19 Jan 2021

Inventory cheatsheet

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COVID-19 has severely impacted supply. This has affected the whole bike industry and SpokeService is no exception. Last year supply problems caused the shop to close twice for a total of about two months — that may happen again in 2021 but we’re not there yet.

More than half of products normally available in the online shop are out of stock so this blog is an attempt to point out what’s available now. It’s difficult to say when specific models may become available because upstream information is unreliable. Thankfully nipples and washers in all varieties are well-stocked. In terms of spokes the following are on hand:

Non-butted

Sapim Leader available in all lengths, silver and black.

Single-butted

Sapim Strong available in all lengths, black only.

Double-butted

Sapim Race available in lengths 268mm and longer, silver only.
Sapim Laser available in lengths 268mm and longer, black and silver.

Triple-butted

Sapim Force available in lengths 268mm and longer, black and silver.

17 Dec 2020

Year end

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SpokeService will close after shipping orders on December 23 and phones will remain off for the remainder of the year. The time is needed for inventory, tool maintenance and government paperwork. Orders placed after noon on December 23 will be held until the last shipment of the year on Wednesday, December 30. No shipments on December 31 or January 1 but normal thereafter.

2021 isn’t looking great in terms of the product pipeline. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if another closure is required on account of insufficient inventory. If you see something available that you plan to use in the next few months, the smart money is to snap it up. C’est la vie.

Here are a few snapshots of the last wheelset of 2020, built with Sapim Force spokes.

30 Nov 2020

A bit less black

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Here’s few shots of sweet wheelset built earlier this month. This theme of black hubs, black rims, silver spokes and silver nipples is a new trend. Historically I haven’t see a lot of it but lately it’s more popular. I dig it.

29 Aug 2020

Truing stand progress

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A special thanks to everyone who participated in the survey in my previous blog. The feedback was really helpful. To anyone else: new survey submissions are still appreciated.

The survey indicates customers overwhelmingly prefer a bundle versus sourcing everything themselves. It’s not my preference but it’s understandable. In response I’ve been evaluating samples, looking at manufacturing processes, etc. The kit will include the brain box, digital indicators and cables — everything needed to upgrade your existing truing stand.

I decided the foot pedal will also be part of the package. The foot pedal means the interaction between the mechanic’s hands and the truing stand and the wheel are completely unchanged by the digital upgrade — everything can be managed using foot control. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted so decided to manufacture my own pedal. I source five components from three vendors and assemble according to my own schematic. It has a 3m/9ft fully overmolded cable to facilitate long runs under and behind workbenches. The feel under the foot is the best I’ve found (and I tried quite a few).

One niche feature of my pedal is its two distinct buttons. This is exploited by a tension gathering application I call Live tensio. This app reads deflections from a connected tensiometer and converts to tension values in real time, automagically. The left pedal instructs the system to assign the current reading to the tally of readings for the left side of the wheel. Similarly with the right pedal for the right side of the wheel. Watch the video below for a demonstration.

The video is a teaser and doesn’t show everything. For example there’s a little graphic below each live readout that situates the current reading among previously recorded readings. The interface is a plus/minus bar chart that shows relative magnitude and direction at a glance. There are a few things left to implement and then I’ll film a more complete presentation.

Next steps

The system is in beta trials at the moment. This process is designed to sort out bugs and identify improvements needed to make the system more self-explanatory.

To facilitate my eventual IPO I’ve moved the product rights into a separate company, Islandix Systems Corporation. I named it Wheel Analytics to reflect the range of applications that go beyond truing. Available late 2020 — sign up at islandix.com to be notified.

07 Jun 2020

Truing stand beta

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I’ve been developing my truing stand for quite a while now. The software has been stable for more than a year but recent changes make it the tool I really wanted. After a few hardware revisions, that part is working well too. For a peek at both check out the video below.

I’m turning my mind to how a system like this should be packaged. Below the video is a survey to get a handle on the demand for a digital truing system. If you can, please contribute! All questions are optional and the survey can be submitted anonymously if you prefer. 

(For communication purposes the “wheels” in the screencast part of the video are simulations. I have a simulation driver for testing the user interface, which lets me try wheels far worse than I encounter in the workshop. No wheels were harmed in the design of this system.)

Survey

You would be most likely to add digital truing to your workshop as


If you imagine upgrading an existing truing stand with digital controls, what cost/configuration would be justified by the expected benefits? Check all that apply if any. Figures in USD.







Would the package be enhanced by including a display at an additional cost?

What platform would you be likely to use as a display? Check all that apply.





Do you have a truing stand equipped with test indicators already?


How often do you build or repair wheels?




Use this space for additional feedback on survey questions or on the system itself.

This box is for sharing your contact information. (optional)