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This blog has re-located to Chester

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wheel-Building a Better Future

Factory-made wheels such as those commonly sold with new bikes are usually great. There are however, times when your requirements don't match up neatly with what is commonly available in bike shops. Examples of this include:
  • You wish to use rare or no-longer common wheel sizes, such as fractional 28, 26 and 20 inch wheels (ETRTO 635, 590, 451mm respectively)
  • You wish to use no-longer common rim types, such as Westwood rims (as used with rod brakes)
  • You wish to re-use an existing rim, for reasons such as preserving authenticity on a vintage bike, or simple aesthetics
  • You have an older bike with steel rims and you would like to upgrade to aluminium so the bike can actually be stopped during rainfall
  • You wish to use internal hub gears
  • You wish to use drum or roller brakes
  • You wish to use a hub-dynamo
  • Your needs encompass several of the above in a single wheel
With these needs in mind, I am pleased to announce that I will now be offering a wheel-building service. If all parts are provided, I can build a wheel for as little as £15, with all profits being donated to The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain. If you require help choosing or acquiring the parts needed for your needs I will be happy to assist you, with arrangements being on an individual basis according to your needs. Ideally it will be easier to work with local customers, but I see no reason why completed wheels could not be posted out to those of you further afield. 

To arrange a wheel-build, drop me an email via manchestercycling [at] gmail [dot] com

Alternatively, if you wish to donate to The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain directly, you can now do so through PayPal.


  1. What a great idea! I am jealous of your skills... but then I am a wuss when it comes to getting dirty with oil and grime... I'll leave that usually to PB ;)

  2. An excellent idea. Well made wheels, and money for a cause worth supporting !

  3. Hear, hear! I know the need for hand-built wheels. I just got a new front wheel for my old Raleigh, a hand-built wheel using a CR18 ISO 590 (Raleigh 26" x 1 3/8") rim onto a generator hub. Not only can I stop in the rain, but I don't have to worry about batteries for lights!

    There's another category that you missed:
    Loaded touring. After breaking a few machine-built wheels during bike tours, I only use hand-built wheels (on beefy CR18/Rhyno Lite rims) on my Long Haul Trucker.

    Love to get a hand-built wheel from you, esp. since it's supporting the cause, but I have a feeling that Trans-Atlantic shipping would be prohibitive. So y'all have to work on that trans-Atlantic bike path! ;-)

  4. @naturallycycling

    The great thing about building wheels with new parts is they haven't had chance to get oily or generally filthy yet. Sometimes getting stuck in is the best approach if there is oil and grime though. Same with gardening.

    @David Hembrow

    Thanks, for stopping by David. As a long time reader of your blog I appreciate your support of the idea. I only wish I had basket making skills to match.


    Good point about the touring wheels (or even cargo wheels. Factory wheels tend to be a bit restrictive when you want strength over lightness. This is probably due to the influence from sport cycling (although Downhill MTB riding has given us some great cargo-compatible wheels, such as the Halo range)

  5. I'll have to chat with you about a possible rebuild of my front wheel - thinking seriously of getting a SON dynamo later this year.

  6. @Darrell

    Sounds good to me, unless your need is more immediate I would be happy to chat about it at the next Wheelers' brunch


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