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The right rim.

The rim (on most bikes) not only has to hold the tyre on, be circular and true, but also act a s a braking surface in wet or dry. Rim weight has a huge impact on acceleration (and thus climbing), and rim strength affects the weight the wheel can carry, and how it copes with rough roads.

We won’t recommend a rim with too few drillings for your weight or intentions, and we won’t suggest expensive if cheap but good will suffice. Think of the rim as disposable, brake wear and road shock mean that they cannot last for ever.

We stock a range of rims from prosaic to the exotic; even wooden rims if you want! We also have a limited supply of ‘tubs’, adhesives, and tapes.

The right hub.

A hub is more than just that lump of metal you clamp into the forks! The hub has to cope with the radial stresses of the spokes, the angular forces of any disc brake fitted, the vertical forces of road shock, and the lateral forces produced by sudden sideways movement of the bike; all this, and it has to go round too, nearly three quarters of a million times every thousand miles.

Hub weight is less important than hub strength, and much less important that the quality of the bearings. Damaged bearings (or jet washing!) will slow you down, affect steering, and ultimately could cause an accident. Choosing the right hub for you means looking at the sort of conditions you want to ride in, how clean you want to have to keep the bike, how ‘maintainable’ you want the hub to be, and how tough it is.

We can offer a range to suit most pockets, but choose the best you can afford, it always be reborn with a new rim as a new wheel, so if you have a good hub already, talk to us. We offer hubs by PMP, FRM, Novatec, Campagnolo, Miche, Sturmey Archer and Shimano, and Dyno hubs from Schmidt, Shutter Precision, Sturmey Archer and Shimano too. We even have the rare fixed three-speed Sturmey Archer!

The right spokes and nipples

Spokes are the vital link in the chain, not just a bit of bent wire. They are shock absorbers and springs together and the lacing technique will either add strength and elasticity or increase rigidity (at the expense of a hard ride). The thickest spokes are not necessarily the strongest and we will advise you on matching the spokes to your project.

We have a small range of chrome spokes for ‘classics’ and some ‘rustless’ spokes for budget repairs, but we use stainless double or single butted spokes mainly by Sapim or DT Swiss.

As a routine we will use nickel plated brass nipples, but we have aluminium nipples in silver or anodised red or black at extra cost. Remember that aluminium work hardens so that these have a limited life span and are best reserved for front wheels and ultra-light wheelsets.

The right lacing

We can lace symmetric or asymmetric, radial to four cross, and can use appropriate variations to suit your wheel. We won't use 'snowflake' or other trick lacings as these do not build a strong, long-lived wheel.

The right wheel

No two riders are the same, or ride the same way or the same roads, so their wheels must be tailored to them. Think of a hand built pair of wheels like a bespoke suit; it may cost a little more, but it is what you want, and what is more, like ‘granddad’s axe’ it is almost endlessly ‘rebuild-able’ over the years.

A well-made wheel should last years of hard riding without spoke failure or going seriously out of true so we offer a free ‘wheel service’ after 100 miles or so to check that all will be well for the next 5000.

Whether it’s your grandfather’s ‘50s lightweight, your child’s BMX, your modern road bike or touring tandem, or just your scruffy commuter, we can help you find the right wheel for you.