Custom wheels

Hand-built to last

New for 2015. FREE wheel building. When you buy the spokes, rim, and hub: we’ll do the rest. We want you on our wheels. Curious about what sets our wheels apart? Read on, or give us a ring. 204-957-5762

The art of wheel building

Circle

The bicycle wheel exemplifies one simple truth: The foundation of all expression is unified balance. A strong wheel is a balanced wheel; the tension between the hub, spokes and rim must be able to withstand the stresses placed on it as one whole unified structure.

Individually, spokes are easily bent with bare hands, rims are quickly distorted with firm pressure, and hubs are easily cracked when dropped from a few feet onto a hard surface. When the wheel is laced and tensioned properly and fitted with a tyre, it can support 100 times it’s own weight, resist breakage from many angles, and absorb many impacts.

Spokes

The entire expression of the bicycle centres on the wheel, as the wheels of the bike are where all of the bikes systems converge. The drive train turns the wheels forward, the brakes slow them down, and the handlebars guide their direction. The riders weight and strength must travel through the wheels on their way to affecting that force on the ground.

The wheels make the bike. The higher quality the wheels, the more effectively all the other systems of the bike can do their job. For example, how well can an expensive rim-brake work on a cheap bent rim? How fast can the lightest bike in the world roll on loose open cup bearings?

Hand-built wheels

Taking the time makes all the difference

Wagon Wheel

Spoked wheels have been around a very long time. The craft of wheel building has gone through many positive developments and negative transgressions. Some may think it strange that in this age of automation and mass production, that hand-built wheels are still higher quality than machine-built ones. There are wheel building machines in existence today that can build wheels many times faster, and just as precisely as human hands are able. There are also machines in existence today, which are able to transport humans at extremely high speeds, for very long distances (cars). Using such machines has many negative environmental, social and economic consequences, and the use of automated machines for wheel building has similar drawbacks.

It is a fundamental principle of this organization to be as economically efficient, environmentally responsible, and socially ethical as possible. Building all of our wheels by hand maintains very high product quality at a reasonable price, while maintaining a living wage for workers, and extremely stringent environmental standards.

The process

Rims

Design the wheel of your dreams

Our expert wheel builders can assist you in selecting each component, based on your riding needs. Choose from our selection of nearly 50 different hubs, 100 models of rim and 10 different spoke types. We have over 20,000 spokes in stock, in order to accommodate different hub and rim combinations, as well as unique lacing patterns.

Turn-around time

Natural Cycle stocks many hand-built wheels, ready to be bolted onto your bike. A custom wheel build can be as fast as one day if needed. Please look here for labour costs, and seasonal repair time.

Philosophy

What makes a great wheel?

Many of the best wheel builders believe that the key to building a strong wheel is high, balanced spoke tension. Natural Cycle’s wheel builders share this philosophy, and have collectively developed techniques and processes to allow them to create wheels which have both high, balanced tension and are also very true. They can usually be built to within 0.1 millimetres, which is the same level of precision as most machined sidewalls.

Many modern trends such as minimal spoke counts and straight-pull aluminum spokes, do work well, but they come with hidden complications. They tend to use exotic materials, require special tooling to maintain, and are sometimes just plain disposable. Natural Cycle’s approach to wheel design is to use higher spoke counts which help support today’s aluminum rims while maintaining universal serviceability.

Wheel hub

The stainless steel spoke (with a 2 millimetre diameter) has a certain elastic balance which is difficult to improve upon. Using a 2 or 3 cross lacing pattern with thirty something spokes makes a web of support for each spoke, making the wheel very capable of handling sticks or stones which may wander into the spinning wheel. The fewer spokes a wheel has, the more prone to it will be to complete failure when one spoke is bent or damaged.

It is still possible to achieve extremely light weight wheels with conventional lacing patterns by using tapered spokes, and a matching rim. This can be a huge benefit for lighter riders who will also benefit from a more resilient ride (more shock absorption).

Warranty

The lifetime of the rim

Natural Cycle’s wheel warranty is inspired by some of the best wheel builders in the world. Each hand-built wheel comes with a warranty for the life of the rim. Once the rim is damaged, the wheel will become imbalanced, and will disintegrate until the rim is replaced. Natural Cycle cannot control damage to the rim such as wear to the sidewalls, or crushing of the box section.

Spokes

Natural Cycle guarantees that the wheel will not disintegrate because of the spokes. As long as you do not let your wheel get 4 millimetres out of true or roundness (which clearly signifies material distortion of the rim) Natural Cycle will true it for free, forever. This applies to any wheel we have built, whether you are the original owner or not. We simply need to have the name of the person you purchased it from in our computer.

If your rim does become damaged, the wheel can still be repaired.