Tuesday 12 November 2019

Turn on the light! Very practical gravel & touring wheelset

Autumn came and days became shorter. For us, the cyclists this is the time of the year when we switch into gravel and touring bikes and enjoy beautiful and colorful forests sceneries. Using that opportunity I'd like to introduce to you the "Any Road" wheels series.

For gravel & touring cyclists who are looking for practical, strong and robust wheelset the "Any Road" BlackCat series is the choice. Those are built using wide, carbon rims where front is supplied with dynamo and rear is based on strong and long-lasting Hope hub. Unlike other system wheels on the market, here you have 32 strong spokes per each wheel, 3x crossed and supported by brass nipples. Having in mind late evenings and night rides, both wheels have fluorescent decals that glow in the night providing additional safety.

Let's have a look into the details of this build:

1. Rims
Carbon, U-shape, 22mm inner width, 29mm outer width, 40mm depth. Weight 450g. Superb stiffness and ideal comfort with 40-50mm tires

2. Hubs
As mentioned before, on the front you'll find dynamo hub. Having power generated by the wheels to provide the light is one of the nicest upgrades you can think about.

For modern bikes, weight counts and therefore one of the most popular, lightweight dynamos on the market are made by SON. Those are ideal but come with a very high-end price point. The good alternative is Shutter Precision, only slightly heavier but providing the same output power as SON. SP cost half of SON so, in my opinion, this is a very good choice. 

In this particular build, I used SP-7 series with thru-axle, 12/100mm and CL disc rotor mount. 

Rear hub is Hope PRO RS4. Strong, well-sealed with good geometry hub.

3. Spokes and nipples
No brainer here. Spokes I used here are Pillar PSR 2016 & 2017 (1.6 and 1.7mm). Strong, 3-cross lacing and brass nipples. Built to last.

Leading spokes heads out, trailing spokes heads in. The strongest for disc wheels.

4. Decals
Safety first. When you're crossing local roads in the dark or rain you become less visible for car drivers. The fluorescent decals make you very noticeable so you're super safe. On top, they look cool and give you additional kudos to the overall bike setup look.

Weight of the complete set with 32/32 spokes and brass nipples is 1935g. If you're pretty light, I can make 28/28h setup which will lower down the weight a bit. It's also possible to use 30mm rims depth, which are about 20g lighter / each.

Price tag - 1249CHF. That includes the wheels, personalized decals, spare spokes with nipples and tubeless rim tapes.

Wheels are available in my shop.

Contact me in case you need more information


  1. Wonderful reads and builds on here! I regularly read you stating "Leading spokes heads out, trailing spokes heads in for disc wheels" and I know there's a lot of stuff floating around the internet about this but I haven't found any decent argument for this. I am eager to know your argumentation on lacing leading spokes heads out and trailing spokes heads in for disc wheels. Keep the posts coming!

    1. It's a very good question in regards to spokes heads in/out for disc wheels.
      After reading few books, including famous Jobst Brandt, and seeing many wheels built by famous wheelbuilders I came to my own arguments:

      1. Look at the track wheels for professionals. The rear wheel, which takes a MASSIVE torque, is always built with trailing spokes heads out and leading heads in.
      - Since the disc rotor creates opposite torque to pedaling, it make sense to lace other way around, so the spokes & the hub cope easier with the high torque (bigger rotor, higher torque during braking)
      2. The second reason I make that, is for chain drop off cases. When the chain gets between the biggest cog and spokes, it makes much less damage when the trailing spokes are laced with heads in. If you look in general for disc bikes, they are usual mountain & gravel which means off road -> higher chance to drop the chain.
      The road disc bikes do not ride off-road BUT they usually have 24/24 spokes so in such case every little improvement to help the hubs to cope with the torque is important

      Thanks my take on this topic. It might not be very scientific but it works for me :)


    2. Thanks you Tomash! Good to make up your own arguments based on experience when the big guru's like Brandt and Muson don't really argument pro or con.
      Keep up the good work.