Seriously smooth, tenaciously tubeless, instant engagement yet practical gravel/light MTB wheels but they feel lazy under power and watch the loose end caps
- Unique dampening filler
- Naturally compliant rims
- Super secure tubeless grip
- Very quick engagement
- Easily found spares
- Plenty of spokes
- Loose end caps and free hub
- Soft not sprightly feel
- Some spoke creak at first
- Expensive for alloy
Spank Industries started using its unique Vibrocore damping foam filling in handlebars (yes, it does a drop-bar version) which were universally praised for their vibration-quelling, trail-quietening ride. Now, Spank Industries has added the green honeycomb matrix inside its MTB and Gravel rims and as a result, these Spank Flare 24 OC gravel wheels are certainly smooth performers. But are they worthy of inclusion in our guide to the best gravel wheels?
Whether the Vibrocore filling can be given total credit for the shock shrugging and conspicuously calm and quiet ride of these wheels we’re unsure. The very shallow 24mm rim bed would likely be a smoother and more compliant roller anyway, especially as the added support of the Vibrocore fill means that Spank is happy to go thin with the extrusions.
Beating them around rocky trails with pressures as low as 15psi (not recommended, it was a slow puncture that we took advantage of for testing purposes) on 40mm tyres hasn’t caused any kind of physical damage despite regular rim impacts. The forgiveness of the rims meant the tyres (Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M) haven’t suffered any splits or gouges either.
The ‘Bead Nip’ rim bed design also uses a ribbed profile to give extra grip to tubeless tyres and previous experience with their MTB wheels meant we weren’t worried about peeling tyres off or burping them in turns even when they were almost flat. 28 spokes at either end give them plenty of strength for rougher trails or heavier loadings too especially as the three cross lacing and skinny-centre triple-butted spokes again translate to a naturally sprung feel.
Conventional J bend spokes are also easy to find replacements for all over the world and the 6 bolt rotor pattern is another globe-trotting win. Just be careful of the switchable pop on/pop off end caps though as they can get dislodged easily when fitting the wheels. If the rear drive-side end cap comes off, the freehub is very keen to follow it too which can lead to contamination and trapped seals if you don’t refit it carefully.
Despite the added damper fill of the Vibrocore, they’re still acceptably light for alloy at 1700g and that’s flattered by the almost instantaneous pick up from the 102 tooth Hex Drive freehub where six pawls mean a maximum 3.5-degree engagement gap.
The overall feel is definitely about smoothing out rather than sparking up your ride though and they have a naturally ambling, lazy ambience rather than an explosive feel under power. We also had a bit of spoke creak as they settled in for the first few rides but there’s been no wobble or warp so far despite properly taking them to the gravel/MTB limit.
Tech specs: Spank Flare 24 OC Vibrocore gravel / XC wheels
- Sizes: 650B and 700c
- Width: 24mm
- Weight: 1700g
- Price: $700
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