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Custom Wheels

J.Wag-Approved Custom hand-built wheels

$80 - per wheel build + Parts

There is no finer way to enhance your bicycle than the addition of a properly hand-built wheel. Selecting materials based on the intended user allows for ultimate customization and maximum  performance. My build process ensures a strong wheel that will stand for years to come, thanks to expert care and the finest tooling available.

Here are some of the things that happen during my wheelbuilding process:

  • Hubs, rims, spokes and nipples selected based on rider and terrain
  • Spokes lengths hand-calculated with Sutherland's Precision ERD system & DT Swiss Spoke Calc
  • Spokes custom cut on my Phil Wood Spoke Machine
  • Spoke threads cleaned and prepped with light oil or Linseed oil
  • Rim spoke holes deburred where applicable (non-eyeletted rims)
  • Hand-laced to appropriate pattern
  • Hand-trued with dial indicator for roundness
  • Hand-tensioned and checked with DT Tensio
  • Several techniques and rounds of pre-stressing performed
  • Precisely centered with Efficient Velo Tools Trigger Dish Guage
  • Tubeless setup performed when applicable (approved methods only)
  • Final tension check at full inflation pressure
  • Application of DT Spoke Freeze & light oil (if not using Linseed oil)

 

As you can see, it is a lengthy process, but yields a great result. A well-designed, evenly tensioned and properly stressed wheel will stay true and last longer than anything built by a machine. I average about 125 wheels per year and love taking on custom projects. All of our mechanics are capable of producing quality handbuilt wheels, but I tend to spec and build most of them.

My build labor is $80 per wheel, with tubeless setup done complimentary when applicable.  I always offer free follow-up care as needed, inlcuding the first hub overhaul service or pre-build service on a used hub. A handbuilt wheel from me is an investment in your bike that you will not regret.

I am happy to talk about wheels and write up quotes for any combination. Turnaround for a custom wheel is about 5-10 days depending on parts availability. I deal with many excellent wheel component  manufacturers and can cover any style of riding imaginable from racing bikes to tandems.

I prefer to build with rims from these companies for following reasons:

ENVE - It is truly a pleasure to build these US-made carbon rims, available in several profiles for road + mountain use.

Velocity - Excellent products and customer service...offest...tons of colors, diameters, widths and drillings. Now made in USA!

DT Swiss  Industry standard road, mountain and touring rims, many with with eyelets...an some with offset spoke bed (road only).

HED  I've been really impressed with the Belgium for its rather wide stance, great for road or 'cross

Easton - Several good alloy + carbon options for Mountain, Road + Gravel.

Stan's NoTubes – Quick & easy tubeless...many widths & models for different riders...lightweight & strong. My personal favorites are the Flow EX + Arch EX.

Sun Ringle – The Rhynolite always has a place in our shop...I stock it in 700c 40 hole just in case...available in 20", 24", 26" & 700c.


For hubs, I have access to a wide variety including White Industries, DT Swiss, Chris King, Hope, Phil Wood, Chub, Surly, Hadley, Schmidt, Profile, All City, Dimension, Shimano, Camagnolo, SRAM, WTB and Rohloff. I am partial to the first five and can build with a supplied hub as well. 

Internally geared hubs are a specialty of mine and I tend to recommend Shimano and Sturmey Archer for most applications. I keep the Nexus 3 speed disc hub in stock when available and am a big fan of the Alfine 8. Freeze Thaw is also home to a colleciton of over 200 vintage Sturmey Archer AW 3 speed hubs so if you want one we have you covered. I have also been impressed with the contemporary SA 3 speed which fits better in modern frames like the Nature Boy or Cross Check. They have a really great bar-end shifter option now as well.

I stock straight guage and double-butted DT Swiss and Wheelsmith spokes & nipples in a variety of styles and colours. Yes, I'll build you a wheel with alloy nipples, if it suits your riding style and expectations. In most cases I recommend brass but can see both sides of the argument. Most spokes are custom cut to length on my Phil Wood machine, some styles I stock pre-made from DT.  I will not build a wheel on the clock with used spokes, nipples or rims.

When it comes to lacing patterns, I'm open to anything that is within the hub/rim manufaturer's recommendations and my own comfort zone. Odds are I'm going to recommend two or three-cross in most cases but I've been known to mix it up once in a while with radial or one-cross. Twisted spoke and eliptical patterns will not be built on the clock...that is what generous beer bribes are for.

A large collection of tyres from Maxxis, Vittoria, Schwalbe, Continental, Surly, 45Nrth, Clement, WTB, Panaracer, and Kenda are also in stock. Many others can easily be special ordered within a few days.

Inquiries in person or via email are welcomed.

-J.Wag