Sunday, January 9, 2011

Handbuilt wheels...

There's just something so personal about handbuilt wheels compared to factory built, off-the-shelf wheelsets. Yet, in today's bike market, the factory wheel seems to rule. I'm sure there are fine examples out there. However, they are the easy way out. Walk into a bike shop, buy a set of wheels, walk out, slap 'em on your bike, ride away. Are they the right wheel for you? Are they appropriate for your riding style? Are they appropriate for your weight? What's to say that that pre-built, stock wheel is perfect for you? Are you a 200 pound rider who is light on equipment? Are you a 125 pound rider who can tear the guts out of a component after only a few rides? Why would wheelset 'X' be the same wheelset that is sold to Miss 125 pound rider in the morning and then sold to Mr. 210 pound rider later that afternoon? Is the 125 pound rider getting something heavier than she could ride or is the 210 pound rider getting something too light for him?

The only way to answer that is with custom wheels. Pick the appropriate hub, rim, spoke gauge, spoke crossing pattern, nipple material for the situation. Build something serviceable. Build something special for each rider. There are a lot of great rims and hubs out there that can build up better than any factory wheel and each wheel I build is built specifically for each rider. And best of all, a custom wheelset doesn't cost a bloody fortune.

I got inspired to write up something about handbuilt wheels after reading Ric Hjertberg's Wheel Fanatyk blog this morning and lacing so many wheels yesterday. I've known Ric for a while and really enjoyed getting a chance to meet him after knowing about him and his Wheelsmith wheelworks for so long.

Today, I've got a line-up of 12 wheels to build. Laced and ready to go, each wheel is built specifically for each rider.

wheels 001

wheels 003

wheels 004

wheels 006

What's playing: (The Beatles You Like Me Too Much)


bug said...

in the semi near future (hopefully more near than semi) i will be bringing in my bamboo bike frame i built myself to talk components. now i am thinking handbuilt wheels for my bamboo bike. i need to finish sanding the lugs first and i need to have energy on a sunny day to do it outside. once i finish with t \hat can bring it in.

blackmountaincycles said...

Very cool! Look forward to seeing your bamboo bike.

Custom Wheels said...

Deperately wating to watch you riding your bamboo bike dude ;)