I build wheels for climbing, racing, touring, track, trail and every application. I build wheels for skinny folks and big folks. Everyone is different so can be hard to find the ideal wheel on the shelf.

Clydesdale (heavier) riders are no exception. The wheelset pictured below is particularly strong to meet the needs of a particular rider. It uses Velocity Cliffhanger rims and White Industries MI6 hubs. The 26″ wheel size and wider 135mm rear spacing offer relevant benefits.

Spokes are a key consideration with every build. In this case I’ve chosen 40 spokes per wheel and I’m using single-butted Sapim Strong, which are 2.3mm at the elbow where most breakage occurs. The strength of a spoke is proportional to its cross-sectional area so a 2.3mm section is stronger than you might imagine. Put in other terms, 40 spokes with a 2.3mm diameter offer more strength than 52 spokes with a plain 2.0mm end. Sapim Strong are 32% stronger says (π×(2.3÷2)²) ÷ (π×(2.0÷2)²).

It’s not common practice but I chose nipple washers for this build, which allow me to take tension to the limit of the rim with greater safety. Sapim Polyax washers also allow nipples to re-orient slightly for a better spoke path — I like them when building with single-butted spokes.

14 May 2014

Grant Petersen quote

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I found this great quote in an interview with Grant Petersen:

…when you have your name on everything from après-bike sneakers to water bottles to clothing to bikes, tools, and accessories — and one in five bike shops sells most of it, then that’s not specialized in the dictionary definition any more. When you’re that big, you can’t afford to be. It would be like Safeway selling only organically grown food, or only vegan stuff, or only locally grown produce. If you’re small, you can be specialized, and in the bicycle market in 2007, that’s your only chance of surviving. You have to pick out something to sell, something to offer, that either can’t be copied by people who have more money than you do, or is just not appealing to them — maybe because they don’t see a market for it, or because the only way they could promote it would be to position it against their bread-and-butter, which they aren’t going to do… I’d pick something that was unattractive to big companies, and something that small companies who want to get big wouldn’t copy or pay attention to. I’d pick something that most people thought was dumb, or didn’t understand, and I’d sign in blood an oath to my family to never veer from that, to not be tempted by bigness or growth to do anything else.

02 May 2014

Raceworthy DH wheels

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I’ve built quite a few Hope wheelsets lately. Here’s another set with my favorite brand of mountain rims — Stan’s. Shipped with Stan’s tape and valve stems installed. Just add tires and grins!

25 Apr 2014

Early season touring

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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 →

20 Apr 2014

Twenty-niner racing

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These are sweet 29er race wheels but great fun in general, especially on the climbs. The Hope hubs were the riders’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.