What makes a quality wheel?
Building a quality wheelset is a complicated process, and not something that everyone has the patience or expertise for. There are key steps that we follow to ensure that our wheels builds up to the level that is consistent with our standards. Every build starts as a pile of spokes, nipples, a rim and a hub. We transform these individual items into a wheelset that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Once these parts are laced together, they begin their journey that will transform it into a wheel that will stand the test of time. Once the wheel is laced up, we apply one drop of linseed oil on each of the spoke threads. This ensures the nipples turn freely and minimizes spoke wind up. This will also helps the nipple from unwinding after the wheel is completed.
When building a wheel, it is crucial that you align and set the spokes heads next to the hub flange. This takes the bend out of the spokes and is the first step in ‘detensioning’ the wheel. This step helps negate the need to re-tension and true your wheel after a shakedown ride on the trail.
Detensioning is a critical step that is often overlooked. It allows us as wheel builders to put more stress on a wheel than that wheel will ever see while being ridden in the real world. This is crucial because by stressing the wheel initially, it minimizes or eliminates any further need to true your wheel after it is installed on your bike.
Now is when the work begins. At this point it is time to start bringing the wheel up to tension and true. After each ‘round’ of tightening the spokes, the wheel is detensioned. Some wheel builders will detension the wheel using a single method. We choose to use 4 different methods to ensure that the spokes are stressed beyond their normal load and will not come out of true even after the wheel has been ridden.
Building a wheel is a complicated process. We are truing the wheel both side to side and up and down, and checking proper spoke tension. In addition to this we must also be checking the ‘dish’. The dish of a wheel ensures that it will be spaced perfectly in the dropouts of your bike.
When the wheel is perfectly true, dished and tensioned, it is time to call the wheel complete. By this time, we consider the wheel perfect and ready for your enjoyment.
Our greatest reward is knowing that your wheels will stand the test of time.