Building wheels for life

When I started Wheelworks from our dining room table in 2006 I didn’t give much thought to how long the company would run for but from day 1 I knew that I got a sense of pride from being able to build long-lasting wheels which are serviceable and interchangeable. 

At the time Mavic wheels were ubiquitous and ultimately what drove me to start Wheelworks - I was constantly frustrated by not being able to repair their wheels because the unique and proprietary spokes were only available for 2 years after purchase, their aluminium spokes and nipples would corrode themselves together because no grease was used, and their hub design used a bushing which literally wore through the hub causing irreparable damage to the wheel.

Now, 17 years later, those decisions to avoid proprietary parts and focus instead on what we knew would work are reflected in the number of questions we receive about “old” wheels.

When we say Wheelworks build “wheels for life” we’re not just committing to use high quality components and a meticulous build process to deliver high performing, reliable wheels - we’re committing to supporting that wheelset for its life.

Here’s some recent examples which have come through our inboxes:

Matt wanted to use the 26” mountain bike wheelset I built for him in 2014 with Hope Pro2 EVO hubs onto his new dirt jump bike. This meant converting from 142x12mm to 135mm bolt-on rear and from 15x100mm to 20x110mm front. This was all possible with parts we had in-stock.

Nicola and Larry, customers with Maker V1 wheels built in 2015/16, wanted to know if they were suitable for the “new” wide tyres ranging between 28 and 32mm and if their 8 year old wheels were tubeless-compatible. The answer to both was yes - we were miles ahead with both wide-rims and tubeless-road.

Jim, another Maker V1 rim brake owner is now mostly riding his newer Maker Disc wheelsets but was wondering if we can still supply Maker brake pads for the V1s so he can take his Colnago C60 out for a spin. Yes of course! Not only do we still stock brakepads for the Maker rim-brake wheels but they’re still free for life!

And of course we do plenty of re-decalling to freshen up a well-used pair of wheels and give them a matchy-matchy life on a new bike, such as John's #SantaCruzBlue TrailLite's Transitioning to #SatinAluminium for his new Scout just last week.

We sell an seemingly endless supply of Boost conversion kits for people whose wheels have outlived their non-Boost frames. 

To help with this we’ve put together a list of the common hubs we use and the best way of converting them to Boost.

This future-thinking is something we consciously incorporate into our products and wheels: the Dial hub is the most modular, interchangeable hub on the market, we design almost all of our wheels to be e-bike ready, and we build wheels in such a way that they’re serviceable and repairable.

Back in 2006 I knew I’d feel proud about being able to support “old” wheels but I really underestimated just how much satisfaction that I draw from being able to provide parts, service, and knowledge and keep these wheels on bikes and being ridden.

If you’ve got an older pair of our wheels and you’re curious about making them work with a new project please get in touch.

- Tristan