New Zealand gravel is different to overseas gravel - most of the Kansas dirt roads in Unbound are smoother and better maintained than our paved roads! Our NZ gravel is on farm and forestry roads and tends to incorporate a lot more chunky rock, braking ruts, and aggressive single track.
This difference means gravel wheels here need to be super durable and able to shrug off big impacts. Our rougher terrain means generally slower speeds so pure aerodynamics is less important than having a light, responsive wheel which accelerates quickly.
Berd spokes are well suited to gravel riding, and especially to NZ gravel. Their only drawback is the 2.0mm round section isn’t as aero efficient as a bladed steel spoke so they don’t hold their speed as well over 40kph. If the majority of your gravel riding is faster than 40kph this isn’t the spoke for you, however for the rest of us the incredible smoothness of Berd’s UHMWPE spokes translates into feeling like you’ve got 5psi less in your tyres with both square-edge impacts and nasty chatter becoming significantly more smooth.
“Most noticeable? The safety and confidence in descending. My weight felt more evenly distributed and the bike felt gripped to the ground meaning I could carry more speed especially into corners – hello railing, about time.” - Kirsten
“What I love the most about these wheels on a gravel bike is their ability to soak up bigger impacts (like an unexpected root or pothole for example). It really feels like there is a tiny bit of suspension to just give you a bit of comfort.” - Pete
Berd spokes keep the wheelset weight super low, helping the ride feel fast and fun. Rider fatigue on longer rides is significantly reduced.
"If you're doing big days in the saddle, it keeps you more comfortable for longer. I did 180km of gravel from the bottom of the Rainbow ski field to Hanmer Springs and back. And I was able to stay comfortable for the whole ride." - Ethan
“There was so much payback for each pedal turn that going uphill felt smoother and faster without needing to search for the path of least resistance. Not having to concentrate intensely on line choice to save the legs was a relief.” - Kirsten
We’re building far more wheels with Berd spokes than ever before. We’ve added Berd as a spoke option in our lease wheelset programme which has been a really popular choice.
Berd’s new gravel/road version of the Talon hub was released this week and we’ve already got them in-hand and building them into wheels. They’re a really well-made hub with a DT Swiss style ratchet freehub body and distinctive Berd spoke specific hooked flanges.
For me, Berd spokes represent one of the most significant improvements in gravel components in years. I was instantly amazed at just how smooth these spokes make my gravel bike and how much of a difference they make to both sharp-edged impacts and chattery road buzz.
If you'd like to build or lease your own gravel Berd spoked wheelset, check out our OG range here. Or if you're still perched on the fence, we have demo OG wheelsets with Berd spokes at our Wellington workshop as well as A Bike Shop in Auckland. Get in touch if you'd like to try them out.