Thursday 20 December 2018

Miche Primato Syntesi - the most underestimated hubs in the market

The end price of the wheels is important, we all know that. The hubs play one of the main role in the whole setup as they are responsible for stiffness and durability. They can be also pretty expensive and that's why we have so many hubs from far east which come with good price, average geometry and not that great durability. You can find them in most of the system and hand-buit wheels, rebranded to custom brands. So... is there anything else available in the market? The answer is Yes, Miche hubs.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Lucky Soul-Kozak star

A good pair of MTB hoops doesn't have to be heavy. Few words about my latest cross country "light weight" build with very interesting components in today's post. Enjoy!

Sunday 25 November 2018

Ride with Szymonbike!

At this moment when I'm posting that, Szymon celebrates his 30th birthday. I couldn't find a better time to introduce him to you, if you don't know yet the biggest road cycling hippie of our century.

Sunday 18 November 2018

Boyd Altamont Ceramic build for Roland

One of my favorite rims - Boyd Altamont Ceramic. Phenomenal rims with ceramic brake surface which last forever. Light (430g) wide (19mm internal) and very good looking rims. I'm always very happy when I'm getting an order to build a wheelset using those.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Wednesday 7 November 2018

A million dollar wheelset

Yes, a million dollar wheels and it's not about monetary value. It's about all components matching together in an ideal way creating one of the best wheel-sets I've ever made

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Midhook tubeless wheels with Soul

High number of spokes makes strong wheel. Everything  beyond 20/24 for rim brakes and 24/24 for disc brakes is not "trendy" these days, however there are still people who like to have a well built wheels and as many spokes as there should be.

Monday 5 November 2018

The history of "Black cat wheels"

Almost every customer who comes across my wheels ask about the brand name. Why "Black cat"? Where is it coming from? With the recent logo update I think it's a good time to tell the whole story of one particular turn...

Wednesday 31 October 2018

DT RR411 build for Mark

Custom build for Mark. We ride together in BBVC club so I know how strong rider is he. Configuring those wheels I had to take into account several factors so this build is not just one of the standard DT RR411 in 20/24 spokes count which you'll find in most of other shops.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Fight for life - Alpenbrevet 2018

Alpenbrevet, the famous and spectacular event. Event for which people travel from many far locations. Not a surprise as Alpenbrevet is routed via the most beautiful cols in Swiss Alps. It's also a test of one's fitness, body and mind. Usually associated with nice and warm weather, beautiful views and fast descends. 
How was it this year...? Well, read further to find the answer.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Vintage bikes, beautiful history of cycling

Building wheels have many positive aspects. For me, one of them is the opportunity to meet people who share the same passion for cycling.
Nic is one of my favorite customers as every job from him is pretty interesting, mostly with vintage wheels. In order to see where are those wheels coming from I went to see his collection of legendary bikes.

Monday 8 October 2018

Duke Racing wheels

When I was creating "Black cat wheels" company I made one rule to myself: Wheel building will never "take over" my time for cycling. Unfortunately I must say that this is happening already... but what to do if you get such a nice build order based on Duke rims...

Thursday 4 October 2018

Black like "Black Cat" wheelset

One of my recent builds for road & gravel. Very interesting set with no fake weight saving by using less spokes. Proper disc build with 28 spoke front and rear, 2-cross lacing, solid rims and hubs and all that within 1550g / set

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Graphene Premium dedicated hoops for Joanna

Joanna came to me recently with the simple ask: "I need good and fast wheels for Iron Man in Barcelona. Wheels must be ready ASAP"

All right, let's see what I can do for you I said. 

Sunday 30 September 2018

Tour du Mont Blanc

I remember very well when I was starting with road cycling. At that time I dreamed to ride 100km in one go. It sounded unreal and impossible. However once I did that, it seemed to be not that difficult so I was raising the bar higher and higher. Alpenbrevet Silver then Gold, Gotthard for lunch, Furka for dinner. Cycling from early morning till late dusk in mighty Alps... the limits are only in our heads. So what could be next?
Well, for example ride around Mont Blanc. Over 330km and 8000m climb. That looked good to me as a cycling challenge for 2018 ;-)

Friday 21 September 2018

Kinlin XR22T with Acros hub build

If you're reading my blog you could realize the very often I use Kinlin rims for my road and gravel builds. No surprise as those rims are really fantastic in terms of strength, stiffness and price-value ratio. 
So far I mostly used Kinlin XR31T and XR26T but recently I had the opportunity to use XR22T model.

Sunday 16 September 2018

Lac de Moiry

According to the Cycling Challenge Lac de Moiry dam is one of the hardest to climb by bike. It's definitely one of the most beautiful dam I've ever seen as it is connected with Moiry Glacier which is simply stunning

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Wheels full of innovations

Some time ago I made a post about Eurobike 2018. My mission was to see all innovations coming on the market and make the best use out of it. Was I able to accomplish it? Check out this article to find out!

Friday 31 August 2018

Summer classic in Switzerland - Grimsel, Furka and Susten pass

For roadies living in Switzerland the Grimsel, Furka, Susten, Gotthard and Nufenen is a "must". For those living outside Swiss it's "should". Just like "Spring classics" for pro riders, you must do it at least once a year if you really love riding in the mountains.
For me, one of the most beautiful passes. I ride them several times a year and never enough.

This time we went to ride Grimsel, Furka and Susten pass with Guy at the end of July. Perfect check before Alpenbrevet! 

Sunday 19 August 2018

Wheels with history

There are items we all own which have a special value for us. For Guy, these wheelset were special as they were custom built and they carried him many times through Swiss, Italian and French Alps, including Haute Route. 
Like always, each wheelset has it own limited life cycle and when rims are worn it's time to think about the new set. New set doesn't always mean to trash-buy new ones... sometimes it's worth to make the rebuild and keep part of the old wheels for next adventures.

Tuesday 31 July 2018

Ceramic coated rims - Boyd Altamont

Most of people think that when it comes to the rim brake road wheels, the choice is very limited to aluminum or carbon only. This is not exactly true as there are few brands in the market offering something more than that. Wondering what that might be? If yes, then this post is for you.

Sunday 22 July 2018

Duke racing wheels with Chris King hubs

Like every wheel builder I'm always very happy when getting a work order for premium wheels. Building high-end sets shows that people trust your skills and that comes only with time and hard work. But, is there anything else which gives even more satisfaction? Yes, it is the customer, pleasant with previous work and ordering a second set.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Roadtripping to Colle del Nivolet

July-August is my favorite time in Swiss Alps as big passes are open, inviting us, the cyclist to explore them.
Since Switzerland is very close to Italy and France, this time we decided to ride on the top of Colle del Nivolet in Italy. 

Kudos to Kath for taking this amazing shot!

Thursday 19 July 2018

Graphene carbon wheels

One of the interesting thing I spotted during my Eurobike visit was the innovation in carbon rims world - rims with graphene.
This week I had a opportunity to make a nice set for Tomasz, who was looking for every day carbon set, suitable for training and triathlons competitions.

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Eurobike 2018 - the biggest cycling commercial event I've ever seen so far

Yes, I also went to see the Eurobike 2018 show, like thousands of other people. The event itself is huge. Last year there were 1.400 exhibitors and ~65.000 visitors so if you've never been there you can try to imagine the scale of it. 

Honestly, I'm not the fan of such parties but I went there with a specific purpose - to meet directly with the manufacturers and establish a business connections as part of continues improvement of Blackcat wheels & services.
Was my mission accomplished? Time will show but the start looks promising ;-)

Before you move forward - please note that this post will be long so take a coffee if it's morning your time or glass of good wine if it's the end of your day, take a comfortable seat and enjoy the reading!

Friday 6 July 2018

Cyclotour 2018

As a cyclist living in Switzerland it's pretty difficult to avoid public events. Although they're all non pro races they still provide lot of fun and pleasure.
Cyclotour is one of them, not very demanding but a good check-point of one's fitness before bigger events during the season.

Friday 22 June 2018

Black & white

For those who are not the carbon fans or simply looking for more wallet friendly option, the Kinlin XR31T disc rims are the ones worth of consideration. 
Pairing them with DT Swiss 350 hubs and Sapim spokes guarantees high quality and bomb proof road/gravel wheels.

Sunday 3 June 2018

Alternative for carbon clinchers

For those who're not a big fan of carbon clinchers and still looking for semi-aero and light wheelset, this set should be on the list.
1531g, 31mm deep rims, straight pull spokes and DT Swiss 240 hubs - wheels for Bartek.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Wheels with Soul

If one day I would need to run a contest of the top wheels I built in 2018 those would be my first pick.

Strong enough to carry on 120+kg rider with equipment, reasonable light showing 1651g on scale, beautiful like 'piano' interior finish in BMW and innovative using Soul-Kozak M-Netic hubs.
These are most probably the first M-netic wheels in Switzerland and they go to Anthony!

Sunday 20 May 2018

Slow, crazy ride

Sometimes, or in my case very often, the planned rides do not go according the plan. The Saturday's loop supposed to be a slow, endurance ride... until I met the LCT team during the descend from Les Mosses ;-)

Monday 14 May 2018

Soul-Kozak hubs - truly first and patented magnetic hubs!

Cycling market is constantly evolving. New technology allows to achieve much stronger & lighter products than ever before.
In the wheel building world we have an era of carbon rims, aero spokes and super light hubs. 
Talking specifically about hubs the overall construction didn't change since a decade where we have two leading systems, classical pawls and ratchet. This is what most of us think... but is that really the case? 
In order to find out, read more to meet the brilliant magnetic hubs from Soul-Kozak.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Powertap GS build for Grzegorz

My most recent build was for Grzegorz, who was looking to rebuild his wheels. His rear wheel was bit damaged so it was good opportunity to get a new rims, spokes and re-use powertap hub.
Simple task I thought... but was it so simple? Read more to learn the whole story.

Thursday 3 May 2018

Dura Ace EX HF-7261 build for Tom

Restoring or rebuilding the wheels based on classy hubs is always a nice change from every day-modern builds.
Very often such builds bring additional challenges as lack of documentation, dimensions and troubles to calculate the proper spoke lengths. Many people I know avoid such work as it's time consuming and sometimes not worth to take it.

However if the customer brings classy Dura Ace EX hubs the story is completely different...

Thursday 26 April 2018

Spoke tension meter calibration device

If you're watching this blog you realized (I hope) that in all my work I constantly seek for improvement and perfection.

While the custom wheel building business is really well developed there are few tools which you are not easy to get or the prices are so high that it doesn't justify the investment. Due to that usually people either don't have those tools or use some home-made workarounds. However, if we are talking about high-end custom wheels is there a place for workarounds? Of course the answer is "NO" and therefore in order to close this gap I decided to develop few own branded tools which should be in every good wheel-building workshop. 

The first one in the queue is the "Spoke tensiometer calibration device" 

Friday 6 April 2018

What's the road cycling about?

Different people, different idea for road cycling but for me the road cycling is like working in the bank on manager's position. Every morning you prep yourself for a professional day by treating your body with a shower, favorite cosmetics, healthy breakfast and finally dressing the stylish outfit. 
All must be perfect, you must be perfect. You feel energized, fit and ready to make this day your day.

So... what is the link between the manager and road cycling? Let me walk you through my thoughts.

Monday 19 March 2018

Dedicated hoops for Krzysztof - the Iron Man :)

In every project I'm documenting here I'm trying to show & tell you, dear reader a bit of unique story about the wheels I build. Every set is different as they are all hand made with special care. Time to finish the build is not a priority here, it's about perfection to the smallest details. That is the beauty of hand wheel building craft.

This story shows how you can get a very unique and personalized wheels, your wheels.

Friday 9 March 2018

Carbon hoops for Rick

You can hate carbon clinchers for poor braking in rainy days but you can't deny that they are simply sexy and give your bike a new, better look!

Few words about my recent build including plotter to produce nice and custom decals...

Friday 9 February 2018

Winter cycling survival guide

Every cyclist sooner or later asks this question. 
How to maintain and keep your cycling fitness during the winter? Fitness which was built over the summer and occupied with sweat, pain and long days on saddle. 
It's everybody's dream to start a cycling season with top shape.

This article will take you through a complete guide, however first I must warn you dear reader:
- if you're type of cyclist who rides with cycling computer and plans, measures and analyzes the effort, watts,  strength etc. - don't even try to read that!
- if you're amateur using cycling computer, however don't spend nights on analysis - read that at your own responsibility
- if you're like me, no computer, no plans to be on the podium one day - go ahead and enjoy the reading!

Sunday 28 January 2018

Wheels for Piotr from

Today I finished a nice set of the wheels for Piotr, who's passion is bikepacking and adventures on the bike. 
Piotr is running the portal where he documents his trips and bikepacking gear reviews.