Last year we didn’t do any cycle touring, which is no way to live. To get back on track we visited the San Juan Islands this month for a few days of riding and camping. The idea was to check our gear in preparation for more ambitious tours and to get some early season outdoor miles while it was snowing in Calgary. Our trip was a bit of a gong show but we had questions and got answers. Read more →
Blog: April, 2014
These are sweet 29er race wheels but great fun in general, especially on the climbs. The Hope hubs were the customer’s own and I supplied Stan’s Crest rims and Sapim Laser spokes. With aluminum nipples they add up to 1615g, that is 732g front and 883g rear (DT Swiss 240S hubs would push it under 1475g total). Because of the rim weight and resultant low tension ceiling, build quality is extra important on a wheelset like this. These wheels were built with tension balanced to ±7% or better. In getting there both wheels were stress relieved multiple times, which causes tension to relax so I can bring it up as much as possible. Lateral alignment is nearly perfect with a 0.1mm rise at the decals being the limiting factor. Quality takes time and attention but it pays dividends.
I’ve built this make of rim before. These rims were supplied by the customer but I hope to stock them in the future. We’ll see — it turns out doing business with China isn’t easy.
I’m really happy with the quality. The nipple seats are reassuringly thick and the rims were round out of the box. The manufacturer makes carbon rims for a major league brand so production is mature. This particular model is 45mm deep with a hybrid toroidal shape, virtually identical to the Zipp 303. They lack the dimples found on Zipp Firecrests but sell for a fraction of the price.
You can buy them as factory-built wheelsets but I offer more choice. For one thing I use brand name spokes and hubs. Or I can use your existing hubs, which is the story of the PowerTap shown here. Plus I lace carbon rims with nipple washers, which are not on the factory menu. For a scant weight penalty of 0.175 grams each, washers help nipples spin freely at high tension and ease maintenance.
Velocity rims have been popular forever. They have a rim for every application and offer the widest selection of colors — all available here. I did a couple Velocity builds last week.
The first wheelset is destined for a vintage mountain bike restoration project. Velocity Aeroheat rims offer a good strength-to-weight ratio and Shimano Ultegra hubs help manage the budget. It’s not easy finding sweet 26″ wheels for rim brakes and a 130mm rear end.
The next set is loaded touring wheels designed for journeys without limitation. They are based on White Industries MI5 hubs equipped with a titanium freehub body, Velocity Dyad rims and butted spokes. With 40 spokes each, these wheels are capable of carrying the kitchen sink.