26" days, my second wheelset ran on Spike 35 Evo and took all the heavy beating. When I swapped to 27,5 I sticked to Spank because of my great experiences with their products. I still run a Oozy 295 in the back - at least some times depending on which tire I want to ride. I have a front wheel with a Oozy 395 for slippery low low pressure riding and another wheelset with Spank Spike 33 for hard riding mounted with DH tires.

They are all doing fine. Only reason I switched to DT Swiss for my 29" enduro bike is because they are cheaper and Spank doesn't do these wonderful colors any more...

@Spank-Ind please bring back those colored rims!
  • 1 0
 I believe we say "rims of color" now
  • 1 0
 I run the 359 on my hard tail single speed... Pretty impressed by the Hex hub (with E-bike/ steal driver body)... I have broken lots of other brands and this one keeps going strong... the rim on the other hand is like any non eyeleted rim... It cracks on the drive side at every spoke hole in time... Spank has been good to me so far about giving me new rims when this happens... My vote for alloy rim is the DT E-532...
  • 6 1
 $349.99 for front wheel is the bona fide steal of the month.
  • 16 1
 UPDATE: Rear wheel has dropped over $4000 in price so front wheel is no longer a steal.
  • 1 0
 Do they sell the rim separately too or are these parts designed to work as a system? Buying complete wheels always seems a bit silly unless it is a really good deal. And I know it is becoming a rare choice among readers on this website, but it would be lovely if they'd release it in 26" tire size too. After all, Spank is one of these brands still pumping out quality 26" rims. This tech seems particularly useful as a rear rim on a hardtail.

As for the rim bed shape, I think it is good to be aware that with some tire inserts it works better than with others. Actually as there isn't one but two (off)center channels, a round insert like Pepi is quite easy to install as it leaves the grooves vacant whereas those with a channel through the (like Tannus) will be a good bit harder to deal with. ProCore is horrible on these.

Yes I'm aware some options mentioned here (26" wheels, tire inserts, hardtails) only apply to a minority of readers. If you're not one of them, don't bother Smile .
  • 4 0
 Yup they sell these as plain rims too and IMO thats the best way to get them, their in-house wheelbuilding is kinda mediocre but the product itself is great. I have a Spike Race 33 rim on the rear and a 359 (non-vibrocore) on the front of my mini-mullet DH bike and its been great, and cost very little to build myself considering the rims are sub-$100
  • 1 0
 I’m not one of them, but I love your posts!
My 345’s were on close out to make room for the new models, and Spank didn’t want to sell them to me! Tried to tell me they wouldn’t work!! They did..
I’ve seen unlaced rims from them- usually around $100. Just make sure they’re the latest greatest!
  • 8 0
 I think it could also be worth noting that if you go rim-only then the vibracore insert also makes building up rims really easy as you can just drop the nipples in without a thought.
  • 1 0
 I had a set of these built up and they’d never stay tensioned. Had to check the wheels every ride and retighten the spokes every other ride. Also couldn’t hold a bead to save its life, would burp around corners with 28 psi and a cushcore
  • 2 0
 the pricepoint is stupid. it's what makes people do the "I'll risk the $300 pp and then if they fail I'll buy another...but in all reality the $300 will probably live the life-span of my frame/bike...so F it."
  • 2 0
 I've run multiple sets of Spank wheelsets (spoon 32 - 26", vibracore 350 - 27.5") on different bikes and I've always been happy with them, however, my favorite wheelset to date is the i9 with hydra hubs.
  • 2 1
 These wheels are quite durable, IF you take care of the spoke tension! That compliance comes with a trade-off that the spokes see much more cyclic loading than other wheels. I ripped spokes out of a 28 hole rear after beating it up for a season with little love: fairly round and straight, but looseness got to it: could see powdered metal all around the holes that blew out and nearby ones.

A 32 hole is holding up much nicer, but still needs way more attention to the spokes than most any carbon rim or a much stiffer alloy rim.

For the price though, even adding in the time spent with spoke wrench and tensiometer, they are great. Hub is bomber, quick, and zippy sounding but not super loud, I expect it to stick around for quite a few rims.
  • 2 0
 No clue what these people are talking about. Oozy 345 were the best rims ever. Oozy 350 are pretty dang good, like what everyone wished the Flow EX was. If you suck at wheelbuilding, they don't last though.
  • 1 0
 If Spank is making rims for other brands, that makes me more confused about Fratelli Industries--their tag has come on every Spank rim I've ever built up. Is this a case of "Fratelli made them for Spank for [OEM brand]"? I like the rims but dislike obfuscation.
  • 2 0
 I think Spank Industries is the consumer facing brand of Fratelli Industries, which also manufactures for other brands. That's my guess at what the relationship is, anyway. Branding can be such a weird exercise.... It's not like I would rather have the large text on my rims say Spank than Fratelli.
  • 2 0
 IIRC Fratelli is the off-shoot of Spank that makes components for others. I think Spank came first? Either way its functionally the same people behind the same company
  • 1 0
 I was under the impression that Fratelli manufactures for Spank. If you are interested in rims from Fratelli, the NS bikes rock rim are a similar product without the silly rim bed profile. Hard to source at the moment, though.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: You don't have to bow down. Just give an actual response to support statements in your work, when someone has a dissenting rhetoric, instead of "I don't think it's like that".

And perhaps correcting mistakes (or "omitting a clear and important word", is that's the way you want to spin it) promptly, that would be nice, too. The Onni article still implies that lower pressure is a way to solve excessive bottoming out, and the Onni gets dinged for that.
  • 6 2
 did they delete all the $4k comments?
  • 1 2
 Yes
  • 9 4
 It looks that way. There were 3 of them a second ago. Apparently Pinkbike will delete comments they don't like. It's relevant to keep comments calling out a typo, even if it has been fixed
  • 1 0
 lmao,
  • 2 0
 Censorship
  • 3 1
 I think because they don't want people harping on editorial errors.

The total price for the wheelset is $800ish.

If suddenly people start talking about how they cost thousands, it might lead readers to believe that's what they cost.
  • 1 0
 I was wondering where my comment went lol
  • 2 2
 @warmerdamj: arguably commenting about a typo is a bad use of this format. It's good to fix the article and remove the low quality comments.
  • 6 0
 @GTscoob: if they're gonna be scrubbing low quality comments there wouldn't be much under each post.
  • 8 0
 Hi, that was my mistake and it wouldn't be fair on a brand if I went spreading fake news due to my sheer incompetence. Thanks for keeping us honest though and helping pick up on these silly mistakes. Cheers!
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: I imagine it is annoying having every part of your work critiqued by a punch of keyboard warriors! Sorry if I ruined your morning with my smartassness.
  • 7 0
 @dmackyaheard: Haha no, not at all. It genuinely is something I'm really grateful for. If I make an error, I want to correct it.

Thanks!
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: so the comment section is actually more trusted than the article above it?
  • 3 2
 @henryquinney: I appreciate the quick fix to the article, but it still seems disingenuous to delete the criticism. I'd rather see a reply to the comment saying the typo was fixed. This sets the precedent that pinkbike can and will delete feedback, which makes it hard to trust that nothing else is being hidden from us.
  • 3 0
 @QuantumIce: Hear, hear. In science class, we learned you don't erase wrong data. You neatly cross it out and write the correct data, but you don't get to pretend it never happened.
  • 4 1
 @QuantumIce: critical feedback is one thing, comments about a typo aren't critical feedback. Your slippery slope doesn't apply here.
  • 2 4
 @fewnofrwgijn: yes, people tend to glance a few sections of the article, then bounce down to the comments to read what people have to say.

If the first comment is about an incorrect price, and that comment string grows, then people might be inclined to believe that's the price.

It also threatens pinkbike's relationship with brands - good or bad review, pricing is a major components of advertising. A company could have a product that doesn't get a glowing review, but is so much cheaper than everything else that people will still buy that product. If consumers think the product is twice the MSRP without ever checking, then they'll never considered it because not only does it have a bad review, but it's overpriced. Thus, Pinkbike has a certain obligation to be truthful in their review (for the reader) and accurate in their product information (for the brand.)
  • 3 0
 The hex hub is just a catalogue Taiwanese hub identical to the nukeproof horizon v2 in every way .just re branded
  • 1 0
 Are they any good? Picked up the 28 spoke straight pull Hex for $170 and had it laced to an e13 carbon rim, haven't put it in the bike yet though.
  • 5 0
 And? It's made with good tolerances and nice bearings. High-engagement from well-aligned and durable multi-tooth pawls, it's just good. I've beat the shit out of mine and it shows very little wear: effectively none compared to low-engagement single-tooth pawl systems where I have bent over the tips of the pawls such that they drag when freewheeling.
  • 3 0
 @FaahkEet: for that price, they're awesome. In general, very nice hubs that can take a beating and have nice engagement and noise (zippy but not overly loud). Standard bearing sizes that are easy enough to replace, as well.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: Great, hopefully get to try them out this weekend. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 And that's why Nukeproof copied Spank - Spank have been selling this hub longer than Nukeproof has been.

I'm pretty sure that the Nukeproof Horizon v2 is the same as the Canfield Special Blend wheelset.

@henry - I thought Fratelli made the rims for Spank?
  • 2 0
 Spank hex has a bigger driveside bearing in the hub shell than v2's so slightly different.
  • 1 0
 @Neil6: Good to know - thanks!
  • 1 0
 @DaveRobinson81: Mine have a Fratelli Industries logo, so I'd say yes, at least a couple years ago.
  • 2 0
 I've been running Spank 395 rims, the wider 35mm internal width version, for years. The Spank 395 rims are stiff, responsive and beefy. Plus, they look sick!
  • 1 0
 Been using Vibrospank on the daily commute for the last two years. The Vibrocore really does help to reduce ground chatter. I was so impressed I got the vibrospank handlebar as well. ibb.co/7rWzbJ7
  • 3 0
 Curious who they make rims for...
  • 2 0
 At least NS bikes, who don't bother to rename the rim material from Fratelli trademarked "Dynamal" alloy. Importyeti also spills the beans on i9 buying alloy rims from them. Not sure who else
  • 2 2
 I think all the spank haters came to the comments because I’ve had great luck with all my spank rims. I built them myself and rarely have any spokes come loose. They also don’t dent as easy as other rims I’ve tried.
  • 1 0
 I kinda bent my rear 345 rim, but that’s what truing is for..
  • 2 0
 I like my Spank 359 rims with my DT Swiss 350 hubs. They've been great, and I ride them hard!
  • 1 2
 These wheels have 32 holes... Brass nipples... What kind of an uncultured animal would build an MTB wheel with less than 32 holes and not using brass nipples. On the idea of carbon I can never bring myself to spend four times the price of the alloy equivalent. You can tell me how great they are but my brain will always tell me I could buy four alloy rims for the same price. Also I tend to buy the rim with the coolest logo's and carbon rims tend to be low key.
  • 1 0
 Spank bars and wheels are incredible. But I always feel extremely weird with the world SPANK in huge letters all over my bike. Awkward word. Speed and Power.
  • 1 0
 I've suffered with the rear spokes all coming loose on my 359s.. must be what they mean by 'radial compliance'
  • 1 0
 I have had the same issue, but I don't think that's an issue with the wheel itself. Just keep them tensioned. I prefer that to seized spokes.
  • 1 0
 The wheel building from the factory isn't very good, I don't think they properly de-stress the wheels. I had this problem with a pair I got from Spank, but the wheels I built up myself have been about as strong as anything I've ridden
  • 1 0
 @IsaacWislon82: I think it's really more from the softness of the rim. I've retensioned and destressed mine multiple times, and it doesn't last much longer than the original build. They just put too much cyclic loading on the spokes to keep the tension. Maybe some hefty spoke prep application would help, but I just got in the habit of hitting it with the tensiometer every few months. Keeps it nice and true, at least.
  • 1 0
 These lasted me less than 3 months of riding, hub axle bent and spokes are pulling through the rim, fail!
  • 1 3
 I dented a spank rim so bad I had to cut the tire to get it off the rim. The bead hook had roller all the way inboard. I asked spank why their wheels are so soft, they replied so that a racer can finish his race. I explained I wasn’t racing and I was aways from home. No support or crash replacement even. They can suck it.
  • 1 3
 So now both side of direct trade-offs go in pros and cons? You can't have the pro of torsional compliance AND the con of not very direct steering in high loads, they're literally opposed. Only if it didn't have exceptional compliance then does lack of direct steering goes in the cons.

"Pro: good balance of compliance and direct steering
Con: squeal? (I have 3 of those hubs, 1f, 2r, never heard it)"
  • 6 0
 Hi Justin - me again, I think you could consider that not everyone appreciates that these traits are often (often not always) antipodal to one another. What trails you're riding can exaggerate these attributes too. We're here to write and help our readers, and that involves a wide variety of people, from the less experienced to the all-out experts.
  • 1 9
flag justinfoil (Nov 1, 2023 at 12:36) (Below Threshold)
 @henryquinney: Those traits are not antipodal, it's the same trait treated differently. You can't have significant torsional compliance without a relative loss of steering directness, because steering directness comes from a _lack_ of torsional compliance. We could go back to QR skewers in open dropouts on forks and "gain" some torsional compliance, along with "gaining" a loss of steering directness. Can't have one without the other. Until someone comes up with a wheel the dynamically alters compliance of each section based on where it is in the rotation: twists top to bottom for compliance in off-camber chunder, but not front to back for steering directness.

It's like saying "Pro: daytime is bright. Con: daytime is not dark." That doesn't help anyone, because you can't have the antipodes of bright and dark at the same time. If you take away the pro, you take away the con at the same time, automatically.
  • 9 2
 @justinfoil: I don't think it's like that at all but hey I am very happy as ever to bow down to your incredible bike knowledge.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney:
When switched from Rosm 60 carbon rims to aluminum Spank 345’s, I instantly nailed my personal impossible climb!
Though the ID of the rim did increase, IDT that was all of it.
It’s was a trail, it was steep, it had rocks.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: I was thinking along those lines to, it's made to be compliant hence the 19mm height, so surely a taller rim choice stiffens the wheel not just radially, I personally prefer rims around the 21/22mm height.
  • 2 0
 Is it just me or did that EDITOR flair suddenly get much bigger.
  • 1 0
 Lmao at only 150 or more spacing. Can’t run it on a good number of dh bikes lol
  • 1 1
 This wheel did not fail even when it heroically protected a buddy’s Tacoma bumper while backing over a steel snowplow marker as it was shuttling on new bike build day.
  • 2 0
 Never had issues with 3 sets of Oozy & Spike wheels so far...
  • 1 0
 I would just pick up some DT Swiss rims and 350 hubs and get them built up.
  • 1 0
 Spank rims 359 and 395 are the easiest to lace up and true of all rims I have tried. I think its stiffness helps.
  • 1 0
 sorry newton said 110% isn't possible
  • 2 5
 Been using a set of Oozy Trail 295 (26"), custom laced to Hope hubs via CX-Rays for years now, following a non-negligeable investment. And what a ride boys !

Have pleasantly discovered, a few days after warranty expired, that the valve hole was destructed on rear rim (diagnosed as heavy oxydation). Spank denied production issue, Stan's denied their ammonia based sealant to be responsible, wheelbuilder washed his hands of it (despite them, as Spank at the time, recommending Stan's sealant).

For the full history, out of structural confidence in my rim and disgusted by the various company attitudes I stopped mtbiking for a long period, switching to road bike instead. Wheelbuilder, french based Asterion, finally accepted (years later) to do a repair (resin based) to the valve hole, clumsily trying to charge me for that despite oral engagment they would not. Fast forward a few years later, in the end that did not stopped me to continue mtb, but the time ratio to road bike is clearly in favor of the lycra activity. General fitness improved, so there's still that.

Cannot recommend a company who does not stand by its product. Sorry Spank, buy yourself a customer oriented policy first.
  • 2 0
 @fneuf I had bad oxidation around the valve hole on some WTB rims that saw heavy use in the wet. I drilled out the valve holes for Schrader tubeless valves and got a couple more years of winter wet riding.
  • 12 1
 Omg you sound like a nightmare customer
  • 1 1
 @Marquis: Close to no wet usage on my side, and front rim was (and still is) in pristine conditions. I'm curious on your solution, drilling out the holes you are leaving "bare" exposed metal. Consequently more prone to oxidation. Did you surface treated those enlarged holes?
  • 1 0
 @fixedvic: So in your opinion, when the product is faulty it is the consumer's fault? Are you working in a customer service by any chance? Smile
  • 1 1
 @fneuf: it 100% sounds like not their fault at all
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: I'm curious, what makes you feel this way?
  • 1 0
 @fneuf: Yes. I gave the enlarged holes a quick coat of epoxy paint. Plus the Schrader valves have a bigger o-ring seal and sort of covered the area better. Never had problem after that.
  • 3 2
 @henryquinney PS it is VibrOcore. Not VibrAcore.
  • 2 0
 Oh bloody hell - thank you!
  • 1 0
 I can get carbon wheels for similar price or a little more.
  • 1 0
 yawn, save your money, buy a DT wheelset and never worry about it again
  • 2 3
 2к wheelset? where is this guys who said I9 is expensive shit? xD
  • 2 0
 He was referring to the cost of Carbon Wheelsets.
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