As a senior rider who has done his own wrenching for the past 50 plus years, I’ve successfully tackled most bike building, maintenance, and repair issues with which one is confronted. However, until recently, I avoided building wheels as I thought the process was too daunting. But, I finally placed wheel building as an item on my bucket list.
When I started researching wheel building components and techniques, I was astonished by the extent of conflicting, or erroneous information provided by print and online sources, including manufacturers’ websites — it was as if wheel building was a cult speciality and practitioners were forbidden to provide clear, correct procedures to an outsider. It also became clear how little most bike shop employees knew about wheel building.
Enter ProWheelBuilder. I was fortunate to find I lived reasonably close to the store and I made an appointment to meet with Richard, the owner. Upon our meeting, I entered the discussion believing I had a pretty good idea of the wheels I wanted to build and was primarily looking for components and encouragement. But, it quickly became clear that even the selection of components was more involved than I initially thought. Fortunately, Richard has an encyclopedic knowledge of the combinations and permutations of components and benefits thereof — I won’t go into details here, but suffice it to say you’ll be better off telling Richard what you want to do with the wheels rather than asking for specific components. Richard will offer several viable options at varying price points. You will be very happy with the result whether you decide to build the wheels, or have Richard build them.
To the last point, I can tell you I built several wheelsets for the enjoyment and sense of accomplishment. But, frankly, because of the expense of the required tools, it is far less expensive to have Richard build the wheels for you. Further, despite being fairly adept with tools, it took me about 4-hours to do what Richard can do in 20-30 minutes. Richard has years of experience and has invented, patented, and manufactured a number of wheel building jigs and tools for the industry and utilizes these tools and expensive measuring devices to facilitate his quick and extremely accurate build process.
I will also tell you that once you build, or buy a hand-built set of wheels, you will no longer be satisfied with the typical machine built wheels that are delivered on most new bicycles, or sold in big box stores as replacement, or upgrade wheels. You can really tell the difference.
I have been very happy with Richard’s advice and assistance with my builds. I highly recommend ProWheelBuilder’s products and services to anyone wanting a quality wheelset.
July 30, 2015
I can't say enough good things about PWB. My road bike gets daily abuse on a long, hilly commute over bad roads and gravel trails. I was looking for something that was light enough to climb well, tough enough for gravel, and precise enough to handle long descents through mountain switchbacks. The ride has chewed up two stock Bontrager wheelsets and even a set of Mavics. Local wheelbuilders weren't able to quote me anything they thought would work for less than a grand.
I considered a wide range of rims, hubs, and wheelbuilders before Debra at PWB suggested I take a look at the Ventus Premium wheelset. Watching a YouTube video of them bombing down trails gave me confidence that they might fit the bill. I'm glad I took her advice. They are light, responsive, and hold true even after a few months on gravel, and the custom red hubs look really sharp to boot.