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.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bad News, Good News

I am sorry to say we are temporarily out of stock in the Rev - 50. We have more materials on the way and we plan on having them back in stock by May 15th. This is poor timing, given that road season is already underway, and we apologize for the hiccup.

But fear not, your patience over the next few weeks will be rewarded. All pre-orders for the Rev-50 will be $100 off until May 15th. That's right, only $800 for a super sweet pair of carbon wheels. These things don't really go on sale so take advantage while you can.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Little Things: Skewers

We don't include the weight of the skewers in our published wheel weights. This is because no one else does. If we did, all of our wheelsets would weigh 92 grams more.

Most wheelsets come with heavy steel skewers because they are cheap and often overlooked. To find a set that is under 100g, you normally have to use expensive titanium shafts.

Now, when you are looking to make a part lighter, you can usually do two things: use a lighter material or use better engineering on the original material. It's almost always better to find an engineering solution because exotic materials mean either less strength, higher cost or both.

So, for our lightweight skewers, instead of titanium shafts, we use hollow steel shafts. Still strong, still light but much less expensive.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hub how to: Freehub Replacement

So what's involved with removing / replacing the freehub? It's very, very simple. Whether you want to lube up the pawls (recommended each year - 10W30 will suffice), switch from Campy to SRAM / Shimano (or vice versa) 0r replace a worn freehub body ($40 if you need one), it shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Here's how we do it:

Remove end cap.

Place a 5mm wrench in each end cap. Try to apply leverage to drive side so that cap comes off first.

You'll notice (green arrow) that the multitool I'm using here is named "The Cooter." This is a TREK tool that was originally named after Ben Jones character on "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Mr. Jones was apparently none too pleased with this use of his fictional namesake because soon after the tool was released, a TREK rep came into the shop I was working for at the time and gave me a box full of these things because they were no longer allowed to sell them. They were immediately rebranded as the "TREK multitool." I still have a half dozen of these - they are quite handy.

Okay, so now you have the end cap removed. "But wait," you say. "I've incorectly applied too much leverage to the wrong end cap and the one I wanted to remove is still there."

No worries, just find a 10mm allen wrench and stick it into the end of that nice big 15mm alloy axle.

Another twist of "The Cooter" and you're good to go. Once the end cap is removed, just pull off the freehub. Take a look at the hub. Make sure no pawls are stranded inside (green arrow) and make sure the little silver washer (red arrow) is still there (sometimes it likes to stick to the freehub as you pull it off).

This is a good point to show that there are 34 engagement points on the hub body and 3 pawls on the freehub.

Okay, so now you've cleaned up and oiled the old freehub or have a replacement ready. Simply slide it back on and twist counter clockwise as you seat it onto the hub body. Replace the end cap and tighten with a 5mm wrench. Tighten securely but don't over-torque.

That's it! Super easy - just like I promised. Eventually, I'll show how to completely disassemble the hub and replace the bearings. It's pretty straight forward as well but for most of you without ownership of a bearing press, you'll want to take it to your LBS for this.

Friday, March 6, 2009


For those of you who are interested in getting wheels early this spring, I just wanted to give you a heads up that we are running low on a few models. The 50, 50x, 25x and 22L are in somewhat of a short supply. We will be ordering more materials shortly but there may be a window of unavailability for those models this spring. For now, it looks like we have plenty of the 22 and 30 models.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tubeless anyone?

World class grip, punk rocker, all-around good guy and tubeless apologist David Lowe has been doing some testing for me on the Rev-30s. His instructions are to mount up some Hutchinson's using Stan's sealant and rim strip and beat the hell out of the wheels to see if he can get the tire to burp. More testing is necessary but so far, the results are positive. More to come.