Blog: 2020

30 May 2020

SpokeService on COVID-19


COVID-19 has stoked demand for bicycle parts and, at the same time, disrupted upstream supply and international logistics. With such limited inventories available, it’s hard to keep working. SpokeService will close for the month of June, 2020. The last shipment from the online shop will be dispatched June 1 and then the site will cease accepting orders for the rest of the month. If you want anything, get your order in by June 1 at noon Pacific Time (15h00 Eastern Time).

Past updates

May 15: I’m pleased with Canada Post delivery performance. Outbound shipments seem to be moving well. The supply side isn’t as rosy. After a busy few weeks stock counts in the shop are low. Sapim Leader, Sapim Laser and Sapim Force are available but most other spoke choices are out of stock. Due to shortages the situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon. With the consequent reduction in orders shipments will be dispatched Monday, Wednesday and Friday only. Shop hours will adjust as needed so, for the best service, please opt for email support over telephone calls.

March 15: SpokeService operations will continue during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. So far inbound and outbound shipping has been smooth but it’s reasonable to assume there will be hiccups — I’m monitoring the situation and asking for your patience. At the moment stock counts in the shop are good however some items are getting low. I’m not sure how the situation will unfold but re-stocking lead times are expected to worsen as fallout hits the supply chain.

Watch this space for future developments. Good luck to us all!

29 Feb 2020

Listen to your rims


I never know what rims will walk through my door, the freshness of the tooling on the day they were made, the chain of custody from the factory, etc. So I have a prebuild ritual that involves quite a lot of inspection. I don’t want to call it a checklist — I’m just creating opportunities to notice what’s in hand. If attention is given to each facet, anything awry stands out.

On alloy rims I like to visit every spoke hole with a chamfer tool or a handheld drill bit. This puts a subtle profile in the hole where the head of the nipple rests. Sometimes there can be a coil of drilling chaff attached to a spoke hole — a chamfering pass breaks them off and smooths any burrs. When I visit the joint I look at the internal sleeve, if any. Does it interfere with nipple fit? And so on.

Measuring is inspecting

Measuring your own ERD can indicate a lot. Use the measuring step to test fit washers if using them. Do the washers sit nicely in the rim? Measuring will tell you if your rim round or oval. All else being equal the rounder the rim, the better the expected result in terms of alignment and tension balance. If your rim is oval, take a deep breath and expect to spend a little longer at the bench if chasing numbers is your thing. Have you ever found a job difficult and doubted your skills? It could be the rim but more comforting to know than to guess.