Friday 27 March 2020

Wheels for Szymonbike!

Szymonbike? Who's that? Well, if you don't know him yet, know that:
1. He rides the bike
2. He makes magic using his camera
3. He's one of those few people I know, who resisted from all that cycling's bullsh!t marketing, which took over the beauty of cycling a long time ago...

Due to the above and not only, it was my pure pleasure to build a set of wheels for Szymon, so he can continue doing what he does the best - cycling & pictures.

Ladies & Gentlemen, wheels for Szymonbike!

We both met for the first time some time ago in Switzerland. Chilly, windy and a bit rainy ride followed by beautiful sun and total "cycling bomb" - one of the best rides I had in the mountains I know & love. 

Shortly after that, Szymon mentioned that he has a small plan to restore his white Ridley bike. We chat a bit about some rims and then I came with the idea to chip into that project and make some nice hoops. 

One of the criteria of Szymon was the look. Ideally all-black rims, including brake surface. In the none-disc brakes world, we have either carbon or ceramic choice. Carbon looks nice, but having in mind where and how Szymon rides, ceramic was much better (and safer option). We thought about Mavic open pro exalith but till today they didn't show up on the market. My second choice was Boyd Altamont ceramic. Wide (almost 20mm inner width), not too deep (ideal for mountain climbs) and good looking. Ceramic coating gives strong braking in all weather conditions - that was the choice!

Next component - the hubs. Here I had the biggest debate. How to make strong, reliable wheels with Campagnolo freehub,  ideally low spoked, reasonably light, and within the mid-level budget? 

My thoughts were with triplet hubs from BORG. I rode them for over one year (10.000km) and they gave me the absolute stiff and trouble-free wheels. I queried Malcolm who makes them and... those were not available yet, especially not in campy freehub. 
I had on the horizon my own triplet hubs with proper triplet geometry but those were not tested yet so I didn't want to give Szymon something which is not confirmed yet.

So got back to 1:1 lacing, reviewed my personal wheel building notes from the last 3 years... Hope Pro RS4. Manufactured in UK, solid, well-sealed hubs. Geometry rather for long-lasting wheels than ultra stiff but I could fix that with proper spokes and lacing. 

A bit of math, spoke calc and I placed the order. Hope pro rs 4 with campy freehub in 20/24h drilling.

Both front and rear hubs have rather narrowed spaced flanges, therefore stronger spokes were required to make laterally stiff wheels. 

To fix that I used Pillar Aero Wing22 on front and Wing 23 / 22 on the rear.

In order to improve further the stiffness, I tied and soldered the rear spokes on crosses. 

The paint coating on the soldering was matched to the decals used on both hubs - perfection, my small fetish :D

By doing all that I created wheels fully designed to the rider's needs:

- good looking with a solid braking power
- stiff
- pretty light (1610g with rim tapes)
- long-lasting and service free for many miles

As always, together with the wheels - nine road lives from "The Blackcat". Swiss handmade wheels with care, love, and precision. 

@Szymon - all the best with these hoops. I hope they will take you to the roads & places where you've never been to before.


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