I just had to show you my new wheels before they went on the Bronson build. Flite? You may have seen these rolling out around NZ and maybe overseas in the last few years. They are a custom mountain bike wheel build from the lads ( Gav built these ones) at Wheelworks Handcrafted Wheels in Wellington. I got the boss man Tristan to build me a set a few years back for my Intense Carbine, and I still have those wheels. I even sold them to a mate who rides like a bulldozer and nearly weighs as much too (all muscle though huh Ritchie!) and then I bought them back when I purchased his Tracer T275. They are still darn straight and strong which is pretty good seeing as they were one of the early versions of the Light Bicycle 23mm carbon rims with a hooked bead. These days Tristan is a huge fan of Derby rims and these are one of the widest ‘standard’ all-mountain hookless carbon rims at a 35mm internal width. Possibly the strongest too. And by no means any heavier than its competitors. Tristan reckons their Derby failure rate, including damage from crashing and impacts, is less than half-a-percent which must be a record for any type of rim, carbon or otherwise.

I just can’t help myself sometimes. Wheelworks will customize your build to get you a one-off wheelset, and you can choose your own combo of hubs, spokes and rims (as long as Tristan believes what you are doing is the right thing to do). And they cut their own vinyl. Check out the build process here…

The signature white spokes either side of the valve shows that you have one of the best wheel builds available on this planet. Sure they aren’t the cheapest, but if you ever get the chance to see what is in the Wheelworks shop, the $ spent on exotic handmade machinery, you will actually realise they are great value for money. Buy once, buy right. And the best warranty I’ve ever heard of… snap a spoke or bust a nipple and they will fix it for free for the life of the wheel.

35mm internal (40mm external) width means I can drastically reduce my tyre pressure for unsurpassed grip. I’m 87kgs and I run 18-20 psi in my Maxxis 2.3 EXO Minions when I’m rolling Derby rims, with no tyre squirm what so ever and I haven’t even come close to burping the bead.

Have a look at that profile. See the high point where the tape meets the rim? This ‘snaps’ the tyre into the bead channel and does a fantastic job of preventing any burping. You can run your tyre pretty flat and it will stay in place. So easy to air up tubeless with a floor pump too. Derby rims are super reliable to date and if there is an issue, it will get sorted quick smart.

If you are wondering why there isn’t a bead hook, well it’s because that is so last year. Tyres are sized to a better standard now and hookless makes for a much stronger, impact resistant rim.

Hope Boost hubs. 10mm wider flanges up front and 6mm at the back makes for a stiffer wheel. DT Aerolite spokes and alloy nipples. The spokes are hand cut to within 0.1 of a mm then rolled to be as long as possible and exactly the right length. The reason most nipples crack is that the spoke isn’t long enough to thread all the way into the nipple head. The reason most spokes snap is that the spoke is too long and undue pressure is put at the final thread. By cutting his own spokes, Tristan uses all the thread right up to the top.

Stan’s tape in 21mm fits perfectly in the spoke channel. Easy to remove with no residue. I don’t know why I would be worried about that as Tristan is pretty confident that you won’t snap a spoke or nipple. If you do he will sort it out for free. FOR LIFE! That’s confidence. 

As soon as I get my new tyres on and my custom fork sticker kit made up I will be showing you my Big Assed Bronson in all its glory .

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