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Wheels are usually one of the least comfort-improving parts of the gravel bike. At least according to the wheel deflection test data available.
However, some companies make claims of improved comfort when using their wheels or rims. Spank with Vibrocore foam incorporated inside their rims is one of those examples. Spinergy with its unique synthetic PBO fibre spokes is another.
I decided to give Spinergy a chance and bought a set of gravel-specific GX 700C wheels. Let’s find out how well they performed in my tests.
Changing My Wheels For Spinergy GX Wheels
During my testing of different carbon gravel bikes, I was constantly amazed at how quickly they felt to accelerate.
When I was talking to friends about the ride characteristics of these bikes, I was constantly reminded that the wheels are a crucial component contributing to the up-and-go of a bike is the weight of your wheels.
So, one big reason for buying these wheels was to find out if they will make my bike feel faster. Up until now, I was using a pretty average aluminium wheelset with typical 32 stainless steel spokes.
The Spinergy GX wheels feature 24 very light spokes (we will talk about them soon), and overall, the whole wheelset weighs just 1475 grams. Surely, that should make my bike feel faster.
But once installed, I honestly didn’t feel a big improvement in terms of speed. Yes, the bike felt like it could accelerate quicker and was perhaps a little more ‘alive’. But ultimately, my steel bike never felt as quick as the carbon bikes I’d been testing.
I read reviews saying that Spinergy’s unique PBO fiber spokes have a lagging feel in terms of power delivery but I haven’t been able to detect this at all.
A Spring Alone Is Not Enough For Comfort
Spinergy is famous for its unique fiber PBO spokes. They are claimed to provide three times more strength than steel spokes at half of the weight.
The weight is not the only benefit. PBO fiber spokes have been tested to ‘spring’ better than steel spokes, which results in more ride comfort.
But ‘spring’ is the crucial word here. The Lauf Grit SL suspension fork is also a spring without a damper. During my testing, I found that a spring by itself is no magical solution, as the energy absorbed by it has to be released somewhere. An uncontrolled spring with a very fast rebound likely releases its energy into other bike parts (such as the tires or the rider).
In the case of the Lauf Grit SL suspension fork, it worked quite well on bumpy forest trails where the hits were bigger and less frequent. But on the fast gravel road with constant high-frequency vibrations, the fast-rebounding fork becomes less effective.
The Spinergy GX Wheel Ride Feel
My first impression when riding on the bumpy forest trail was rather underwhelming. I did not feel any real improvement and to be honest. I perhaps even felt more impact than on my standard, low-end ATD 470 wheels.
Could this be the springiness effect at play? Maybe. But the more I rode them the more I got accustomed to the feeling, and I slowly started to feel a positive difference. Nothing big, but it was there.
I could feel the difference at both 25 psi and 50 psi, so it was definitely the wheelset and not the tires. But it was no magic carpet ride, even at the 25 psi tire air pressure. Far from it.
But the only way to find out how comfortable the wheels are is to take some vibration measurements.
My Bike For The Comfort Test
I conducted the following vibration tests on my Jamis Renegade benchmark bike without any other comfort-improving parts. This would give the wheels the best chance to show an increase in vibration damping.
The bike was set up with an FSA rigid stem, Zipp Service Course handlebar, FSA rigid seatpost, Accent saddle, and Soma Cazadero 700C x 42mm tires at both 25 and 50 psi.
Vibration Testing The Spinergy GX Wheels
You can see my vibration measurement procedure & outdoor test courses HERE.
On the bumpy forest trail with 25 psi in the tires, the Spinergy GX wheels were able to reduce the vibration by 5% at the front of the bike. That’s not an insignificant amount at all.
But in every other 25 psi test scenario, I did not find a discernable difference in vibrations between each wheelset.
I changed the tire pressure to 50 psi to see if that allowed the wheels to dampen more vibration (and the tires less).
In this test, the Spinergy front wheel was 6% comfier than my standard wheels on the bumpy forest trail, and I was finally able to discern a difference of 6% at the rear too. The only issue is that I don’t ride my bike with 50 psi in my tires, so I’m not sure there is a true comfort benefit here.
Knowing that the ‘springy’ Lauf Grit SL suspension fork was less effective on the fast gravel road than other gravel forks, I was actually not expecting anything special from the ‘springy’ Spinergy GX wheels. And indeed, there was no difference in comfort between the wheels in this test.
High-frequency chatter is a very challenging scenario for any comfort-improving parts, especially for those that use springs without an effective form of damping.
Other Small Details About The Wheels
Spinergy GX wheels have a very nice rim profile – they are rather wide and shallow.
The inner width of the rim is 24mm. This gives a bit more support to my tire sidewall compared to my ATD470 rims with only a 17mm inner width. The rims are also very easy to set up tubeless – perhaps the easiest I have had.
I did not experience any significant air leakage with my Soma Cazadero tires, even after one week of usage. That is very nice and definitely makes you glad you went tubeless.
Then there is the look. The PBO spokes look very different from normal spokes. They are bigger and the holes in the rims are much larger. You can buy the spokes in many colors to make your bike stand out from the crowd.
But the difference in look comes at the cost of much harder servicing. To make the wheel true you need to remove the inner tape from the rim and use special tools that are provided with the wheelset.
In the case of an emergency spoke replacement, you should have some spare spokes on hand. But Spinergy reassured me that PBO fiber spokes are very tough so it’s unlikely you’ll ever need to replace them.
Are Spinergy GX Gravel Wheels Worth It?
Yes! After all of my testing, I plan to keep them.
The price is great. I like their unique look. I like that they are slightly more comfortable up front on the bumpy forest trails I ride. And they are much, much lighter than my previous wheelset.
What they are not is a magical comfort-improving solution.
You can support the CyclingAbout Comfort Lab by purchasing a Spinergy GX wheelset on Amazon. Simply click HERE to make your purchase, and a small commission will come our way.