Monday, June 9, 2008

Nippleless - the Prêt-à-porter wheel

What's missing from this photo? I was hanging out in a local shop and someone pointed out a wicked light set of Mavic tubular wheels complete with carbon hubs and carbon linguine spokes glued or otherwise inexorably attached to the hubs at the factory. No nipples. According to the product entry at Excel Sports - no truing of the front wheel is necessary! What they don't mention is that no truing of the front wheel is possible. The front wheel is basically a $1400 disposable hoop. I'm also skeptical of lateral stiffness, given that the the spokes are flat in the left-right direction, giving them the moment of inertia of half a popsicle stick. It's not like they can't make a wicked light wheel with replaceable spokes. They do that with the Mavic R-Sys. It's just that they prefer to manufacture a product that will be rendered into a heap of pencil lead when it comes into contact with a curb, pothole, or even the furry behind of a chien.

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