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 We’ve realized that the review is now old and out of date so have decided to update it.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
June 29th, 2012
While we got our NeilPryde Alize bikes at the end of 2011 we never had the chance to write an extended review. Perhaps that was a good thing because now with over 10,000 miles on several frames we’re able to give you a better idea of the newcomer to the road bike market. Without further adieu here are some of our thoughts now that we’ve had a chance to put some more miles on our NeilPryde Alize road bikes.
A look at weight
I have the second-largest size of the Alize called the XL and the bare frame weighs 1099g. Built up on training clinchers with a power meter as shown it’s still a bit under the 6.8kg/14.99lb UCI weight limit. After seeing the photo of my bike I have to concede that it just begs to lose the training wheels in favor of deep aero wheels..
Madcow’s frame is the size small and weighs 1020g. Built up with Enve SES 6.7 clincher wheels it weighs 6.2kg/13.6 lbs complete. With carbon tubulars we are seeing weights in the low 12lb range. Read more
June 7th, 2012
Black is the New Black
New Mexico’s mountainous Gila National Forest is a road climber’s mecca. Specifically, Silver City is home to one of the hardest stage races in ‘Merica, with roads crossing the continental divide several times. The steep high altitude climbs force you to put up or shut up, and are followed by hair raising descents that test your mettle. A customer of ours from the region commissioned us to build this custom Parlee Z5 SLi to handle the rigors of these rides found in her backyard, built around the idea that a lightweight climbing bike shouldn’t sacrifice descending, nor handling capabilities.
An exotic group of parts adorn the bike in a unique configuration to suit our customer. Black is the new black. The Clavicula crankset was specifically arranged with a compact spider and super stiff Praxis chainrings. Tune Mig 45 and Mag 170 hubs were laced to the new Smart Enve System (SES) 3.4 tubular rims, which in this case provide a perfect balance of aerodynamic stability and weight. The logos on the Enve bar and stem combo were removed, and the frameset itself was custom painted with stars, which are only caught in the right light; a unique design you rarely see on a bike. The aesthetics as a whole were focused around the look of the Parts of Passion laser logo seatpost, emitting that murdered out, stealth appeal. The Z5 SLi frameset is specifically designed with wire access for the Shimano Dura Ace Di2 group, leaving out any frivolous cable stops. Weighed as shown, the bike is right at 13lbs, while our customer’s ultra lightweight Enve 1.25 wheelset drops it another half-pound. 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
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.
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.
May 9th, 2012
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
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
March 23rd, 2012
This is the final update on the Project Right bike we’ve been documenting on our blog. Project Right started as a challenging request for an extraordinary bike, a task that was immediately exciting for everyone at Fairwheel. The bike got lots of attention at the English Cycles booth at the North American Hand Built Bike Show in Sacramento.
The request came in for a “completely unique” build – a single speed that would stand apart with a completely out of the box approach. If possible the bike was to be be single-sided, similar to the GT Super Bike. A unique finish was exceptionally important, so the fact that our customer is a big fan of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and the Spike Jonze film adaptation became artistic inspiration. What’s more, the bike needed to function as an everyday rider / commuter for the hills of Seattle, preferably belt-driven for reduced maintenance and increased longevity in the rain. Read more
March 8th, 2012
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: