Drew runs UK company, SPN industries. They make the Spin On These wheels on our Izoard RR. He believes there’s a lot of marketing in the wheel business, which adds unnecessary cost, and not so much thought for how we run and use wheels in the real world.
With a background in mathematical physics and motorsport, Drew thinks our wheels just aren’t wide enough. Hence his Fat Boy DM8 rims designed and engineered by him, over the last five years.
He’s not alone in the search for girth and the idea has been evolving for a while. There’s already plenty of evidence that we could be better off on a larger profile tyre. Both Zipp and Enve sell wide rim profiles, and their wheels famously win plenty of races. Drew's rims are wider.
Drew points out that most 25mm tyres come up wider anyway when measured on the rim and he argues that if you optimise the rim to suit tyres in the 23-28mm range, a narrower tyre on a wider rim is able to take on a more optimum shape, allowing it to respond to the road better, with more grip and a better ride.
If you haven’t heard of Spin Wheels, it’s probably because of his direct approach. He doesn’t use middle men. He deals direct with his customers and the factories he’s known the longest and every other part of the process is handled in house. Even his hubs are his own design, and he insists on building and checking every wheel himself. If you buy a wheel from Drew, he’s responsible for almost every part and process.
The theory goes that on his DM8 rims running a 23mm tyre the rim spreads out the body of tyre. This creates a more optimised tread shape and the rim itself supports the wall of the tyre, so there’s no need for excessively high tyre pressures. The ‘lightbulb' shape a tyre is forced to take on when constricted by a narrower rim is in Drew’s view, not as good.
A 23mm tyre takes on the same profile as a 25mm, and a similar contact patch. That means less weight, more speed, comfort and grip. The width also means tyres can be run at much lower pressures and the extra material in the rim helps with heat dissipation too.
The thing we like best about them is the ride. They feel great at high speed, and really stiff when climbing. Combined the wide rim, and lighter tyre with the natural compliance of a well sorted steel frame and it all makes for a very responsive and comfortable ride.