wheel building methodology

Depending on what the wheel is intended for we will lace and build the rims differently. If you intend to go screaming round the corners you don’t what your wheel to flex. But if you ride to work every day you don’t want to feel like you’ve just ridden a jack hammer to work.  For this reason, we build the wheels differently for each of our products.

For our road race wheels and fixed gear race wheels we use pillar wing spokes with a high tension for a couple of reasons. 1st are the aerodynamic gains. When you are pushing 40km/h+ every watt you can save increases your chance of winning that final sprint or qualifying with energy to spare for the race.

2nd is the strength. When the spoke count is low, and you push into that right-hand corner the last thing that anyone wants is for a spoke to break. Wing spokes are designed for disc brakes where a massive amount of force is transferred to the spokes under braking. The same conditions are meet numerous times when you push hard out of the corner or in club rides when you sprint to the sign or top of the hill. This is especially important for fixed gear criterium racers and track riders where the spokes will get more force transferred to them under heavy braking as is experienced with a disc brakes.

3rd is the replaceability. We won’t sit here and say the broken spokes don’t happen because they do. A spoke lives a hard life. Its pushed and pulled 100 of times a minute at a normal pace and more at higher speeds so they do fatigue over time. If you hit a pothole that shocks the rim, then spokes can and do break. For many wheels that is a big issue because large flat spoke has become common in the industry as they are cheaper to manufacture and look good but that has its own problems. Cost to the end user, either cut outs in the hub or keyhole cut outs that increase the load on the spoke hole at the hub. Lastly it can lead to a weak point in the rim if replaced by a straight gauge or cheaper double butted spoke as the tension for that spoke will be significantly higher increasing the chance of a catastrophic rim failure. Wing spokes have a higher tension limit so the wheel is stronger and use a standard spoke hole so that if a spoke does go and you don’t want to spend £3 on a spoke you can use a butted spoke without worry.

Lastly and most importantly we think they look cool and represent a real effort to do something new. With an anodized option it’s easy for you to stand out in a crowd and looks great from the podium.

For our every day riding wheels we change the spokes for pillar butted. This is for dependability, ease of replacement and greater flexibility. As we mentioned these wheels are built to last but not to break your back. We build to a lower overall tension for more comfort and cross the spokes more. This improves the durability when you ride over potholes, curbs, and other debris. Not that our race wheels aren't able to do this as well but our everyday wheels will be more comfortable and better able to handle high mileage with lower maintenance.

We are confident in our wheels so if a spoke snaps or if a wheel comes out of true in the 1st 3 months of ownership we will either replace the spoke free of charge or send a spoke and money for your local shop to do the replacement. Each wheel will come with the tension of the individual spokes as well the standard deviation from one spoke to the next.

If you have any questions about our methodology or interested in learning more contact our mechanics at tech@noflex.co and we will answer any question you have. As you can tell we quite like to geek out about this.