Marwi Ti-Dye Spokes|
Thursday, April 01, 1999
Ordinarily, spokes are a tough thing to review. Ordinarily, there's nothing more we can do than list a bunch of technical specs and there's no real story to tell. Fortunately, Marwi has made our job easier with their trick Ti-Dye spokes which are quite different than the average spoke. The Ti-Dyes are as much about attitude as performance.
First they're made from titanium. Anything ti automatically carries a certain degree of cool. To add to this, Marwi added a totally wild rainbow "Ti-Dye" finish that creates a totally unique look. Everywhere we went with our Syncros wheels built up with these beautiful spokes, heads turned.
But what good is it if everyone who is turning to look also happens to be lapping you as you ride at the back of the pack? Not to worry. Because these spokes are ti, they are much lighter than steel spokes. Lighter means faster. And because the weight saved is towards the outside of the wheel, these spokes allow you to accelerate faster and brake quicker.
I had heard over and over again that wheels laced with ti spokes absorb a lot of the vibration that is normally transferred to the rider. I honestly couldn't imagine ti providing any noticeable difference in vibration, especially when banging around on the trail. I couldn't have been more wrong though. The ti spokes almost completely eliminated the high frequency vibrations saving a lot of fatigue on my hands. The ride was significantly smoother.
Our test wheels accelerated and braked fast, but cornering was another concern we had. Titanium is a much more flexible metal than steel and flex is not a favorable characteristic when it comes to wheels. To help combat this flex, ti spoked wheels are wound extremely tight. Even with the ultra tight spokes, the wheels still had a little more flex than a steel spoked wheel. At first, I really didn't like this characteristic and found myself going wide around corners and struggling to hold my line. After a few rides though, I learned to adapt my riding style to the strengths and weaknesses of the ti spokes and now I don't want to go back to my old spokes. Some of our other testers weren't as quick to forgive though and preferred the more precise carving that their old wheels offered.
Unless you have experience building wheels with Titanium spokes, I'd leave the wheel construction to the experts. We had ours built up at Ti Cycles who has some of the most talented wheel smiths in the Northwest. They new the exact right tensions for the spokes, what spoke prep to use, and all around did a quality job.
So if you're looking to shave some weight from or ad a little color to a custom set of wheels, the Ti-Dye will do the trick.