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Not simply content with offering industry-leading hubs from DT Swiss, Hope, Chris King and White Industries the wheel boffins here at Wheelworks have developed our own top of the line hubs. More details will come as we go live with the product

Before any new prototype product goes ahead here at Wheelworks it needs to be tested heavily in adverse conditions by absolute hitters to ensure its ready to stand up to the conditions we tend to ride and race in here in NZ. We already know they are lighter than a DT Swiss 240, the 36 point freehub engagement offers lightning pick up while feeling friction free. The bearings run smoother than anything we have ever built with and now its over to our man Joshua Aldridge to test the long term durability

He has shaken the pro stigma of “dont train on carbon” with his very own pair of Maker 35mm Superlights that will be his full time training and race wheels bolted onto his very distinctive SwiftCarbonbikesSwiftcarbon NZ

Hes put 3000Ks on them already including Elite Nationals and has the UCI NZ cycle classic with Blindz Direct Cycling Team commencing this weekend to further put them through their paces

Give em hell mate – WW lads

IMG_1349

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What is Boost?

What is Boost?

Our friends at Spoke Magazine recently asked what this new standard is and what effects it has on wheels. Boost refers to front hubs which are 10mm wider and rear hubs which are 6mm wider than ‘standard.’  Boost front hubs use the same diameter 15mm front and 12mm rear axles.
By making the hubs wider wheels can be built which are stiffer, and more clearance is vailable for 11 speed drivetrains.

 

The wider Boost rear hub means that cassette is moved outboard by 3mm and so Boost-specific cranks and chainrings are needed to retain good chainline.
We have Boost hubs in stock at flitewheels.com from Hope and DT Swiss and we’re waiting on Chris King and a couple of other options to arrive.

Does Boost make a stronger wheel?

No, not really.  All things being equal there will be only a marginal increase in wheel strength and possibly an equally marginal increase in the resistance to taco-ing in a really big crash. We’re talking tiny amounts though.

FRONT HUBS

Does Boost make a stiffer wheel?

Yes.  The wider Boost hub flanges allow the spokes to make a wider triangle and better support the rim.  This increase in wheel stiffness was the primary driver for the development of Boost.  Many new wheelsets use straight-pull hubs and these have a decrease in flange width of approximately 3mm so moving to Boost reclaims what was lost by using straight-pull.

 

This may go against what the Industry tells you but straight-pull hubs will decrease the wheel’s stiffness because of the extra room needed to lay the pulling and pushing spokes side by side.  If the Industry had stuck with J-bend spokes there wouldn’t be much need for Boost, but the cost-savings of wheelbuilding with straight-pull hubs have driven their adoption.

 

The drive-side spoke bracing angle on a typical rear wheel is around 4.3* and Boost will increase this by 0.6*.  That’s not a whole lot.

REAR HUBS

Is Boost the same as 27.5+

No.  Boost refers to the hub with, the + refers to tyre width.  It’s worth mentioning that many + bikes use Boost hubs though.

Do I need to move to Boost?

No.  You could buy Boost forks but you can’t retrofit a Boost rear-end to your bike, and even if you could the advantages aren’t enough to justify the cost.
What compatibility is there with my current wheels and crankset?

None.  A Boost frame requires a Boost hub, and unlike the move from 135mm quick release to 142×12 the actual hub has widened meaning that it’s not possible to run a Boost frame without Boost wheels, or to run Boost wheels in a non-Boost frame.

 

There might be some front wheels which are adaptable but this will be a hack and they won’t be true Boost so you won’t have any of the advantages.

 

To run the correct Boost chainline you’ll need either a new chainring or a new crankset, depending on what make and model you’ve currently got.

My head hurts

Mine too.  Just like cell phones or laptops the cycling industry is constantly looking for negligible improvements on products.  Anyone who has compared a 5 year old bike to a modern one will notice the sum of many small improvements.

Should I factor Boost into a new fork / bike decision

Yes and no.  I don’t think the advantages of Boost are enough to justify picking one bike or fork over the other – I’d argue that a ‘good’ bike without Boost is better than a ‘bad’ bike with it.

However Boost looks to be the new ‘standard’ so if you’re upgrading then it would make sense to get the most current ‘standards’ possible.

Boost wide hubs + Derby wide rims

Spoke Magazine took this pair of 40mm wide Derby rims expertly laced by Gavin onto Hope Pro2 Boost hubs and they’ll be putting them through their paces over the next few weeks. Spoiler alert: If the last pair of our wheels is anything to go by they’ll love them.
Questions about Boost?

Do you still have questions about Boost? Drop Tristan a line on 04 387 3592 or tristan@wheelworks.co.nz

Spoke Boost

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Build process

There are two elements to our lifetime guarantee:  Helping you select the correct components for your needs, and then assembling those components with an unsurpassed level of attention and skill.  We built this pair of White Ind T11 hubs and Pacenti SL23 rims for our dealer in Sydney, Wheelhaus, and we documented the day’s work on their Instagram feed.

1

First up the rims and hubs are inspected for any scratches or damage. Our computer system allocates each wheelbuild with a tub where the hubs and any small parts are kept, and a hook where the rims are kept. This is important to keep everything organized.

2

From computer screen to cut decals, we’ve got around 25 colours to choose from.

3

We then measure the hub – in this case a White Industries T11. This acts as a quality-control step as well as providing us with super accurate measurements which are fed into our custom software to calculate spoke length. This is a tool which I made 7 years ago as a prototype and proof-of-concept from scrap material but it works so well that it’s never been replaced.

4

The rim is measured at three points. This checks it’s round and not egg-shaped, and again provides a very accurate measurement for calculating spoke length. This special tool is another one of my designs and is something I’m secretive about so don’t ask for any close-ups :-) These Pacenti SL23s are great quality but with some other brands we’ve had to return rims because they’re not round.

5

With spoke length calculated we cut and roll the spokes to the exact size. There would be considerable time savings for us to simply use the boxed lengths we buy from DT Swiss but by doing it ourselves we have spoke lengths accurate to 0.1mm – about 1/3rd of a human hair. This is a big part of how we can stand behind our wheels with a lifetime guarantee. The Japanese-made Morizumi spoke cutter is one of my favourite tools in the Wheelworks workshop.

6

Once the spokes are cut and their threads rolled we can lace the wheel. We have custom built lacing jigs to hold everything in place and make it more comfortable for us. A depth-setting tool is attached to a low speed electric screwdriver to ensure all the nipples engage the same amount of thread. We don’t tighten them very much – after this step there is zero tension on the wheel.

 

7

We use German-built Centimaster truing stands with a few modifications mounted to custom carts. We’ve got two of these wheelbuilding carts each neatly storing every tool needed and while I’m building the aluminium SL23s Gavin is working on a carbon #Makerwheelset also heading to @wheelhausbb

You give your wheels a hard time when riding so to ensure the spokes won’t ping and the wheels won’t go out of true we use this #custom tool which gives the wheel a much harder time than you ever could. The force from the tool marries the spokes into the hub and the nipples into the rim. After using this tool the spoke tension will drop to about half and the wheel has to be re-tensioned. This is an important part of the process which allows us to have a lifetime guarantee on all our wheels. Can you build a good wheel without a fancy tool like this? Sure, but you can build a better one with it.

9

Spoke tension is probably the most important aspect of a good wheelbuild – not only the amount of tension but how even the tension is between spokes. A lot of time is spent ensuring the wheel is both true and correctly tensioned. We calibrate our tension meters in-house so that we know they read correctly using a custom tool I made – Tristan.

10

Once the wheel is finished the hub bearing adjustment is checked (it will tend to loosen slightly because the spoke tension pulls the flanges open ever so slightly) the dish is checked and confirmed, and a few other #qualitycontrolsteps are performed and recorded in our database. We engrave a unique wheel number so if you want to service the wheel or should you ever have a problem we can pull up every minute detail about it.

11

With the matching rear built some photos are taken, rim tape is fitted, QC checks done and recorded the wheels are installed into our custom wheelboxes for shipping to Wheelhaus

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What makes a good road tyre?

What makes a good road tyre?

 

Your bike only touches the ground in places – those two tiny contact patches that your tyres make with the road surface, each about the size of a 10c coin.  I’ll argue that good quality tyres are always worth spending money on because tyres have such a massive effect on how a bike rides.

Let us have a look at the attributes of a good tyre:

 

Rolling resistance

A good quality tyre eats up around 13 to 14 watts while you’re pushing hard on a smooth road.  That may sound like a lot but when you think that you’re using around 20 times that amount to overcome aerodynamic drag you realize it’s not very much.

The difference between a really good and really bad tyre is only a handful of watts…certainly not worth overlooking or throwing away but at the same time not that consequential in the grand scheme of things.

Rolling resistance is one of the few easily measurable attributes of a tyre and is arguably the least important – the other attributes are a bit more vague and user-subjective but make a bigger difference.

Grip (especially in the wet)

German uber-geek Magazine Tour has done tyre grip tests on a wet corner using a very brave (and heavily padded) rider and the results are staggering:  The range of grip-level between the best and worst tyres is amazingly different.

Grip, especially wet-weather grip, is massively better on a good tyre.

It’s tempting to throw on some cheap and nasty tyres for knocking out the winter training but I’d urge you not to.  Good tyres make more of a difference in winter than in summer.

‘Feel’

How a tyre feels can be subjective but generally speaking we all like the same things in a tyre.  We want a tyre which provides feedback about its current level of grip, and gently warns us when we’re starting to ask too much of the tyre.  We don’t want a tyre which provides zero feedback until it suddenly snaps and loses traction

We also want a tyre which is comfortable over coarse chip roads, removes road-buzz, and has a lively, springy feel to it.

A good tyre has more ‘feel’ and a bad tyre has less.  A good tyre will feel alive, sprightly, and raring to go whereas a bad tyre will feel dead, dull and lethargic.

 

Puncture protection

Most tyre manufacturers have sophisticated test equipment to measure their tyres resistance to punctures and again uber geek Tour Magazine has independent data comparing tyres using a vibrating sharp point loaded to 35kg. As with grip there are big variations between the puncture resistance of various tyres, however in the most recent test the Continental GP4000S, Schwalbe One, Mavic Yksion and Michelin Comp 4 all lasted the full 180 second test without puncturing.  Other tyres lasted less than 10 seconds before allowing air to escape.

Another observation is that more experienced riders get fewer flat tyres despite often using lighter, more theoretically puncture-prone tyres.  My explanation is that more experienced riders have developed a subconscious scan for glass and hazards, have better bike-handling skills to navigate around hazards, and don’t ride so far into the gutter.

 

Lifespan

Tyre lifespan is something you can measure yourself, however I’d suggest you don’t.  A good tyre will last many thousands of kilometers – so-what if the expensive, nice to ride ones wear out a thousand kms before the cheap ones which feel like they’re filled with concrete?  You want to enjoy riding your bike and in my view good tyres make this happen.

 

What makes a good tyre?

There are two major components to a tyre:  The tread and the carcass.  

Good quality tread is made from a high quality, sticky rubber.  Some tyres use natural rubber, others use a synthetic compound called carbon-black.  A more supple, bendable tread will conform to the road better.  A stickier tread will give more grip but will wear out sooner.

The tyre’s carcass is made from a woven fabric.  Much like bedsheets, the higher the thread-count the more expensive the fabric, and the nicer the finished product.  A high thread-count fabric conforms better and is more supple which makes for a better night’s sleep and a better tyre.

Generally there is a puncture protection layer bonded between the carcass and the tread.  This layer is usually made from Kevlar and acts like a Police officer’s protective vest to stop stabs of glass from a broken beer bottle from causing any damage.

 

Gravel

Riding on gravel used to be something to be avoided but now it’s trendy and as a result many lightweight ‘race’ tyres are being used for gravel roads – something clearly outside their normal design parameters.  While you may find the lightweight options work a thicker, heavier, more robust tyre will be better suited to gravel roads.

 

What size?

Most modern, high quality tyres come in 23mm or 25mm widths.  If your bike has the clearance then I’d suggest 25mm.  At Wheelworks we’ve been promoting wide-section rims and wide tyres for years and it’s great to see wide tyres becoming more accepted in the mainstream.

Wider rims and/or wider tyres will allow a lower tyre pressure which gives a smoother ride and lower (yes, lower) rolling resistance.  There are no real downsides to going wider.

 

Tyre pressure.

I’ve written entire articles devoted to tyre pressure but the short version is this:  Run as low as you can.

If you’re running 25mm tyres you must run them at a lower pressure than you were running 23mm tyres, otherwise you’re wasting the wide tyre.

Keep dropping your tyre pressure in 5psi increments until you find the tyres squirm a little while riding, especially when climbing out of the saddle when all of your weight is on the front tyre.  Add 5psi and that’s your optimum tyre pressure.  Please try this:  you’ll be amazed how low you can go.

 

What are my favorites?

I pay full price for my tyres so I don’t have any bias here.  I try to keep up to date with new tyres but I keep coming back to these two:

  • Continental GP4000sII.  This is a fantastic, affordable all-around tyre with great grip, good puncture protection, fantastic ‘feel’ and good lifespan.  If I could only take one pair of tyres to a deserted island training camp this would be it.
  • Veloflex Corsa.  These are expensive, very thin, wear out quickly, and puncture when you even look at a piece of glass…..but oooohhhh they’re smooth, supple and have fantastic grip.  Plus they smell fantastic when you open the box.  I save these for that special pair of wheels and that special event, not daily training.

 

This newsletter was originally from my Ask Tristan column in New Zealand Road Cyclist magazine where I was asked about what separates a good tyre from a bad tyre.

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Spoke tension meter calibration

It’s one thing to have the fanciest, most expensive tools but it’s a totally different thing to know that they’re accurate.  Spoke tension meters get a hard life – in our shop they’re used day-in-day-out and the quality of each and every wheel we ship depends on them being accurate.

But how do we know they’re accurate?

When I started Wheelworks 9 years ago I ran into this very problem and needed to solve it so I designed built this calibration jig which allows a spoke to be put under tension just like it would be in a wheel, but very accurately measured with a digital load cell.  By measuring down to 0.010kg of tension (typically a wheel is built with upwards of 100kg of tension) we can ensure that our spoke tension meters are spot-on.

This particular DT Swiss Tensio spoke tension meter is for a local wholesaler / wheelbuilder who had a hunch their tool wasn’t correct.  Now they can be sure it is.

-Tristan

tension meter 1600

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Enve 4.5

Details are starting to emerge about the new 4.5 rims which Enve are releasing.  We’ve already got these rims on order and expect to be building wheels early next month.  As with all our wheels we’ll be building these in-house with our lifetime guarantee on broken spokes, our usual high end selection of hubs, and with custom-coloured Enve decals available.

The 4.5s are slightly deeper and wider than the 3.4 and about 75 grams heavier.  They’ll fill the gap between the 3.4 and the deeper 6.7 really well.

rim profiles

From Enve:

An evolution of our patented SES rim shape makes the SES 4.5 a dream wheelset for theperformance driven road cyclist and triathlete.  The SES 4.5 features uncompromisedaerodynamics, stability, lateral stiffness, braking, and cornering prowess. The SES 4.5 isthe most stable rim in the SES line, making it the optimal choice for cyclists seekingconfidence inspiring aero performance on the windiest of days.
The SES 4.5 maintains all of the same foundational technologies of theSmart ENVE System wheel line which include in-frame aero development,asymmetrical rim geometries, and molded texture braking surfaces.

ENVE_IM_4.5_SES_LoRez_RimBedSide ENVE_IM_4.5_SES_LoRez_DTSwiss240_Clincher

 

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Ramblings on tyre width and pressure

I originally wrote this for NZ Road Cyclist‘s Workshop section (which I write every issue) but it contains a lot of relevant info so with their permission I’m going to post it here as well.  With every 23mm-wide wheelset we sell we supply tyre pressure recommendations – this article serves as an overview of this.

Over the decades road tyres have slowly been getting wider – for years 19mm tyres were standard, then 23mm became normal. In the past few months there has been a wave of interest in 25mm tyres.

25mm tyres have been around for years lurking in the shadows and generally seen as the type of wide, cushy tyre that Luddites and grumpy old men use. In the past few months, the perception of 25mm tyres has really changed in the ranks of both professional cyclists and weekend-warriors. Take a look at the bikes being ridden at the Tour Down Under or Paris Nice and you will notice that most of the professional peloton has adopted wider tyres.

Why wider?

Back when bikes were steel and breasts were real tyres measured 19mm wide. The steel bikes of this era were flexy and comfortable.

As bikes have developed they’ve become stiffer…much, much stiffer. Modern bikes have wider bottom brackets, huge tubes and fork steerer tubes which have grown from 1” to 1.5” in diameter. All of these changes have resulted in bikes which are much stiffer in both the lateral and vertical dimensions. An increase in vertical stiffness means a decrease in comfort.

To add some comfort back into modern bikes the rims and tyres are getting wider. Since the dawn of road cycling rims have been 19mm wide, but now most modern rims have grown to 23mm.

With an increase in rim width the tyres can also get wider. The wider the rim and tyre the more air will fit inside, and therefore the lower the air pressure needs to be. It’s this decrease in air pressure which results in a smoother, more comfortable bike with more grip.

I’m going to repeat that last bit because it’s super important: Wider tyres and wider rims won’t make your bike more comfortable. Lower tyre pressure will. Wider tyres and wider rims will allow you to run lower tyre pressure.

Why not just lower tyre pressure? If you lower tyre pressure too much then two things will occur:

1) The tyre will squirm around and feel under-inflated.

2) You’ll suffer from pinch-flats where a sharp-edged impact will pinch the inner tube between the road and rim and result in a flat tyre.

 Comparison of height and width

tire_height_width_thumb

23mm tyre 25mm tyre Change:
19mm rim Width: 23.2mm

Height: 20.7mm

Width: 25.4mm

Height: 22.8mm

Width: +2.2mm

Height: +2.1mm

23mm rim Width: 25.5mm

Height: 20.3mm

Width: 27.4mm

Height: 22.9mm

Width: +1.9mm

Height: +2.6mm

Change: Width: +2.3mm

Height: -0.4mm

Width: +2.0mm

Height: +0.1mm

 Why not wider?

Clearance:

The biggest inhibitor of larger tyres is your frame and forks’ ability to fit them. Many modern road bikes are designed with short chain stays and fat tubes and that means a reduction in clearance. Many ‘aero’ road bikes are especially tight.

Keep in mind that the wheel and tyre will deform under normal riding conditions, and mud, dirt, and rocks need extra space around the tyre so if 25mm tyres are a real squeeze while stationary they might not work while riding.

tire_clearance_thumb

(note the clearance around the tyre under the fork crown and brake caliper)

 Drag:

Two things will cause a tyre to feel slow: rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag.

Contrary to popular belief rolling resistance actually decreases as you lower tyre pressure. The softer tyre can deform more easily to imperfections in the road (we’ve got lots of these in NZ!) and forward momentum is less affected. Below about 30kph rolling resistance makes up for most of the tyres drag.

Over around 30kph aerodynamic drag accounts for the majority of tyre drag. The larger the tyre, and the more aerodynamically awkward the transition from tyre to rim the more drag will be caused.

It’s worth noting that many modern 23mm-width rims are aerodynamically designed around 25mm tyres and will have less aerodynamic drag than the same 25mm tyre on a ‘standard’ 19mm rim.

 How low can you go?

Basically, you can continue to lower your tyre pressure until either the tyres feel underinflated or you suffer from pinch-flats. You might be surprised how low you can go, and how much better your bike will feel as a result.

As mentioned above a wider rim and a wider tyre will each allow lower tyre pressures without any negative effects. We’ll treat a traditional 19mm rim and 23mm tyre as the baseline and then look at what a wider rim or wider tyre will allow.

tyre pressures baseline

23mm tyre 25mm tyre
19mm rim Baseline – see graph Drop 10psi
23mm rim Drop 10psi Drop 20psi

Here at Wheelworks we build and sell a lot of wheels and we get a lot of questions about whether a customer should be running 23 or 25mm tyres. My suggestion is to try them for yourself – tyres aren’t especially expensive but will change how the bike rides and feels. Just remember to try these tyre pressure suggestions to get the best out of whatever width you choose.

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A look at Hope’s new 40 tooth Pro2 hubs

Hope’s evolution of the Pro 2 rear hub continues:  The last step was increasing the axle diameter from 15mm to 17mm to accommodate 12mm rear thru-axles.  This step is increasing the drive ring to have 40 points of engagement (the old ones were 24 point)

How have they done this?  By replacing the internal ratchet ring with a new, 40 tooth ring.  There doesn’t appear to be any change to the axle, endcaps, freehub body, or even pawls so all older spare parts should work for servicing.  It’s unknown whether we’ll be able to buy just the ratchet rings from Hope to convert older hubs to the new 40t, however considering we were not able to buy 24t ratchet rings previously I’d assume this won’t be possible.

The flange dimensions have also changed slightly – Hope have moved the driveside flange inboard by about 0.5mm.  This gives a bit more derailleur clearance with XX1 cassettes and larger diameter 29er wheels, and might be a bit of forward planning for Shimano’s 11 speed.  This flange change will have a small effect on decreasing the wheel’s lateral stiffness.

Interestingly the new singlespeed version of the Pro2 looses engagement points: the old version was 48 point using two sets of offset pawls, whereas the new version uses four pawls which simultaneously engage.  This means the two singlespeed freehub bodies are not interchangeable, however it theoretically means you could have an 80 point engagement hub by using the old freehub body on the new hub.

There are no changes to the front hub.

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RoadTubeless vs standard rims

A new breed of road rims are arriving which are “tubeless ready” or “tubeless friendly” – basically this means they’re designed to be used either with standard tyres and innertubes or with RoadTubeless tyres.  There are three major differences between these rims and a normal rim.

For this explanation I’ve used the cut-away diagrams from a Velocity A23 and a Velocity Dyad – similar shaped rims produced by the same company.

road tubeless

 

1) Look how shallow the bead-socket is on the left compared to the other rim. This shallow bead-socket is what Stan’s No Tubes have a patent on, however there must be some way around it. Specialized and Stan’s were in court disputing the 846 patent but I’m unsure of the outcome.

The shallow bead-socket means the tyre can’t move up and down as much in the rim which reduces it’s ability to ‘burp’.

2) The ‘tubeless shelf:’ See how this section of the rim is nice and flat? That’s to allow the tyre when inflating to slide nicely into the bead socket, and once inflated makes it harder for the tyre to burp. Some rims go as far as having a small ridge between the tubeless shelf and bead-socket to further help support the tyre’s bead.

3) The ‘drop channel’ or ‘tubeless gutter.’ RoadTubeless tyres have a super tight and stiff bead which is key to them not blowing off the rim. This makes them a bia-atch to install. This center channel has a much smaller diameter which means it’s easier to install the tyre by pinching the tyre’s beads together and sitting them in this gutter. As you inflate the tyre the air pressure pushes the beads apart, out of the gutter, along the tubeless shelf, and into the bead-socket.

Clear as mud?

 

One important thing to remember is that to run tubeless on a road bike you have to use a proper RoadTubeless tyre.

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Tech info on the Pacenti SL23

The SL23 is a new road rim.  It was co-developed by Troy Watson (formerly of Ligero and Fairwheel) and Kirk Pacenti.  For those who don’t know Kirk is the man behind 650b’s revitalization in the cycling world and it’s upcoming popularity in mountain bikes.

The SL23 is very stiff both laterally and vertically.  It’s “tubeless friendly” clincher rim and has a small shelf for RoadTubeless tyres.  The joint is pinned and welded and is very tidy.  The brake track is machined and has two wear indicator holes drilled.

Width at brakepads: 24.0mm

Width internally: 18.0mm

Depth: 26.3mm

Weight: Average 450 grams.

Drillings: 20, 24, 28, 32 hole