Q: Can you build me a set of custom wheels with Red or White spokes?
A: Technically, we can. We just prefer not doing it because it would be a disservice to you. Yes, they are visually pleasing, but there are many things to consider.
Most high-end spokes like DT Swiss Aerolites or Sapim CX Ray spokes are made of steel which cannot be anodised Red or White. These coloured spokes you see are in fact painted.
Painting adds weight to the spoke, which amounts to a loss in performance. I know many would say, "its just a few grams" and the aesthetics will out weigh the additional weight. You might be right!
But wait, there's more! As professional wheel builders, we're meticulous when it comes to wheel builds. Everything has to be put together perfect, and we have to be careful not to damage or scratch the hub flanges, spokes or rims when lacing.
Disclaimer: The wheel above was not built by us.
With painted spokes, it makes our job almost impossible. The paint changes the diameter of the spoke, and this paint often gets scratched off.
This paint also peels over time, as the spokes are stretched. Or they get chipped from debris on the road.
As a result, Sapim has discontinued production of its White, Sapim CX Ray spokes.
Are there any other alternatives? Well, they are many other colours that Aluminium Alloy spokes can be anodised. The trade off would be a harsher ride quality, for the same guage of spoke. And then there's also titanium, which we will cover in another post.
You could, also consider hub colour, or decal colour to spice up your wheels a little.
However, if you still want those white and red spokes at the end of the day, our advice is, they are expensive, and hard to come by. So if you do manage to get your hands on them, make sure you get additional pieces to keep as spares.
Titanium Spokes, to be covered in another post
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