My rear wheel started to become difficult to keep in-true and spokes started popping every 60 miles or so. So I decided it was time to spring and get a new wheel. After doing some research, I decided to get a wheel built by my local bike shop. Basically for about a 20% premium, a built wheel offered:

  • A more scrutinizing eye on the initial setup & truing
  • Anecdotally, folks tend to rave on the cycling forums about how much longer built rims stay true (placebo effect?)
  • The ability to choose my own hub, spokes, rim etc
    • Which in turn means I could tune for exactly what I wanted (i.e. weight vs durability, freewheel sound, spoke color)
  • A free truing after about 100 miles (so the wheel can break in)

One thing I liked about getting to customize everything was that it gave me a chance to upgrade to the hub of my choice. During my commute, I've noticed some folks with louder freewheel ratchet sounds. It's that familiar buzz coming up behind you that signals that a faster cyclist has caught up and is now freewheeling because he's stuck behind you. While some might find that obnoxious, I find it increases safety. It signals that another cyclist is likely about to pass and may be in your blind spot soon. It's also another way to increase pedestrian awareness as you approach an intersection.

So in the end, I opted for the following setup:

  • Mavic Open Pro rims
  • A DT-Swiss 350 hub (nice and ratchet-y!)
  • Stealth black spokes

The whole build with parts & labor totaled about £230. The nice thing is, the hub should last quite some time with proper servicing. So future re-builds should be much cheaper at roughly £95.

Not That Simple

I was excited when the bike shop called and said my wheel was ready, so I raced home to pick it up before they closed.

…to be finished some time…