Why I Build My Own Wheels

Last week, I had a build that required me to buy "store bought" wheels for the first time in a long time.

Video "Why I Build my Own Wheels" (spoiler alert, there's some of my blood)

The reason was schedule; a client came in midweek, looking to build a bile for her daughter's birthday that Saturday. The schedule was tight in terms of ordering parts, and I explained to the client that I didn't think I could build wheels in time, and would have to order pre-made ones.

I have been building wheels for awhile, and since we've gotten so busy, its generally meant that I am building 4-6 pairs of wheels a week. Its a lot of work, and requires a lot of time and focus, but in the end I feel its a higher quality wheel.  Since these bikes are my responsibility as they hit the streets of NYC, I feel that I would rather be responsible for the wheels, as opposed to some robot (The "Wheelmaker 2000)  in China.

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Anyway, the wheels came in and appeared to be a good value....Velocity Aero rims, Dimension hubs and 35 straight-gauge spokes....not the way I'd build a wheel, but the circumstances on this build warranted it. I got to thinking...why am I busting my hump, when I can get these wheel cheaper and already made?  I entertained this thought for a few hours preceding this build last Saturday.

Not sure if it was fate or a sign, but as I was tightening the front wheel to the fork, I snapped the axel and nut in half.  needless to say the build was postponed, but in that moment I realized why I build my own wheels..

Sure, I have to sit with them for hours, tuning then, truing them, but in the end this collection of rims, spokes, hubs and nipples are brought to life by my craftsmanship.  And, I will put my craftsmanship up against the Deep Blue of wheelbulding any day of the week (except Saturdays, we're really busy on Saturdays)