The Good: tough and relatively light at a good price
The Bad: hub adapters for 142mm or 157mm axles cost extra
Earlier this spring I decided to pick up a set of these wheels to help drop some weight on my DH bike and to add a little bling to the bike. The somewhat heavy stock wheels were the obvious choice for me to shed some weight and after calculating what the swap would do, I estimated that I would save a pound from going to the Spank Race 28 wheels and another pound by going to slightly lighter tires (Schwalbe Magic Mary super gravity casing) set up tubeless. The change was noticeable right away. After three months of riding them on shuttled trails and bike park tracks, I am glad to have gone this direction and have seen no drawbacks to the way they perform on the trail.
These wheels are a winner in the weight, strength and price categories. I also like that these wheels do not have proprietary parts. I have spent a number of years on other wheels that used special spokes and truing wrenches. Getting replacement parts meant waiting for the shop to do the repair or order in parts as they didn't have them in stock.
As far as the tire installation goes, the way the rim is designed rims can make things tougher than normal. There is not a deep groove to drop the tire bead in when mounting it up. Add that to the fact that it is recommended to not use tire levers on tubeless tires, setting these puppies up tubeless was quite a chore. I have done enough tubeless set-ups to know that the whole process is a combination of more than just a tire or a rim so I don't want to over-emphasize the difficulty here but it seems pretty obvious that the reason is the rim profile. In the end I finally got them on and was ready to roll. Another issue with having the rim higher than normal is that the valve stem sticks through the rim a bit less. This can make it harder to get certain pumps on the stem when inflating it. My floor pump seems to grab it just fine but the hand pump I take on the trail is hit and miss. I would suggest getting the lesser common 48mm valve stem length if you do tubes.
A couple of things to keep in mind is that if a high number of engagement points is your thing then the Spoon hubs, at 27, may disappoint. Also, while the cost of these wheels is good, they come in either the 135mm or 150mm rear axle size. If your bike is set for 142mm or 157mm, plan on spending another $50 to get the right axle insert. I noticed that Spank does offer the 142mm axle on their spike race28 enduro wheels and the 135 axle is included at no charge. To be fair those "enduro" wheels are more expensive than the regular race 28 reviewed here but it would be a nice option to order whichever size you actually need.
On a tangent, the spike 35 rims offered by Spank look to be a super-sized version of the rims offered on this wheelset and would be a good alternate for those who want a wider rim (29.5mm vs 23mm internal rim width). It's too bad Spank offers them only as a rim and not a wheelset like this one.
Taking into account that this is more of an initial review (3 months of riding) and the fact that I'm relatively light at 170 pounds, I can't speak to the long-term durability or heavy abuse of this product but so far these have been fantastic. I have been hanging on to the old stock wheels as a back-up plan for rougher tracks or as a spare. The Spank spike race28 wheels have yet to show any signs of abuse and are still running true. I am thinking of selling my old ones as they wont be needed anymore. Time to look for my next upgrade.