"The Best"

We often get questions that hinge on the word "best": what's the best hub, what is the best alloy wheel set, what rim width or depth is best, what spokes are best... you get the idea.

A recent example of this shows the trouble we can get into with these questions. A person contacted us with some inquiries about specific wheel components and said he wanted "the best set of alloy wheels." "Best" in this case seemed to be "optimal combination of light weight and aerodynamics, with a soupçon of what other people don't have" based on the info given. And that's a fine goal, but of course there's the "at what price" counter question. 

Are you willing to spend half again as much to lose 40 or 60 grams? Are you willing to sacrifice other important elements of use performance (durability, structure, reliability) to get there? Are you willing to wait out huge lead times to achieve this?

The concept of "the best" is so use and goal specific that there's no universality to it at all. The concept also assumes appreciable differentiation between one thing and another. Sure, hub B might be 30 grams lighter that hub A, but are you ever ever going to notice that in use? Conversely, when hub B's flange has a crack and hub A is just warming up, how are you going to feel about that weight difference. 

As boutique as we are, which is pretty boutique but not endlessly so, our goal isn't to be the source of what you can't get anywhere else. A much bigger goal of ours is to execute fairly middle of the road custom builds as well as it can be done, and offer great service. Chasing down the hottest gram saving experimental hub from some guy in Germany's garage has a place and an appeal, and we get that, but it isn't us. 

There are always interesting new things that come up. Lately, we've done some fat bike builds and overall we've done a ton of gravel, adventure, and touring builds of all stripes. It's been fun to dig into that and learn about what people are using and how different components and builds interact most successfully with the things we aren't supplying and how people use these things.

We're a little jaded, of course, because we get to work with amazing stuff all day every day, and our "normal" is a lot of people's "holy wow!" That's awesome for us, and it also gives us the perspective of being able to get a great answer about "best" with as little compromise as possible. 


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  • James Stroud on

    I always want the stuff that comes out of the garage in Germany that is the latest and greatest. :)


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