Why hand build wheels?
Hand built wheels are made fit for purpose. They are built to suit riding conditions, rider weight, climate and can retain compatibility with older components. They can also fit the aesthetics of the bicycle. A well built wheel will be stronger and more stable: no two wheel components are exactly the same, the components contain discrepancies. Each build needs to be different. A uniform build cannot provide the unique balance of tension required. Building by hand also allows for each component to be handled and assessed individually, adding another level to quality control!
Like a connoisseur of the best wines or a sartorialist who knows that a hand-crafted suit requires the right pair of equally fine shoes, the custom wheel builders are still out there to be found by riders who want the BEST. The tradition of the bespoke has been marginalised but is alive and well.
The recent growth of cycling has seen more riders returning to the skilled hands of the artisan wheel builder. Normally found in small, dark workshops, but at JRA we are not cut and dry. Every wheel is built with a inner bright peace, using years of experience and senses, feeling the tension in the spokes as the perfect wheel is born in our hands. Every wheel carries a piece of the builder’s soul.
The impeccably balanced marriage of rim and hub can turn a sluggish bike into a rocket. Many people claim to be able to create such synergy but there are only a few who have the Ronin Ninja Master-like skills to build a truly sexy optimized pair.