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UD Carbon Spokes & TaperLock: Explained

Since launching our 36 (rim brake) and 44 / 54 (disc brake) UD Carbon Spoke range, we've had a lot of riders asking about them.  So we thought we'd go into a little more detail on the spokes themselves, as well as the technology that goes into making them a great choice for your riding. The following (non-exhaustive) list contains some of the questions you've asked us, but we're all ears for more.

The Hunt UD 44/54 Carbon Spoke Disc Wheel against a wall

Why should I run a carbon spoke over a steel one?

There are a couple of benefits associated with carbon spokes, which (more or less) follow the same reasons for choosing a carbon frame over a steel one for racing. With a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio, you can either achieve much greater responsiveness for the given weight, or you can strip weight out with no adverse effects on ride quality/performance.

We've performed some lateral stiffness testing here at HQ, and you can read up on this here.

What is it that's so special about HUNT's carbon spokes? What makes them different to other brands?

Most existing carbon-spoked wheels use adhesive bonding or resin to attach the spokes (essentially making them integral to the structure of the rim - not ideal for serviceability). However, the TaperLock construction method has enabled us to develop wheels with carbon spokes that are as usable as steel ones. At the hub end of the of the spoke an aluminium mandrel is placed around the spoke during the curing process, and is pulled tight against the (tapered) head of the spoke. The rim end of the spoke is fitted in the same way with a threaded steel mandrel, and can be trued using a spoke key on a nut from within the rim bed (accessible through the internal spoke holes). The steel mandrel has a standard square outer shape allowing the spoke to be held straight whilst any adjustments are made to the internal nipple.

What happens if I break one? Is the wheel finished?

As the spokes are held mechanically, they can be replaced just like steel ones, albeit with a slightly different method for fitting them. As all of our UD Carbon Spoke wheels come included with our H_CARE Lifetime Crash Replacement policy and the same 3-year warranty as all of our wheels, if the worst is to happen to any of your spokes then we can complete any repairs or replacements as necessary, free of charge, from either of our offices in Sussex, UK, or Colorado, USA.

Rider trackstanding on a white Cannondale Systemsix with Hunt UD 44/54 Carbon Spoke Disc Wheelset