Wheelbuilder.com :: Tech/Support


hands-on work What differentiates Wheelbuilder from other bicycle wheel retailers is a much deeper inventory, and technical expertise dedicated solely to the niche bicycle wheel market.

Wheelbuilder's precision build process is different than many other custom builders. Our process demands a much higher tolerance standard for spoke tension, and tension uniformity measurements are performed on 100% of wheels. Spoke tension uniformity measures how evenly spoke tension is distributed among spokes, and is directly related to wheel durability and how straight the wheel will remain after thousands of road miles. Our tension uniformity standard for carbon fiber race wheels is 5% or less.

Wheelbuilder regularly benchmarks machine built wheels and we have found 25-45% standard variance in spoke tension uniformity. The reason for such large variance in products manufactured by machines is poor process and the economics of scale associated with high volume production. In order to cosmetically straighten, or "true" a wheel, a technician turns adjustment screws until the wheel appears straight, which usually requires 10-15 minutes. Many wheel companies will ship a wheel at this point. The additional spoke tension measurements and tension adjustment performed at Wheelbuilder can add over one hour to the wheel build. Many companies do not understand the importance, or are not willing to invest the time, in balancing spoke tension; however the process is critical to the performance and long term durability of wheels.

Why purchase a custom bicycle wheel from Wheelbuilder?

Each athlete has different needs based on physiology, application, environmental conditions, and budget constraints. An elite female athlete weighing 110 lbs can benefit from a much lighter wheel, so she should not suffer the weight penalty associated with the strength of a wheel required to support a 200 lb male recreational cyclist. Conversely, a heavier athlete can put his/her trust in our well-built, lighter wheels when they are only used for racing. Wheelbuilder's unique engineering process considers all of the variables that affect aerodynamics, weight, fatigue life, and cost associated with each build.

Wheelbuilder begins the purchase process with a customer interview to determine body type (primarily weight), how the wheel will be used (racing and/or training), what tire type will be used, riding conditions and budget range. We use this information to suggest and select the most appropriate components for their custom wheels. A typical custom wheel configuration would include the following information:
  • Number of spokes and color (black or silver)
  • Type of spoke used (Basic round type or Aerodynamic bladed spokes)
  • Type of rim
  • Ultimate spoke tension used
  • Type of hub and drive mechanism
  • Material and color of attachment nipples
  • Type of tire to be installed on rim (clincher or tubular)
  • Decal colors

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