The Wheelbuilder

This is my fifth year working in the cycle industry. Previously I managed projects for a living having done a degree in Electrical and Electronic engineering. I took redundancy from the corporate world and decided I wanted to do something for myself. Having started life as craft electrical apprentice, I’ve always been good with my hands; I have also been a very keen cyclist for many years.  I trained to City and Guilds Level 3 in Cycle Maintenance and Wheel Building and opened my workshop doing repairs, custom builds and renovation. People would often come in with a steel framed bike, ask me to strip it down, get the frame painted and build it back up again. Then I started wheel building beginning with a set of wheels for a Puch Classic steel single speed and some builds for the local bike shop and haven't looked back since.

You get a feel for building a wheel: there are two critical dimensional characteristics. It has to be circular and it has to be laterally true, so it doesn’t wobble from side to side. Also the tensions on the spokes have to be set so that the wheel is stiff and will support the loading and won’t undo as you ride along, it’s a balancing act.

I’ve purchased some nice equipment and I build to a high quality level using high precision components. I have two Truing stands: one from Park Tools which is standard for most cycle shops but I’ve also invested a P&K Lei stand from Germany which is extremely high precision. It allows me to make both radial and lateral adjustments on the wheelset at the same time so that while, for example, I’m making micro adjustments on all the spokes around the rim I don’t have to go back half way through and check the lateral measurements. That way I get a very consistent build.

I source my parts from world class manufacturers across the price ranges; so I can make a wheelset from £200 to a £1200 depending on what the customer wants. I use all of the major brands and I think it’s important to stock product so if people want to call in before they buy to take a look and feel they can. There are a lot of people who buy a bike off the shelf at a store or on the internet and then come to me to customize it. I look at the weight of the rider, the type of riding they do and specification of the bike and recommend different options.

Wheels are the most important potential upgrade you can make to a bike because the weight and stiffness of the wheel has a direct impact on acceleration, deceleration, cornering and of course, look great with your bike. So if you want a great set of wheels, advice on what might best suite your riding style, wheels that are hand built with care to your specifications I am sure we can meet your needs.