Hand built from start to finish. Just for you
These are: even tension across all the spokes, removing the twist from each spoke, and relieving the stress in the finished wheel.
By building each of our wheels to order, it means that each individual wheel component can be specified and customised to suit your needs. And we build by hand, from start to finish because we have simply yet to find any machine built wheel as good.
Automated machines build wheels fast but can't handle three things we find make all the difference between slow troublesome wheels and truly great, lightning fast wheels.
The tension is rising. Just make sure everything is equal.
During every build we make our wheels round and true before the final tensioning. And then we equalise the tension across all the spokes. That's because in the building process it's normal that some spokes end up at higher tension, and therefore do more of the work than others. Equalising the tension across all the spokes in a wheel allows each one to contribute equally, making for a strong, balanced, responsive and long lasting wheel. You can check any wheel for even tension: just spin it slowly and pluck each spoke in turn. If it plays a merry tune, you have different tensions. A balanced wheel should sound pretty monotonous!
Twists and turns. Time for the straight ahead.
When all our spokes are singing the same tune the next step is to bring them up to the final tension. The problem is that high tensions produce a great deal of resistance at the spoke / nipple thread. This causes the spoke to be twisted around as the nipples are tightened, deforming it along its length and turning it into a coiled spring. It's important to understand the degree of rotation induced in the spokes during the build, and then to remove it fully at the end so that there is no residual torsion.
When you ride, each oppossing spoke pair goes through
a load / unload cycle once every revolution. Stored torsion will force each spoke to unwind from its nipple during the point of least load. This can be heard as a "pinging" sound when riding. A few spokes that undo like this results in your wheel
going out of true. More commonly all the spokes gradually unwind themselves, resulting in a wheel that's below optimal tension. Even though it looks OK, the lower tension means a wheel more likely to end up out of true and in the mean time quietly steals your power.
If your new wheels ping when you ride, it means your builder (or more likely, a factory machine) didn't remove the twist.
A wheel with zero spoke twist doesn't ping.
Building wheels is stressful. Relief is required.
As a wheel is brought up to tension, the individual components react differently in different places. Not every spoke beds itself properly and fully into the hub flange. Not every nipple rests cleanly on the rim bed nor at the optimal angle. And in wheels with crossed spoking, there's extra bend and friction at the spoke-to-spoke contact points.
It's important to remove all this stored up resistance because if you don't then as soon as you start riding, things that appeared to be tight in the truing stand suddenly shift position a few fractions of a mm and end up loose. Once these stresses have been relieved, it's back to the truing stand to correct any under-tension spokes and achieve the final, perfect wheel.
State of the art truing stations. Heavyweight brass rigs from P&K Lie, Germany.
All our wheels are built exclusively with the aid of the best truing system yet devised.
The heavyweight all-brass rigs courtesy of our friends at P&K Lie in Germany helps us achieve consistently fine centering (dish), lateral and radial tolerances down to a scarcely imaginable 0.05mm.
Machined hubs OK. Forged hubs better.
Our lightweight alloy hub bodies are forged for incredible strength. Forging isn't the cheapest or even the easiest way to make parts in metal but it produces superior strength and durability over machining, as the metal's lattice structure is re-inforced and retains its integrity throughout. Further weight is lost after forging by CNC machining out the details. Lesser hubs are machined from start to finish. Beware.
Precision double sealed bearings. HypderDrive 48-point 6-pawl free hub.
The oily bits of our hubs are pretty impressive too. Precision sealed bearings and a 15mm oversized rear axle are just the start. Our hot-swap freehub design means switching from Campag to Shimano/SRAM requires neither special tools nor big expense. And our 24-tooth steel ratchets deliver instant pick-up with 48-point drive engagement in just 7.5 degrees of rotation, thanks to 6-pawls made up of two independent groups of three. That's twice the speed of much more common 15 degree drive trains. And qicker even than the headline grabbing 45-point ring drive hubs that are 4 or 5 times the price, yet deliver a slower 8 degrees of rotational freedom. (Here's the maths: 360 degrees / 45 ratchets = 8 degrees of freedom per ratchet. 360 degrees / 24 ratchets = 15 degrees. Spin Fast freehubs use two alternating sets of pawls in a 2 x 3-pawl arrangement, effectively doubling the number of ratchet stops from 24 to 48 and halving the rotation between each stop to just 7.5 degrees: 360 / (24 x 2) = 7.5 degrees)
Sapim helps us protect your investment.
We build all our wheels with industry-leading stainless steel spokes from Sapim and traditional, industry-standard external nipples. Why is this so important? Because it guarantees you a lifetime of hassle-free and easy maintenance without having to remove tyres / tubs to simply tweak a spoke. It means that every decent bike shop on the planet can replace a broken spoke or help you true your wheel on the spot, without waiting for hard-to-find and usually out-of-stock proprietary parts.
Fully customised wheels are just one week from your bike.
By building to order you get to choose your favourite hub flavour and spokes. Once you've made your choice just leave the rest to us. Your new custom wheels hand built, delivered and on your bike from less than one week (UK only. International orders may take longer to arrive).
Fast turn around UK-based rebuild service & crash replacement programme.
Available to all our customers worldwide. We keep all spares in stock, from bearings to nipples, spokes and rims, and can tune or completely rebuild your wheels at any point in their life span.