A member of Montreal Bike Polo contacted us in the hopes that we could help build the lightest Polo Bike possible, and this was the result of our meticulous part selection:
26" Velocity Aileron rims. We chose the Ailerons because our customer was going with a front disc brake, so a machined sidewall was of no use. As you might know, Polo bikes generally only have a front disc or rim brake. Between 36H and 32H, there wasn't going to be much of a difference since our customer runs wheel guards that prevent the mallet and ball from hitting the spokes, so we went with 32H being the lightest option. Durability was something we were able to tweak with the help of our chosen spoke pattern. The Velocity Ailerons are notoriously light, tubeless ready, and wide enough for a variety of 26" tires. This build was going to be awesome from the start.
32H Paul FHUB and 32H WORD hub. Polo front wheels take a massive beating, so we chose the FHUB because it has high flanges, which tremendously increase spoke triangulation and stiffen up the front wheel. High flanges and high spoke triangulation also help with the load that disc brakes inflict upon spokes. The WORD rear hub was chosen as a mismatch because having a disc on the rear wasn't necessary, making the choice of a lighter hub easier. Spacing had to be 135, so the WORD was the go-to rear singlespeed hub. After having weighed the pros and cons of a cassette vs freewheel single speed setup, we went with the WORD freewheel option for durability and the fact that the ratchet mechanism wouldn't be part of the wheel, which is an advantage when you're using such an expensive setup for a wheel-beating sport like polo.
SAPIM RACE Double-Butted Spokes. Double-butted spokes were an obvious choice for extra give and lighter weight. Double-Butted spokes also dampen up shocks and absorb the load of the disc brake. Both wheels were laced 3X with prepped spokes and brass nipples (light threadlocker for wheels going to the polo slaughterhouse).
All in all, this build ended up being one of the lightest alloy wheelsets we've ever laced up. Weighing in at 1618g, it looks like we've succeeded in building an extremely light yet durable set of bike polo wheels. Mission accomplished!