The quality of a bicycle wheel is in the building
You can choose all the best components, but if your bicycle wheel isn’t built to a high standard it will be just another wheel.
To ride at it’s best a bicycle wheel needs to be well built and correctly tensioned. The quality of building will also have an effect on the expected life of a wheel.
Bicycle Wheel Building Options
At Colwood Wheel Works every wheel is custom built to your exact requirements. There are several options available.
You will need to decide whether you would like your wheel built to the standard spoke configuration or whether you want something a little different.
The cross pattern you choose will make a difference to the finished wheel. The standard for a full sized bicycle wheel with 36 spokes is a cross three pattern but a small amount of weight can be saved by choosing to cross less spokes at some expense of strength and ride quality.
If you would like something different I can build to spoke patterns such as “Crows Foot”, “Three Leading, Three Trailing” and others. The use of exotic spoke patterns is purely aesthetic and generally does not result in a better wheel.
If you are restoring a classic or vintage bicycle you will want to keep the wheels as authentic as possible. British bicycle wheels were set up a little differently to continental wheels. Choosing the correct spokes and lacing pattern is especially important for a correctly restored wheel.
The choice of spokes and nipples will also have an effect on the finished bicycle wheel.
Galvanised are basic zinc plated steel spokes that have been fitted to traditional bicycles for many decades. Although I can build with these if required stainless steel is now my standard fitment.
Stainless steel spokes last longer than galvanised spokes and will always look bright and new no matter how old they become. My price for rebuilding with stainless steel (or galvanised) spokes is just £50 per wheel.
Stainless steel double butted spokes are lighter in weight and will produce a bicycle wheel that feels more lively and responsive to ride than an equivalent wheel built with plain gauge spokes. Club cyclists and other keen leisure cyclists will usually choose double butted spokes at a cost of £60 per wheel.
Sapim race spokes are even better quality than the standard butted spoke. You can choose them for your wheel at £65.
Sapim Laser spokes are the lightest spoke available. These spokes produce a very light and responsive wheel suitable for the most demanding club cyclist. They are also the closest match to the classic 15g/17g double butted spokes that were used in years gone by but which are no longer available. Sapim laser spokes are available at £80 per wheel.
Some optional extras
Sapim Polyax nickel plated brass nipples seat into the rim better than a standard nipple. I use these as standard when building with Sapim butted spokes. You can also choose them when I build with non-Sapim spokes at a cost of £5 extra per wheel.
Sapim alloy nipples which are made to the polyax design are much lighter in weight than nickel plated brass polyax nipples. These are available at £10 extra per wheel. Alloy nipples will only be offered when building with Sapim double butted spokes.
Only at Colwood Wheel Works A limited supply of plain brass nipples are available for restoration rebuilds only at £20 extra per wheel.
Stainless steel non-butted spokes and Sapim butted spokes are available in black by special order at £15 extra per wheel.
Nipple washers may be offered when appropriate at £15 per set. The price includes the cost of the washers plus a small additional amount to cover the extra time required for building. Brass spoke head washers are also available.