Our wheelbuilding process.
There are many ways to build a wheel, but we believe that our patented* 11 step process is the best. That process, of course, starts with you - we work with you to choose a mix of components and specs that exactly fits you, your bike, and how you plan to use it. From there, we get to work.
We individually cut and thread each spoke to ensure precise length accuracy, and to ensure the absolute best fit between spoke and nipple.
Each rim and hub is inspected and prepped - weight is checked against spec, brake tracks checked for width tolerance, spoke holes chamfered, joint integrity confirmed, and bearings and cassette body operation inspected.
From there, it's into lacing, again entirely done by hand. This gives us a bit more quality time with the components to ensure everything is going together as planned.
We cheat a little bit in the next step*, using an electric screwdriver to take up the initial slack in the spokes. From there, it's into the stand.
Once spoke tension starts to build, the spoke lines are manually corrected as spoke tension alone isn't enough to make everything lie perfectly in line. Then more tension is added as the wheel is brought into rough dish, true, and round. And then we screw that all up.
Our destressing and seating process drops the tension back down to almost nothing, and usually re-introduces small errors in round, dish, and true, which are then corrected as calibrated spoke tension is added back into the wheel.
As the wheel nears final tension, another round of destressing and seating ensures that whatever might have been missed in the first round gets caught, and then final spoke tension is applied.
Manually squeezing spoke pairs (you do not want to shake hands with us as I've been told it's quite painful - hands like claws) ensures any residual stress errors are removed as we even out spoke tension from spoke to spoke over several rounds of adjustment.
Centering rim brake front wheels is easy - when it's centered, it's centered. For dished wheels (rear wheels and disc fronts), it takes a little more. When a tire is installed and compresses the rim, the rim actually moves toward the higher tension spokes, so we correct for that.
Finally, when nothing we can do introduces any movement in the wheel, the wheel's build journey ends and we do a final inspection of the joint and apply rim tape. Then and only then does it receive the flying N logo of final approval, and ready to go in the box.
There are certainly faster, cheaper, and easier ways to build wheels, but none of them ensures that the wheels you put on your bike will be true, round, and ready to go out of the box with no "after break in" adjustment needed, and that they'll stay true for many thousands of miles.