Wheels galore! Our round-up of wheel brands we love for 2019…
For those of you who have purchased big brand bikes, you’ll have noticed that the wheels included are usually… er… cheap boat anchors. Heavy, slow to accelerate, narrow internal width, most lacking tubeless compatibility, and everything else that hurts the performance of your new bike.
That’s why we spec the best wheel options on all of our builds at Blacksmith Cycle, because outside of the frameset, wheels have the biggest impact on performance.
You may have some questions about where to start with a new wheel purchase. You may be wondering, "why are wider wheels in style?" or “do I need carbon rims?”. So, let us quickly fill you in on some awesome wheel brands that we offer, divided into 3 categories... 'the new guy', 'the old guard' and 'the pole sitters'.
The new guys:
Alto Velo, HiFi, Hunt
Alto Velo - Alto founders, Bobby Sweeting and Shawn Gravois, have been racing professionally since 2006 and studied mechanical engineering at the University of Florida, graduating in 2009. They continued their racing careers after graduation, with Sweeting also taking a design engineering position at the Cycling Sports Group and Gravois staying at UF to earn his masters degree in solid mechanical design and manufacturing. Their tag line: RACING. ENGINEERING. INNOVATING.
HiFi - these cool kids from Portland, Oregon are found on some of the sweetest custom road builds around, working closely with northwestern builders, finding themselves on some of the hippest bike builds on Instagram. Now HiFi is offering custom graphics on their carbon wheels, to take your bike’s design to the limit. Plus, with new anti-flutter 28mm rim shapes, you can have your value, style and technology in one brand.
Hunt - incredible value wheels from the UK, featuring wide internal rim widths, tubeless compatibility throughout the range, and a focus on disc braking and reliability, all at competitive weights. Check out BikeRadar’s recent 5-star review of the Hunt Gravel 30 mm carbon wheels, and talk to us about pre-ordering a set.
The old guard:
Easton, Mavic and Shimano
Easton - Mike (Blacksmith Cycle founder) was never a huge fan of Easton wheels. 'Sure they looked good and spun smoothly, but a lack of stiffness really kept them from ending up on our [Blacksmith Cycle]builds.' Well, that has changed... in a BIG WAY. Wider rim widths, tubeless compatibility, and much more robust designs have launched Easton back into our list of wheel brands, in both carbon and aluminum options. Their new alloy rims are some of the best around for custom builds too.
Mavic - another brand that was slow to adopt to new standards, Mavic has leapt back to the forefront, with a much improved Ksyrium alloy and carbon range, plus an All-Roads disc lineup that takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Arguably at the forefront of industry wide tubeless standards, we have the entire new 2019 range in stock now. Plus, with rim-only possibilities launched at NAHBS, you can now build reliable Mavic rims on your favourite hubs.
Shimano - after several years without any new product, Shimano has launched their new 40 and 60 mm clinchers and tubulars for 2019, for both calliper and disc. Unmatched reliability has always been a Shimano staple, but the new carbon range now seems to have caught up with the leading brands in terms of both aerodynamics and technical know-how.
The pole sitters:
Campy, Enve, Hed, and Xentis
Campagnolo - Campy’s Bora carbon wheel range has received quiet a few updates to both; width and braking surface over the past 2 years, keeping them at the front of the carbon game, in both their One and Ultra series. Now we also have the Bora WTO models in stock!! Add in their tubeless-compatible Shamal and Eurus alloy wheels, plus their gorgeous new Shamal Mille all-black clinchers, and new Zonda-disc wheels, and you’ve got a range of hoops to match any Italian build with aplomb. Now we’ll just keep waiting patiently for Campy’s new disc groupset…
ENVE - we all know that ENVE’s SES 3.4 wheels changes the carbon game, and that their SES 2.2 climbing wheels made above category climbs within reach, but their newer 4.5 wheels are the real catch. The SES 4.5 road wheels offer a near-perfect blend of aerodynamics and weight, with a new textured brake surface, and their even-newer AR4.5 and AR3.4 disc wheels are set to change the game, a tubeless-tire-only design with MASSIVE 24mm internal width designed around 28-32 mm tire widths, allowing you to go wide, and stay fast, while being more comfortable than ever (bigger tires = lower PSI’s = more comfort and traction). Add in their G23 and G27 gravel wheels, plus new hub options in carbon and aluminum and this range is as good as it gets.
HED - many of you know of HED’s quality range of aluminum rims - their Belgium and Belgium+ rims pretty much changed the custom wheel-building game - but others may not know that HED still possess some of the most aerodynamic carbon wheels in the industry, which is why they are still found on Pro Tour bikes with the labels blacked out. Well that range now comes with the newest rim shape around, launched with their Vanquish disc range in both 40 and 60 mm. Now available at Blacksmith Cycle
Xentis - if the industry was truly equitable - meaning the best product was actually the most popular - then Xentis might be the best-known wheel brand in the world. These made-in-Austria hoops (as in the carbon is actually laid up in-house, a rarity in this day and age of Taiwanese production) offer incredible braking, dynamic low weights, a range of depths, and new carbon/alloy hubs that make even the most tech-savvy customers droll with delight. Xentis has updated the entire range for 2019 to feature wider rim widths, and tubeless compatibility on the MTB and road side, now means there is hardly anything lacking with this awesome range of carbon wheels, made in the same factory as the world-famous Remus carbon automotive and motor-cycle exhaust systems.
Plus, a note to all you lovers of custom wheel builds...
Blacksmith Cycle carries the finest rims and hubs in the industry and build with the most experience wheelbuilders in Canada. Talk to us about custom wheels today with rims from most of the above and hubs from:
ENVE, HED, i9, White Industries, Chris King, Tune, DT-Swiss
**limited time only**
Spring Wheel Trade up
For a limited time only, you can trade in your new, used, battered or babied alloy or carbon wheelsets and trade up for any of the latest wheels we have in stock. That includes custom wheel builds. Valuation estimate up to $1200 towards new wheels, offer ends May 25th 2019.
*limited to in stock availability.