The unstoppable rise of gravel riding has lead to the exploration of more adventurous routes by riders needing to feed their newfound curiosity and enthusiasm. The demands of these new and exciting gravel adventures have highlighted the need for a specialist, high-performance wheelset that can cope with the particular requirements of venturing into the previously unknown.
For 2021 The Emporia GC3 Carbon Gravel Wheelset has been drawn from a completely blank canvas. Rather than merely adapting one of our road wheelsets we instead brainstormed to understand what exactly would be required to build the highest performing, gravel inspired wheelset possible.
A brand new, specific, carbon design
The centrepiece of the new Emporia GC3 Carbon Gravel Wheelset is undoubtedly the rim. Conceived in our Minneapolis facility, 127 plies of carbon material are laid in a specific pattern to grant an optimal, gravel-specific, strength to weight ratio. The robustness, resilience and compliance necessary for hard hits and plush levels of comfort are blended with a stunningly low rim weight that promotes rapid acceleration and nimble changes of direction.
This amalgamation of traits has been realised thanks to our D.N.A. (Dual-Axis Nipple Alignment) rim technology. This structural pattern uses a specific, waved carbon profile and partners with a CNC drilling process to align the rim bed with the spoke angles as they exit on their different paths to the hub flanges. This precision guarantees even and balanced spoke tensions that significantly increases the wheel’s integrity, which in turn means that less carbon is required, resulting in a lighter, more responsive rim.
More width, more performance
With the strength to weight ratio catered for the next focus was the rim to tyre interface. Gravel riding requires larger tyres and bigger air volumes to combat the more substantial impacts of vastly irregular surfaces. In response to this prerequisite, we widened the internal rim width to 25mm. This new width mates perfectly with 32mm to 50mm tyres by supporting the sidewalls, which facilitates lower tyre pressures without negatively affecting rolling resistance, line accuracy, corning control or bottom-out resistance.
We utilise our own 545 hubset in the build with its silky smooth, stainless bearings being encased within a robust, accurately machined alloy shell. Everything is then comprehensively linked together with the venerable Sapim Laser spokes that are laced in a 2-cross configuration via a meticulous hand build to permit ultimate efficiency and durability for the wilderness that awaits.