Not just pleasingly lightweight and crammed with cool features, last year’s launch of the Oozy Trail 295 from SPANK marked the entrance of an affordable wheelset. One year on, let’s check out how the 27.5″ models have fared.
Good bikes are expensive. A statement that certainly could apply to the world of mountain biking, where you frequently get exactly what you pay for – but it doesn’t always to be this way as SPANK have shown us. For 519€, the Oozy 295 are at home somewhere in the mid-price range. But for this price, we’d have expected to make slight allowances and compromises when it comes to quality, usage and weight. Did we?
Our first look at the stats revealed that our theory might be proven wrong here: weighing 1700g (27.5″), the Oozy 295 can’t necessarily rival the world’s lightest wheelsets, but it doesn’t have to hide in the corner either.
Laced by hand, the straight-pull spokes link the SPANK Oozy hub with the Oozy Trail rims.
The ridged Bead Bite form on the rim wall and bed allows you to ride a lower air pressure as the joint between the tyre and the rim is much more secure. The rim bed’s Oohbah design, essentially a ridged well in the concave form, is intended to lend more stiffness to the wheels. The 28 straight-pull spokes are there to provide the necessary stability. Due to the large 25mm interior width, the tyres should plant wider on the trail and therefore deliver maximum grip.
So far, so good – Enough theory. Naturally, the quality has to be present otherwise fancy features are rendered useless so that’s why we’ve been testing the Oozy 295 solidly in racing and training for the past year. They’ve been put through at least 1,500km of dirty trails, roots, rocks and a few notable jumps where they’ve come up too short.
After taking the first corners, it is soon obvious that the wheels are really rigid. Push the front wheel hard into any burm and it deals with it comfortably, giving neither unnerving flex nor beating you up as some too-rigid wheels can do. The performance of the Oozy Trail rims is complemented by the low tyre pressure they allow you to run. The ‘Bead Bite’ technology reliably keeps the tyres on the rim even when you run just 1.5 bar, and this allows you to maximize the grip of every tyre.
The spoke tension remained constant throughout the entire testing period. The wheels have stayed true – apart from one riding error that resulted in a dent although we were still able to ride it tubeless after this incident and with the use of a vice in our ENDURO workshop, we managed to repair it.
Throughout the whole testing period, the Oozy hub – hailing from SPANK and XXI-compatible freehub – didn’t draw any attention to itself. Not because it doesn’t make the typical mountain bike ticking, but just that it demands surprisingly little service. Even after 1500km, there’s neither play in the bearings nor excessive wear on the freehub body. To ensure these wheels fit any recent bike, an axle adaptor is supplied for all the current sizes.
Going back to the earlier statement of ‘good bikes are expensive’, there is one flaw with the Oozy 295. Installing and taking off the tyre is a real pain. The tyre sits so firmly on the rim bed that our plastic tyre levers (and our patience) were pushed to the limit. Changing a tube during a race is practically impossible. The problem occurred both with MAXXIS as well as Schwalbe tyres with thin and thick carcasses.
With their Oozy Trail 295, SPANK have designed a solid wheelset for a good price. Scoring highly with both its low weight and long lifespan, the Oozy’s Bead Bite feature also nails aggressive cornering and low air pressure. The only flaw: if you often change tyres, the SPANK Oozy Trail 295 perhaps isn’t for you. The tyres are just too snug on the rims.
For more info visit: spank-ind.com
Words: Daniel Schlicke Pictures: Klaus Kneist / Christoph Bayer / Aaron Steinke
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