The Scott subsidiary has been experimenting and building monocoque carbon-fibre wheels for its World Cup racers for many seasons, with proven results and no compromises. With the Capital SL one-piece wheelsets, that technology has now been reshaped for gravel bikers.
Beyond the ‘pro’ aesthetics, these Capital SL monocoque wheels have several performance advantages compared to traditionally laced carbon-fibre rims with steel spokes. Engineers and designers at Syncros have perfected the brand’s monocoque wheel-making technology, producing specific moulds to shape the Capital SL wheels.
Aside from the striking looks, what are the real benefits of a Syncros Capital SL wheelset? The monocoque bracing structure is 35% stronger than traditional steel spokes and is perfectly pre-tensioned during production. As a monocoque design, gravel riders will never be bothered by adjusting spoke tension with one of these wheelsets.
One-piece wheel design sceptics will raise the issue of spoke damage compromising the entire wheel, with the monocoque structure making it impossible to swap out damaged spokes, for replacement.
A traditional carbon wheel design, laced with steel spokes, has an advantage in replaceability. But with the Capital SL wheels being pre-tensioned as part of their monocoque structure, you’ll never break a spoke under compressive loading, which is how most spokes ping and snap on a gravel bike.
Syncros claims the integrated carbon spokes of its Capital SL wheel design are also 7% more aerodynamic than a comparable steel structure for the same given rim depth of 40mm. For gravel bikers, aero matters. On long gravel adventure rides in open terrain, wind and aero considerations become a real performance issue for gravel bikes, and a 7% aerodynamic gain at the wheels is not insignificant.
The Capital SL wheels are said to be incredibly light at 1,170g but the distribution of that mass matters even more. Syncros claims it has reshaped more of the Capital SL’s mass profile from the rim to the hub, delivering 20% less rotational inertia than a legacy carbon-fibre wheel design, braced with steel spokes. For comparison, the Syncros SILVERTON SL one-piece mountain bike wheels have a 26mm internal diameter and weigh 1,290g.
What is the benefit of a Capital SL’s lower rotational inertia? Much better acceleration when powering out of corners, or when rapidly changing gears and mashing the pedals during a sudden increase of gradient.
Despite the advanced design, Syncros has chosen a sensible technical specification for the Capital SL’s rim structure, allowing gravel riders the confidence to select whichever tyres they desire. The Capital SL’s rim is a hookless design with an internal diameter of 25mm, delivering plenty of widths to support the mounting of various casing-size gravel tyres.
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