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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Same wheel, about $100 (+70 to build?) more at Wheel Builder. However, Wheel Builder claims a philosophy that ensures balanced tension, more true rim, etc. BWW claims good builds, but not as specific. One thing I am seeing in the forums is the need to re-tension wheels right out of the box to make sure they are right. I haven't seen anything re Wheel Builder in that regard.

BWW gets good reviews on this forum.
Any one with Wheel Builder experience?
Is the extra cost at WB worth it because of their stated commitment to ensuring the wheels are at proper tension?
 

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voodooguy said:
Same wheel, about $100 (+70 to build?) more at Wheel Builder. However, Wheel Builder claims a philosophy that ensures balanced tension, more true rim, etc. BWW claims good builds, but not as specific. One thing I am seeing in the forums is the need to re-tension wheels right out of the box to make sure they are right. I haven't seen anything re Wheel Builder in that regard.

BWW gets good reviews on this forum.
Any one with Wheel Builder experience?
Is the extra cost at WB worth it because of their stated commitment to ensuring the wheels are at proper tension?
I know Rich at Wheelbuilder.com and he is completely obsessive and fanatical about building perfect wheels. He records the spoke tension of every single spoke of every single wheel that is built. If you get a pair from him you will get the most perfect build that can be done.

I do not have any experience with Bicycle Warehouse but from what I have seen on here they seem to do a really good job. MikeT has bought wheels from him and if he said that they were good I wouldn't have a problem ordering them for myself.

As far as the price difference only you can decide if one is worth more to you then the other.
 

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voodooguy said:
Same wheel, about $100 (+70 to build?) more at Wheel Builder. However, Wheel Builder claims a philosophy that ensures balanced tension, more true rim, etc. BWW claims good builds, but not as specific. One thing I am seeing in the forums is the need to re-tension wheels right out of the box to make sure they are right. I haven't seen anything re Wheel Builder in that regard.

BWW gets good reviews on this forum.
Any one with Wheel Builder experience?
Is the extra cost at WB worth it because of their stated commitment to ensuring the wheels are at proper tension?
Any "wheelbuilder" who builds wheels that need to be re-tensioned right out of the box to make sure they are right should not be in the business as they only have the knowledge to do 1/2 a job. Read the info in my sig and you will then see how easy it is to build (first ride) ping-free wheels. First ride pinging means that the spokes just unwound a touch and the wheels will probably need to be re-trued. If they made this amateur mistake, what else didn't they do right?

BWW builds great wheels - their tension, equalizing and stress (windup) relief is just fine. They just don't go on about it as much as the other place you mention. If tension documentation is worth the extra money to you then go for it.

BWW's wheels are about 0.003 - 0.005" true out of the box (ask me how I know) and stay true. I just bashed my 2nd set of cyclocross wheels from BWW down a few gravel roads and through a few spring potholes yesterday. They're fine.

I've built my own wheels for 5 decades (47 years to be precise) and because I can't come remotely close to BWW's wheelset cost when ordering up just the parts then the last 4 wheelsets (not all for me) came from them. Their parts-pick, build quality (all hand built in CA) and cost makes them a choice to beat.

The last set of wheels to come my way was preceded by an e-mail from BWW's Chris, and he said (because he's aware of my passionate fanatiscism over wheelbuilding ~ see my website) "I guess we'd better take two weeks fine tuning this set!".

None of the above is meant to be negative about Wheelbuilder.com - of whom I know nothing other that what I've read on their site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
BWW's wheels are about 0.003 - 0.005" true out of the box (ask me how I know) and stay true. I just bashed my 2nd set of cyclocross wheels from BWW down a few gravel roads and through a few spring potholes yesterday. They're fine.


Well, I have to ask... How do you know?

I see you've used BWW and, I would agree that the lack of documentation does not mean it's not done right. This is my first "aftermarket" wheel set. I appreciate your feedback.
 

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Mike... just to play devil's advocate. Was Chris at BWW aware of your passion and experience building wheels prior to your first purchases from him? As a social scientist, I'm always drawn to figuring out if someone's experience is the norm for a particular service or if they are on the tails of the bell curve (exceptional or horrific). Do you think there was anyway your background influenced the quality of the work Chris produced for you?
 

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krisdrum said:
Mike... just to play devil's advocate. Was Chris at BWW aware of your passion and experience building wheels prior to your first purchases from him? As a social scientist, I'm always drawn to figuring out if someone's experience is the norm for a particular service or if they are on the tails of the bell curve (exceptional or horrific).
That's an excellent question and one that made me think. It's tough for me to remember one year back and I didn't save our early e-mails. If he didn't know of my wheelbuilding passion & involvement at the time of ordering, he probably was quite aware of it very soon after. I came to know of his business at mountainbikereview.com where he sponsors the forum. I ordered wheels for my new cx bike but most of his involvement back then was at the mtbr site. Unless he followed my many wheelbuilding posts at mtbr's Wheels then he wouldn't have known about me prior to the first purchase.

My original intent was to buy the assembled wheels (OP/UL), as the parts I was pricing were $80 more, and then back off all the nipples and re-tension/true/equalize/stress relieve to my own standards. That wasn't necessary and almost one year later it still isn't.

As I'm a prolific communicator :rolleyes: I probably sent him some feedback e-mails on those first wheels (I know I have on the more recent ones) and he'd soon get a feel for the persnicketyness (a word?).

Do you think there was anyway your background influenced the quality of the work Chris produced for you?
I'd be extremely conceited if I thought for a second that it did. They must build more wheels in a morning than I ever did in one whole year. Of course I'm fully aware that quantity doesn't necessarily mean quality though. I'm a personal home wheelbuilder who turns out the occasional set for friends. I just happen to be a passionate wheel person who has a lot to say on the subject. The wheels that have come my way have been built correctly (my site will explain what I expect) and knowing Chris' sincerity I very much doubt that he builds to two standards. If he did I'd be both very flattered and disappointed.
 

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Exactly what I was hoping to hear Mike. Thanks for sharing more details on your history with BWW. As much as I would love to learn to build myself, it seems Chris just isn't making that economically viable for me with his prices. Why build myself when I can get him to do it better and cheaper! BWW is definitely on my list for wheels when my finances and equipment needs dictate.
 

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krisdrum said:
Exactly what I was hoping to hear Mike. Thanks for sharing more details on your history with BWW. As much as I would love to learn to build myself, it seems Chris just isn't making that economically viable for me with his prices. Why build myself when I can get him to do it better and cheaper! BWW is definitely on my list for wheels when my finances and equipment needs dictate.
I really believe that we all should have the ability to build and maintain wheels; hence my website and its low budget approach to home wheelbuilding. But companies like BWW with both proven high quality and low prices make even me change my tune a wee bit.
 

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Mike T. said:
I really believe that we all should have the ability to build and maintain wheels; hence my website and its low budget approach to home wheelbuilding. But companies like BWW with both proven high quality and low prices make even me change my tune a wee bit.
Agreed. I do intend to teach myself to maintain and build eventually. I can already cover most other mechanical needs on my bike. Wheels are the next horizon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Well, the numbers talk. This topic was viewed by 349 times. About 5 made the choice to take the time to comment. (Thank you). Curiously, of the 349 views, not one word from a Wheel Builder .com customer. That in and of itself speaks volumes. Unless between the 5 of us we've been so drawn and enthused by the topic that we opened this thread 349 times....


My apologies... I note here that there seems to be little support for Wheel Builder, but I misspoke. As Ligero notes:


"I know Rich at Wheelbuilder.com and he is completely obsessive and fanatical about building perfect wheels. He records the spoke tension of every single spoke of every single wheel that is built. If you get a pair from him you will get the most perfect build that can be done. "

And, this is the impression I get from the web page... However, is the quality matched....
 

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I just got a set of DT Swiss 1.2 from BWW. Chris helped my pick the right wheel for my size (6'4" at 230lbs on my way to the low 220 by summer) that would stay under me and give me good service. If they roll as good as they look I will be extremely happy! Mike T, you should ask Chris for some commission, because all your post about BWW turned me that way.
 

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voodooguy said:
Well, the numbers talk. This topic was viewed by 349 times. About 5 made the choice to take the time to comment. (Thank you). Curiously, of the 349 views, not one word from a Wheel Builder .com customer. That in and of itself speaks volumes. Unless between the 5 of us we've been so drawn and enthused by the topic that we opened this thread 349 times....
Wheelbuilder does wheels for a number of pros. Kristin Armstrong, who took gold at the Olympic TT rides them. Sarah Hammer, world track champion in '07 does too. I've ordered a wheel cover from them that fit great. I did get my last wheelset from BWW though. :D I have some mylar to make my own wheelcover. 850g disc wheel, here I come!
 

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I have four sets of wheels which Rich has built. All excellant and custom built to meet my needs. Looking at a 5th set soon. Rich's attention to detail is second to none. Each wheelset was thoughtfully hand crafted with its design and final configuration based upon my riding requirements. You really have to experience having Rich discuss your needs and then design a wheelset around your needs. What I appreciated the most was his straight forward honest advise.

I am sure you can find cheaper wheels but you won't find the same experience, integrity or service.

In the end, like many things, you get what you pay for.
 

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I have bought two wheel sets now from BWW, and have nothing but good things to say, both about them and the wheels they build. Mike, thanks for the link to your site as well. I recently bought an Alfine hub and a wheel and spokes to build it up with. I've just started, and then got sidetracked... so I'm absorbing all of your wisdom before I continue on.
 

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hepcatbent said:
Mike, thanks for the link to your site as well. I recently bought an Alfine hub and a wheel and spokes to build it up with. I've just started, and then got sidetracked... so I'm absorbing all of your wisdom before I continue on.
Just remember the main points - go slow, do it perfectly, don't cut corners and you'll be just fine.
 

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Mike T. said:
Just remember the main points - go slow, do it perfectly, don't cut corners and you'll be just fine.
Thanks Mike. I appreciate the encouragement. I'll keep you posted.
 
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