Lark wheelsets – Light or standard?

The Lark series are our high performance aluminium rim-brake road wheels which come in two versions – “Light” and “Standard”, 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 standard 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.

Rims
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.

Hubs
We build the standard and light wheelsets with different hubs. The “standard” 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 standard hubs in weight.

Spokes
The Light wheels use less spokes to save weight – 20 in the front wheel and 24 in the rear,  while the standard 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?

Wheel weight – are you looking for the lightest possible wheels? If so then of course you should be looking at the Lark Lights.

Rider weight – we have a rough maximum recommended rider weight of 100kg for the Lark Light wheels. Riders around the 100kg mark should consider the straight-pull version with its slightly larger bearings and marginally higher wheel stiffness from the straight pull spokes. Much over 100kg we recommend the Lark standard 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 Standard wheelset will be a good option. For most normal riding, the Light wheelsets are plenty durable enough.

Aesthetics – the straight-pull Lark wheelset is a popular choice due to the sleek looks of the hubs, even though it’s not the lightest option.

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.

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