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?