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20-02-2023 | Frank Jansen

Five tips from a professional wheel builder

In our latest podcast (in Dutch), wheel builder Philippos of Van Speyk Wheels was our guest. With him we talked at length about wheels, spokes, brake discs, tires and much more. What are Philippos' best tips regarding wheels?

1. For gran fondos, choose a light wheel that is not too high

Too high means too sensitive to crosswinds. A slightly lower wheel is still fairly aero. Of course the wheelset should be light, because in gran fondos you're climbing a lot. A height of 40-45 mm is ideal.

2. Practise emergency repairs

A broken spoke doesn't have to mean the end! In many cases, you should be able to continue your ride. A little bit of tape will help to attach the broken spoke to another one. If your multitool has a spoke wrench, you might be able to get the wheel (somewhat) true again.

3. Budget less than 1000 euros? Then don't order custom wheels

An honest advice from the wheel builder. There is nothing wrong with stock wheels. Just be aware of the pros and cons!

4. Further increasing spoke tension does not make a stiffer wheel

One of the many myths of wheel building. From a certain point on, an even higher spoke tension no longer contributes anything to the wheel's stiffness. Another myth: a conventional bend spoke (J-bend) is not weaker than a straight pull spoke. However, a J-bend spoke is much easier to obtain.

5. To spoke wheels you don't need much

A spoke wrench, pliers to block the spokes and your own bike is the minimum you need. A spoke tension gauge and a truing stand are additionally highly recommended, but not strictly necessary.

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