We spend a lot more time responding to email than we do engineering carbon fiber layup processes. Even though we answer each message specific for the person who emailed us, some of what we reply may be of consequence to other customers as well. So every Monday that we remember to do it, we'll publish Mailbag Mondays here, with a few of the emails we received and the responses we sent.
Email #1: Wheel Weights Questions
I am planning to preorder a wheelset in November. I thought I had my mind set on the 50mm tubular, because it was your lightest wheelset. But I just found out today that you also have the 38mm in tubular version, and you will have some hub choices for custom build in the near future.
1. Is the 38mm tubular your lightest wheelset? How much does it weigh with standard build?
2. What is the weight of the front/rear Novatec hubs?
3. What kind of hubs will be available for custom build? Do you think these hubs will be available for preorder in November? Are they going to be a lot more pricier than the Novatec?
Hi <Dude's first name redacted>-
Thanks for the note. I'll answer your questions in order:
1. Yep, the 38mm tubular is the lightest we offer. With our standard (20/24) build it's around 75g lighter than the 50mm tubulars, so just below 1300g.
2. The Novatec hubs are 76g / 245g.
3. We know we will offer custom builds with DT Swiss and C-4 hubs. We are working to secure agreements with <fancyass hub brand name #1 redacted> and <fancyass hub brand name #2 redacted> as well. Of these, I believe the C-4 are the lightest, shaving about 35g off the complete wheelset. They will be pricier, to be sure. Dealer agreements with these premium hub brands require us to sell them at MSRP, which is an upcharge of about $500 per wheelset. We expect to have them all available within the next couple of weeks, which means that the current pre-order (deadline of July 5) would be the first where rims for a custom wheelset with these hubs are available. The July 5 pre-order is expected in late September, so the custom wheelset would be ready mid-October.
If money is no object and you have an affinity to a particular hub brand, or you want color choices not available in our standard builds, then the custom program makes sense. If weight is important and cost not far behind, the 38mm tubular is outstanding. We didn't spec it with cheap hubs to lower the price; we organized our entire model to lower the price so that we could spec it with really nice hubs.
Email #2: 38mm Clinchers
Reading a lot of great stuff about your products, and it sounds like your 38 clincher is a great all-around wheel set. I am a 165lb or so Cat 4 (aspring to 3) 'crosser that dabbles in the occaisional road race. Yes, I know...tubies are the best for 'cross, and at your prices i'd like to have one set for each discipline, but my real question is whether your standard build 38 clinchers will stand up to the rigors of a midwest cross season.
<Dude's first name redacted>
Hi <Dude's first name redacted>,
Thanks for getting in touch.
We're not big fans of carbon clinchers for cross. The build is going to do fine with your weight, that's not an issue at all. The issue is the brake track. I don't know what the Midwest cross season looks like, but I know what the Midatlantic cross season looks like. It looks a lot like trying to go as fast as humanly possible over cracked pavers and roots and rocks and all manner of other sharp pointy things, all while having the least possible amount of air in your tires.
Our rims have been used in some races where we were slightly horrified to see them used - the "Roubaix wannabe" type events all spring and some other "not quite paved" extravaganzas since. They've made it through all this and more, but cross is a horse of entirely different color.
We will be rolling out our cross-focused alloy tubulars for this fall, which will have an clincher counterpart. We think that either of those are a perfect wheel for cross, and there is always the RFSW carbon tubular. THAT is a great cross wheel.
Others in our shoes (and others using the same rims we do, even) might give a different answer, but we just don't think it's the right move.
Let us know if you have any other questions.
Email #3: Postage to Aussie
Was wondering how much does it cost to ship a pair of wheelset to Australia?
Was wondering in case of wheel failure, do i have to ship the wheel back to the States, before i can get the replacement wheels?
Thanks for getting in touch.
Freight costs that we've looked at are pretty out of hand ($500 for frameset to JPN, for example), so with that it's just not something we'd prefer to do for wheels. It's too far away and shipping is too expensive for us to provide our normal level of service.
Email #4: newbie wheelbuilder lives close, train me!
Hi, I live in <nearby town name redacted> and I commute to DC all the time. I know yall are north of the city but I am interested in doing something other than cleaning dog shit full time. I am an avid biker, handsome and 27 years young. Let me know if you need a wrench. Thanks, <dude's name redacted>
XXX-YYY-5555 (cell) (-yes its a real number..yes I have been slapped giving it to a girl at a bar..)
Hey <Dude's name redacted>-
Thanks for the note. We had a huge response to our post about wheelbuilding help, and have brought on some people to help us in the near-term. Still, your background in cleaning dog shit appeals to us so when we finalize the program we have in mind for training wheelbuilders, we'll definitely let you know about it.