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Frequently Asked Questions

Front Wheelset Options
Rear Wheelset Options

Are alloy nipples as strong as brass nipples?

  • No they are not as strong. However, because rims today are so strong it is not very significant (they also save 25g per wheel and because this is off the wheel it is a significant amount of weight). This is especially true if the wheel is built with a very high grade spoke and alloy nipple such as the Wheelsmith spoke and nipple products. The only exception to this is if you are building a disc wheel on a downhill bike. This is because all of the braking stress is placed on the spoke nipple when braking using a disc hub. We recommend that brass nipples are used with disc wheelsets. If you build disc wheels with alloy nipples you may have to true your wheelset more often and the nipples will be more prone to break.

Should I use double butted or straight gauge spokes?

  • When spokes break they almost never break in the center of the spoke. This allows for the production of spokes which are thinner in the center and thicker (butted) on the ends where breaks are most likely to happen. Butting a 2.0mm spoke (14 gauge) so it is 2.0mm on each end and 1.8mm in the center (2.0 / 1.8 / 2.0) saves 25g per wheel. Because this is off the wheel it is a significant amount of weight. Some spokes are very thin in the center such as DT Revolution spokes which are 2.0 / 1.5 / 2.0 are even lighter but require more attention.

Are spoke and nipple quality important?

  • Yes, we use Wheelsmith, DT and Sapim spokes and nipples because we have found them to have the highest quality of any products we have tested. The thread surface and inner nipple thread surface are very smooth which allow us to bring the spoke up to the required tension time after time without any spoke twisting (wind up)

What spoke lacing pattern is best for my riding style?

  • Spoke lacing patterns are usually either Radial, 1, 2, 3 or 4 cross patterns. When a wheel is laced the pattern is named by the number of times the spokes cross each other on the same side of the wheel. The more times the spokes cross, the more they pull against each other which makes a stronger wheel. We suggest 3 cross patterns for all 32 hole wheels and 4 cross pattern for all 36 spoke wheels. These are by far the strongest wheels you can build and the weight savings by using a pattern with less crosses is minimal. Although this is suggested it is not always required. If you are a rider under 175lbs and you are using a high quality rim such as the ones we sell you can radial lace the front wheel and the non drive side in the rear. This is usually adequate but it will definitely not as strong as the recommended pattern.

Why buy your wheels from us?

  • We build over 2000 wheels each year. We have the largest selection in the country for custom handbuilt wheels. On every one we use Wheelsmith Spoke Prep on the spoke threads and a heavy oil on the nipples to make future truing easier and help the spokes stay tight. We use a DT Spoke tension meter for accuracy. We stress each wheel the absolute most we can before you receive it. When you do something that much you get very good at it. You also develop a feel for lacing and truing wheels. I give this as an example; If you owned the New York Yankees would you want a pitcher who practiced only once a month or one who did it every day. We often have customers come back time and time again to order additional wheelsets from us because they know and trust our quality. We strive to make wheels the absolute best they can be.

How We Build Your Wheels...

First we treat the threads of every spoke with spoke prep to reduce spoke wind-up (when the spoke twists with the nipple instead of the nipple turning on the spoke) and help the spokes stay tight.

Next, the wheel is hand-laced in whatever spoke lacing pattern you desire with the drive side spokes always in the "pulling" position.

Your wheel is then hand-trued to within 0.3mm tolerance of vertical and lateral movement using the manufacturers tension specifications using careful attention to avoid spoke wind-up and nipple rounding.

Your wheel is then hand stressed on both sides to "seat" the spokes into position. This will reduce the amount of seating that will take place during shipping and your initial rides.

Finally, all wheels are finished with Ritchey WCS rim tape to protect your tubes.

We stock thousands of rims from: Mavic, Stan's No Tubes, WTB, Alex, Atom Lab, Salsa, Surly, Velocity, Sun Metal and others.


Shimano Authorized Mail Order Retailer

Oregon • Pennsylvania • Nevada • Colorado

Beaverton, Oregon Retail Store
12330 SW Walker Road
Beaverton, OR 97005-1403
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Lancaster, Pennsylvania Retail Store
246 Granite Run Drive
Lancaster, PA 17601-6804

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