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
My build: H Plus Son Archetype Rims, Sapim Race spokes with brass nipples, 2x front and 3x/3x rear, laced to White Industries T11 Hubs.
My thoughts out of the box: Nothing is quite as nice as a new set of wheels to throw onto your ride. Quality of the parts looked very nice, and the quick tone test revealed all spokes were tensioned evenly...now to pop the wheels into the bike and see how true they actually were.
On the Bike (not riding): First impression is the hubs spin very very smoothly. I own fulcrum racing 1 wheels, and supposedly those hubs are very good, but I can feel the ball bearings swirling around in them. The WI hubs spin so smoothly and quietly as to be imperceptible. I felt no vibration, and spun well. The wheels were within 0.5 mm of true by my estimate and after having put a few hundred miles on them over some pothole ridden rodes, that's how they have stayed.
The Ride: The wide rims of the archetype help make the ride be a bit more compliant, but in my opinion I really felt a difference in the wide rims with CORNERING. The wheels have felt absolutely planted no matter how aggressively I take a turn. Very confidence inspiring. Out of the saddle and during sprints there is no perceptible flex. And the braking surface really allows my brakes to have a solid bite.
Final words: The service has been great, the wheels are excellent, and I got every thing I wanted in a wheel set. Would definitely recommend PWB if what you desire is a solidly built wheel set catered to your riding style, body weight, and intended use!