However, what is the difference between a prebuilt wheel from a reputable company vs one that is custom and assembled to order? Why should you choose to go with custom bike wheels when there are so many prebuilt options for you to choose from?
We have been in the industry for decades and know it can be hard to choose the best option. So here we’ll explain the pros and the cons (yes there are some) of custom bike wheels.
There are some compelling reasons to buy prebuilt wheels. They are a known quality. If you buy a set of Zipps you know that you are getting some of the best aerodynamics on the market today. If you get a set of DT Swiss, you know that you are getting amazing hubs. You also don’t have to know the ins and outs of every company in the industry to make the best choice. Reviews will help you to find the best ones.
But with custom bike wheels it’s like picking an outfit. You don’t necessarily use the same brand for all your clothing. You pick and choose what looks best for you and the occasion. Reviews don’t tell you the full story and the fit is important. Custom bike wheels are bit like this. You get to pick and choose the best parts for you and have a tailor (wheel builder) make a perfect wheel for you.
We call them custom bike wheels because you can choose every part of that goes into the wheel. This has some significant advantages.
The first is the adaptability. You can build wheels with a very light rim and low spoke count that you will struggle to buy off the shelf. Or you can get wheels that have a wide internal rim width to support wider tyres but keep a light hub. Most brands compromise somewhere to hit a price point or to hit a goal (weight, aerodynamics, strength etc). With custom cycling wheels you can get the best wheels for you. This now truer than ever as there are so many standards for hub spacing. Custom cycling wheels let you use an older bike or a bike that has an odd standard, in the way that you want and upgrade them or replace worn out wheels.
The second is durability. When a wheel is built to order a lot of care and attention has gone into getting your wheel to be perfect and not just up to the acceptable tolerances from a factory. Every part goes through an extra quality control step as all the parts are checked before they are assembled. If you are a heavier rider then custom bike wheels can give you a more comfortable ride whist being stronger than a prebuilt wheel. This is because custom cycling wheels are built to a higher standard than prebuilt ones.
Third is the ride feel. Like when you get your clothes custom fitted, bike wheels can do the same thing. Because your wheel builder knows who the wheel is for, they can tune the wheel to best fit you. If you mountain bike a lot in rock gardens, you can reduce the spoke tension very slightly to give a bit more compliance and a track sprinter can have the tension can be increased to insure that no power is wasted. Find out more about our main wheel guru here.
This brings us to the biggest reason that most people say they don’t go custom. Cost. Because custom cycling wheels are not cheap. But we hope you can see the reasons that custom bike wheels cost more, of course it is not for everyone. We back ourselves against the best in the business, and we have to charge accordingly. What you get out of it is a set of wheels that you can depend on, that has been built for you to do what we hope you love. Riding your bike. You can find out about our services here.