The Latest

FEATURED BUILD - FSW3 with PowerTap.

Our last trip to the wind tunnel proved that the Kinlin rims in our FSW3 wheels are every bit as fast as those 40+mm carbons you use on race day. So now that your everyday alloys can also be your game day wheels, there's no better time to add a PowerTap. Especially since we've added tires (installed) and knocked $135 off the price.

 

 

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Friday
Mar242017

Easton's Excellent Rims

Without a lot of the fanfare that's accompanied many new rims onto the market, Easton has quietly muscled its way up the mountain to, or at least exceptionally near, the top of the component rim heap. With rims for every application for which we build, they're exceptionally high quality rims that we love building and are excited for people to use. They are available in Select and Select+, Select Disc, Select MTB, and Custom builds, and we also ship standalone rims. 

A knife for every fight

When we first started working with Easton rims about a year ago, they were a little bit of a tough sell even with their evident quality and great specs. Several people mentioned bad experiences with Easton hubs, and also trouble with lower spoke count builds that were marketed as being appropriate for really heavy riders. We understand the sentiment, but neither of those is at play here. And yes, we can get R90SL road rims in 20 hole. At first we couldn't but we've been stocking them and shipping them for a good long time now. 

So what do we like about them? Right in the front door, they're great looking. The finish is superb and the graphics are tasteful and removable (just like me). They're light enough but they're not trying to press it in a "hey look at me, I'm so light!" way that's going to wind up giving trouble down the road or trail. 

As a product lineup, they've got the use gamut covered. From road racing to fat bike, they've got a width and a diameter that makes perfect sense across the board. Totally complete product range. What might confuse you a little bit is that the mountain oriented stuff is branded RaceFace while the roadie stuff is Easton. Same company, same everything, it's just a continuation of brand heritage. 

A lot of builders out there are starting to consider the R90SL as - blasphemy, heresy, sacrilege - superior to the HED Belgium+. Not sure I can call it superior, but enough people will have heard me describe it as a peer and probably an equal. You really just don't see better made aluminum rims. And that goes right across the board to the other rims as well. I use a set of ARC24s on my cross country bike and ooh la la are they nice.

The R90SL is perfect for any kind of road use, from racing to touring to "groad" (h/t Caley Fretz, a portmanteau I can get on board with). It's also an excellent CX tubeless rim. For dedicated gravel and XC use, the ARC24 is our top recommendation. And then for burlier MTB uses it's a matter of matching width and diameter to your bike and tires. 

We have a bunch of Easton builds on the board (part of the reason that this will be shortish - we're slammed) in everything from R90SLs with T11s to R90SL disc with CLDs to ARC30s with I9 Boost hubs. I'm sure they'll all pop up on our Instagram feed so take a look there. 

Not that many wheel companies have seen the benefit of offering well made component rims for custom and semi-custom builds, but Easton has done it and we thank them for it. 

Wednesday
Mar222017

Colors of Spring

Two notable things happened yesterday: it was nice enough to ride outside (which I did), and during said ride I noticed the first crocuses out (which like any other child of the '80s I had to look it up because I thought it might be spelled "Krokus" - a hair metal band named after a colorful flower? Oh '80s, you were a supreme decade). So it's time for Colors of Spring. 

During Colors of Spring, wheels that don't normally have color choices (FSW3 and RFSW3) do, and all other wheels which would normally have an upcharge for color have no upcharge for color. 

Speaking of spring, it's spring. Ceramic RFSW3 builds sold out, then sold out again. However, now that the fur has flown and the dust has settled and the chickens have been counted, there is good availability of machined brake track versions of the RFSW3. Those are available for order and standard delivery, as well as being eligible for Colors of Spring.

Our initial stock of November by Novatec hubs have sold out, so for those of you looking for a good, basic, fully functional, durable, performance-oriented hub at a more budget friendly spot, we're offering Bitex RAF/RAR12 road hubs and Bitex 106F/106R centerlock rear hubs in the interim. Black 20/24 road hubs are November branded, while colored road hubs and disc hubs (available in black only) will have standard branding.

The new shop is fully functional, and pleasantly more functional than the old shop. Not only that, but it's a much more public-friendly space than the old one. While we don't foresee ever becoming a regular full-line bike shop, we are stocking a selection of stuff that "people like us" have trouble finding at the regular bike shop - specific stuff that savvy riders look for to make their bikes work better and go faster. Kind of a pro shop experience. Come visit when you're in Newport.

Along with that, our Parts and Pieces selection has filled out a ton and we're now offering tires, tubes, cassettes, rotors, an expanded selection of skewers, and other stuff (need second cup of coffee) that you can order along with your wheels. Anything ordered with wheels that fits in the box ships for free (can't think of anything that wouldn't fit in the box but, again, second cup of coffee), and anything that can be installed* comes installed - saving you the inconvenience and headache of having to do that. Plus we use torque wrenches and know what we're doing. 

Uncharasterically short one today, but these wheels ain't gonna build themselves so back at it.

*The only thing we know that can't be installed is a cassette on a wheel set that also has disc rotors installed - the wheels won't nest correctly in the box. So if you order rotors and a cassette, we'll include a cassette lockring tool, which also conveniently works with most rotor lockrings.

Friday
Mar172017

RFSW3: We got extra, who wants in?

Mr FedEx showed up with the shipment of Al33 rims for us to start building, and holy moly. They are incredible. The finish is just unbelievable, the graphics are as nice as HED Belgium graphics and more subtle, and the first two test rims I built tell me the next week or so is going to be full of very enjoyable builds. Awesome. 

Better than we'd hoped for.

This one time we did a pre-order and I botched the counting and oversold the order. It was about 5 years ago and still stings. I hate doing stuff like that. That's also a cover for my inability to count (so I'm in favor of maintaining NEA funding so Big Bird - or really The Count - doesn't get kicked out of his home on Sesame Street).

We weren't sure they'd include these graphics. We very very dig.

Anyhoo... we wound up with a few extra sets of ceramic RFSW3 rims. Whaddaya know about that? 20/24 only. And we have even limiteder availability of 20/24 machined sidewall builds. We don't expect either to last very long. Based on last time we had them open for order, by the time you read this you might be hosed (though that's probably pessimistic for you and optimistic for us).

Shrink your carbon footprint, raise your sexiness quotient.

There are those among you who will be thinking to yourself "but I ordered a set of 20/24 ceramic and was told I wouldn't get them until May!" Well, you're going to get them a lot sooner than that. 

As always, every one of these suckers is going to be hand built and checked, checked, and rechecked, and we're only going to ship the first pre-order orders out early next week. So you won't have them for your race on March 25th. But they'll be to you one heck of a lot earlier than we thought they'd be available. 

In any case, please order wheels because now I need to pay for remedial counting lessons. 

Thursday
Mar162017

Our Kinlins are nicer

You know those movie scenes where the geeky girl (or guy) takes off her (or his) glasses and unbuttons the top button of her blouse (or his shirt) and all of a sudden is wicked hot? I mean of course you're already sitting there like "that's freaking Megan Fox, I'd have crawled through a mile of broken glass to get her number even when she looked like a dork," but still. Anyhow, that's kind of how our Kinlins are. You knew they were hot already, but we've got them dolled up in the 5 star style.

Good on the right, great on the left

First, we get ours made with a matte finish that just looks more in keeping with today's runway fashions. It's not that they aren't nice with the gloss finish, it's just that if you have a no-downside option to making your bike look hotter, you want to take that option. We took that option, and I don't know that anyone else does it.

These rims are just like me - behind and off center

Second, we've switched to an offset rear profile for rim brake builds, in addition to using offset rims front and rear for disc builds. It's not that you can't build a good rear wheel without an offset rim, it's that it's easier to build a better rear wheel with an offset rim. You get more stiffness and less imbalance between right and left side spoke tensions with the offset. Another one of those no-downside improvements that you just make when you have the chance.

All of this fancy stuff is standard in our FSW3 wheels, in the current FSW3 Powertap feature build, and is available for custom builds, and is even available as standalone rims in the Parts and Pieces section (matched pairs only). 

Sometimes it really truly is the little things. 

Tuesday
Mar142017

2017 Mavic Open Pro Exalith (and other stuff)

The first legit "good" set of wheels I ever owned was a set of Open Pros on DA hubs. This was a long time ago (I'm old), and while they weren't quite state of the art at the time, they were plenty current. Despite the myriad times Mike and I have bemoaned that "someone really needs to make a modern Open Pro," we didn't think it would be Mavic that did it. But now the modern version of that exact build of my long ago past could be something we ride (and, more importantly, build) a lot this coming year. This world never ceases to amaze.


From Team Dream's InstagramI was barely three weeks ago that I wrote about how the industry-at-large seemed to finally be sparing a thought for the humble alloy rim, and now this news has come out. I swear we knew absolutely nothing of this when I wrote that post. 

This is notable from Mavic for a couple of reasons. First, they updated the Open Pro, which I think the world had more or less given up on. That speaks to two things: that they give a crap about updating aluminum rims, and also that they give a crap about component rims and not just pre-built wheels (the era of which they more or less created with their Helium wheel set). Last, they're bringing an Exalith (which is their trade name for a black coating process that several manufacturers use) component rim to the market. And it's tubeless ready and wide.

The specs as we know them are that it's 19mm wide inside, claimed to weigh 435g, will be available in Exalith, machined side wall, and disc versions, and will be available in 24, 28, and 32h drillings (disc in 28 and 32 only). In a twist that we couldn't have imagined 4 years ago when people were looking at us sideways when we talked about the primacy of inside width, the outer width isn't even reported in the BikeRadar thing - nor is the depth talked about. Disc rims will be offset drilled. 

To answer your next question, we have no idea. They're saying late spring to early summer. 

Though this seems like a very very cool rim, we don't think it's the be-all-end-all, everything for every rider and every purpose rim. There's no such thing. We're just happy to be able to bring you ever more compelling alloy options that will make ever more difficult to miss carbon rims. And yes, we're a Mavic dealer.

The other thing we're working on is accessory options, so you can just pull your wheels out of the box, adjust the tire pressure, and roll. We've been sending out a lot of wheels with tires on them already, disc builds with rotors, cassettes, yada yada. With the new shop, we're keeping a bunch more stuff in stock ready to go, so that gets easier. I just have to get my act together and get everything on the site. 

If the UPS guys shows up today, the other two sections of this will arrive

One last thing on the shop is that we're literally in right field of the local minor league team's field, so I was thinking "wouldn't it be cool to do a Wednesday mellow ride and have beers and cookout after, and watch the end of the baseball game?" Well guess what, June 7 there's a home game EVERY Wednesday night throughout summer. Score. 

Had to include this, never made a sign before and it's almost too pretty to put outside