Spank Oozy 345 Wheelset Review
Cons: heavier, slower freehub engagement
Manufacturer: Spank Industries
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The small mountain bike parts manufacturer, Spank, is probably best known for their distinctive brightly colored handlebars. They also make a variety of cockpit components including stems, grips, and saddles, as well as flat pedals and a range of wheels. The Oozy Trail 345 is one of several models in their Oozy Trail lineup designed for trail, all-mountain, and enduro style riding. Our team of testers took these wheels to task on the varied trails throughout the greater Lake Tahoe area. Testers found these wheels to be generally quite agreeable, but with a very middle of the road performance that couldn't quite compare to the competition.
The Oozy Trail 345 is built with the rim of the same name, the rims themselves are also sold separately, which have a 34.5mm external and a 30mm internal rim dimension. The 30mm internal rim width is par for the course by today's trail riding standards and is designed to pair well with modern tire widths. The symmetrical rims have a corrugated rim center, on the inside of the rim, which they claim adds strength and rigidity that allows the rim to be wider without adding material. This feature is visible and looks like a wave in the center of the rim. The rims come tubeless ready with rim tape and valve stems, as well as "anti-burp" bead hooks, essentially a number of small ridges, on the rim bead.
The hubs are also made by Spank and are beautifully machined aluminum affairs with spoke flanges milled for the 32 straight pull stainless steel triple butted spokes arranged in a 3-cross pattern. These spokes are attached to the rim with Alloy DSN nipples which are slightly longer than regular nipples. The freehub system consists of a 30-tooth drive ring and a 3-pawl system that results in 12-degrees between engagement points. They have a standard 6-bolt brake rotor mount.
The ride quality of the Oozy Trail 345 wheels was decidedly average, there's really nothing bad or great that sets them apart. The middle of the road is a good place to be as long as there are no higher performance competitors looking to run you over. Unfortunately, most of the other models in our test offer higher levels of performance at a lighter weight, though they do all cost more money.
The Oozy Trail wheels have a compliant and comfortable ride, though they aren't anywhere near as stiff or precise as the carbon models we tested. Due to their heavier weight, the second heaviest model in our test, they also have a bit of a sluggish feel when climbing and during accelerations. That said, they feel more lively than the heavyweight DT Swiss E 1700 Spline, though they have similar handling characteristics.
With a freehub engagement of 12-degrees, these wheels don't feel incredibly high performance. Our testers all agree that faster freehub engagement really makes a huge difference in their overall assessment of performance and it can make or break an otherwise good wheelset. While 12-degrees is nowhere near as sluggish as the 20-degree engagement on the DT Swiss E 1700 Spline, it is still slower than all the other models we tested. That said, if you've never experienced lightning-quick engagement, like the 3-degree on the Race Face Next R31, then you might not notice much of a difference.
The Oozy Trail 345 wheels tipped the scales at 1,983g for the pair. This falls almost squarely in the middle of the weight range for the alloy models in this test. This is 109g heavier than our Best Buy Award winner, the Stan's Flow MK3, and 93g lighter than the DT Swiss E 1700 Spline. By no means would we call them lightweight, but this is within reason for an alloy wheelset in this size. All of the carbon models we tested weigh 200-300g less.
We put all of the wheels in this review through the wringer. Our team of testers is not easy on gear and we really didn't hold back when riding any of these wheels. Of all the models we tested, the Oozy Trail 345 is the only wheelset that we damaged. One our testers, a self-proclaimed "wheel killer", managed to put a 5-spoke flat spot on the rear wheel after "a big impact". He admits that he was at fault and that he isn't sure any of the other wheels would have fared any better. We got the rim replaced and continued testing without any further damage. Interestingly, the replacement rear wheel came back to us with 2 of the drive side spokes mis-laced. Mis-laced spokes aren't the end of the world, but it isn't very confidence inspiring either. Other than that, the wheels fared quite well throughout the rest of our testing, although the front wheel spoke tension became inconsistent after heavy abuse.
With a retail price of $649, the Oozy Trail 345 wheels are the least expensive model we tested. We feel these are a relatively quality wheelset and would likely be an upgrade for many people over the stock wheels that come on some bikes. For only $30 more, however, the Stan's Flow MK3 wheels impressed our testers much more with a sturdier feel, great durability, and faster freehub engagement.
The Oozy Trail 345 are a reasonably priced alloy wheelset for trail and all-mountain riding with a decidedly average performance. There isn't anything particularly outstanding about them, but they look good and get the job done without complaint.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Oozy 345 wheelset is available in 27.5" and 29" wheel sizes in both boost and non-boost hub spacing. The wheels are offered in black (tested), blue, red, and black/green color options. In addition to the model in this review, Spank makes a range of wheels including several other Oozy Trail models in varying internal rim widths, all of which retail for $649.
The Oozy Trail 395+ is optimized for plus-sized tires with an internal rim width of 35mm. It is offered in 27.5" and 29" wheel sizes with boot and non-boost hub spacing.
The Oozy Trail 295 is a narrower and lighter weight model with a 24.5mm internal rim width that is available in 27.5" and 29" wheel sizes with non-boost spacing only.
— Jeremy Benson, Pat Donahue, Joshua Hutchens