Matthew Larsen Wheelbuilding (MLW) believes in traditional handbuilt bicycle wheels. In my professional opinion this style of wheel is the most durable, lightweight, aerodynamic, serviceable wheel you can buy. There is lots of marketing and hype behind today’s modern wheelsets that would have you think otherwise, but the laws of physics back me up.
While I don’t have any pre-built wheels in stock I do keep a healthy inventory of parts on hand to work with. I can build many wheels to ship the next day. I have real world experience with the products being sold here and am happy to help you in the wheel selection process. Before choosing parts for your hand built wheels, I’ll ask some questions about the wheels’ application, you, your rig and your riding style. Contact MLW and I’ll send you a detailed price quote once we settle on your specifications.
20″ 26,” 650b, 700c, 29er; tandem, single speed, fixed gear; disc, drum or rim brake; tubular, tubeless, and more. There is no wheel discrimination at MLW; I am just happy to build your wheels.
Weight Wheel durability is in direct proportion to weight and of course rotational weight of wheels is very important for speed. Since rims are on the outside of the rotating mass their weight has the biggest effect. All other things being equal, a lighter rim will make a faster wheel, and we all want to be faster. With more spokes per wheel lighter rims can be used. That means less weight at the outside of the rotating mass so the wheel will rotate faster. Because there are more spokes less spoke tension is needed which reduces the likelihood of spokes pulling out at the rimbed. With lower tension there is also more flexibility in nipple choice to create a stronger or lighter wheel. All this, in addition to using standard J bend spokes, makes for a more serviceable wheel.
Aerodynamics Many forces of resistance act on a rider at speed (at speed is the key) and wind drag is by far the largest. The higher the speed the more aerodynamics becomes important. Advantages in spoke shape and count are within the margin of error for wind tunnel testing, so pretty negligible. Rim depth and wind angle are more of a consideration.
I hand built my first bicycle wheel waaaay back before I ever worked at a bike shop. The hub was from a wheel I tacoed. There’s still a scar on my shoulder from the crash. I ordered the parts and dove in. Since then I’ve learned a bunch about building wheels. I worked my way through the bike industry working at some shops and for a distributor as their wheelbuilder/mechanic. I’m not sure how many wheels I’ve built over the years but there were days and weeks when all I did was sit there at the truing stand. Chances are you might already be riding some of my wheels. Now I’m on my own team. Besides chief wheelbuilder I’m in charge of ordering, shipping, bookkeeping, the web site, and sweeping the floor. When I’m not riding bikes I can be found skiing, planning my next adventure, teaching my dog stupid dog tricks, drinking some of my homemade beer or any combination of the above.
Ride on, Matty