Just recently, I changed my mind about something. It was a small thing – a spoke, in fact but the opinion was one I’ve held for thirty years. Since the late Eighties, my go-to spoke has been Wheelsmith’s 14 gauge double butted model. A thing of beauty, with butting that’s always around 30mm long at each end with a 1.7mm center section. It’s as much as ten percent lighter than rival DT’s Competition; the Competition has a 1.8mm center section with butt lengths that can vary greatly between batches. I must also confess an emotional attachment to Wheelsmith; in 1990, Kurt Stockton became U.S. Pro Road Race Champion on wheels I built using this company’s spokes. I recommend Wheelsmith butted spokes for almost every purpose; they are light and strong. For customers who need more speed or want to save weight, my choice is the DT Aerolite bladed spoke. A rider can save around 50-60 grams of rotating weight by going with these marvels which really do pierce the air better than a round spoke.
Nevertheless, a spoke that’s been hiding in plain sight all these years recently grabbed my attention; the DT Aerocomp bladed spoke. It’s a bit fatter and heavier than the Aerolite but it’s still pretty aero. How heavy is it? I took twenty 272mm Aerocomp spokes, twenty Wheelsmith butted 14 gauge spokes and weighed them. Here’s the DT Aerocomps;
114 grams; not bad for an aero spoke that doesn’t break the bank. Next up were the Wheelsmiths. They had to be lighter, I thought.
They were lighter, all right; by one measly gram!
I’m enjoying the hell out of building with Aerocomps. They make a fast training wheel and a great drive-side choice for rear wheels with Aerolites on the non drive-side. It keeps the wheel nice and aero while ensuring stiffness. And they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!