Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shipping Map

If you're ordering wheels as a holiday gift, please note the service map below to make sure you leave enough time for shipping. Most wheels are in stock and can ship the next business day but some orders may take 2-3 days prior to shipping. If you need a wheelset for a gift and are concerned about the timing, contact us so we can prioritize the build and discuss shipping options.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

All Models Are Back In Stock

A few models are available to ship immediately. Otherwise, figure a 2-3 day build time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mid Atlantic World Championships

Granouge and Wissahickon were contested under some of the worst conditions that I can remember for the races. A nor'easter arrived here Wednesday night and didn't quit until Sunday afternoon. As expected, the races were pretty muddy, especially Granouge.

Valentin Scherz had a great weekend winning the U23 class each day and finishing 3rd overall in the elite race on Saturday behind Trebon and Wicks and 5th on Sunday.

Photos below are courtesy of Anthony Skorochod of Anthony is a great guy who puts in long days at most area races making even the lowliest C-racer look like a pro.

Nikki Thiemann on the REV-50x on her way to 9th at Granouge. She finished 10th the following day at Wissahickon.

Kristine at Granogue on her way to a muddy 20th on her REV-30s. She finished 15th on Sunday. I know some folks like the mud but this does not look fun.

Kristin taking a clean bike from Charles on her way to 11th place. She finished 12th at Wissahickon on Sunday.

Mike Festa rode his REV-50x to 2nd on Saturday and 5th on Sunday in the B-race. To give you an idea of how bad the conditions were, the B-race had 22 DNF's and 28 riders who paid to enter but didn't bother showing up.

David Lowe looking for a clean line on his steath 25x's. I'm pretty sure they were the first one's I built and I never got around to putting decals on them.

Thanks for looking. I'll try and post some pics from Wiss if I have time later this week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Weekend, Another Win

Mike Festa took the win at the Iron Cross Lite B race on Saturday on his brand new pair of REV-50x cross wheels. You can read his race report here. I should mention that this was his second cross race ever and his first win in the discipline so you're not allowed to call him a "sandbagger." I'm probably going to have to get used to seeing his name well above mine in the results this season but as long as he's doing it on our wheels, I'm cool with it.

Congrats Mike!

Update: Two Wins! I missed this one initially, but Lenore Pipes also won the Elite Women's race at the Richmond Festival of Cross on her REV-50s. Congrats Lenore!

Stress Relief

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gone Till November

I should have an exact date in a few weeks but for now, we're looking at late November to have the REV-22, REV-25x, REV-30 or REV-50x back in stock. The REV-50 is available and makes a fine cross tubular for lighter riders. The REV-50x is available to rent from Echappe Equiptment and any rentals through Echappe earn you a $50 credit towards any of our wheels.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gloucester, etc.

Lots of racing this past weekend and lots of our wheels out there so the results are getting hard to keep track of. Our Elite Women, Nikki Thiemann and Kristin Gavin had a fantastic weekend in Gloucester with Nikki placing 8th and 10th and Kristin placing 12th and 7th. Nikki was racing on a set of REV-50s and Kristin was trying out a lighter carbon prototype that we're testing for the road next year.

I stayed closer to home and did the Hillbilly Hustle in Elmer, NJ. It's a laid back race on a great course and one of my favorites every year. I just barely got into the top 10 in the B race thanks to being able to stay upright on a technical course.

I'm also very happy to announce that we'll have Valentin Scherz from the Swiss national team racing on our wheels while he's stateside this fall. He arrived earlier last week and quickly got himself a win on Sunday at the Hillbilly Hustle. He rode a set of REV-25x's to victory this past weekend but once the glue cures, he'll be racing on another set of prototype carbon wheels that we're testing.

(Photo courtesy of Rita Berson. Valentin is the one who looks like he's about to win a bike race. I'm the one holding the beer.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

2 Sets of the REV-50x left

UPDATE: These are gone. We'll have more by late November

I had a chance to sift through our inventory and was able to build two more sets of the REV-50x. These are the only ones left until late November. They're listed as "back-ordered" on our website so please contact us before ordering to make sure they are still available. If this post is still up, you can assume that I still have at least one on hand.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Inventory Update

The run up to cross season has pretty much wiped out any model built with a 24/28 hubset. So we're essentially out of the REV-22, REV-25x, REV-30 and REV-50x. I may be able to build one or two sets of the 50x next week so contact me if you're interested. All of these models are listed as "back ordered" on the website. You can feel free to put an order in but they will probably not be shipped until late November.

Until then, the REV-22L and REV-50 are in stock and the REV-30L should be available within a week or so (still waiting on some back ordered spokes).

If you're still looking for cross wheels, the REV-50 is a fine choice for most lighter riders. In fact, when I realized we were getting low on the REV-50x, I had no qualms about putting all of our sponsored riders on the REV-50 instead. With a lower spoke count, it's not quite as stoutly built as the 50x but it's still sturdier than most of the carbon tubulars out there. Similarly, I have no problems with recommending the REV-30L as a suitable cross clincher for all but the heaviest riders.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Setting up Your Cyclocross Brakes

Last year, I set up my new cyclocross race bike from scratch, piece by piece. It was the first time I've done so in about 7 years and for the most part, I was very happy with the bike. This year, aside from testing some new wheels and tires, the only thing I'll be changing is the brakes. I decided to post the details here since it may be instructive to some of you and proper brake set up does effect rim longevity.

Initially, I had the bike set up with TRP Eurox brakes. They are relatively light and inexpensive and the design is straightforward enough. Unfortunately, I just cound not get them set up to work very well. The most obvious problem was the lack of toe adjustment. Most cantilevers use smooth post pads that can be toed simply by bending them in a vice. A bit crude but it works. These however, use posts with a pad holder for standard road cartridge pads. Convenient, but less adjustable (they have since corrected this with an adjustable toe pad holder). In any case, it's not a big problem since any smooth post canti pad will work with them.

The bigger problem for me was that the geometry of the brake had the pad very close to the canti post and there was no vertical adjustment available. The pad had to be angled sharply upwards to meet the rim. Ideally, the pad will hit perfectly perpendicular to the rim with an appropriate amount of toe-in. This was impossible to achieve with these brakes.

This is bad in two ways: 1) Brake performance is subpar and 2) The rim receives added stress due to the smaller contact patch of the pad, leading to premature rim wear.

To be fair, this may not be an issue for all bikes. Canti posts may be set higher on other frames and forks that may make this less of an issue but for my particular set up (Cannondale CAAD 9 with Easton EC90 fork) there was no way to make these brakes perform to my standards.

So what to replace them with?

I decided that my brakes for this year would need two things: toe adjustment and pad height adjustment. The two brakes I was considering with these features were the Avid Shortys or Paul Neo Retro/ Touring Canti.

Initially, I thought I'd go with the Avids. They are a good bit cheaper and work well. Additionally, they use road cartridge pad holders with V-type adjustment features making them very convenient for set up and pad changes. The did have one issue that ended up being a dealbreaker: no straddle cable. Normally, I wouldn't really care but I had been using these super awesome novelty straddle cable holders that I found in a dusty bin somewhere, a relic of early 90's when mountain biking was trendy and V-brakes had not yet gained dominance (I think there were also some purple annodized peace sign straddle cables in the bin with them and I can only assume they will stay there for all of eternity).

But the Paul's had issues as well. I did like the low weight and great retro looks and the ability to use the stonger Neo Retro model on the front and the calf saving Touring Canti in the back. However, the brake pads, standard V-brake rubber, were not as appealing as the Avids. Luckily, Avid sells their Shorty pad holders separately and after a quick addition of the glorious Swissstop Yellow King inserts, I was in business.

I rode the bike with the new brakes for the first time this past weekend at Charm City. These are the best brakes I've ever used, hands down. They were quiet, predictable and smooth, even with brand new carbon rims and much better and quieter than my bike last year with alloy rims.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A few models are out of stock

Like all sensible Europeans, everyone at Sapim takes a break during the month of August. As a result, we're running short in a few lengths for the CX-Ray and are unable to build a few models for the next week or so until we get some more spokes in. We are effectively out of stock in the following models: REV-25x, REV-30L, REV-30 & REV-50x. Feel free to backorder the wheels through the site. As soon as the wheels are available, I'll contact you to let you know when they will ship.

We're also starting to run low on hubs in the 24/28 drilling so there may be some addtional inventory issues going into the fall. We should be fully stocked in everything by late November.

Even when we're out of stock this fall, you can always rent the REV-50x for cross races this fall from Echappe Equipment. Rentals are $50 for the day and anyone who rents through Echappe gets a discount code for $50 off the purchase of any of our wheels.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cross Season is Here! Weekend Recap

Photo credit: David Lowe (I think so anyway since I stole it from his blog)

The first major race weekend of the season has come and gone and it was a good one for us. While I couldn't make it to Trexlertown for the first round of the MAC series, I did get to Baltimore for Charm City. The Evil Empire, er... C3 put on a great event that seems to get bigger and better every year. It's one of my favorite courses and the perfect event to kick off the season.

Our sponsored riders were out in force this weekend. The HumanZoom/PBR women had some great results with Kristin Gavin getting 5th both days on her 25x tubulars paired with Grifo XS tires. Nikki rode the REV-25x with Fangos to an 8th place finish on both Saturday and Sunday. Kristine Church rode a set of the REV-30s to 16th place on Saturday and 18th on Sunday. A stealth set of REV-50s may or may not have won the elite women's event both days but I'm not sure how much I can say about that one.

Ken Dietch (REV-50x) rode to 14th on Saturday and 25th on Sunday in the B-Masters races and David Lowe (REV-25x) held his own with the fastest old men out there to finish 11th and 10th over the course of the weekend.

Gabe Lloyd (REV-50) of Echappe Equiptment rode in the elite mens race to 26th on Saturday while nursing a wrist injury. Bill Elliston (REV-50) finished 15th in the elite race on Saturday and 22nd on Sunday.

Bill is a long time professional in the sport and we're excited to partner with him. He has brought his many years of experience in road and cross racing to his role as a coach with Elliston Coaching. If you're local to the area and looking for good coach, I highly recommend checking him out.

My race went well considering my complete lack of training this summer. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had a first row starting position thanks to last season's points and I think I ended up somewhere in the top half of the 125 rider field. My cross bike, which I hadn't riden since January, performed flawlessly and I'm extremely excited about a pair of prototype cross wheels that I'll be testing this season.

The next MAC weekend will be Granouge and Wissahickon and we'll be sponsoring and exhibiting at the Wissahickon race. I can almost guarantee that we'll be sold out of cross wheels by that point but feel free to stop by and check out the wheels in person.

Lastly, I offer this to all of the good men and women working in the pits this cross season:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Does Heavier Equal Stronger?

It's often the case that adding material, and therefore weight, to a component will make it stronger and more durable. With rims, for example, this is generally true. So does a heavier wheel always make for a stronger, more durable and more resilient wheel? No. Anytime we have an opportunity to make a wheel lighter while maintaining the same or greater durability, we try to take it. Our alloy cross wheels, the REV-25x, for example weigh 1460g. Not spectacularly light but given what they are built for, they are significantly lighter than most other alloy wheels being sold for cyclocross use. So how do we make a stronger, lighter wheel? We've carefully sourced all our components but much of the credit goes to the often overlooked spoke.

Invisible components

Next time you're looking over some mid to high range road or mountain bikes, check the specs to see what headset, bottom bracket and cassette are used. Are they on par with the other components on the bike? Probably not. These are very important components but most manufacturers will source them as cheaply as possible since most people won't bother to look at these parts in much detail. Spokes too, are largely invisible to the consumer. Most people can differentiate between round or bladed and silver or black, but that's about it. The subtle variations in thickness, forging techniques, nipples, etc. and the associated benefits and costs are easy to overlook. It's no surprise then that most manufacturers will use cheap spokes to cut costs.

We use Sapim CX-Ray spokes for all our wheels. These are the gold standard for spokes and are very expensive. What makes the CX-Ray so great is that it is both the lightest available steel spoke and also the strongest and most aerodynamic. Most wheelsets in the same price range of ours use much cheaper spokes. A straight 2.0mm (14 gauge) spoke weighs about 7 grams. A CX-Ray spoke weighs about 4.5 grams. On a 24/28 spoke wheelset, this is a weight difference of more than a quarter pound. Aerodynamic advantage is more obvious. Round objects don't go through air very well. Oval objects do. A round spoke with a 2.0mm cross section will be significantly less efficient than and oval spoke with a 0.9mm cross section.

But wouldn't a thicker, heavier spoke be stronger?

When discussing shear strength (the force needed to cut through it) yes, the 14 gauge spoke is stronger. Generally speaking though, when we throw around terms like strength and durability with regard to spokes, we are talking about fatigue resistance. And no spokes has been tested to have better fatigue resistance than the CX-Ray. As the wheel rotates, the spokes at the bottom of the rotation lose tension to some degree. Each spoke on the wheel is cycling from a lower to higher tension with every rotation of the wheel. These constant stresses on the spoke will eventually lead it to fail, typically at the spoke head or where the spoke leaves the nipple. Straight gauge spokes have the least fatigue resistance. Their uniform thickness does not allow them to efficiently absorb the stresses that a wheel experiences as it rotates and the spoke will break much sooner than a more flexible spoke. The CX-Ray is 14 gauge (2.0mm) at the spoke head and nipple threads but swaged (or butted if you will) to 17 gauge (1.5mm) at the center. That butted section is then forged to an oval shape that is 2.3mm x 0.9mm. This makes for a very flexible spoke that is much better at absorbing the stress that the wheels experiences as they rotate under load. There is a reason that top mountain and BMX racers insist that their wheels are built with these spokes and it doesn't have much to do with their aerodynamic properties.

The nipples are also important. Unlike just about every other nipple on the market that leaves the rim at a fixed angle, the Sapim Poly-ax nipple allows for a subtle angling of the nipple as it leaves the rim. This allows for a straighter path for the spoke from the hub to the rim, resulting in less stress to the spoke.

So why isn't it more widely used?

As I mentioned before, it's very expensive. The CX-Ray costs more than 8 times as much as a straight gauge spoke by Sapim and more than 10 times as much as straight 14g spokes from Asian suppliers. These costs can be hard to justify when the buying public has very little knowledge about what makes one spoke better than another and when the stronger spoke is paradoxically much lighter than the weaker one. Being a smaller manufacturer (I can only build so many of these things), we can ignore the mass market and give our customers a bit more credit when it comes to evaluating our products based on the important details that are often lost in the marketing of most products in this industry. This topic probably deserves its own post (and every time I try to write it, it comes out way too arrogant) but I genuinely believe that there are a lot of bad products out there simply because they are designed around what consumers think they want instead of what experts know is best (cheap ceramic bearings is a good example of this).

How can we use such expensive componentry on such reasonably priced wheels?

I've answered this here to some extent but it basically comes down to selling direct to the consumer and disciplined cost management. We're a very good size for what we do. We can purchase our materials in large enough quantities to maximize economies of scale, minimizing variable costs. But since we're so small, fixed costs can be kept to a minimum. We're happy to grow our business organically so we have no debt to service or outside owners to please and we don't have to sell too many wheels to sustain our operations.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Truing Wheels with Thin, Bladed Spokes

All of our wheels are carefully built to tight tolerances and appropriate, equal tension. They are stress relieved before finishing. Even so, they may need the occasional tweak with a truing wrench. While I suspect most of you will be taking these to your LBS for such service, if you're familiar with the process and have the right tools, there's no reason why you can't do it yourself. If you've only worked with round spokes in the past, however, your tools and technique may need to be adjusted.

Thin, bladed spokes like the SAPIM CX-Ray that we use must be held in place when turning the nipple. Otherwise, the spoke will just twist right along with the nipple. Sapim does make a tool for this, but in my opinion, it's an overpriced piece of plastic with limited utility. I like to use it when working with internal nipples on our carbon rims but with traditional nipples, the tool needs to be placed too high on the spoke to really be effective.

The spoke holder I most prefer for this is made by DT Swiss for their aerolite spoke. Since the spoke dimensions for this and the CX-Ray are essentially the same, I find it works just as well for either.

As you can see, this is a sturdy piece of steel that holds the spoke at its base, allowing one to turn the nipple without twisting the spoke, even at high tensions.

As for the wrench, a 4-sided model with clearance for the holder is recommended. I use the Park Tool SW-20 but I'm sure there are others out there that fit the bill.


DT spoke holder and Park SW-20 at work:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Muur & Berg

I haven't had much time to add meaningful content to this space... and I still don't. Thankfully, friend, teammate and repeat customer Ken Dietch has offered a hell of a ride report after taking his REV-30s to the cobbles of Flanders. Thanks Ken!


So if your wife says, "I have a weeks confrence based in Bruges, Belgium, if you would like to go, lets get a miles ticket and meet me over there...." You should probably make that plan. I stuffed the R-3 SL in a bike box and jumped at the chance. Woody from Cadence and Chris Pagoda had told me all about riding over there, and I figured I could take a day when Kelly was at work to ride a chunk of the Ronde course.

Here's the skinny on riding over there. 1. You can take a train with your bike. Anywhere. 2. There are 900 miles of marked bike only paths in west flanders alone. All you need is the map to get from point A to point B. 3. The town of Oodenarde has a center of the tour de flanders mueseum, with 3 marked routes totalling 260K that you can ride hitting all of the major climbs for the classics...... 4.Every road has a marked path as well.

I planned my route from Bruges to Oodenarde. Once there, I would link up as many climbs as possible untill i had to get back to Bruges.

This is the Market Square where the Tour starts.

This is a cycling map of the area. You figure out how to get from point A to B by matching up green # signs. Ride from sign to sign, you can't get lost easily. On a 106 mile ride, I was on roads with cars 3 miles.

The bar in the museum of the Tour de Flanders in Oodenarde. 'Nuff said. Cycling on wide screen from opening to close, Belgian Beers on tap, Frites, and Old kits from winners of the tour on the wall. Best bar in the world??????

The pitch of the Koppenberg: 20%. If you have ever gone up the one in philly at the beginning of the towpath, double its legnth, make the cobbles worse, and imagine 100,000 fans..........I asked Brian Walton about this from Cadence. He said the climb isn't the hard part. Its the 5k before on roads just as narrow as everyone is drilling it to get to the front that hurts

Ground eye view of cobbles

Have to give massive shout-out to JK and Andy at Revolution. These things are great! Rev-30 built on a Powertap SL+, They never skipped a beat on some of the harshest terrain you can ride a road bike on. I rode a set of 23mm tires, I'll bet on a set of 27 mm Pave tires they would be even better. I will be training for Cross on these, and racing on a set of Carbon Revolutions this year........

Yup....these are the same roads they race on. Now start bitching about yellow line rules........

The old Kwermont. 2.4K of this...........

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cross Packages

As of now, our cross packages are no longer available. Thanks to everyone who took advantage of the package deals but I'm going to have to end it since Challenge tires and low geared cassettes are becoming harder and harder to find as cross season rapidly approaches. Hopefully we'll be able to put these together again next year and maybe do some road packages this spring.

We're also starting to get low on the REV-25x and to a lesser extent, the 50x so I'd recommend placing your order sooner than later if you need at set for the fall. Build times are running 3-4 business days.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Review Roundup - REV-22 & REV-30

This post is a few weeks overdue at this point but we do have a couple of reviews out there for some alloy wheels to share (REV-50 and 50x reviews can be found here and here).

A review of the REV-22 from Mark Albrecht of Ski Bike Junkie can be found here.

And David Lawson of SoCal Cowbells has a review of the REV-30 here.

Both blogs are worth adding to your reader.

Thanks guys. Glad you like the wheels!

Team Sponsorship

Many thanks to those of you who have contacted us regarding sponsorship. Supporting grassroots racing programs, especially cyclocross, is a very important aspect of our business. At this point, however, we are at maximum capacity with the number of teams we can support and will not be able to entertain any additional requests for the foreseeable future.

We are pleased to have an exciting line up of teams and athletes from all over the country for the '09-'10 season and look forward to using this space for race reports throughout the rest of the year.

Monday, August 10, 2009


After a week on the beach in South Jersey, I'm back. Everything is in stock so we're back to a somewhat normal schedule of building and shipping within two or three business days of receiving an order. I did have to bring a few wheelsets with me to keep on track but I did have some help.

She's starting to get the hang of it but can be easily distracted.

Anyway, while I was in South Jersey, cyclocross season was getting an early start in the opposite corner of the state. Without the time to build team wheels and glue tires on them, I had to give Nikki a set of 22Ls with some Maxxis clinchers and wasn't able to find anything for Kristin to race on. Still, they were able to finish 2 and 3 respectivly at Spectracross for the Friday evening round. Over the next month, I'll be sure to get our fleet of cross wheels together so they have some respectable tubulars to race on.

Some great photos of the event can be found here and here

Saturday, August 8, 2009

REV-30 vs. the REV-30L

We've had a new model, the REV-30L, out there for a few weeks and it's quickly become our most popular offering so I figured it needed a proper introduction. And since it's similar to our REV-30, we might as well compare the two.

So what's the difference?

It is built on the same 30mm aero profiled rim as the REV-30 and the same hubset as all of our wheels. The main difference is the spoke count. The 30L is built using 20 radial laced spokes in the front and 24 twice crossed spokes in the rear and the 30 is similarly laced but uses four extra spokes per wheel for a 24/28 build. The 30L uses alloy nipples on the front wheel and non-drive side on the rear. Brass nipples are used on the drive side. The 30 uses brass nipples all around. The 30L weighs about 1460g for the set and the 30 weighs about 1525g.

Why do I want a set?

Since the rim profile makes for a sufficiently stiff and durable wheel, most riders can get away with the lower spoke count. The purpose of the 30L is to be a great all around race wheel and a daily trainer for lighter riders. It's lower spoke count and aero profile make it a great clincher for TTs or Tri's for those of us who would rather do without the expense and hassle of carbon wheels. Cross winds should not be an issue for anyone but the lightest of riders.

Like the REV-30, the REV-30L is a very versatile wheelset. A good balance of lightweight, aerodynamics, strength, stiffness and affordability. Larger riders, those looking for a cyclocross clincher (yes, I'll admit there are some situations that call for clinchers on a cross bike) or riders with a habit of breaking things should take the 65g insurance policy and go with the REV-30 over the REV-30L. The higher spoke count of the REV-30 will also make it a bit stiffer if that's a consideration. Additionally, I can build the REV-30 with a 2x front lacing - let's call it the REV-30x. This is an especially good option for cross since the crossed spokes will make for a somewhat more resilient wheel over rough terrain.

Those of you with too much time on your hands may have noticed that the picture of the REV-30L on our website is of a wheel with a 24/28 spoke count. Indeed, this a picture of the REV-30. We haven't had a chance to get the REV-30L in the studio for some proper photos. While I'm on the subject I should also note that all the photos of our wheels were taken prior to switching over to the Sapim CX-Ray spoke. So, the wheels you pull out of the box will look even prettier than the ones you see on our site.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Week Off

I will be heading to lovely Jersey Shore for a much needed week of vacation on August 1. I was hoping to have a bunch of wheels pre-built that Andy could ship out in my absence but things have been a bit busier than expected so that is likely not going to happen. Anything ordered before midnight on Tuesday will be built and shipped by the end of the week. Orders placed after that point will be shipped once I get back. I'll still be checking my email all week so if you have any questions for us, don't be shy. Thanks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Enabling the Addiction

Update: As of 8/25/09 these packages are no longer available. Maybe next year.

The nice thing about cyclocross is that you can get into it without too much cost. Throw some skinnier tires on your mountain bike and sign up for the nearest "C" race. Stop by the LBS and get one of the many entry level options out there for cross, and along with a passable race bike, you'll end up with a versatile commuter as well. My first cross bike was an old touring frame I got from a coach with a bunch of mismatched parts I found at a swap meets.

Thing is, once you get a taste of cross and it goes from "something to keep me active in the off-season" to the highlight and focus of your racing schedule, excuses to buy more and expensive bikes and equipment make themselves apparent and even the most frugal among us tends to amass quite a collection of cross stuff.

Assuming you have a decent frame and components, wheels and tires are probably the most important x-factor in how the bike performs so allow me to highlight a few scenarios where upgrades could be in order:

That off-camber at Granouge where your tires couldn't hook up (even though you were running your clinchers at a precarious 34 psi) and you lost a few places as you slid halfway down the hill and into the course tape. Could have used some nice supple tubies.

The next day at Wissahickon where you dropped the pressure to 31 psi and pinch flatted coming onto the pavement transition and you didn't have a spare set of wheels in the pit. Again, tubulars and/or a spare set of wheels, would have really helped.

At the Mercer cup mud fest where your box section rims got bogged down in all that mud and sand. Could have really used some deeper carbon rims to mitigate the mud bog vacuum effect.

And again at Mercer where the course was so unrideable that you had to carry your bike for half the race. Those heavy stock wheels weren't making it any easier.

Now that I have some horrifying, race ending scenes rattling around in you head, let me offer some solutions and enable your addiction. Introducing the Revolution Wheelworks cross packages: The most cost effective way to out fit your "A" bike, your pit bike and maybe even your other pit bike and make sure you always have the right tire for the course.

Package 1: The Cross Package

2 sets of REV-25x cross tubulars - Retail: $1040
2 sets of Challenge tires (choose from Fango, Grifo and XS) - Retail: $360
4 Wheelbags - Retail: $140
2 SRAM OG1070 cassettes - Retail: $190
1 set of Swissstop Yellow King brake pads - Retail: $50
2 pair of REVWW socks (included with wheels)
Shipping: $70

Total: $1850
Package Price: $1600 ($250 savings)
Use the savings on: Enough PBR to last you and your team for the entire cross season.

Package 2: The C2 Package

1 set of REV-25x cross tubulars - Retail: $520
1 set of REV-50x carbon cross tubulars - Retail: $960
2 sets of Challenge tires (choose from Fango, Grifo and XS) - Retail: $360
4 Wheelbags - Retail: $140
2 SRAM OG1070 cassettes - Retail: $190
1 set of Swissstop Yellow King brake pads (included with 50x)
1 set of valve extenders (included with 50x)
1 Spoke tool for internal nipples - Retail: $15
2 pair of REVWW socks (included with wheels)

Shipping: $70

Total: $2255
Package Price: $1900 ($355 savings)
Use the savings on: Yeungling for the team and a few cases of DogFish Head 90min IPA for you.

Package 3: The C1 Package

2 sets of REV-25x cross tubulars - Retail: $1040
1 set of REV-50x carbon cross tubulars - Retail: $960
3 sets of Challenge tires (choose from Fango, Grifo and XS) - Retail: $540
6 Wheelbags - Retail: $210
3 SRAM OG1070 cassettes - Retail: $285
1 set of Swissstop Yellow King brake pads (included with 50x)
1 Spoke tool for internal nipples - Retail: $15
1 set of valve extenders (included with 50x)
3 pairs of REVWW socks (included with wheels)
Shipping: $105

Total: $3155
Package Price: $2595 ($560 savings)
Use the savings on: Victory Lager for the team and a few cases of Ommegang for you.

Package 3: The World Cup Package

1 set of REV-25x cross tubulars - Retail: $520
2 sets of REV-50x carbon cross tubulars - Retail: $1920
3 sets of Challenge tires (choose from Fango, Grifo and XS) - Retail: $540
6 Wheelbags - Retail: $210
3 SRAM OG1070 cassettes - Retail: $285
2 sets of Swissstop Yellow King brake pads (included with 50x)
1 Spoke tool for internal nipples - Retail: $15
2 sets of valve extenders (included with 50x)
3 pairs of REVWW socks (included with wheels)
Shipping: $105

Total: $3595
Package Price: $2895 ($700 savings)
Use the savings on: A flight to Belgium for some world cup action.

The packages aren't cheap but of you look at all you're getting, I think you'd have to admit that it's a darn good value. Considering that you can easily spend $3000 for one set of race wheels and tires, $2900 for 3 sets isn't too bad.

These packages won't be on our site (not yet at least) so just email us if you are interested. We'll talk about tire choice, gearing options and possible substitutions. Challenge tubulars tend to get scarce once cross season gets in full swing so ordering early is advised. Also, you'll want to give us about a week to get the whole shebang together for you. We'll try to stock as much as we can, but we may run out of certain tires and/or cassette options and need a few extra days to order them. I can't guarantee that the package deals will last forever (or even through the duration of cross season).

Tubular glue is conspicuously absent from the packages as I don't have a ready source for Mastik One.

Pricing on the REV-25x assumes a build with Sapim CX-Ray spokes since we're almost out of the PSR 1420 spokes we originally used.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mavic R-Sys Deathwatch

It's been a rough week for Mavic as the R-sys explodes under the many of the nation's prominent tech editors. First we had bikehugger's David Schloss, whose first generation, non-recalled R-sys rear wheel lost all it's non-drive spokes. He points out that these spokes are the same as the ones on the front wheel that were recalled and wonders why the rear wasn't replaced under the program as well. The sad truth, of course, is that these recalls only happen when something catastrophic (like having your front wheel dissolve without warning) is likely to occur. Since the rear wheel did use metal spokes for the drive side, even if all the non-drive spokes were to fail, the wheel would not collapse. You might still crash, and the wheel would, of course, be ruined, but the consequences would be less dire. Still, the argument that the rear wheel should have been included in the recall was a valid one.

Then, yesterday, Velonews editor Ben Delaney renders the point moot when his post recall R-sys front wheel explodes while making a left turn. He includes lots of damning pictures and eyewitness accounts to refute Mavic's claim that it was most likely "user error." The fact that a prominent publication would post to their site such an indictment of a major advertiser should give anyone pause before plunking down $1400 for a set of wheels that is more likely than most to break one's scapula.

Today, others have joined in. Dan Seaton at expresses the frustration of many current R-sys owners who wonder what the hell they are going to do with their wheels at this point. BSNYC adds his trademark wit and turn of phrase to the topic and also points out that Competitive Cyclist has already stopped selling the things. I'm sure others have voiced opinions as well, but that was just a sampling of what came across my rss reader in the last 48 hours.

My guess is that the R-sys will not be around much longer. They haven't been selling well to begin with and the constant stream of bad publicity certainly doesn't help. The question is whether they will be recalled again or just left to die. This does leave current owners in a bind. On the one hand, they may benefit if there is another recall and Mavic ponies up with something useful. The more likely scenario is that the wheel will be discontinued, and the current ones, no longer inspiring the confidence required of race wheels, will languish on Ebay. It's not a good sign that you can already get a brand new set of the premium version at $600 below retail.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Filling in the Corners

The bulk of our sales at this point come from word of mouth referrals. We want people excited about our products and telling their friends about us, so grassroots sponsorships have been an important part of our business model. Our sponsorship program has grown tremendously this season and we're just about at capacity but we are looking for teams in certain locations where we're lacking exposure. Specifically, New England, the Pacific Northwest and Colorado. We're looking for teams that are respected in their communities and have a strong focus on cyclocross. Junior programs are a plus. Winning races is always a plus but I find winning somewhat overrated (probably because the last race I won was 8 years ago). But really, we'd much rather have our wheels under pack fill who are eager to share a beer after a race than some jerk who happens to be really fast.

Riders on sponsored teams get a solid discount, schwag, opportunities to test new models before we bring them to market and as much support as we can afford to give for races the team puts on.

The goal here is to establish long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with great teams. If you'd think your team would be a good fit, please fill out our sponsorship application here and send it to info (at) revolutionwheelworks (dot) com.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gluing Tubulars

I'm not going to make this a tutorial because you can find plenty of those all over the web - here, here & here (okay, not that last one) and I really don't have much to add to the subject. Once you do it a few times, you'll realize how straightforward it is. The best way to learn is from someone who knows what they are doing so grab a six pack of good beer and make nice with a local mechanic.

I will try to answer a few questions we've gotten and make a few suggestions. So first off, type of glue: Vittoria Mastik One is what I use. Others will work but I've found this to be the best.

Tape: With the possible exception of the glue / tape combo method for cross tires (I don't personally use this but I've seen it done with success and I hear it's all the rage in Belgium), I do not recommend tubular tape for our carbon rims. Tufo tape is really, really strong and I've seen it actually pull away a layer of carbon when taking the tire off the rim. To my knowledge, no one has had this happen with any of our rims but I've seen it happen to a variety of others and I wouldn't want to chance it. If this does happen to you while using tape, we would not consider this a warranty issue but we would be able to rebuild the wheel for you under our very reasonable rim replacement program.

If you do decide to use Tufo tape on any wheels, it's important that you only use Tufo tires or tires that are similarly constructed. Tape depends on a very strong adhesive that holds the center of the tire to the rim (as opposed to glue that depends on a strong bond at the edge of the rim). This can be problematic for tires with a visable seam down the center or any type of coating on the base tape.

Never use only tape for cross tires. Without the edges glued down, there is a good chance that dirt and water will eventually seep in and when contaminants are added to low pressure and off cambers, the result is likely to be a rolled tire.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Note on Listed Weights

We're not sure how some other manufacturers come up with the weights they list for their wheels or other componentry but it's no secret that the published weights for many products in the industry only seem to exist in an alternate reality (or maybe on a planet with less gravitational pull?).

Our wheelset weights are as follows:

REV-22L 1290g
REV-22 1350g
REV-25x 1460g
REV-30 1530g
REV-50 1360g
REV-50x 1400g

This may sound crazy but the weights we list here and on our site are derived from a strict process where we actually weigh the wheels. There is, of course, some slight variation so we take the average of many wheels built in the same model and round up.

Approximately 75% of the wheels we sell will arrive slightly lighter than the listed weight. Of the ones that arrive on the heavier side, we guarantee that they will not be more than 2% heavier than the listed weight. We can guarantee this because each wheel is weighed before we send them out the door. Therefore, the allowable range that our wheels could weigh is as follows:

REV-22L 1264-1316g
REV-22 1323-1377g
REV-25x 1431-1489g
REV-30 1499-1561g
REV-50 1333-1387g
REV-50x 1372-1428g

Monday, May 25, 2009

Our Sponsored Athletes

Nikki Thiemann and Kristin Gavin are two of the nicest women you'll ever meet... right up to the point when they tear your legs off and kick your ass with them.

We're very excited to announce that these elite riders on the HumanZoom / Pabst Blue Ribbon squad will be riding our wheels for the '09/'10 cross season (and hopefully beyond). In their first season at the Elite level, Kristin and Nikki finished 3rd and 4th in the super competitive MAC series (And on clinchers, no less!). Their focus for this fall will continue to be on the Mid-Atlantic, but you'll also see them competing at some of the larger UCI races throughout the country.

While they will have our standard REV-50x and REV-25x cross specific wheelsets available to them, we also plan on getting some prototypes under them for some testing in the harsh conditions of cross.

Friday, May 22, 2009

REV-30 - Out of Stock

I'm sorry to say that we've exhausted our inventory of the REV-30 wheelset. Supplies are on their way but it looks like they'll be out of stock until late June or early July (I should have an exact date soon). By the end of this summer, these inventory hiccups should be less of an issue.

And now for the good news: For as long as we're out of stock on this model, we'll be offering them for pre-order at $50 off. So yeah, $450 - not a bad deal for having to wait a few weeks.

We also have the spoke upgrade to Sapim CX-Ray available for an additional $40. If you're interested in this, just drop us a line and we'll send you an invoice.

Revolution Wheelworks REV-50 Review

In short:


These wheels are maybe 95% as good as Zipps, for 42% of the price. Unless you're lighting cigars with twenty dollar bills these babies are hard to beat."

Full Review Here

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hub Details

We've been getting a lot of questions on our hubs lately so I thought it best to address it here with a post.

Like the other components in the wheels, the hubs use a simple, proven design. Part of the reason we can keep our costs down is because we have no interest in engineering complex, proprietary parts. We simply take our pick of the best technology available and, as is true of many things, the best option tends to be the simplest.

The front hub is 82g and consists of a forged aluminum hub shell, a 10mm aluminum axle, two aluminum end caps and a pair of quality Japanese made sealed bearings.

The rear hub is 222g and also uses a forged aluminum shell and has a larger (15mm) aluminum axle for increased stiffness. Again, sealed bearings of high quality and easily found sizes for quick replacement when needed. The freehub body uses a standard 3 pawl design with 34 engagement points. It is made of alloy and can be quickly exchanged between Shimano and Campy (10 speed only at this point). I did a post related to this a while back.

The main drawback with alloy cassette bodies is that they tend to get marred by the cassette after a while. This can be mitigated by using steel (heavy) or titanium (expensive, still somewhat soft and heavy). Instead we chose to simply make them easily removable and have replacements available at cost ($40) in case they get too chewed up.

Keep the questions coming! If we get a lot of similar inquiries, I'll try to address them here. We are generally quick to respond to all emails the day we get them but things have been getting pretty busy. If you contact us and don't hear back within a couple of days, feel free to assume it got lost in the shuffle and send it our way once more.

Inventory Update

Right now we're fully stocked and wheels are shipping next day. We've even got PowerTap SL+ hubs in stock so those can be built to order within a few days.

That said, we are running very low on a few of our alloy rimmed models, especially the REV-30, so if you're considering one of these, get your order in quickly. If we do run out of anything, we should be fully stocked again by late June/ early July.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Changes to Carbon Wheels

We're making a few slight but important changes to the REV-50 and REV-50x. First off, price. Going forward, they will be $960 instead of $900. So what do you get for the extra $60?


Yes they came with spokes before and the spokes we used (and will continue to use on our alloy wheels for now) are excellent. Going forward, however, we will be using Sapim CX-Ray spokes which are widely recognized as the best spokes on the planet. So what's the difference?

Well, on the face of things, not much. Although they both start out as a block of stainless steel in Sweden and they both end up as a bladed spoke weighing about 4.5 grams, the Sapim gets there in a more refined manner. When examined up close, you can tell the Sapim has a nicer finish to it so aesthetics is one advantage. As a builder, they are easier to work with and even though you probably don't care about that, I do. They have a slightly more aero profile. If you cut one in half you would see that the profile is actually ovular instead of rectangular and an oval is more efficient through the air than a rectangle any day. They have also been tested and approved by just about every top level pro team out there and perform exceedingly well in fatigue tests. Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive spoke on the planet (carbon spokes don't count becuase they are stupid). In our initial estimation, they would have added about $100 to the price of a wheelset and we couldn't justify the cost. Since then, forces of economics have combined to make switch affordable so we are going for it.

Plus, they're made in Belgium so you'll have that much more mojo going for you in cyclocross or over cobbles.

But that's not all

Along with the best spokes in the world, we are also including the best brake pads in the world. Swissstop Yellow King pads will be included with every set of our carbon wheels. These pads provide incredable performance in both wet and dry conditions and eliminate a lot of the braking issues that are commonly associated with carbon rims.

They can also be used with great success on alloy rims and are a great choice if you are switching between the two. Whereas most pads would require you to sand off a layer before using them with carbon rims, the Yellow King compound resists picking up shards of alloy. Just take a quick look to make sure nothing offensive is in pad, wipe with a damp cloth and put on your race wheels. Please note that if you are using them with some gnarly old alloy rims that have been around the block a few times, this may not apply so always take a close look at the pads before using them on your carbon rims.

We stock all models of pads available so we can accommodate just about any kind of brake you are using for either road or cross. Just make your selection on the drop down menu when ordering. These pads themselves generally sell for about $60 per set so right there, you're getting your money's worth.

But wait, there's more!

We will also be including a set of valve extenders with each of our carbon wheels so that should save you $15-$20 by not having to buy them somewhere else.

I should also note that we will eventually be transitioning all our wheels to Sapim CX-Ray spokes (and therefore raising prices), probably by the end of the year. If you want a pair of any of our alloy wheels built with these before then, just email me. It will take a few extra days and cost a bit more but we can work it out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

REV-22 vs REV-22L

A common inquiry we get is riders asking for guidance to choose between the REV-22 and 22L so I figured it deserved a post.

So what's the difference between the two?

They both use the same hubs, rims and spokes but the main difference is the number of spokes. The 22L is built using 20 radial laced spokes in the front and 24 twice crossed spokes in the rear and the 22 is similarly laced but uses four extra spokes per wheel for a 24/28 build. The 22L uses alloy nipples on the front wheel and non-drive side on the rear. Brass nipples are used on the drive side. The 22 uses brass nipples all around. The 22L weighs about 1290g for the set and the 22 weighs about 1350g.

So which one is right for you?

The 22L was built to be as light as possible. It is not for everyone and is probably not the best choice for most riders. The 22mm rims are surprisingly stiff and resilient given their low weight - much more so than other rims of similar weight we've tested. Even so, at the lower spoke count, larger or more powerful riders will likely notice some deflection while sprinting or climbing. If you are generally hard on equipment or ride often on lousy roads, these are probably not for you.

Lighter riders, such as most women and juniors (not to mention those skinny freaks that fly uphill) should find them a compelling option and very affordable compared to wheels of similar weight and quality. The weight of the bike, especially rotating weight, will make a greater difference for lighter riders. A 17lb bike is 13.5% of the weight of a 130lb rider but only 9.4% of the weight of a 180lb rider. It therefore becomes much more important for lighter riders to seek out the lightest possible equipment as it will make a greater difference. Most reasonably priced wheels, however, seek to appeal to the largest possible market and are therefore overbuilt, leaving smaller riders with wheels that are much heavier than they need to be. This is what we had in mind when designing the 22L.

I'm a pretty light guy (140) and these are the wheels I ride the most. I rode them mercilessly through a full season of cyclocross and continue to use them on my road bike as training and commuting wheels. I don't recommend that anyone else use them this way (we have much better options for cyclocross wheels) but I can say that I've been very happy with how they've held up so far.

For most riders, even lighter riders looking for a stronger training wheel, the Rev-22 will be the more appropriate option. At 1350g, it is still a very light set of wheels and the extra assurance, strength and stiffness afforded by the eight extra spokes should make them more attractive to a broader audience. If you are getting hung up on the extra 60g, think of it this way: Similarly priced wheels generally come in around 1700g per pair. If you swap them out with a set of 1350g wheels, I guarantee that you will notice a significant difference. If you then swap out those for a set of 1290g wheels, you probably won't notice much of anything.

What about the REV-30?

If you are looking for an all-purpose clincher that can be used for racing, training or cyclocross (please consider tubulars for cross, you won't regret it) the REV-30 is an excellent choice. It is still a lightweight set of wheels at 1530g per set and with a 30mm deep, stiff aero rim and 24/28 build using brass nipples, they are damn near bulletproof. Although the rims may not accelerate quite as quickly while climbing, they will be faster over a rolling course thanks to their aerodynamic advantage. This is also a great rim to pair with a PowerTap hub for use in both training and racing.

So hopefully this clears a few things up. As always please do not hesitate to email, twitter, or call with questions.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

22Ls Ridden to Victory at Collegiate Nats

Congratulations to Emma Bast of Mount Holyoke College. She took the win in the D2 Collegiate National Championship RR in Fort Collins, CO on Friday while riding her REV-22Ls.

If you're riding our wheels and winning races, please let us know about it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oprah made me do it

For what it's worth you can now follow us on Twitter:

I make no promises that doing so will be useful or enlightening in any way, but hey, why not?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rev-50 Update

The Rev-50 will be back in stock shortly. All pre-orders will ship on
or before Monday May 11. The last day for the pre-order discount will
be Friday May 8.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More from Battenkill - Rev-30 Review

This one comes from David Lowe, one of our sponsored riders on Team HumanZoom/PBR. He took the Rev-30s to the dirt roads of Battenkill and you can read his review here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Weekend's Racing

Just coming off a big weekend of racing here. We had a number of riders testing out our wheels at Battenkill on Saturday. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it's an epic race over a punishing course that includes many less than perfect road (and not quite road) surfaces.

It's the perfect race to rent some wheels through Echappe rather than abuse your own and that's exactly what a few racers did with our Rev-50 and Rev-50x.

You can read the full account here.

I also want to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in the Lower Providence Crit on Sunday. Congrats to Margaret Smigiel who won the amateur woman's race and took home a set of the Rev-22's for her efforts.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

PowerTap Pricing

All PowerTap wheels come with the Electropack (head unit, etc). If, for example, you already have an ANT+ Sport compatible device and don't need the Elecktropack, contact us for alternate pricing.

We build the rear wheel with SAPIM CX-Ray spokes if using the SLC+, SL+ or PRO+ hub. We build the rear wheel with SAPIM Race (or DT Competition) spokes if using the ELITE+ hub.

Check out the SARIS site for details on the hubs or contact us if you want to discuss available options.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

By the Power of Grayskull...

Here's a quiz:

Which of the following pictures is most appealing to you after a nice hard ride or race:





If you chose D, there is probably something wrong with you. But that's okay because Revolution Wheelworks is now offering PowerTap builds!

We will gladly build the SLC+, SL+ , PRO+ and ELITE+ wireless models on any of our alloy rims and the any model except the ELITE+ on our carbon rims. All PowerTap wheels will be built to order so it may take up to two weeks to ship depending on our stock and how busy I am.

We will have details and pricing on the site soon but if you have any questions in the meantime, please contact us.

Oh yeah, here's a cool He-Man clip:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reminder: Rentals Available

Just wanted to put a quick reminder out there that rentals of the REV-50 and REV-50x are available through Echappe Equipment. So even though we're out of stock in the REV-50 through mid May, you can still rent a set in the meantime. The $50 off coupon after you rent still applies while we have the wheels marked down for pre-order so in theory, you can order a set of the REV-50s for as little as $750 and still be able to race them (through Echappe) in an early season race. Check out their site for more details.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Who Likes Data? Part 2 - Value Quotient

Alright, those charts in the last post were pretty cool and all but I I felt like I was missing something. If a wheelset is the same weight or less for the same price or less, that is obviously a good thing. But I wanted a number that could summarize the data into one value that would allow me to easily rank the wheels and let me know exactly how much better one is versus another from a value standpoint.

Enter the Value Quotient. Actually, since it's a statistic I'm making up myself, let's give it a cooler name. How about the Awesomeness indicator? Maybe not - I'll keep thinking on that one. Suggestions are welcome.

Anyhow, here's how it works:

Value quotient = (weight of fictional "base wheelset" minus weight of actual wheelset) divided by price of actual wheelset.

The weight we use of for the fictional base wheelset is 2000g. This basically centers the data so we don't have to worry about negative numbers throwing things off. You can think of this wheelset as the crappy set of wheels that came on your stock bike that you'd desparately like to upgrade.

The value quotient is the weight savings of the upgrade divided by the cost of the upgrade. Put simply, grams saved per dollar. Or, more simply, bang for your buck.

Again, weight and price are not the only reasons to buy wheels. Aerodynamics, build quality, strength, bearings, coolness of logo, etc. should be factored in as well. Price and weight, however, are the only two objective points so it's a good place to start.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Who likes data? Part 1 - Low Profile Alloy Clinchers

I've been playing around with some IBM provided tools that make data look pretty. It's not entirely well suited for what I'm using it here for but it is still fun to play with. I basically pulled together prices and weights for several dozen wheelsets out there. There are obviously many other factors to consider but no other ones that are completely objective. I tried to make my list as comprehensive as possible but it's a crowded market out there so I'm sure I missed a few.

First off, we have a scatterplot comparing low profile alloy clinchers. The two points that look like outliers towards the bottom (low price) left (low weight) are the Rev-22 and 22L. Otherwise, the data is as expected, lower price correlates to higher weight. Mouse over data point to see details.

Next we have the same data in a matrix format that looks pretty cool:

Okay, so it doesn't look very cool here because I can't get it to play well with blogger but if you click on it, it will take you right to the site where it becomes much more useful.

I'll try to post some more of these that show other wheel segments.