Jayhawker™ 29er Carbon Fiber Gravel - CX - Bikepacking Wheelset
The Jayhawker™ Wheelset. Named after the abolitionist guerilla fighters that made their name on the gravel roads in Kansas before the American Civil War, this bulletproof wheelset is designed for the endurance gravel rider in mind and does double duty as your soon-to-be-favorite bikepacking setup.
Don’t let the value-pricing steer you to thinking this is a cheap wheelset. It’s comprised of the same best-of-breed components and assembly techniques used by the major cycling brands. I leveraged my access to the same factories to produce the world’s best wheelset—literally from my perspective. It’s designed around me, the 200lbs I carry around, and the 8,000 - 10,000 miles I ride per year on road, gravel, and singletrack. If it works for me, it will most certainly work for you.
The Jayhawker™ concept starts with the need for a strong wheelset that you can rely on to be there when you need it. The Jayhawker is durable and reliable. In addition to the hundreds of personal miles I’ve put on the wheelset, I made sure that it passed the European Wheel Standard ISO 4210-7. Wheels that pass this brutal 2,000km bench test have a standard of run out, trueness, centricity, and spoke tension that are within statistical range before and after the formal test. This is the sort of attention to safety and process control that the big companies use to justify their sky-high carbon wheelset prices.
Integral to the concept is a 32 spoke setup, front and rear, laced with a supple cross-three pattern with j-bend SAPIM black stainless steel D-Light butted round spokes and SAPIM brass nipples. I also include two extra spokes and nipples per wheel (four per wheelset) because that’s how I roll. When you’re backcountry, there’s no better insurance to have a couple of extra spokes with you—just in case.
The carbon fiber rim is produced by one of the biggest major-brand carbon fiber producers for jefe velo. The rim profile has a 29mm outer width, a 23mm inner width and a 28mm rim height (effective rim diameter 582) and it has a bead retention lip that helps to secure tires under higher pressures. The rim has a slightly asymmetric spoke hole configuration to provide greater overall strength of the wheel.
Of course, the wheelset comes with a tubeless strip and a valve included. I opted for a UD matte flat black finish with a minimum of that traditional carbon fiber cross hatch look. It’s understated and looks great dirty or clean. The wheelset comes with a set of jefe brand wheel stickers that you can choose to apply to the rim, to the back window of your car, or on the back of your PC. They’re weatherproof and UV coated and actually look pretty good on the rimset, but I’m not a big fan of conspicuous branding, so I’m leaving the choice up to you. These wheels are 100% steak, 0% sizzle.
The 23mm inner rim profile—with the retention bead—gives you a ton of choice on tires and tire pressures. IMHO, it’s the ideal width for gravel and fire road riding with some singletrack mixed in. Because you can go as narrow as 37mm and as wide as 2.35in (2.6in at the absolute max), the rim width provides the maximum tire variation that allows you to use it in a bunch of different setups and terrain. It’s the perfect wheelset for the wide open gravel vistas of the GDMBR and feels quite at home on a Salsa Cuttthroat or Fargo, and doubles as the best wheelset ever on the more racy gravel bikes like the Salsa Warbird.
The hubset comes from another world-recognized cycling manufacturer and can be found on a number of well known brand name wheelsets and first fit bike builds. Unlike a lot of fancy wheelsets these days, the models I have included provide a traditional j-pull spoke design which makes maintenance a simple matter. It also uses a traditional ISO 6-bolt disc brake design; I like the simplicity of the center lock design but it’s not so great to carry the removal tool when you’re in the back country.
The bulletproof six-pawl freehub design that allows interchangeability between traditional Shimano HG, Shimano Microspline, SRAM XD, and SRAM XDR freehubs. If you're really into the detail, the rear hub has 9 degrees of engagement (360/40) and a 40 tooth ratchet ring that the six pawls buzz around in. This puts it right in the middle of the pack in terms of "hive of bees"--not as loud as some, but louder than others. What really matters here is that the 6-pawl design is robust and it's been trail tested.
I’ve also engineered the hub around easy-to-find, brand name bearings. On the front, two Enduro MR17287LLB sealed units, and on the rear, one Enduro 6802 and three Enduro 6902 (inclusive of two in the freewheel driver). Expect long life from this setup, but when you need to replace them, you (or your LBS) can literally buy these on Amazon.
OK, seriously. You’ve read this far, how can you not buy these wheels? They’re quite a deal.
Jayhawker™ Wheelset – Specifications:
• Rim: 29”/622 Full Carbon Rim – 29.2mm Width (Outer), 23mm Width (Inner), 28mm High, for disc brakes only (no rim braking permitted). Tubeless Ready With Valve and TLR Tape, UD Matte Finish
• Spokes: 32F / 32R, Sapim D-Light Spokes – Black, Brass Sapim Nipples External – Black. Includes 4 extra spokes and four extra nipples for repairs as needed.
• Rear Hub: jefe velo 6-Pawl Freehub - Shimano HG, Shimano Microspline, SRAM XDR (For 135 / 142 hub width), SRAM XD (For 148 hub width). Bearings: 1 x Enduro 6802 ABEC3 sealed bearings, 3 x Enduro 6902 ABEC3 sealed bearings. Skewers and Thru Axles not included.
• Front Hub: jefe velo 100mm and 110mm hubset. Bearings: 2x Enduro MR17287LLB sealed bearings. Skewers and Thru Axles not included.
• Average weight, including valves, rim strips, bearings, and cassette drivers: for 100x135/142 wheelset: Front - 809g, Rear - 930g, for 110 x 148 wheelset: 829g, Rear - 951g
• Certified to European Wheel Standard ISO 4210-7
One year limited warranty