Review by Lee Trumpore // Photos by Lee Trumpore, Damian Breach, and Brandon Turman
I was a huge fan of the Spank Oozy Evo 26 wheels I tested last season, and after a year and a half of riding they are still going strong and straight. My biggest complaint with that model was the difficulty in mounting and removing tires and their relatively narrow 21mm internal width, especially given the trend towards ever wider tires for all-mountain riding and enduro racing. The Oozy Trail295 Bead Bite wheels seek to address both of these issues while building on the strengths of the previous model. Starting at just 1670 grams, these race-ready wheels retail for just $599 and are available in 26, 27.5, and 29-inch sizes.
Oozy Trail295 Bead Bite Wheel Highlights
- Oozy Trail295 Bead Bite Dynamal Alloy Rims
- 29.5mm Outer Width
- 25mm Inner Width
- 28H Straight-Pull
- 9/10-Speed 12mm x 142mm Rear Hub with Included QR Adapter
- 15mm Front Hub with Included 20mm Adapter
- Super-Lite CNC Optimized Alloy Freehub Body
- 27-Point, 3-Pawl Engagement
- Japanese Bearing Upgrade in Hubs
- Oversized SSL (Single Spoke Length) Flange Design
- 6 Bolt Disc Mount
- Hand Built and Trued with 3-Cross Lacing
- Sandvik T302 Triple Butted 2.2/1.8/2.0 SP Spokes
- Alloy Nipples
- Tubeless Ready
- Colors: Black Only
- Weight: 1,670g (26") // 1,700g (27.5/650b) // 1,800g (29")
- MSRP: $599
The Oozy Trail295 wheels are the first to make use of Spank’s new “Bead Bite” technology. See the tiny ridges inside the rim where the tire would sit? This is one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" improvements to the tried and true bicycle rim design. The six 0.2mm ridges per side (three on each face) provide additional sealing surface area for tubeless tires, and are said to essentially "lock" the tire bead in place. The ridges are made during a three-channel extrusion process, which makes them finer at each step.
Compared to the 21mm internal width Oozy Evo rims, the new Oozy Trail295 rims benefit from an additional 4mm of width at 25mm internally. The hubs are nearly identical, but Spank now includes front 20mm and rear QR adapters in the box.
Spank uses a unique Dynamal alloy that is claimed to be 20% stronger than 6061 aluminum to build their Oozy rims, while their patented OohBah profile is designed to add increased structural strength and stiffness while allowing for much thinner walls. The inner channel of most rims curves down to match to general outer profile of the rim, but the OohBah profile curves up. The corrugated profile adds additional rigidity much the same way a corrugated sheet metal roof can be walked across while flat sheet metal can be bent by hand. Proprietary forging and drilling profiles allow the rim to be constructed without point-loading the spoke nipples and thus eliminating the need for heavier eyelets. Combined with straight-pull stainless steel spokes, this equation should add up to a light, stiff, strong and durable wheel.
Spank has come a long way from just cranking out colorful components for the dirt jumping crowd, with pedals, bars, and stems that rival the best offerings on the market. They also produce high end rims for several other major brands.
Out of the box, the new Trail295 wheels didn’t disappoint. Straight and true with evenly tensioned spokes, they feel like a set of wheels that has passed through quite a few human hands during production. Attention to detail is top notch with under paint decals (no stickers to peel up), end caps that stay firmly in place without the axle installed, one single straight-pull spoke length used throughout the entire wheelset, and no special tools required for tensioning spokes or servicing the hubs. At first glance Spank has produced a promising wheel without trying to reinvent it. To top things off, the tires mounted easily without levers!
On The Trail
I’ve been on a few versions of these wheels for quite some time now (full disclosure: I help with testing of early Spank prototypes), and have ridden the 650b/27.5-inch version for about six months and the 26-inch version for the past two. They’ve been through countless days of shuttling, raced xc, downhill, and endured an epic week-long journey into Taiwan’s central mountain including the first mountain bike ascent/descent of East Asia’s second highest peak.
While I’ve not spent much time on carbon rims, I’ve yet to find an aluminum wheelset that has proven stiffer, stronger, or more durable than these at any price point. At equal weights the difference between various wheels and rims comes down to width, stiffness, and frequency of maintenance, with the latter being the biggest deal breaker for me. The additional width of the rims much improves the stability of the 2.3 to 2.5-inch tires, as well as making them much easier to mount both with and without a tube. Switching between my 650b/27.5 and 26-inch bike I can’t discern any noticeable difference in wheel flex, nor has the extra diameter led to a premature loss in spoke tension.
Spank has their own data supporting their new Bead Bite technology, but I prefer the more real world assessment. What good is a data point when I’m on the side of the trail with flat tire? At 22-25psi I have had no issues with tire burping or leaking with three different sets of tires in the course of several months. While there is no definite way of knowing if this is the direct result of the Bead Bite, I certainly don’t have any real world data to the contrary.
Put simply, the Oozy Trail295 wheels perform on the trail exactly how I like, essentially by not reminding me that they are there at all.
Things That Could Be Improved
With the introduction of Bead Bite, Spank certainly tried to address half of the ongoing battle with tubeless systems, but my experience with inflation has been a bit more variable. Five of the six tires I mounted sealed right up with an air compressor, while one took a bit more coaxing (none inflated with a hand pump). I never had issues with leaking on any tires, just initial inflation with one of them. Given the variation in bead diameter and size between tire manufacturers (and from one model to another), this isn’t altogether that surprising, and perhaps it’s a tradeoff for not breaking tires levers like I did on the Oozy Evo wheels. Even so, I’d like to see a bit more consistency across the board.
If it sounds like I’m grasping a bit, I am. Truth be told there is very little to complain about, and these are among the best wheels I’ve owned at any price point.
Long Term Durability
I have various Spank wheels from this test and others that I’ve ridden anywhere from two months to a year-and-a-half. The only durability issue I’ve had so far was an occasionally creaky bearing on the rear hub of the oldest wheelset (and these were pre-production units). Given my past experience and the fact that these are essentially the same as the Oozy Evo 26 wheels with an upgraded rim, the Oozy Trail295 wheels have given me no cause for concern.
What’s The Bottom Line?
It has taken a while for all-mountain and enduro branding to catch up with the needs of actual all-mountain riding and enduro racing, with many wheels being the former without meeting the latter. Such is not the case with Spank’s new Oozy Trail295 wheels. With a 25mm inner rim width, weights ranging from 1,670-1,800 grams per pair, and price of just $599, these wheels meet all the needs on paper, and on the trail performance is among the best the market has to offer. Don’t be fooled by the low price, the lack of carbon or color coordinated stickers - these are the real deal. They’re light, affordable, use a unique Bead Bite system that really works, and have proven to be very durable.
Visit www.spank-ind.com for more details.
About The Reviewer
Lee Trumpore has been riding bikes for more than 20 years on just about every material and technology the bike industry has come up with. In more than a decade of professional DH racing, Lee won a Collegiate National Championship and was a mainstay at major North American races as well as occasionally snagging a last page result in the World Cup series. Testing prototype components and suspension setups was common during his racing days. He has a smooth, light style on the bike even while holding it wide open. An East Coast native, his favorite trails are fast and flowing technical descents with as many corners as possible and just enough moisture to keep things interesting. Nowadays, rather than racing the clock, he'd rather enjoy a rad descent after a hard pedal to the top. A closet nerd with a Master's degree in education policy Lee currently lives in Taipei, Taiwan where he splits his time teaching mathematics to the next generation of computer geniuses and behind the lens as a photo mercenary for Vital MTB and other industry clients.