The Lark series are our high performance aluminium rim-brake road wheels which come in two versions – Lark Light and Lark Strong, and we are often asked how to choose between the two options. The Light are as the name suggests aimed at being the fastest possible while the Strong are built to maximise durability and strength, but there is a lot of cross-over between the two so let’s have a look at them in more detail. Either wheelset can also be used off-road on cyclocross or gravel bikes.
All Lark wheelsets use the same rim which we call the Lark20. This is a very strong aluminium rim with a 20mm internal width and a wide, smooth machined braking surface. The stiffness of the rim means it stays perfectly straight even at high spoke tension and low spoke count, and it’s strong enough for heavy riders.
We build the standard and light wheelsets with different hubs. The Strong hubs have larger bearings which improves durability, especially for wheels used regularly in harsh wintry conditions but are heavier at 301g/pair compared to 258g/pair for the Light hubs. There is also a version of the Lark Light which uses straight-pull hubs (designed to use spokes without a bend at the head), which are between the Light and Strong hubs in weight.
The Light wheels use less spokes to save weight – 20 in the front wheel and 24 in the rear, while the Strong wheelsets use between 24 and 32 spokes to maximise strength. The Light wheels use a 2:1 spoke lacing pattern on the rear wheel which gives the 24-spoke wheel similar strength and stiffness to a 28 or 32 spoke wheel. All Lark wheelsets are available with an optional upgrade to CX-Ray bladed spokes which save a little weight and a slightly more aerodynamic but don’t make any difference to the wheel strength.
So, armed with that information, how to choose?
We have a rough maximum recommended rider weight of 85kg for the Lark Light wheels. Much over 85kg we recommend the Lark strong wheelset.
Bearing durability – are these being used for commuting or for heavy training miles through bad weather? If so then the larger bearings of the Strong wheelset will be a good option.
Aesthetics – the straight-pull Lark wheelset is a popular choice due to the sleek looks of the hubs, despite the small extra weight.
If you still can’t decide…. get in touch with any questions through our contact form or add a comment below, and we’ll help you decide.
2 replies on “Lark wheelsets – Light or Strong?“
I am thinking of getting some Lark Light wheels. What is the price of a set with the CX ray spokes? I presume the shimano hub will take a 10 speed cassette? As I presently ride 105 hubs which are very quiet, how do the Lark hubs compare? ie are they as clicky etc as hope hubs.
Hi Julian, the CX-Ray spokes add £1.45 per spoke, bringing the total pair of wheels to £403.80 for the Lark Lights. Yes, the Shimano freehub will take a 10sp cassette using the 11 to 10 speed spacer we provide with all the wheelsets. As for the sound of the hubs, they are louder than a 105 hub but nowhere near as loud as Hope. More grease can be added to the freehub to quiet it down further.