ShopTalk: New Tech, Same Tech


Jul 6, 2016

In our dream world, every aspect of the bicycle wheel would be repairable
In our dream world, every aspect of the bicycle wheel would be repairable

At Sugar Wheel Works, people often ask us "What's new out there in the world of wheels?" It's only natural for people to want the latest and greatest, especially when investing in a new set of handbuilt bicycle wheels.

But the reality is, as much as everything is new, at the same time nothing is new.

Bicycle wheels are still laced in the same ways they were so many years ago. Products change and technology changes. Sometimes there are upgrades, other times it seems that alterations result simply from the urge for newness.

None of this changes the way we build bicycle wheels by hand, which is a decidedly slow, patient process of knowing every single aspect of the products we use.

When new technology comes out it's interesting - and changes how we design wheels -  but it doesn't change the way we build wheels.  When new technology becomes available, we start by reading tech manuals or calling the vendor to understand the tolerances of the materials. The physical build is the same with some considerations for optimal tension and attention to every single detail.

In so many ways, our vendors are our lifeline to technology. They keep us apprised of changes in technology, and how our wheel builds can benefit from those changes. We rely on their expert knowledge to inform our knowledge.

Our philosophy is to remain open to what's new but to understand the ideal applications. We also want to build correctly to maintain manufacturer warranties.

So this may leave you wondering, what do we wish would change? In our dream world, every aspect of a bicycle wheel would be repairable. Sugar Wheel Works would be able to service each aspect until it wears out beyond repair.