Black Inc Thirty Four: A Gravel Optimized Wheelset Combining Strength and Lightness
Designing for the Blend of Gravel and Road
Black Inc’s Thirty Four wheelset is an innovative blend of durability and lightweight design, intended to provide top-notch performance across a wide range of terrains. This wheelset, intended for both gravel and road cycling, delivers an impressive combination of strength essential for gravel riding and a low weight that makes it suitable for road cycling. The Thirty Four wheelset is a testament to Black Inc’s commitment to creating cycling gear that stands out in quality and performance.
The Hookless Rim and Tyre Compatibility
The Thirty Four wheelset features Black Inc’s hookless rim, which has an internal width of 25mm. This unique design is compatible with gravel tyres up to 700 x 50c and is aimed at enhancing the overall cycling experience. The hookless rim design aids in keeping the tyre seated, and when paired with wider gravel tyres, it offers an aerodynamic performance advantage. The shallow 34mm-deep profile of the wheelset keeps the weight manageable, coming in at a total of 1,557g per pair.
Spoke Design and Ceramic Bearings
Using 24 spokes both in the front and rear wheels, Black Inc has designed the Thirty Four to add vibration-absorbing compliance to the ride. This thoughtful design makes the ride smoother and more comfortable across various terrains. Additionally, the Thirty Four wheelset is equipped with CeramicSpeed ceramic bearings, which, despite the additional cost they bring, promise longevity and less weight.
Performance Across Terrains
The Thirty Four wheelset’s performance is commendable across all terrains, but it particularly shines on everything but the rockiest terrains. The wheelset is comfortable, fast-rolling, and lively on climbs, providing a responsive and dynamic cycling experience. It also features precise steering, although there might be a brief pause to engage on the exit of corners. The wheelset handles loose or rocky sections well, and the wheels remain true even after enduring a big hit, proving their durability and resilience.
Notable Characteristics: Noise and Ceramic Bearings
While the Thirty Four wheelset has many advantages, it also has a few characteristics that might not appeal to all cyclists. For one, the wheelset is not particularly quiet, with a loud freehub and a hollow resonance similar to that of a disc wheel. Moreover, while the ceramic bearings are fast and smooth, they aren’t necessarily better in use, despite their increased cost.
The Final Verdict
In conclusion, the Black Inc Thirty Four wheelset is a responsive, stable, and comfortable wheelset that performs exceptionally well on gravel roads and hard-packed trails. It’s a versatile wheelset that caters to a wide range of cycling needs, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Potential buyers will have to weigh the benefits of the ceramic bearings against the additional cost before making a decision. However, for those who value performance, durability, and versatility, the Black Inc Thirty Four wheelset is undoubtedly a worthy contender.
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