Spokes, they are the least glamorous part of a wheelset, no one ever talks about their spokes. They are pretty integral to the quality of your wheels though. A lower quality set of spokes can ruin a quality rim and hub combo. That is why we at ICAN take a lot of care on deciding how to spoke our wheels.
The History of Bicycle Spokes
There are various types of spoke available in the world, and the ones we use in the humble world of bicycle wheel building are correctly defined as tension spokes. Another couple of names for the bicycle wheel are the wire wheel and the suspension wheel. Combining these with the name tension spoke pretty much sums up exactly what the bicycle spoke has to do.
It has to stay in tension to keep your wheel true, it has to help cushion you a bit, and finally, it just looks like a little bit of wire. George Cayley invented the original wire wheels in 1808, amazingly he forgot to patent his invention, so sometimes he is not credited with his invention.
Not long after his invention, we started to see them used on bikes, around 1850. This was also the time that the rubber tire first appeared. Soon people began to think of ways to lace wheels using these spokes. We saw 3-cross, 2-cross, radial (no-cross) spoking patterns, and still, after all this time we rely on and use these patterns on nearly every set of bicycle wheels that are produced, no matter how technologically advanced they are.
Are You Spoke For?
Spokes have been around for a long time. Think back to those pictures of chariots and horse-drawn carts, they all had big old wooden spokes in their wheels. The reason people have used spokes is that they bring strength and lightweight qualities to the wheel building process. That is correct those guys racing chariots were the weight weenies of the ancient times. As long as people have been racing someone has been there to work out if we could make something lighter. Let us face it you’re not going to buy heavier wheels, are you?
You want lightweight spokes on your bike even more than on your chariot though. You have to power your bicycle and not be pulled along by horses, imagine the difference to your Strava times if you did though? You want lightweight spokes because when you press on your pedals, you have to accelerate the weight of your wheels both forward and around their center. If you think about this both angular and forward motions are abusing your bike wheel at the same time.
You also have to make sure your spokes are strong as well as lightweight. You do not want spokes that can’t hold your weight, or allow a wheel to flex as soon as you press down on the pedals. The spoke may seem a simple and easily forgotten part of your dream bike build but you would be making a mistake to not think about them.
We sent our engineers out to find the best spokes available. They came back with three choices for us and nicely they were all aero as well. So not only do you get strong and lightweight spokes on our carbon fiber wheels but you also get an aero advantage. Our three choices of spokes will all help to lower your drag coefficient — another way to help you to better and faster times on your bike.
CN Mac 494 Aero Spokes
CN spokes might be a new name to you, but you have probably already owned a set of wheels with CN spokes fitted. CN has been supplying the bike trade with spokes since the 1970s, and this means they now have tremendous expertise in the art of making spokes.
The CN Mac 494 spokes, yes we get that it is not the world’s catchiest name, but most spokes come with similar style names, are CN’s aero spokes. These spokes will help you to cut through the wind and do so at a very keen price point.
The CN price point allows us to build you high-quality wheels at a price you can’t believe, and with a weight that seems fantastic. They might not be as name dropped as Sapim but if they keep building spokes of the Mac quality that will all change.
PSR Aero 1432 Spokes
As you can probably guess the PSR Aero 1432 is an aero spoke. PSR, Pillar racing Spoke to give them their Sunday name, is another name like CN that you may not have heard of but have probably ridden wheels laced with them.
PSR is a Taiwanese company with over 30 years of experience supplying spokes to the world’s bike companies. They sell over a million and a half sets of spokes every month, that no matter how you cut it is a lot of spokes.
Pillar is a company that is quietly making their own path through the bike trade and hold many patents for their products. You can see this in their high-quality cold forged Aero 1432 spokes, the cold forging process allows these spokes to be around 20% stronger than their rivals. They have also been wind tunnel tested to prove their low drag credentials.
Sapim CX-Ray Aero Spokes
We have now reached what could be said to be the world’s superstar spoke, the Sapim CX-ray spokes are found in all our flagship wheel ranges. You can get them in our FL, Aero, and DT Swiss wheel ranges. These are the spokes that many other spokes aspire to be.
The reason Sapim leads the way is that they have been around for over 100 years. In that time they have built up a fearsome amount of knowledge about the humble bicycle spoke, and they use this knowledge to allow us at ICAN to build you a super light and strong wheelset.
The CX-Ray is the pinnacle of aero spoke design. It’s as light as titanium but as stiff as a non-butted spoke. They are extremely fatigue resistant, meaning your wheels will stay in true and last longer than when using other spokes. They are quite simply the best.
Wheely The Best Spokes
As you can now see we offer you a fantastic selection of spokes for your new wheels. We have kept a keen eye on making sure all our spokes are priced as competitively as possible but more importantly we have hand-picked the best spokes in the world at their respective price points.
Regardless of which ICAN carbon fiber wheelset you pick you can be sure that there is no better set of spokes for that wheelset than the spokes we have chosen. Our engineers are very fussy and would not want to feel that excellent carbon fiber layups are being let down by spokes. That is why our wheels are some of the stiffest yet lightest available to buy on the market.
If we had one, our spokes-person would currently be out telling everyone about how great our wheels are. On that terrible pun, it is time to go, and we hope you feel that you can make a more informed choice when buying new carbon fiber wheels.
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