17 Jul 2021

RIP SpokeService

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SpokeService is closing. Doing this work has been a pleasure so the single most important part of this post is to express my thanks to customers and colleagues of the last 10 years!

The reasons aren’t sinister. The timing coincides with my final COVID vaccination and my partner’s retirement. SpokeService works best as an operation with strict daily routines (e.g. ship orders every day) and that’s limiting when family life is otherwise more flexible. Nor is the daily schedule justifiable when so many sales are frustrated by parts shortages. I acknowledge the privilege of receiving vaccines and that the pandemic isn’t over globally, which is also to say supply chains won’t return to normal before 2022. Last I want to devote more time to my other business, Islandix Instruments, where I design/manufacture/sell wheelbuilding tools. I’m really into it — please check it out!

Answers to frequently asked questions

  1. Remaining parts on hand are listed correctly in the online shop (de-listed parts and those showing out-of-stock are gone for good). Orders are currently being accepted and will ship as normal. The site will stop accepting orders August 2 with the final long-weekend orders shipping August 3.
  2. No tooling is for sale as a result of closing.
  3. There are no plans to delete the SpokeService site apart from the commerce-specific pages. My intent is to keep the blog and popular Spoke Tension Visualizer running. (If you grok visualization already, you should especially check out Islandix.)

Stay healthy!

15 Apr 2021

Truing at the joint

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If you true bicycle wheels using dial or digital indicators, you’ll know the joint area can be problematic on some rims. A little twist or bump can wreak havoc, sending your instrument to the moon if only for a moment. It’s possible to work around this problem.

Normally truing is oriented from the valve hole. Start at the valve hole and continue around the wheel until returning to the valve hole again. There’s nothing special about the valve other than being a signpost to indicate you’ve covered the whole wheel. Instead start at the joint. Begin scanning immediately after the joint and continue around the wheel until returning to the point immediately before the joint. This factors out hyperlocal distortion at the seam. If you need to make the joint more conspicious, apply a little piece of masking tape to establish your own signpost.

28 Mar 2021

Back in the saddle

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We were able to navigate the supply drought, which resulted in this wheelset. It’s a heater. Beautiful DT Swiss RR511 rims paired with Hope hubs. The rims impart a lot of stiffness due to their V-shaped profile and durability is maximised by using Sapim Force spokes.

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 a 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.