"Jayhawker" 29er Carbon Fiber Wheelset
The jefe velo 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 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 magic in the hubs comes from the use of an endcap design that allows the use of different axle designs and widths, and the bulletproof six-pawl freehub design that allows interchangeability between traditional Shimano, Shimano Microspline, SRAM XD, and SRAM XDR freehubs. 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. Free U.S. Shipping.
There are three options offered on this wheelset:
Jayhawker™: 100 x 12ta (15ta & QR end caps) + 142 x 12ta (135QR end caps) - Shimano HG or SRAM XDR Average weight, including valves, rim strips, bearings, and cassette drivers: Front - 809g, Rear - 930g
Jayhawker™ Boost: 110 x 15ta / 148 x 12ta - Shimano HG or SRAM XD Average weight, with rim strips and valves installed, including freewheel driver: front - 829g, rear- 951g
Jayhawker™ Mullet: 100 x 12 (15ta & QR end caps) + 148 x 12ta - Shimano HG or SRAM XD Average weight, including valves, rim strips, bearings, and cassette drivers: Front - 809g, Rear, -951 g
—Shimano Microspline driver available separately