Sapim recently made CX Sprint spokes available to wheel builders. The CX Sprint is a very slightly wider version of a CX Ray. A CX Sprint is to a CX Ray roughly as a D-Light is to a Laser. And that becomes an important comparison for us.
Previously, they'd been an OEM-only spoke for builders of massive scale. We're an OEM too, I know, but we don't have anything like massive scale. The most notable use of CX Sprints is by Zipp in their Firecrest series. As they introduced the Firestrike and NSW lines, they switched to CX Sprints all around in Firecrest. So this isn't some Johnny-come-lately spoke that's got some freak use profile.
This blog started out quite differently from how it's going now, and as I got into it I realized that it would have to be cut up into probably 3 posts. So there's a bunch of sort of technical stuff and links to previous blogs to show once again that yes we test all this stuff, and that will all be included in subsequent posts. Think of this post as the liberal arts segment of the topic.
As Mike has eloquently pointed out in recent posts about feature builds (and the current one is a good one), people continuously ask us for bladed spokes. Objectively, they do some very nice things, but subjectively we've always considered that as a value play, what they do wasn't really worth the price of entry for most applications. The message from the market in general is "yeah, screw that, I want them anyway." So we're making some streamlines to the product mix that will emphasize bladed spokes. And the majority of those setups will include CX Sprint spokes on the drive side of the rear and the disc side of disc front wheels.
We've become big fans of differentiated spoke selection on the load and off side of many wheels. We've been doing it for almost a year and there's no question it works. We did a few test builds with CX Sprints and we like what they do there as well. So as we align more with customer request, we'll integrate CX Sprints into the mix there. And there will be instances where we'll be able to make slightly lower spoke count wheels work for more of you (what do you people have against spokes, anyway?!?!?!? - just kidding).
Some pundit among you will point out the cost difference and raise that as our hidden agenda. Retail on a CX Sprint is $.50 less than for a CX Ray. As you can imagine, our cost difference as a large-ish buyer of spokes is just a portion of that. We're using them for at most half the spokes in a wheel set, our pricing to you reflects that pricing, and if we weren't convinced that there is a benefit we wouldn't do it anyhow. Rails aren't going to use CX Sprints because quite simply, they don't need them. The shorter spokes and greater bracing angles of deeper rims mitigate the benefit.
This concludes the liberal arts portion of this discussion.