We Know Wheels
The vast majority of bicycle wheels are machine-built with stock components, with no consideration for how and by whom the wheel will be used. In contrast, specialty hand built wheels are tailor-made for the specific rider and his or her individual cycling needs.
We specialize in bicycle wheel servicing, wheel repairs and custom hand-built wheels individually tailored to your cycling needs.
Why Hand Built?
Hand-built wheels are certainly not just for racers. Almost any rider who must have a dependable bike can benefit from the advantages hand built wheels offer:
Chicago bike commuters and touring cyclists looking for an optimal combination of weight and durability
Heavy riders, and tandem or cargo bike owners tired of broken spokes and bent rims
Recumbent riders looking for aerodynamics and longevity
Brompton riders wishing to upgrade the performance of their folding bike
Adventure, gravel and fat bike owners who want bombproof wheels for any terrain
Riders who want specialty generator hubs or internally geared hubs built into the wheel
E-Bike riders whose bikes require heavy-duty spokes to stand up to the forces a motor can generate
For all those situations —and more— hand-built wheels are a beautiful, functional and durable solution that will serve your needs for many years.
Building the perfect wheel is a process that requires a combination of technical skill, focus, patience and a refined touch, as well as thorough understanding of components, in order to find the right solution for each rider. We put extreme care and precision into every wheel we build.
Our process begins with a personal consultation with you so that we can determine the best choice of options, including hubs, rims and spokes for your riding needs and budget, as well as the best lacing pattern for your intended use.
Special Order vs. True Custom Built
Our mechanics have been building specialty wheels for over two decades. Bicycle wheel technology has evolved, resulting in a tremendous range of low cost machine-built wheels as well as premium performance wheels available off-the-shelf. Despite the range of choices, the chief limitation of pre-built wheels is that —regardless of price— they are generic, and not customized to your specific needs.
Online building tools offer apparent convenience and personalization in ordering your custom set of wheels. In reality, they are somewhat antithetical to a true custom-built experience. There is simply a staggering number of choices of components and build styles, and online wheel builders must rely on some pre-selection without any prior consultation with you.
Our Approach & Component Selection
We have access to literally thousands of wheel components. But the minute you begin to describe your particular needs, that list of options narrows quite a bit, making choices both more informed and far easier.
Of course there are some customers who have a passion for research, and take the time to put together their own dream wheel set-up. But the vast majority of riders simply want certain results and benefits, and they turn to us for guidance in selecting components that will produce those results. Therefore, rather than presenting you with a list of our favorite options to choose from online, we invite you for a personal consultation, so that we can use our knowledge and understanding of wheel components to help you assemble a wheelset to give you the real-world benefits you desire.
We will select the hubs, rims, spokes and nipples, and recommend a lacing pattern for your wheel taking into account your personal criteria, type of use, and —of course— your budget. It’s worth noting that while performance custom wheels can run into hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars, it is entirely possible to build a premium utilitarian set of wheels for urban or touring use on a modest budget.
Because we work with you one-on-one, we can accommodate unique projects, such as wheels for Brompton folding bikes, cargo bikes, recumbent trikes, rebuilds for e-bikes and internally geared bikes, vintage bikes, dynamo systems and more. We work with a wide range of major component makers, including: