Going beyond the essentials

Wheel builders agree spoke tension matters. Most accept that it makes sense to invest in at least one calibrated tension meter to verify tensions. Tensions need to be to a suitable level (largely depending on rim specifications). Get tension too high, and cracked rim eyelets will often result. Too low, and the overall strength of the wheel will be compromised, as spokes will essentially “work” more as they decompress at the bottom of the wheel

Off the shelf expenses

I’ve been a happy user of Shimano wheels in the past – I rode a Dura Ace C24 for several years, and was very happy with them. I got the set on sale at Wiggle, and was a happy customer. Here’s the thing though – it gets very expensive, very quickly to keep a set of wheels like this on the go once it’s time to change rims. Rims wear out – and good hubs

Tension off the scale…

I had a set of DT Swiss RR 415 rims on DT Swiss 240 hubs come in to me for a rebuild. Here’s what had happened to the rim: The tensions were all over the place, up to 1300 N on the rear drive side (the rim is rated to 1100 N maximum). It was a good example of how hard it can be to judge tensions by “pinging” the spokes – it wasn’t immediately

Obsession for accuracy

The Centrimaster spoke tension meter is a classy piece of kit – beautifully made, and comes with a calibration rod to confirm accuracy of readings before starting a build. Because of the different deflections of spokes based on their diameters, it is supplied from the factory with a Sapim specific calibration table to translate meter readings to actual spoke tension per model of spoke. My process of measuring tension always starts with a two-way calibration

In praise of the commuter bicycle

Specialized Sirrus

The bike I use the most is my commuter bike. It’s a flat bar Specialized Sirrus, equipped with full-length mudguards, rack and dynamo lights. I ride it almost every day – a 12 km each-way commute. Not a huge distance, but enough to work up a sweat, and I’m lucky enough in my day job at Spotify to be well looked after as a cycle commuter (indoor cycle parking with decent racks, showers, towels). Oh

Dynamo conversions

Dynamo conversions

I’ve done two dynamo conversions in the last few weeks. It’s a real pleasure – a good dynamo lighting set up can transform a bike into a super-flexible means of transport. Being based in Sweden, I’m used to many hours of darkness 🙂 And the months of darkness here mean that a dynamo installation is a very pragmatic choice. No chance of forgetting lights, or leaving them on a bike (from where they can be

Rim wear

The rims on a rim-braked bike wear out – inescapable fact. Grit, aluminium fragments embedded in brake pads, simple friction of a clean pad – all take their toll. How much and how fast depends, but it’s worth taking steps to minimise wear. What can you do? use a good quality brake pad e.g. Swissstop (and of course, always use the correct compound for carbon rims!!) clean the brake pads regularly, and dig out any

Latest build – February 2020

This is a favourite build – such great value for money. So many town / hybrid bikes come with really crappy wheels. Given that these are the bikes that often see the most use (abuse!), a strong, reliable wheelset is one of the best investments you can make. Depending on exact configuration you’re looking at less than EUR 200 for a set like this – with top quality Sapim double butted spokes and brass nipples.

A curious build

A dynamo system for a 20″ wheel bicycle. A standard dynamo would not work with a 20″ wheel – there would be too much drag, so a specialised option is needed. There is an expensive SON available – the SON XS. A few issues with this (apart from price) though – I think it’s ugly, and I don’t like the semi radial lacing. I also wanted to match the existing 20 spoke 2x pattern for