Specialist Racing Wheels since 1986
Road & Track // Time Trial // Cyclocross
We keep around 20,000 Sapim CX-Ray spokes in stock at all times. They are quite easily the strongest spokes on the market, able to withstand forces that occasionally belie belief! One of the guys here just witnessed a rear mech sliced in half when coming into contact with a spinning wheel. They are not immune to breakages though - it is common for pedals to take a few out in race incidents, but due to their ability to stay stable under tension, even a 20h front wheel can stay relatively rideable with a broken spoke. They are made out of very high quality stainless steel. Tension does dissipate over time but as we build them to very tight tolerances of relative tension, they will stay true for a long time to come. In general use, tension should be checked before every ride and brought back up when it gets low enough to affect structural stability.
ACI Stainless double-butted are excellent spokes - they are 20% Chromium, fit hub holes nicely with a smooth bend & nicely rolled thread. Very few breakages over the years, they seem to bend in crashes too and we use Purple Extreme lube to combat corrosion from winter crud. We have built wheels for global-touring, downhill racing and almost all other applications with these spokes over the years - with NO issues due to the spokes of any kind. Amazing quality. We find them much more stable and less prone to failure than DT Competition - slightly lighter too.
Sapim Laser spokes on the front wheel compliment ACI on the rear for a traditional looking wheelset with a little but of weight loss on the front. There are other thin spokes on the market, they are usually dreadful. Lasers are excellent.
Note that Sapim Lasers are not usually suited to use on the rear wheel where a lot of torques come into play - especially if you are heavier. Although they are the same weight as CX-Rays, they do not stand up to these dynamics well and are more suited to front use only. Ideally partnered to ACI spokes on the rear however.
We do not use DT or Pillar spokes. We tried the Pillar PSR-1420 X-Tra and found them a very poor copy of Sapim CX-Ray - the few wheels we built with them all failed prematurely, even 32h 3x! They may say they are Sandvik steel etc, but in use they are a liability.