Here are some of the things that happen during our wheelbuilding process:
- Hubs, rims, spokes and nipples selected based on rider, terrain & past history with wheels
- Spokes lengths hand-calculated with Sutherland’s Precision ERD system & DT Swiss Spoke Calc
- Spokes custom cut on our Morizumi or Phil Wood Spoke Machine
- Spoke threads cleaned and prepped with light oil or Linseed oil
- Rim spoke holes deburred where applicable (non-eyeletted rims)
- Hand-laced to appropriate pattern
- Hand-trued with dial indicator for roundness
- Hand-tensioned and checked with DT Tensio
- Several techniques and rounds of pre-stressing performed
- Precisely centered with Efficient Velo Tools Trigger Dish Guage or Abbey Harbor Guage
- Tubeless setup performed when applicable (approved methods only)
- Final tension check at full inflation pressure
- Application of DT Spoke Freeze & light oil (if not using Linseed oil)
As you can see, it is a lengthy process, but yields a great result. A well-designed, evenly tensioned and properly stressed wheel will stay true and last longer than anything built by a machine. We average about 125 custom handbuilt wheels per year and love taking on custom projects. All of our mechanics are capable of producing quality handbuilt wheels, but Chris and I tend to spec and build most of them.
We charge our standard service rate of $90 per hour due to the wide variety of projects that we take on. We always offer free follow-up care as needed, inlcuding the first hub overhaul service or pre-build service on a used hub. A handbuilt wheel from us is an investment in your bike that you will not regret. We put exacting effort in up front so you can enjoy the wheel(s) for years to come.
We are happy to talk about custom wheels and write up free estimate quotes for any combination. Turnaround for a custom wheel is about 5-10 days depending on parts availability. We deal with many excellent wheel component manufacturers and can cover any style of riding imaginable from racing bikes to tandems.
Hubs, Spokes & Patterns
For hubs, we have access to a wide variety including White Industries, DT Swiss, Chris King, Hope, Phil Wood, Surly, Schmidt, Profile, All City, Dimension, Shimano, Camagnolo, SRAM, and Rohloff. We can certainly can build with a supplied hub as well.
We stock straight guage and double-butted DT Swiss and Wheelsmith spokes & nipples in a variety of styles and colours. Yes, we’ll build you a wheel with alloy nipples, if it suits your riding style and expectations. Most spokes are custom cut to length on our Morizumi or Phil Wood machines, some styles we stock pre-made from DT Swiss. We will not build a wheel with used spokes, nipples or rims.
When it comes to lacing patterns, we are open to anything that is within the hub/rim manufaturer’s recommendations and my own comfort zone. Odds are that we are going to recommend two or three-cross in most cases. A large collection of tyres from Maxxis, Vittoria, Schwalbe, Continental, Surly, 45Nrth, Clement, WTB, Panaracer, and Kenda are also in stock. Many others can easily be special ordered within a few days.
Inquiries in person or via email are welcomed.
-J.Wag and C.Ruhl