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A spoke’s just a spoke, they’re all the same right? Wrong - Not with the CX-Ray

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

A spoke’s just a spoke, they’re all the same right? Wrong, just like every component used in the construction of a superior-performance wheel, the spoke performs a very important function within the wheel system, and if the spokes are not high-quality and high performing, this will reduce the operational performance and durability, meaning the wheel will under-perform and will not last as well as it could or should do.

We set out with a vision to develop world-leading wheels that would outperform and outlast the now standard factory-built imported wheels, and we got to understand the spokes were very important if we were to achieve our vision. Our initial research had led to two brands that were being used by most of the professional teams, but we needed to understand what spokes would have both the performance, and just as importantly, the durability to allow us to supply our 5-year warranty and offer our unique A+Care cover.

This took us back to our initial product research, where we quickly understood that the best wheels needed to be hand-built for higher precision and tighter tolerances. It then dawned on us that we probably had the best product research and testing facility anywhere in the world, our new network of Master wheel builders. They had hundreds of combined years of experience and knowledge in building and maintaining wheels and we could use this to help us determine what would be the best spokes for a higher-performance build with longer-lasting durability. Their responses were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about one spoke manufacturer, and one spoke in particular, and that was Sapim and the CX-Ray 'the worlds best spoke'

'We probably had the best product research and testing facility anywhere in the world, our new network of Master wheel builders'

We went on to learn that the CX-Ray had the best fatigue record of any spoke, making it the most durable spoke available, but importantly, could it be the best performing spoke as well? We knew the CX-Ray was the first choice spoke for many of the world’s leading professional cycling teams, and we needed to know for certain if it was the right spoke for our wheel systems. Performance analysis meant months of real-world testing against the other leading spoke brands, but we soon realised the Sapim CX-Ray had a winning formula, a superior shape, material, and manufacturing process that meant this spoke was outperforming all the other spoke builds we had tested, and had now become our number one choice.

So why is the Sapim CX-Ray so superior?

Sapim was founded in 1918 by Mr. Herman Schoonhoven and most of their spokes are still manufactured in Belgium and they are regarded as world leaders in spoke and nipple innovation.

Most modern spokes come in varying shapes, materials, and finishes and are connected through a J Bend flange or a straight pull configuration. Some spokes due to the nature of their manufacture can perform better under the complex dynamic load and fatigue cycles that are asked of them than others, and the CX-Ray performed the best.

Manufacturing Process

The Sapim CX-Ray is a double-butted aero spoke made from the finest high-tensile 18/8 stainless steel treated with a special alloy and finished with black oxidisation. The double-butted aero construction is stronger, transmitting rotational torque and absorbing road shocks much easier than a non-butted spoke.

Most of the spokes around today are stamped into shape producing a spoke shape that is flat or oblong with square edges. The CX-Ray aero elliptical shape is cold drawn using a unique Sapim Cold Forging Technology that stretches the spoke while retaining the linear molecular structure increasing the strength of the aero middle section by up to 48% with the reduced diameter being more elastic creating a longer life. Due to the spokes not being stamped and going through a specially shaped die creating the elliptical shape, and not a square edge, the spokes are aerodynamically superior against headwinds and crosswinds.

The CX-Ray is not cheap at £3.25 RRP (2023) per spoke and we could have built with spokes at a fraction of the cost, but as we said, we had the vision to create world-leading wheels, and the CX-Ray is a very important part of us realising that vision.

Thank you for reading

Team Aeroc

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