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Posts from the ‘Updates and News’ Category

12 High End Skewers Reviewed

December 19th, 2012


Skewer Review

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.

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Alchemy Bicycle Works Update

August 31st, 2012

Emiliano Jordan

A Prototype of Alchemy's New ORC-UL

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

2012 Hub Review: Information overload?

July 19th, 2012


Hub Review

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  We’ve realized that the review is now old and out of date so have decided to update it.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

Shimano 2013, Part 1. Dura Ace 9000

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

Shimano 2013, Part 2, 9070 Di2 Dura-Ace

May 31st, 2012



Welcome to part 2 of my 2013 Shimano introduction.  Unlike part 1 for the mechanical Dura-Ace 9000 group, I did not get the chance to ride 9070 Di2 for this review.  However I don’t feel bad since there aren’t even any prototypes in the U.S. that I know of, so I’d be surprised if more than just a couple of people have actually ridden it.  I’m not going to bother talking about the cranks, brakes, cassette, or chain since that is all the same as 9000 and was covered in part 1.  So we’re going to focus on just the electronic parts of Di2.
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Shimano 2013, Part 3, Wheels

May 31st, 2012



This will be the last segment for now on the new 2013 Dura Ace and we’ll cover the new wheels.

There are 4 models of rim each one coming in a couple different versions.  There is a 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 75mm.  The models are split into two groups.

Group 1 has its focus as being lightweight climbing wheels, and group 2  — which is being called the blade series — has its focus on aerodynamics and handling.  All the wheels are 11 speed and many of the changes stem from this so it seems the logical place to start.  The freehub body has grown in length by 1.85mm.  The spline pattern is the same as existing 10 speed so new 11 speed wheels are compatible with 10 speed cassettes.  There is a 1.85mm spacer that will be used in addition to the 1mm spacer that is used already with 10 speed.  This increase in freehub body has led to a change in lacing, all the new rear wheels are 21 spoke triplet laced.  14 drive side spokes laced 3 cross and 7 non drive side spokes radially laced.  Right flanges had to be moved in to make space for the new body but the left flanges have moved out increasing the bracing angle by 7mm, which is a significant amount.  The lower profile rims also use an offset drilled rim.  The new hubs have retained 130mm spacing despite claims by some that there has been an increase in OLN spacing.  The new freehub body changes to titanium as do the pawl retainers, shaving a bit of weight from the hubs.
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Enve 8.9 Rims, Just Facts Ma’am

May 9th, 2012

Emiliano Jordan


For the last several months there has been lots of anticipation about more Smart Enve System (SES) rims coming from Enve.  Last week we wrote about the new 6.7 and 3.4 clinchers and shortly after the new SES 8.9 tubulars showed up. We’ve now gotten them in stock and had a chance to play with them and form an opinion. In short the 8.9s are another well-targeted rim with a chance to replace discs in most Time Trial and Triathlon setups. Read more

Smart Enve System Clincher Rims

May 3rd, 2012



For the last several months there has been lots of anticipation about the Smart Enve System (SES) clincher rims.  Now that we have them in stock we have had a chance to play with them and form an opinion.  In short they’ve surpassed my expectations, which honestly were quite high.

Since the tubular versions of 3.4 and 6.7 have been out for almost a year and a lot of people are familiar with what makes the SES rims special, so there’s no need to go into great detail. We will, however, touch on some aspects that I find interesting as well as some which maybe just haven’t been much talked about.   All of the Smart Enve System rims are designed to be used in matched pairs to produce the best results.  All the rims are wider than standard Enve rims, but the front SES is wider and shallower than the rear (26mm wide front and 24mm wide rear), this is said to reduce drag and improve handling and the results are really noticeable.  All SES wheels feel super fast, and wind tunnel data that I’ve seen backs this up.  Perhaps even more importantly, handling is insanely predictable/stable. Read more

Rear Hub Noise Comparison

March 8th, 2012

Emiliano Jordan


One question we get asked a lot about is the rear hub noise. Especially with some of the different engagement types.  So we made this quick video that will give you a bit of insight into how a few of our different hubs sound. The hubs we showed are:

Chris King R45 :: White Industries H3 :: Extralite HyperRear :: Extralite SLX :: Tune mag170 :: Alchemy Orc :: Powertap

Road Bike Trials Video

February 8th, 2012

Emiliano Jordan


Well, a couple days ago the internet caught us off guard and we scrambled to post our Road Bike Trials video that we’d been working on for a bit now. The short story is that we were forced to publish a copy of our video that wasn’t the final version our editor was working on but a copy put together by the shop. So I present to you our professional MadCow as an amateur video editor, enjoy.

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