Strada says: this is our go to spoke for 80-90% of all our wheel builds now. It is approximately 1 gram heavier than the CX Ray but this makes all the difference. The slightly thicker bladed handles torque from pedalling and disc brake loads very well, eliminates issues with brake rub and handles compression from tubeless tyres very well. We purchase them directly from Alpina in Italy in bulk to save money however it is a high spec steel used and Alpina pride themselves on quality and engineering.
More info and background: The Alpina F1 spoke was designed by us to fit a need. We saw more and more tubeless rims being released to the market place and the popular Sapim CX Ray spoke was too light to work effectively with these TR rims. As the tubeless tyre is inflated it locks to the rim bed and compresses the rim. This compresses the CX Ray spoke and under testing in our worksop using calibrated digital spoke tensiometers we saw a significant (alarming in some cases!) loss of spoke tension.
Secondly, the cost of CX Rays was increasing (due to Brexit) and the availability for a small/medium size user was sketchy and large users pre-booked massive orders. So we looked round and tested the Sapim CX Sprint. This is the big brother of the CX Ray. It is a popular OEM (original equipment manufacturer) spoke and we could sometimes source them from Europe or the USA if needed. We liked the building and riding characteristics of the CX Sprint in conjunction with a tubeless ready rim and tyre. So we went to Alpina Raggi (based in Italy) from whom we already purchase all our nipples and we worked with them on a specification to meet our wheel building needs. The result was a modified version of their F1 spoke. It is on average 1.5 gram heavier than the CX Ray, it is bladed and black. We ordered 6000 in one batch in Spring 2017 and another 17,500 in autumn 2017. We have been very happy with their performance and we now use them in 90% of our wheels builds. We have noticed a significant improvement in wheel stiffness with no brake rub and zero failures.
Here’s a video from Alpina, the first half shows the spoke manufacturing process nicely (they make a lot of motorcycle spokes too for BMW, KTM and Husqvarna).
Alpina Raggi SpA was founded by Guido Cappellotto in 1926 in Laorca (Lecco) as a factory for the production of spokes and nipples for bycicles and motorcycles.
After a decade, in 1935, the company moved to Arcore (Monza e Brianza). In 1990 the factory moved again to Lomagna (Lecco), where it is still located today, in a covered area of almost 12.000 square metres.
After almost a century of activity, Alpina Raggi is the leading company in the supply of spokes and nipples and it counts among its customers the most important motorcycle and bicycle producers in the world.
After more than 90 years Alpina Raggi is still a family-run business which has now reached its fourth generation. However, the deep roots in the local territory and the intimate link with the tradition do not prevent the expansion towards the global market, where the Alpina brand is recognised as a symbol of high quality and Italian engineering excellence.