Wheelworks, based in New Zealand, has been building custom wheels for more than nine years. About 12 months ago, they started developing their own rim based on their needs as both riders and as wheel builders.
The result is the Maker, a full carbon rim paired with your choice of hubs and custom built just for you. That includes your choice of 24 decal colors, putting your name or a short saying on the rim, hub selection and color and a build that’s appropriate for your body type and riding style.
But the cosmetics are a small part of the story, it’s really their entire wheel building process that they’re using these new rims to highlight. And once assembled, they say it’s unlikely it’ll ever come untrue (barring any massive hits or accidents, of course) and should provide 50,000 kilometers (about 31,000 miles) of problem free riding. But should something go wrong, they’ll repair or replace it. Heck, they even give you free brake pads if you wear through those…
The build shown above uses White Industries’ T11 road hubs and retails for about $1,700 USD. That includes brake pads, internal cam skewers and the above mentioned personalization. The T11 and DT Swiss’ 240 hubs are their favorites, but they’ll build with a wide variety of other hubs, too. Including disc brake hubs on a disc-specific version of this rim.
The wheels are meant to be light and fast enough for race day, and durable enough for everyday use in all conditions. Tristan at Wheelworks said their hometown is hilly, windy and rainy, so the wheels needed to handle all that and keep spinning smooth and straight.
The rims are their own design, made for them by a premium carbon rim manufacturer in Asia, and come in either 35mm or 50mm depths. They have a 17mm internal width (~25mm external) with a deep inside channel to make tire mounting easier. Rim weights are claimed at 430g (35mm) and 490g (50mm). The disc brake specific version is a bit lighter at 420g (35mm only).
The spoke holes are drilled at an angle and chamfered on the inside to improve the build quality and reduce bending stresses on the spokes.
They’re designed for use with 23-to-25mm wide tires and can be set up tubeless. The braking surface is parallel, not angled like some aero wheels, putting the focus on braking performance versus all-out aero efficiency…which is what most of us likely prefer anyway.
Hub colors and decal colors let you match your bike’s decor.
All of the wheels are handbuilt in their Lyall Bay, New Zealand, headquarters using custom equipment that brings trueness to within 1/10th of a millimeter and perfect tension. And that, more than the rim weights and technical specs, is the story they’re trying to tell.
“The big thing (we’re) trying to get across with these rims / wheels isn’t any single technical spec but a whole bunch of little steps through the design and wheelbuilding process which allow us to stand behind them with a lifetime warranty,” says Tristan. “There is no silver bullet but each step of our process has been questioned, developed, and improved upon over the past nine years and thousands of wheels. We’ve had to build our own tools, write custom software which calculates spoke length down to 0.1mm and includes the amount of stretch that each spoke will be under depending on its tension in the wheel, etc. The spokes for each and every wheel are cut to 0.1mm in length and have their threads rolled in-house to reduce the risk of breaking a spoke or nipple. Some of this production stuff we keep pretty close to our chest – for example to calculate spoke length that accurately you need to be able to consistently measure rim ERD down to 0.05mm (about half the width of a human hair) and there is nothing you can buy which will do this.”
The result? A lifetime warranty and some bold claims about their durability. Available now to ship most anywhere in the world.