Posts from the ‘Updates and News’ Category
May 2nd, 2013
Alchemy’s ORC-UL rear hub has been out on the market for a few weeks now and we, like a few other custom wheel builders, are completing our first builds with them. Our initial impression was based on an early custom prototype made for a customer who’s extremely hard on wheels. We were impressed with how well it worked with the super-clydesdale specs of that wheelset. And then more recently we were delighted to receive our much-anticipated shipment of production hubs, and got going lacing them to some of our favorite rims. They are proving to be beautifully made, spinning very nice and smooth, with excellent non-drive side tension. We pulled one apart and took photos to give you an idea of what the new ORC-UL is about. But first we have new on the Campy release schedule, or lack thereof.
Alchemy’s ORC-UL Campagnolo Freehub Body
Alchemy has postponed the release of the Campagnolo 11 speed ORC-UL hub. At the very earliest the new release date is December 2013. According to Alchemy this is due to a couple of new developments. For one thing, the intense demand for this Shimano 10/11sp version of the ORC-UL has demanded significantly more time than expected. Also Alchemy has found a solution for Campagnolo drive trains that they say works perfectly.
Here’s the email we received from Alchemy on the matter. Read more
February 13th, 2013
So here we are back for another quick update on the worlds lightest Pro XL bmx bike. Last post covered the hubs, this time we’ll keep going with some more of the wheel components.
First off we have some rims that Velocity made for us using their A23 extrusion. Not terribly expensive at around $90 per rim, which is really quite affordable for a one off. This set came in at a very consistent 282 grams each for a 32 hole version.
Mated to that will be some Tioga Powerband and Powerblock tires. The front 1.85 came in right at claimed weight but the rear 1.75 was a portly 20 grams over claimed weight. Still not considered heavy by any means.
January 25th, 2013
For a few years we’ve been publishing what we consider to be the definitive hub reviews. Now we feel it’s time to tackle the rims and spokes that go into making a complete wheel. For now we’ll just be looking at rims: clincher alloy 700c rims, in fact.
One thing that made our hub review so successful was the presentation of different viewpoints by having the article be written by more than one person. We are going to continue on with that theme, this time with wheel builder Eric Gottesman from Ergott wheels. I consider Eric to be one of the best wheel builders working in the U.S. and am honored to have him writing this article with me. Eric has been building custom wheels for more than 12 years, giving the two of us a combined experience of more than 30 years.
Unfortunately, due to the staggering number of rim options, we just can’t cover every rim on the market. So we are limiting this review to 15 of the most popular rims, including selections from DT Swiss, H+Son, Hed, Kinlin, Mavic, Pacenti, Velocity, Stans, and Zipp.
January 22nd, 2013
Here at Fair Wheel Bikes we like to test most products before we add them to our catalog. We get a lot of products to test and we cycle through them so that different people get a chance to use each one. Once an item has been tested we usually move on to the next. This means that we eventually end up with extra items that we are never sure what to do with. A couple weeks ago we tried a test, we gave away a set of test Grooving Road Skewer through Facebook with the agreement that the winner would write a review. That seems to have gone pretty smooth, but not everyone that wanted to participate had a Facebook account which made it difficult to enter. Also it seems that we broke a few of Facebook’s rules. So in an attempt to correct these issues, we’re going to try this next round differently. This time for recently added New Ultimate carbon water bottle cage.
January 19th, 2013
I’ve sometimes been asked how we come up with the ideas for our project builds. Somehow the ideas just seem to find us, and being one who is willing to try most things we play with the idea until it either materializes or it becomes too absurd to pursue anymore. To show more how the whole process works start to finish, over the next several months I will chronicle a project start to finish and post updates here as it progresses.
The idea, it has to begin with the idea. Sometimes I try to give myself ideas by leaving things on my desk or hanging on the wall where I can see it in hopes that at some point the idea comes. This fails as often as it succeeds, as an example I have a 50th anniversary Colin Lange custom that’s been hanging on the wall for almost 10 years waiting for the idea to come, which it still hasn’t. Other times it seems to come quick. The quick ones tend to be the best as everything just seems to fall into place easily and naturally.
January 4th, 2013
Last year Shimano announced that the new Dura Ace 9000 and 9070 groupos would be moving to 11 speed. Since that time there have been lots of questions about what hubs are compatible, which can be converted and what is required to do so and what effects those conversions will have on wheels. A lot of different answers and numbers have been thrown around on the internet as answers, but as far as I can tell many of these are just guesses or assumptions. What follows are the true answers that we’ve been able to gather talking directly with each manufacturer. We of course aren’t going to try and compile this for every hub, but here we have answers for the most common high end hubs. Read more
December 19th, 2012
It’s been over 4 years since I wrote the last skewer shootout and many of them have since changed. I’ve decided to do an updated review featuring the latest and greatest. Writing this review has made me realize that things have changed over the years and the gaps between brands have definitely shrunk. They do still have their differences but those are becoming smaller. Any of the skewers in this review are just fine and there won’t be clear winners and losers but there will be some differences.
August 31st, 2012
Recently we were talking with Alchemy Bicycle Works about hubs and the results of our latest hub review. During this discussion we learned something interesting: their ORC hub is undergoing its first major re-design since its release 3.5 years ago. The new versions, expected in the next few months, will be designated the ORC-UL, and yes, it will be Shimano 11 speed compatible. At this point it’s probably a good time to point out that there is no planned retrofit to make the existing model Shimano 11 speed compatible. There will be new variation of the ELF front hub sold alongside the current ELF that will be lighter and with a more aerodynamic shape. Last but not least, a new disc brake mountain bike hubset using the same internals as the ORC-UL is being developed, but will be a bit further away. Read more
July 19th, 2012
A couple of years ago we introduced our first full blown hub review which was an experimental joint review. We’ve realized that the review is now old and out of date so have decided to update it. In the previous review we brought Ron Ruff from White Mountain Wheels on board to give his thoughts as well. We figured having different points of view would be advantageous, so we’ve once again brought Ron back for the new review. Ron, like us, really seems to enjoy the geekier side of wheel building and is one of the custom builders we most respect. For sake of clarity we’d like to disclose who else is writing this article. Offering the FWB perspective is our master wheel builder Troy Watson as well as Jason Woznick aka Madcow. We should also mention that while some of this review is taken directly from the original we’ve changed much of it as well as added to it. So don’t skip a paragraph thinking that you read it in the last one, just because part of it is the same doesn’t mean that all of it is.
The specs were compiled by us here at Fair Wheel and Ron at White Mountain Wheels, and while we did do our best to be careful there were an awful lot of numbers and calculations thrown around over those days. So with that in mind I’d like to put out the disclaimer that it isn’t impossible that we might have transcribed, written or recorded a number incorrectly. So please forgive any typos or mistakes. We’ve already corrected a ton and now like to think that most things should be correct, but with the scale of this thing it’s still possible that one will find a mistake. Read more
May 31st, 2012
The new Shimano Dura Ace groups are official now, and you’ve likely had a chance to see and read a little bit about them. Having already had the chance to play with the pieces and ride them, this seems like a good chance to to talk about them. It’s a massive amount of information and I can’t really decide what to leave out. So I think the best approach is to just sit down and start typing and see where it goes. The only thing I know for sure is that there will be a few occasions in this post where I will have to eat my words, and that this will be a long post, or 3.
I also think it’s important to point out that while I am a fan of Di2, I have not liked 7900 and have been a harsh critic of it. Honestly, I was not expecting to like the new 9000 group, but I have to admit after riding it I am thoroughly impressed. Read more