Long Term Review: Spinergy Stealth FCC 4.7
We take the aero wheel set through its paces and on some unlikely terrain.
Spinergy has been experiencing a bit of a resurgence. If you are a Millenial or Gen Z cyclist, you may not be aware of Spinergy’s history in cycling. Today Spinergy may not have the same level of notoriety or World Tour level sponsorship but what does that mean for the wheels that they currently offer? In short, marketing and less people racing on wheels than in the past. It may be safe to say that Spinergy wants to come back to that same level of world recognition. Maybe they can. With the Spinergy Stealth FCC 4.7 wheelset, it is their most aero yet overall wheelset for road cycling and can be ridden on just about everything. How do we know? We’ve been riding them for almost a year and here is what we’ve found out.
Originally this review was supposed to be a comparison review with a much more well known and much more expensive wheelset. Unfortunately, that wheelset failed in the form of a broken spoke, overall had a tough time staying true. After that this comparison test has evolved into a singular review which in a way compliments Spinergy’s durability.
At first glance, the wheelset is anything but stealth. It’s got love it or hate it graphics on the rim and the carbon layup has a very striking checkerboard pattern on the entire 47mm depth. Obviously the most striking piece is the spoke and Spinergy’s patented PBO spoke technology. They come in a variety of colors and if you want to really get fancy, you can customize your own wheelset with any number of colored spokes. We opted for the blue spokes which are also bladed for added aero gains. The spokes have not broken and have remained under tension akin to guitar strings that perform well when tuned. These spokes are under similar principles and even offer as Spinergy claims a bit of dampening when riding on some of the rougher surfaces. The hubs are eleven speed equipped with steel bearings and an aluminum body that is under the Spinergy brand but is under the name HADLEY name. The entire package is not in the super light category of wheels coming in at 1600 grams for the rim version and 1655 for their disc offering. The large skewers are steel which is great for stiffness but perhaps weight could be saved in a titanium version in the future. The current trend for many carbon wheelsets is wider is better. Spinergy straddles the line between the old and new worlds with an 18mm internal and 24 mm external widths. That paired with a 25mm tire inflated to about 80psi (Rider weight 170lbs) offered plenty of confidence cornering on some of the more technical descents. The entire package retails for $1945 per pair and can be purchased directly from Spinergy.
One major and sometimes overlooked detail is the braking. In the rim brake version, a pet peeve of mine on other brands is braking where the rim surface is often textured and eats through brake pads quickly and also creating a lot of brake dust in the process. For the Stealth FCC’s their pads are hard and robust. When braking on the smooth brake track they are virtually silent just the way I like it. The pads have lasted the entire time without need for reversing the pads from front to rear as people sometimes do to even them out. There was no need for sanding or toeing in the pads as well. Straight from install, they worked and worked well. In fact they are the best braking carbon wheelset I have used. I can’t say for certain how they performed in wet conditions as I have yet to ride them in the rain. I am slowly transitioning to disc brakes in the future so this to me may be the last rim brake wheelset I use.
Where this wheelset really shines is on rides that are flat to rolling and riding above 20 MPH. It just moves and once it gets going, you can feel the real benefit. Granted they are not really meant for time trials but can be used in them. They are not a crit or climbing wheel but can also excel in those environments.
In some of the cross winds, if you have never ridden a wheel of that depth, you will feel it and there is a bit of a learning curve. If you are used to riding wheels even with a bit of depth, these should handle no problem. Out of the saddle, the wheels are extremely responsive and accelerate well. In terms of the claimed dampening or shock absorbing properties, there really isn’t much I’ve noticed compared to the other wheelsets I’ve tried. The wheels are ridden on an aluminum Cannondale CAAD 12. I prefer a stiff bike and something that transfers power quickly. These days I just don’t get beat up like I used to on an aluminium rig. In addition to the carbon wheels, I do have an integrated carbon cockpit, carbon fork, carbon seat post and saddle with carbon rails. All of that makes it virtually impossible to tell if you are on an aluminum vs. carbon bike but that’s a different conversation altogether.
In the year I’ve used the wheels, I’ve experienced about a half dozen flats and the rims are easy to get the tire bead on and off. If you happen to have strong thumbs, you might be able to get away without a tire lever. The wheelset is run with traditional tubes and any tube with at least a 60mm valve should fit the rim fine without any need for a valve extender.
The spoke count may seem lacking with a 16 front and 20 rear radially laced setup but with my weight and riding style which is aggressive it was plenty stable. There was not one time where a spoke broke or needed to be trued. The wheels have performed the same since its very first ride.
In addition to taking the wheels on every type of paved terrain, I also went on a few gravel rides and dirt trails. The wheelset is not designed for that type of riding but I experienced no problems. I wouldn’t recommend using them as your gravel wheelset as Spinergy offers their dedicated gravel line and the tires I have used have never exceeded 26mm. Surprisingly, on the dirt they handled better than expected. On the trails there were a few times I was the only one on a traditional road bike while everyone used their gravel or mountain bikes. The wheels stood up to some of the more technical singletrack and even the brakes handled smoothly on some of the downhills. The only things that were hurting after a while were my forearms from the hard braking.
So where does the Spinergy rank in a sea of other similarly priced similarly designed wheels? I would say that these wheels are the swiss army knife of road wheels. Aero enough to get you going fast, strong enough to get you through the rough roads and even dirt and priced enough for you to ride it like you stole it. After a year of riding these wheels, they show no sign of slowing down but if you wanted to, you can brake with confidence.
• Unique design concept
• Great durability
• Strong and quiet braking
You Might Not Love
• Non stealth graphics
• "Heavier" compared to other wheels in this range
Brian Co is the founder of Velo Worthy and runs the Velo Worthy Podcast. He is a professional life plate spinner and tries to help the cycling community one cyclist at a time.