Even the most cursory glance at a pair of Cole wheels is enough; they are immediately recognisable for their unique hub, which houses brass barrels that locate the straight-pull spokes in direct alignment with their respective rim drillings in a system Cole calls Dynamic Spoke Alignment, or DSA.
In most other respects Cole wheels, including the CL24 Lites that have just arrived at RCUK, follow conventional thinking, with in this case an extruded aluminium rim laced to a forged and CNC-machined hub using high-end stainless steel spokes in a mixture of tangent and radial lacing patterns.
The rims are made for Cole by Araya, feature a machined braking surface and are 24mm deep. Spokes are Swiss-made and bladed, numbering 16 front and 20 rear. There’s a choice of SRAM/Shimano or Campagnolo freehub bodies and the wheels are supplied with rim tape and Cole’s external cam Q/R skewers. Weight is 1650g per pair, which is impressive at the quarter-grand price point.
So, back to DSA. The life of steel spokes is usually cut short by fatigue, which afflicts any spoke that has a bend somewhere along its length than can flex as the wheel rolls and the rim deflects under load. Typical locations for such flex may be found either at the nipple, which may exit the rim at an angle to the spoke’s location on the hub, and at the hub itself. The latter is often a problem for straight-pull spokes, since the hub has to be machined with great accuracy to ensure the spoke follows a direct path to the rim.
Except with DSA. The spoke head sits in a barrel, which is free to rotate in its hub flange, allowing it to align to perfection with the rim. Axial alignment, less difficult to control, is determined by the somewhat conical machined shape of the flanges, which each have two walls with one spoke leaving its barrel between each.
The design is simple and effective and allows the spokes to be highly tensioned, further aiding durability as well as power transfer, and is easily identified. How well it and the wheels work overall will, with luck, become clear during our test period.
Cole C24 Lite Shimano/SRAM Compatible Clincher Wheel Set £274.99 per pair