Spinergy GX Wheels: Getting Rolling

Spinergy GX Wheels: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted

Do you remember Spinergy wheels? If you do, you may be thinking of those old mid-90’s 8 spoke, wide bladed, wild looking carbon wheels for road and mountain bikes. They certainly were wheels that, for their day, were on the cutting edge. You also may remember those Spinergy wheels with those yellow spokes. They came after the carbon bladed ones. Then Spinergy kind of went off everyone’s radar.

Well, they are back, (did they ever go away?) and they are still doing the “PBO” fiber spokes. We were sent a set of their gravel category wheels. We chose the GX level at a retail of $849.00 for the set. That gets you a wheel made in Mexico with an aluminum rim, PBO spokes, and Spinergy’s aluminum hubs. You also get to choose your spoke color, so, of course, we chose purple. Let’s take a closer look…..

Spinergy GX wheels
The Spinergy GX wheel set in purple. There are 8 colors to choose from.

What It Is: The Spinergy GX wheel set is designed for use on all road and gravel bikes. The Spinergy web page for the GX wheels has this to say about them:

” The new Spinergy GX for the road less traveled. With an internal width of 24mm, these are ideal for 36-42mm tires and compatible with up to 54mm. This alloy tubeless wheelset weighs 1520 grams.  Built using 24 front and rear patented PBO spokes that can handle any terrain you will encounter on your next gravel adventure. “

Spinergy hub and PBO fiber spokes
Spinergy has some wild looking hubs and those PBO spokes.

Okay, hold on a minute, just what are these spokes? Well, on Spinergy’s site you can find out, or I could just cut and paste it here for you. So, here you go…..

Includes Spinergy’s patented PBO Power spokes, which are encased in a chemical resistant, water / UV proof composite containing over 30,000 strands of polyphenylene bensobisoxazole fiber. This delivers 3-times the strength of stainless steel at just half the weight resulting in less rotational weight and a faster responding wheel. PBO Power spokes are incredibly strong and will absorb impact more efficiently while staying in true. Performance and all day comfort—only from Spinergy. “

The Spinergy GX aluminum free hub body
The 11 speed compatible free hub is a Spinergy design made by Hadley.

Whew! Well, with that out of the way lets cut to some other pertinent details of these GX wheels. The aluminum free hub body on this wheel set is a Spinergy design made by Hadley, a name some of you may recall from the MTB world. While exact engagement spec is not given, it’s pretty quick. Medium loud, by the way. You can also easily swap out to an XD driver style free hub body by buying one from Spinergy. That hub has an aerospace aluminum grade through axle in the 12mm size in our example. Both front and rear hubs are convertible with end caps sold separately. The 12mm through axle front hub and this rear hub both have the six bolt standard rotor mount. That’s a bit surprising with all the Center Lock rotor type hubs we generally have been seeing for gravel/all road.

Inner rim well and view of spoke nipple on the Spinergy GX wheel
The spoke nipple is a huge hex headed “nut” which threads on to a metal end piece fitted over the end of each PBO spoke.
The metal bit which the spoke nipple threads over.
This metal “end cap” is the bit that the “spoke nipple threads over.

Now for the rims. They are also aluminum and have a welded seam. The dimensions for the rim are 24mm internal, 28mm external, and they are 20mm in depth.

Spinergy wheels with the PBO spokes are true-able, but the process is a bit more complex than with a standard “J” bend spoked wheel. There is a rather large “nut”, which is basically the spoke nipple, which threads over a metal “end cap” of sorts which the PBO spoke is attached to. To true the wheel, Spinergy has provided a “T” handle hex socket type tool which is used from the rim well side to turn the spoke nipple. A small splined wrench (also supplied with the wheels) is used to hold the metal “end cap” stationary. This is critical as the PBO spoke must not be allowed to twist at all.

Of course, the GX wheels are tubeless compatible. However; the wheels do not come with tubeless tape or valve stems. You do get the aforementioned truing tools and two rim strips for tubed tire use. There is also an owners manual with information on the one year warranty and crash replacement policy.

Spinergy GX gravel wheels mounted on the Black Mountain Cycles MCD
The Spinergy GX wheel set mounted to the Black Mountain Cycles MCD.

First Impressions: When the wheels hit the RidingGravel.com headquarters, it was immediately apparent that these were very light wheels. Especially for a wheel with aluminum rims. Spinergy claimed 1520 grams, but when I hung these from my “digital scale of truth” it came up with a figure of 1460 grams for the set. Well…….okay then.

Everything mounted up well. For the time being, the tires which are being used on the GX wheels are a set of tubed only tires being reviewed from Tioga, so the tubeless story on these wheels will be told in the next post. Besides that, the wheels are stunners and they look great on the pink Black Mountain Cycles MCD which already has some purple accents. But besides lightweight and good looks, what else do you get from having these unusual spokes?

Well, Spinergy claims that the PBO spokes absorb more vibrations than standard steel spoked wheels can and that makes for a smoother ride. This question and more will be covered in the “Checkpoint” post coming in a few weeks.

So Far…. The Spinergy GX wheels were lighter than expected and they seem to be well put together. The unusual PBO spokes are claimed to be stronger than steel, so strength and the integrity of the structure is expected to be top notch. They look cool with their 8 choices of colors for the decals and spokes, but stay tuned to see if the claims of comfort and vibration reduction hold up.

NOTE- Spinergy sent over the GX wheels for test and review to Riding Gravel at no charge. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

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6 Responses to Spinergy GX Wheels: Getting Rolling

  1. Koyote April 25, 2019 at 10:09 am #

    So, you have to remove the tire in order to true the wheel. That, for me, is a deal-breaker, no matter how well they perform.

    Just my $.02.

    • Guitar Ted April 25, 2019 at 7:57 pm #

      Yes, if you ever had to true them, that would be the case. Yes- that is a hassle compared to a standard “J” bend wheel set. That’s why I brought that up. And your statement on how they perform- that is the key to anything like these wheels that chooses a different path to achieve an end which is desired. That desired end must be worth the compromises made to get there. This is pretty much the crux of the review and the question I hope to answer in my coming updates.

  2. Tom in MN April 25, 2019 at 10:12 pm #

    Are the bearings cartridges or loose balls? Their website just says “stainless steel.”

  3. Matty K April 25, 2019 at 11:19 pm #

    If running tubeless, in addition to tire you of course also have to remove sealant and rim strip. I have a hard time imagining a wheel so good I wouldn’t mind the hassle.

    • Guitar Ted April 26, 2019 at 8:00 am #

      @Matty K- For what it is worth, in my shop gig I often have to do all of that to fix a broken nipple. So, even with a standard set up, you cannot 100% escape that issue of having to completely disassemble a tire/sealant/tape set up.

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by Riding Gravel 2014