With a massive 40mm wide rim (measured 35mm internal) the 29in Oozy 395+ is a burly wheelset and, according to Spank, is aimed at enduro, trail and all-mountain riding.
Like my ageing vision, I find the lines between those three categories (enduro, trail and all-mountain) are becoming pretty blurred as the years roll by, but I don’t need to worry because this version of the Oozy 395+ wheelset is also e-bike specific. What makes it so is the new Hex E-Plus Freehub fitted to the rear wheel.
The difference between this and a regular freehub is the hardened steel construction. With aluminium freehubs, the cassette can sometimes cut into the edge of the splines, and this can cause excessive play and also makes the cassette hard to remove. The thing is, I have a SRAM drivetrain on my e-bike with the SRAM XD driver body, so the splines are designed to prevent this problem. You could argue this steel upgrade is a bit pointless then, but Spank claims you do get a stronger construction, higher-grade bearings and an extra rubber seal on the outer edge to keep out dirt. Obviously, the company sells the Hex E-Plus in a conventional Shimano HG and Microspline pattern for the same money, so all the advantages above apply.
Internally, the rear new freehub gets six pawls running on a steel ratchet ring. The engagement is a claimed 3.5°, which means the pick-up is super-quick. Some will be disappointed that the noise isn’t as loud as a DT Swiss or Hope but it has a nice quality whir, so any rider in front will get a warning that you’re on their wheel.
Like all Spank wheels, the Oozy 395+ wheelset is hand built using triple-butted J-Hook spokes and the build quality is excellent. They’re also available individually, with the front wheel costing £259.99 and the rear only coming in at £349.99. I’ve been riding these wheels for a good three months, at BikePark Wales and all over Surrey and West Sussex and they’re still tight as a drum and straight as a die.
To allow the greatest compatibility with forks and standards, the Oozy 395+ wheelset uses a modular axle system with push-on end-caps. It’s slightly confusing what hubs can be upgraded to what axle, but you can just order these wheels in any spacing you like. Normally I’m not a fan of push-on caps because I’ve had instances where the weight of a 12-speed SRAM steel cassette will just pull the whole freehub off the hub, but this hasn’t been a problem here, and the Oozy 395+ rear wheel has stayed together fine. Switching between the different systems is super-quick too, it only took me a couple minutes to swap over the cassette body.
This wheelset is tubeless-ready and has tape pre-installed, but I did have to pump the tyres up to over 60psi to seat the bead properly. The wheelset features Spank’s ‘anti-burp rim hooks’ which stop the bead coming loose if you run low tyre pressures, and I think it just takes a bit to get it in there in the first place. A side benefit of the technology is it helps protect the rim if you pinch flat, as I found out at BikeParkWales when I blew the rear tyre off on a drop and it stayed intact for a good 20 metres before I came to a stop. If you have Shimano gearing on your e-bike, stumping up £80 for the new cassette body makes sense because you get a stronger hub, a better bearing and sealing, but if you run SRAM, you’re only really going to see two benefits, and as such isn’t particularly good value, especially when you’re left with a spare aluminium freehub.