Sped Precision Maul TR Wheel Review

Sped Precision Maul TR Boost Wheels

Words & Photos by Chili Dog

Most people would probably look at Colin Esquibel like he’s crazy for starting a carbon wheel company in a market that’s already so saturated. Colin’s been in the industry a long time and left Crank Brothers for a vital role in the forming of Box Components. Wanting to guide his own ship and create products his way, Colin launched Spēd Precision and has been hard at work ever since. We received the Maul TR wheels a couple months back and have been doing just about everything possible to ride them like a hack on a mission to destroy.

The Lab

Before we get into our low pressure escapades let’s start by looking at the Spēd’s rim profile and design of the Maul TR wheelset. A lot of contemporary rim manufacturers, like ENVE for example, employ a tall rim profile. Esquibel took the opposite approach, making his Maul TR rims with a shallow but wide design. Colin believes his deviance from the deep rim trend has a functional pay off since all the carbon that would normally be used to make the rim taller could now be strategically applied to structural areas. Another main benefit a shallower rim provides is a smoother ride characteristic., This is achieved by increasing vertical compliance while retaining lateral rigidity. Colin definitely believes that when it comes to carbon wheels, stiffer isn’t necessarily better. After measuring the vertical and lateral deflection of his competitors in the lab, Esquibel was able to find a happy medium where the wheel had ample amounts of lateral stiffness, but still delivered a forgiving ride.

The other feature that sets Spēd Precision’s wheels apart is their development as a wheel system. You won’t find custom build options where you can match your favorite hubs to any of Esquibel’s rims. Instead, each wheelset was painstakingly developed from scratch with careful attention to the spoke angles and hub design. “We wanted to have something that was really well engineered for the money, and, we wanted to have something that was engineered properly,” says Esquibel. As a result, the exit and entry angles of the spokes match perfectly, with the nipple fully seated in the rim and a straight pull achieved at the hub. The Maul TR rims have an offset 28-spoke pattern with reinforced spoke nipple entries that are built up with extra carbon. A 3k weave strengthens the tire bed for impact resistance, with bolstered internal profiles to make them even more bombproof. Should you manage to crack the rim, Esquibel took the time to cross lay the carbon into sides of the rim, meaning that any break will be controlled and not result in a splintering mess. Forged, bladed spokes offer a tuned amount of flex to maintain traction, performance and comfort . The Spēd Precision hubs are constructed with a 42-ratchet ring and a stepped six-pawl driver with four degrees of engagement. The Maul TR wheelset rolls on an enduro bearing equivalent, but Spēd Precision also offers a true enduro bearing hop up kit for riders that are interested.

The Dirt

These wheels come ready to go out of the box with rim tape and and pre-installed valves. Mounting a tire on the hooked bead was as easy as it gets, with Maxxis, WTB and Schwalbe tires all seating and staying sealed without issue. The first time I rode the Maul TR wheels I forgot about them. That’s probably not the feedback you expect from a $1,750.00 carbon wheelset, but hear me out because it’s a good thing. All too often I hop on a new set of carbon wheels and have to re-learn the way I corner or get accustomed to a change in the way the bike feels. It’s easy to convince yourself after spending that kind of cash on a wheelset that having a massive change in the way your bike rides is an improvement, but honestly some of my favorite products are the ones that are designed well enough that you can forget about them and just ride. Since the carbon wheel market is jam packed with solid offerings that are light, strong and durable, the separating factor now comes down to the feel of the wheels, and Spēd Precision absolutely nailed it.

The Maul TR wheelset isn’t the lightest on the market nor is it the flashiest, but they work really damn well. No one is going to stop you on the trail to check these out, but sometimes subtle, black and understated graphics are better. These wheels let the ride do the talking. The time Spēd Precision spent in the lab fine-tuning the vertical and lateral compliance of the wheel pays off in dividends out on the dirt. I live in a region littered with sharp, jagged rocks that don’t think twice before claiming your expensive wheel as their own. Despite dropping tire pressures into the teens, the only damage I was able to incur, short of literally trying to destroy the wheels, was a torn tire sidewall. Slamming the wheel sideways on a landing or throwing your weight into a corner results in a surefooted feeling that isn’t harsh, but still unyielding. I love me a good pedal smashing power-wheelie on the way out of corners and these wheels happily oblige thanks to the four-degree driver and stellar torsional stiffness. Whether you’re on the gas to get up a technical climb or charge out of a corner, these wheels have all the stiffness and efficiency that you would expect from a carbon wheel at this price point. Pitch the bike into some stair-stepped rocks or chattery braking bumps and the wheels deliver a composed and deadened response. It’s literally like my Christmas wish list of carbon wheel ride dynamics. Do I wish the wheels were a tad lighter? Yeah, especially since weight savings are one of the major draws of a carbon wheel, but not once did I actually notice the slight weight penalty aside from on paper. To be fair the 1,775 gram Maul TR wheelset is only about 200 grams heavier than a $2,700 set of Enve M60’s, so at this point we’re really splitting hairs. As a mid level price point offering, the Maul TR wheelset’s on trail performance is comparable to wheelsets that far exceed that price range.

The Wolf’s Last Word

Despite my best attempts to beat the piss out of these wheels, I was unable to do anything more than a small superficial nick in the matte black paint. Of course these wheels have already been holding up well under the likes of Barry Nobles and the Spēd Precision sponsored World Cup downhill team, so any punishment I dish out is probably insignificant. While they may not be the sexiest, lightest or come from a household name, rest assured that Colin Esquibel’s years of experience in the industry translate to one hell of a good wheelset. While every company claims they have the best carbon layup just like every mom has the cutest kid, the proof is in the ride. That’s where the B.S. stops and the good wheels are separated from the great. The Maul TR wheels just feel right. If you’re in the market for a set of carbon wheels, I’d suggest you take a look a Spēd Precision and get ahead of the curve.

Weight: 1,775 grams
Price: $1,750
Website: spedprecision.com

We Dig

Perfect Ride

Thoughtful Design

We Don’t

Graphically Uninspiring

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