Monday, July 21, 2014

Rage Against The Machine

Not the band... 

 (those guys suck!)

If you value quality craftsmanship then please,
join me in directing your rage in an against-ward motion toward this machine...

This slight against humanity is an automated wheel building system. This is the sole reason your Walmart wheels fall apart if the wind blows in the wrong direction. Well, that and the fact that you touch yourself at night ;)
 Though the machine is most likely to blame.
That is why the crap that rolls out of it, bears this sticker...

I have been wanting to share this with you since I first saw it, but I had no idea how to jam it in to a conversation. 

I have had several months to process this and I'm still not quite sure I understand what this means.
Though I have a theory. Perhaps something along the lines of:

"WARNING, this piece of shit was built in China by some asshole machine that doesn't care about your safety or well-being."

So while it may appear to be a useful product, the crossing pattern doesn't matter anyway, as it will need to be replaced the first time you look at it sideways.

The idea that a wheel built in another pattern (radial for instance)
is somehow better, is befuddling to me. I am going to avoid the technincal speak as it is boring as hell, but the pictures say what I am too lazy to type...

 It's not just basic wheels either. If you think for a moment that your BonCrapper wheel, with its paired spokes is better, you are wrong. Still built in the same way, and bullshit on the face of it.

...let me guess, "I was just riding along..."?

Yeah, so was this person...

That wheel folded like a newbie at poker night.

That's why I build my own wheels folks. They are stronger, and last longer.
Granted, I use better materials as I am not building a $10 set of wheels, but Jeezus man, watch that video again and you can see that chick look right into the camera as she chucks a finished wheel to the floor.

"Good enough for who it's for." 

You see that? she's laughing at you. Don't let her win. 

Consulting with your local bicycle technician about building a custom wheel set can mean the difference between a life long love affair between you and your wheels, and, well, this...

It gives you the opportunity to choose the hubs, rims, and spokes you want plus allows you to choose the spoke count you prefer. This gives you the upper hand in determining if you would rather they be light, or more rugged, stiff or more compliant (and yes, in most cases your wheels have more to do with ride comfort than your expensive frame), tubed or tubeless, and so on. If it is a good bike shop, they will even guarantee the build for life. Meaning, they will replace spokes, and true them for the life of the products. That is to say, unless you wreck the shit out of them, (as damage to the rims and hubs is irreversible) they will take care of them free of charge.

Are custom wheels more expensive? Sure. But any good thing is. 
Simply having your bike shop in your corner builds a whole lot more confidence then watching in slow motion as the ground rises to meet you and you find yourself hosting your first "Yard Sale." Just saying, I only ride my own wheels. With the exception of one (the one that of course is out of true even as I type this), which was hanging around the shop when I needed a wheel for my commuter. All I can think of when I see it wobble is the image of that chick, you know the one...

I make jokes about it because I see it all the time. When I tell a person they need a new wheel they opt for a basic replacement wheel for $50 which was made by that same machine. Destined to fail again the only thing I have left to say is "Fuck it. It's your life..."

and it is in her hands.


  1. I'm not sure if they still do this but Rocky Mountain bicycles used to brag about their hand-built wheels. This was a distinguishing feature between their bikes, and other production bikes of similar value. Back in the late 90's a buddy had one of their commuter style mountain bikes (sort of a hybrid). It cost about $800. Several years later he got into an accident, had to swerve away from a car and ran into a parked car full blast.

    Since he knew I like to scavenge, he gave me the wreck for parts and he went off to buy a new bike.

    The frame was bent severely just below the head tube. But the front wheel (which took the impact that bent the frame) was round and true. Like perfect. I swapped that wheel over to my beater bike and its still going.

    I've never built a wheel myself, but I'm a believer in hand-built wheels and will never settle for a machine-built one.

    1. Agreed. It is amazing how strong a wheel can be if they are assembled correctly. I have always said that wheels are not always the sum of their parts, but more a product of the time that goes into building them correctly. I have built wheels with used parts, parts direct from China... all are still on the road (or trail) today. As a side note: I finally looked in to the wheel I referred in the post (the one on my commuter that is out of true) and it was a broken spoke. Never broken a spoke IN MY LIFE. Just goes to show ya, Hand built is the only way to roll. Thanks for the comment, and thanks for reading.

    2. I've got a Rocky Mountain. Both wheels are bent. I think they're AlexRims tho

  2. Where'd the last post go...? That BB fix itself?

  3. I'll be damned... it is gone! I will be sure to re post it.
    Thanks for the heads up!

    1. ...All better.
      ...the post, not the BB. That thing is fucked!
      Thanks for reading!