Spinergy Wheels for Heavy Riders: Stealth PBO update

Posted by SuperClydesdale on December 5, 2010 under Road Bike Components, Road Bikes, Wheels | 11 Comments to Read

The Spinergy Stealth PBO wheelset

5/8/12 UPDATE: After my first season, I was pretty high on these wheels.  Unfortunately, the noise under load returned, and the back wheel (rim) developed a crack at one of the spoke holes.  Luckily, Spinergy did replace the rim, but the ongoing challenges of getting the spokes up to the higher tension required for heavy riders is a pain.  I cannot recommend these wheels for someone of my weight (230-240 pounds).

Original article:  Okay, okay…  people keep asking me about how the Spinergy Stealth PBO wheels have been doing.   Now that I’ve worn out the tire that I put on the rear wheel of the Stealth PBO wheelset I acquired earlier this season, I thought it might be time for an update, and a “final” recommendation.

I’ve ridden approximately 1,000 miles on these wheels now, so I at least have enough miles to be able to pass along meaningful insights.

I’ve ridden roads with miles of hand-sized cracks, speed bumps, and some unfortunately-sized pot holes.  I’m also a pretty aggressive rider, and put a lot of torque on the drive side of my rear wheel.

After a bit of a slow start, where the wheels were creaking very annoyingly, the guys at Spinergy got me squared away by recommending an increase in tension on the spokes.  Once the spokes were re-tensioned (a bit of an adventure), the wheels have been quiet.

Better yet, despite some very hard blows from potholes and bumps, the wheels have stayed very true.  I’ve not had to have them adjusted at all.

For those of you that have read my other articles on the Spinergy wheels, you will recall that the fundamental difference between Spinergy wheels and others is the use of PBO spokes.  PBO spoke is not rigid.  It’s floppy, like a thick piece of spaghetti.

Okay, now you pasta purists might say, “wait a minute!   Thick spaghetti noodles are actually called spaghettoni!”   See, if this site was aimed at skinny little whippet riders, nobody would point that out.  Those little weasels won’t eat pasta or they can’t fit into their size M Castelli jersey, which is designed by runts for runts.  I’ll take my XXXXXL race cut and like it (seriously).   We Clydesdales and Superclydesdales eat whatever the hell we want, so we have the luxury of getting to know the many types of pasta.

The PBO spokes are made up of 30,000 strands of polyphenylene bensobisoxazole fiber (say that real fast.  Say it at all) encased in a special chemical and water resistant, UV-proof composite.   The spoke casing comes in a wide variety of colors (white, red, yellow, blue, black, pink, green, and orange), so you can pretty much pimp out your bike as colorfully as you like –  I know how important that is to you.   They are supposed to be three-times stronger than stainless steel — although my spoke-tensioning adventure proved that the strength of the spoke is only as strong as the nipple.  My wheel guy snapped a nipple the first time we tried to increase the tension of the spoke. Then, with a new spoke, the special Spinergy-supplied spoke wrench broke (it came cracked).   The cracked wrench incident left me wondering about the quality control at Spinergy, but what the hell?  It all worked out in the end.

I'm giving a thumbs up to Spinergy Stealth PBO wheels for heavy riders

Once the spokes were tensioned up, the wheels were strong and true, and have remained that way since.   I am now prepared to recommend them as an aero wheelset for heavy riders.

A big plus for me with these wheels is that the supple PBO spokes help absorb some of the road chatter.  I have a ruptured disc in my lumbar, and riding on rough roads can really hurt.  The PBO wheels seem to plush-up the ride a bit, so I can ride farther with less pain.

My one recommendation for Spinergy is this:  offer the Stealth PBO wheelset at a higher tension setting from the factory.  I don’t think its reasonable to expect a customer to arrange to have it done themselves.

The wheels look great – so the bike bling factor is very high – I get a lot of comments on them.   They have  absorbed some very hard blows without going out of true, or needing any adjustments of any kind.   I like  the aluminum brake surface, so it doesn’t require a different brake pad that what I had been using.  Like any carbon, deep-dish aero wheel, they are somewhat heavy at 1695 grams.  MSRP for the Stealth PBO wheelset is $1,199, but you can find them for less.

The Spinergy wheels come with a 1-year warranty.  After that, you pay for parts and labor.  Current labor rate is $70/hour for repairs.    Like other manufacturers, I’m sure there’s a reasonable limit as to what is covered under warranty .   If you crash, ride on a flat, or hit a monster pot-hole and destroy the wheel, they are probably not going to cover that under warranty.  But, based on my experience trying to get the spokes tensioned up, these guys seem like they are reasonable.

Spinergy also offers a “No Fault Replacement” if you destroy your wheel, which is a 20-25% discount on a new set of wheels.

  • uzumati said,

    Interesting article – I have just purchased some spinergys second hand. Bike mechanic has trued and tightened them – no noise. After first race – rear is talking quite loudly. I was wondering what tension the spinergy guys recommended for clydesdales ? thanks

  • uzumati said,

    Interesting article – I have just purchased some spinergys second hand. Bike mechanic has trued and tightened them – no noise. After first race – rear is talking quite loudly. I was wondering what tension the spinergy guys recommended for clydesdales ? thanks

  • clyderider said,

    Love these wheels. Well over 5k on mine with no issues. At 270 I was a bit worried about the 16 spoke count out front but they’ve been bomb proof. Had some creaking initially but it was from riding (read as got stuck) in the rain and lubing the axle and flanges cured it. Highly recommend for big boys. Best wheel I’ve ridden in 25+ years. Same goes for their 29er wheels.

  • clyderider said,

    Love these wheels. Well over 5k on mine with no issues. At 270 I was a bit worried about the 16 spoke count out front but they’ve been bomb proof. Had some creaking initially but it was from riding (read as got stuck) in the rain and lubing the axle and flanges cured it. Highly recommend for big boys. Best wheel I’ve ridden in 25+ years. Same goes for their 29er wheels.

  • bcool said,

    These still a good recomendation? I am 240 and riding mavic krysium equipe, I have a bulge in the rear rim and was looking at these as an alternative.

  • bcool said,

    These still a good recomendation? I am 240 and riding mavic krysium equipe, I have a bulge in the rear rim and was looking at these as an alternative.

  • taffyjonah said,

    Any further updates or points on these? I am 115kg, 250lbs and keen for a set of race wheels. Fulcrum racing 1s lasted 18mths…so far still tiding ksyrium aksiums with the slight modification of the rear wheel now having 2mm straight MTB spokes fitted by a buddy!

    Great to have found this site, keep up the good work!!

  • taffyjonah said,

    Any further updates or points on these? I am 115kg, 250lbs and keen for a set of race wheels. Fulcrum racing 1s lasted 18mths…so far still tiding ksyrium aksiums with the slight modification of the rear wheel now having 2mm straight MTB spokes fitted by a buddy!

    Great to have found this site, keep up the good work!!

  • jhc1982 said,

    Love this site (as a fellow big unit)!

    I just bought a 2011 Cannondale Supersix 5 105 which comes with RS10′s as standard. I am 240lbs so I would love to know which wheels you recommend I change out to for around $500 a set?

    I put quite a bit of power through the bike and am not too worried about weight as these are training wheels.

    The budget on most of the wheels you mentioned are out of my budget.

  • jhc1982 said,

    Love this site (as a fellow big unit)!

    I just bought a 2011 Cannondale Supersix 5 105 which comes with RS10′s as standard. I am 240lbs so I would love to know which wheels you recommend I change out to for around $500 a set?

    I put quite a bit of power through the bike and am not too worried about weight as these are training wheels.

    The budget on most of the wheels you mentioned are out of my budget.

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