I am entertaining the idea of offering a stock wheelset to ease the decision for people that are looking for an affordable and reliable wheelset. This week I decided to make the first set of this potential venture.
The Rims: Boyd Altamont Lite. Averaging 435-440g, these rims are amazing for the price. They feature a tubeless compatible design similar to Pacenti's V2 of the SL23. The benefit of this design is the width of the bead shelf - more room to adequately support the bead in hard cornering. They come in 20, 24, 28 and 32 hole counts. A 30mm deep version is also available for a bit more aero advantage and bigger/more powerful riders. Additionally, you can mix and match and run a 30mm Altamont on the rear for stiffer sprinting or climbing and run the 26mm Altamont Lite up front for lighter, livelier front-end handling for cornering and descending.
The decals are a waterslide application on top of a bead-blasted and black anodized finish. The bead-blasting helps strengthen the alloy and lends a nice stealthy look. Every Boyd Altamont rim I've built up has been very straight and round when brought to initial tension. The ERD is one of the most consistent out there. The decision was easy for my rim choice.
The hubs: Bitex is a Taiwanese manufacturer putting out some real sleepers. The price and quality of these hubs is a great value. The design for the freehub engagement is very clever. 6 pawls act in 2 groups of 3 which allows for 48 points of engagement! Bitex hubs are also very easy to service and come in a wide assortment of colors. I went with a 24 hole front and a 24 hole rear in their 8 spoke non-drive side/16 spoke drive side configuration. This design helps with balancing the spoke tension between the non-drive side and drive side of the rear wheel.
The Spokes: Sapim is a spoke manufacturer based in Belgium. They have been in business since 1916 and continue to push the envelope with spoke technology and design.
The front wheel I chose to use their D-Light spoke. The profile is 2.0/1.65/2.0 although I've measured it closer to 1.7 on average- no big deal. This is such a wonderful spoke and I was so excited for my distributor to start carrying them a few years ago. It's a light spoke but not too flexy like the Laser. The D-Light has enough give for comfort but a big enough cross-section to build a light and stiff wheel. I used Wheelsmith black brass nipples for durability and longevity.
The rear wheel got a combination of the D-Light on the non-drive side and the Race (2.0/1.8/2.0) on the drive side.
The total weight for the wheelset with 24 front and 24 rear spokes is 1500g. The rims built up wonderfully. The front wheel was laced radially for reduced weight and front end stiffness. The rear wheel is designed to be laced radial on the non-drive side and 3-cross on the drive side. Overall tension is excellent for tolerance/tension variance.
The rear wheel yielded a more equal tension between the NDS and DS than I anticipated.
Non-drive side on left - Drive side on right
The nearly 100% balance of tension between both sides results in a stiff, reliable wheel. The 3-cross drive side assists in better torque transfer and the radial NDS helps increase lateral stiffness in cornering.
Here's a small photo set:
I am very happy with the results of this build and look forward to building more like this. I am considering offering in 20f/24r, 24f/24r and 24f/24r and even a 32f/32r semi-custom option for anyone that desires a great commuter/more durable set. Price for the set starts at $675.
Feel free to leave any comments or feedback!