We're ready to build your next set of wheels!
Our wheels are hand-built to the highest industry standards, and we're very proud of our work.
We build each wheel like it were custom, and our own. Learn more about our process and values below, or contact us with questions or to discuss which wheelset is right for you.
We're not shy about the fact that we're part of Velocity USA, and while we might be a bit biased, we've built enough rims from other manufacturers to be able to say that Velocity rims uphold a high standard of precision and craftsmanship. If for some reason a Velocity rim does not meet your needs, we'll build what you provide.
The Champion straight gauge spokes provide a reliable spoke option for whatever type of riding you are hoping to do. We believe the Champion spoke to be a high quality, no-nonsense choice for those not looking to break the bank.
Holding to the high quality standards set forth by the Champion spoke, the Competition is our choice for a double-butted spoke for your wheels. Through DT Swiss’ cold forging process, the Competition spoke increases their fatigue strength which provides longer life for your wheel while lessening the weight.
One of the quickest ways to increase the speed of the bike is to lower the rolling weight of the wheel. Of the many bladed options for spokes on the market, the industry leading strength to weight ratio of the CX-Ray spoke by Sapim makes them our natural choice for our more weight conscious riders. The CX-Ray bladed spoke is our premium spoke option providing riders with the aerodynamics, strength and stiffness, along with low weight.
If you are riding in all the elements or looking for the most durable and serviceable option for a nipple - look no further than lacing your next set of wheels up with brass nipples. Brass nipples naturally resist corrosion and brakeage while providing the strength and reliability for the rider. Keeping you where you want to be, on your bike!
Alloy spoke nipples are a simple way to save weight over their brass counterparts. When built properly to our standards – alloy nipples are a strong and durable option along with offering seven different colors for customization.
We have a custom-built pnuematic wheel press that ensures spoke heads are fully seated in the hub flange, spoke nipples are seated and spoke elbows rest flush against the hub flanges.
Each of our builders has a DT Swiss Tensio. They are expensive, costing about 8 to 10 times more than the tensiometers that most bicycle mechanics have access to. It may sound like we're bragging, and we probably are. The DT Tensio is accurate to 1/100th of a millimeter when measuring spoke deflection, which is something worth bragging about.
Most builders will get their tensio's calibrated by the manufacturer once, or maybe twice a year. Any changes in tension readings of a tensio in between calibrations means that the spoke tension, while likely "acceptable," will be slightly off. This is not acceptable to us. To ensure we know exactly what tension we're build to, our builders frequently check their Tensios using a custom load cell.
The builder loads a sample of the spoke stock they're working with and can then tell exactly where their Tensio reads at the desired tension. For most rims, that's around 120kgf, but certain rims and hubs will have tension limits which we are able to safely and accurately accomodate, rather than trusting the calibration of our Tensios and a manufacturer's tension chart.
The wheel building process starts with the rim. Each rim is hand-picked and staged for each build. Your builder first checks each rim on a surface plate where it's evaluated for flatness and other extrusion defects. This also gives your builder a chance to visually inspect the rim for any imperfections in the finish.
A common misnomer in building wheels is assuming that when spoke threads are covered by the nipple, the spoke length is acceptable. This is not true!
Full thread engagement—where the spoke is fully threaded into the nipple—is paramount when building a wheel. If the spoke is not engaging threads near the bottom of the spoke nipple, strength will be compromised. If the spoke too long, you may run out of threads before achieving proper tension. This is even more critical when using alloy nipples.
Rims and hubs in house and use custom spoke length calculation software to achieve proper dimensions in every build. We stock a large variety of spoke lengths and use Phil Wood spoke cutters to precisely build each wheel to our exact specifications.
Your builder hand-laces each wheel, giving The Wheel Department the ability to accommodate a wide variety of lacing patterns, nipple options and other special requests that only come with a hand-built wheel. The hands-on lacing process also gives the builder time to closely visually inspect the rim for any small finish imperfections.
Once laced, the hand-tensioning and truing process begins. Each wheel build requires hundreds, if not thousands, of minute, precise adjustments and a careful eye. The wheel is gradually brought to tension, one quarter-turn at a time, while paying close attention to vertical and lateral true, and consistent, even spoke tension.
Each of our builders uses a professional grade DT Swiss analog Tensio, which accurately measures spoke deflection to 1/100th of a millimeter. To compensate for slight changes over time in the calibration of the Tensio, we have a custom load cell with samples of each of our spoke stocks which we use to precisely pinpoint how each Tensio reads at a given tension.
Once your builder achieves balanced spoke tension, and true, the final step is to sign-off on the wheel. The Wheel Department is proud to stand behind each wheel that goes out the door, and our builders are proud of the quality and precision of their builds, which is why our builders sign each wheel.
Most riders at some point have probably heard the "pinging" of spokes in a new wheel as they unwind. As a spoke unwinds, the tension decreases, and the tension of your new wheelset is no longer even. We don't believe this should happen, and we take great care to ensure it doesn't.
We use a number of techniques and instruments to ensure that spokes are fully seated and evenly tensioned when they leave TWD. Each rim is individually checked on a surface plate to make sure we're starting with a top quality product. Spokes elbows are set flush against the hub flanges in a custom hydraulic wheel press.