Pressure Drop

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Thanks to Toots and the Maytals for today's title - it was an obvious choice.

People often ask us whether there's any break in period, or any adjustments that need to be made after riding our wheels. There aren't, and there are several reasons why. First is that we go to great lengths to ensure that all of the spoke lines have been corrected, and that everything is 100% bedded in. We also use an extensive destressing process. These ensure that the spokes take the shortest distance between the two points they connect, that they won't move around once you start riding them, and that the spokes don't have any residual stresses or "memory." Good wheel builders do these things, because wheels where these things haven't been done won't stay true for long. New wheels shouldn't sound like popcorn when you initially use them. 

Another step that we take is to inflate a tire on each and every wheel, and do a final adjustment to spoke tension and true. As this video shows, a clincher tire compresses the rim and lowers spoke tension. This means that if you had just enough "off" side tension (non-disc side spokes in a disc front, non-drive side spokes in a rear) before, then you don't have enough now. It also moves the wheel's dish a tiny bit toward the more tensioned side. 

This final step takes a bunch of time, but in order to deliver the best built wheels we can time after time after time, we find that it's worth it. 


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  • brian on

    Just curious, do you think you'll ever offer tubular builds again? I know the future holds no promises but was curious what you're thinking is on this.

  • Dave on

    Excellent question. There's zero risk of having a puncture and then all your spokes pulling out of the rim or hub. For one, the difference in spoke tensions before and after final adjustment isn't that huge, and the uninflated tire actually still causes some compression. And you have a good fair bit of room between max tension and KABOOM! Our wheels are basically just at or very close to max recommended tension when they go in the box with no tire on.

  • Rick on

    So if mounting a tire on a rim drops spoke tension considerably, should the max tension be set with a tire on or off? Is there any risk of over tensioning and damaging a rim if the tire deflates?

  • Dave on

    We shipped a set of tubulars last week, and a pair of beauties they were – HED Belgium+ disc tubulars. We also do HED C2 tubulars for rim brake applications, and Corima tubulars for rim and disc. Making our own road-oriented tubular (which would mean a Rail tubular) has zero chance of happening. Payoff on the mold cost would never happen. The market is flooded with closeouts, people don't mind taking a risk with stuff off of eBay because heat's less of an issue with carbon, people are still ditching rim brakes on their cx bikes and selling their old wheels for cheap, and the market's fairly ruthless about selection. You lose sales because you're 5mm too deep or shallow, 1mm to wide or thin, 10g heavier, $20 more, etc. In the clincher market, those things are all true, too, but the market is 25 or 30x the size of the tubular market.


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