This Spring we tested the new Spank Spike Vibrocore internal vibration damping equipped wheel set. The wheels come in at $699 USD retail. Vibrocore is a biodegradable foam injected into the rim that is claimed to reduce vibrations or ‘noise’. Spank states that “the low density, pressurized core performs a similar function to the soft tissue inside bones, increasing inner wall strength and absorbing vibrations.”
The wheels feature a 17mm sectional profile height, 35mm outer width, and 30.5mm inner width. Spank claims that in laboratory testing, this lower and wider profile shows around 30% more radial compliancy compared to a more conventional alloy rim of approximately 34.5mm outer width, 30mm inner width and 22mm sectional height.
Above, you can see a cutaway of the rim, it’s fully filled with Vibrocore foam, looking similar to the sealer foam in a can that can be found at the hardware store.
On the trail
We swapped the stock wheelset on our Commencal Furious out for the Spank Spike 350 Vibrocore Wheels, and immediately noticed increased stiffness in corners. Initially on some of our jump and berm filled trails, the Vibrocore technology wasn’t especially easy to pick up on. After seeking rougher, and more rocky trail, the damping provided by the wheels was still not a huge and obvious thing to notice, especially as suspension like our RockShox Super Deluxe and Boxxer combo was so good to begin with. That being said, in the truly chattery sections, it’s definitely a smoother ride then the average aluminum/steel spoked wheel set. After a good amount of hard riding, we haven’t yet found the need to tension the spokes, or make any adjustments from how they came right out of the box.
The reasonable weight combined with being set up tubeless, proved for a lighter, and faster bike, increasing the maneuverability in the air, and over technical trail. It was our first time riding large jumps on a tubeless setup, and though a bit worried at first, the BeadBite Anti-burp technology combined with a higher tire pressure made for smooth and issue free jumping.
Our summary of the Vibrocore 350 wheel set is that you’ll find a smooth ride, near the level of what you’d find from carbon rims, but at a cheaper, and arguably more durable level. If you break carbon, more often then not it’s quite catastrophic, whereas for freeride and DH use, these wheels will likely survive some dents, and flat spots, while remaining structurally sound. All things considered, we believe the Vibrocore wheels are noticeably smoother when riding in a bikepark, and/or rough and rocky conditions, and are a good option when looking for a new DH wheelset.
Find out more about Spank’s Vibrocore Technology here: Spank Vibrocore