200+ miles and 23,000 ft elevation gain
I gave the camera to Daniel Matheny to get some footage of their amazing ride climbing two 14k ft mountain passes in a single day.
Thanks to Kit Hinders for some of the images!
- Daniel Matheny: https://mathenyendurance.com/
- Taylor Ross
- Nate Vacura
Their loop on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/3691201577
A local gem
Safe to say our local mountain bike trails in Colorado Springs are pretty amazing!
Huge thanks to the riders:
Kaile - https://www.instagram.com/kvierstra/
Kelzie - https://www.instagram.com/mountainzpl...
Are mobile bike shop franchises a good idea?
The need for quality bike mechanics is on the rise, along with entrepreneur culture so I thought it would be helpful to make a video giving my thoughts on starting with a mobile franchise like Velofix.
Anyone that knows me, knows I am a huge believer in mobile bike repair but when you run the numbers, going with a franchise simply does not make sense. You will easily spend $100,000 or more to open a franchise instead of starting your own, independent brand. Beyond the initial start up costs, these franchises take 10% or more of your gross which makes this tight margin industry even more difficult to be successful in.
Check out the video above to get more of my thoughts on the subject.
Often times "the way we have always done it" is not the best way...
White Industries definitely took a big risk by trying to make a big change in a world that seems to go out of their way to do things the same way for years on end. White Industries really put a lot of thought into how to make the track cog/hub interface much better and despite a few minor disadvantages, I really feel like they knocked it out of the park on these.
Their big change was removing the threaded cog/hub interface and replaced it with splines. The problem with threaded cogs is you can strip the threads after enough abuse. I have seen it with all brands of track hubs although some definitely hold up better than others. When you switch to splines, that just isn't going to be an issue and it is far less prone from damage from operator error. Especially when you are trashed and prone to making mistakes such as not tightening a cog on all the way before a standing start.
I have been doing my best to trash these hubs over the past 2 years as a wanna-be track sprinter. I am usually pretty hard on hubs as I weigh around 220lbs and push around 2,000 watts when I am on form. I also tend to be paranoid about wheel slips so tend to tighten axle nuts way more than needed. Thankfully these hubs have handled everything I could give them without even flinching despite my abusive ways.
Axles are a very common failure point in the track sprint world which is totally different from every other type of bike riding/racing. When you think about it though, a proper sprint session can easily mean 3-4 gear changes per day. Multiply that by 3-4 sessions a week and you area really stressing a commonly overlooked part. White Industries definitely picked the right grade of stainless here as my axle still threads as smooth as when I bought them. Beyond just picking a great grade of stainless for their axle, they actually took the time to machine their own bronze axle nuts which are as beautiful as they are strong.
Riding the velodrome is pretty easy on bearings so these bearings are still spinning super smooth. One area with bearings that track bikes can struggle with though is some hubs have a tendency to tighten down the bearing adjustment after multiple gear changes. The hubs seem to hold their adjustment well though. I had to adjust them once after a couple month break in and they have held their adjustment since.
Their proprietary cogs are also works of art and also some of the smoothest running cogs I have ever run. I ran Dura-Ace cogs on my race wheels and those felt and sounded very rough compared to my WI cogs. It was so much rougher than I thought my chain might have just been worn and I replaced that and things still felt rough. It eventually hit me that they nailed the tooth profile on these so they run as smooth and quiet as anything I have tried on the track.
On to asthetics hubs are beautiful, both the polishing and machine work they have done on them. They have very big flanges which makes for a super stiff wheel build which is nice when sprinting into the banking at 40+ mph.
No product is perfect though and as much as I love these hubs, there are a few things I wish would be changed on them.
While I feel their splined cogs are brilliant they do have their issues. The first being, you can not go smaller than a 13t on the rear. Thankfully bigger chain rings are finally becoming somewhat common so this is easy to work around. When I first started sprinting, it was hard to find anything bigger than a 54/55 so the 13 was a bit limiting.
The other downside to their splined cogs is unless you are using a HED VOLO as your disc/race wheel, you will end up having to buy 2 sets of cogs. One threaded and one set of WI. That is not the end of the world but definitely something to consider.
If I could have my way, WI would make a traditionally threaded track up as well or even a track hub with their splined system on one side and traditional threads on the other. Their hubs are so good that I would love to be able to offer them to people that need a good hub but can not be convinced to buy a second set of cogs.
If you are willing to spend the money to get a second set of cogs, I think any trackie out there would love the way these hubs hold up and ride. This is especially true for stronger riders and track tandem riders as their splined system and axles are up for anything you can throw at them.
I love White Industries willingness to take the time and hit to total sales to offer a product that works better than current options although I do wish they would make a hub for people who want to stick to their traditionally threaded cogs.
If you are interested in your own set, shoot me an email HERE and we can discuss options to get you your own set. If you are ever at the Colorado Springs track, let me know and I am happy to let you give my personal set a go and see for yourself.
You can see more specifics from White Industries by clicking HERE
Considering a set of new Project 321 hubs but not sure if you want loud or quiet pawls? Here is a video showing just how quiet the quiet version is. I will be sure to get a comparison video of the loud option next time I build a set.
If you are curious about the details and "why" behind the magnetic pawl system, Project 321 has a great info page detailing everything. You can check it out by CLICKING HERE
If you know you are ready for your own set of 321 hubs, check out our Store page HERE or send us a message via our Contact page HERE!
I am going to be real honest here, there is a lot of personal bias in my thoughts on this bike. I worked with Adam, one of the Why Cycles owners years ago and he has turned into a great friend along with being a former co-worker. With that being said, having worked with him during the start up at his first bike company, I was able to witness first hand how he designs bikes and I was able to see what drives him which is what had me intrigued by his newest company making all ti bikes. Adam simply builds the bikes he wants to ride personally and because he truly loves this sport like many of us, he is able to get other people stoked on his bikes pretty easily. I personally have never been a carbon guy and always had a soft spot for both ti, and even more so, hardtails that lean more toward the "send it" category than the XC racer category which is where I really feel this bike delivers. Despite my personal bias, I did pay for this frame, it was not a freebie to try and butter me up for a good review.
New name eh?
I have been asked a lot why the name change, what are the new goals that will follow and are you crazy trying to take this wheel build thing full time...
So I will start with the why. I will admit, some of it is I feel the name Elevation Wheel Company is far more marketable and learning to market myself is a skill I still need to develop if I want to actually support myself. Another big part of the why, which I only recently realized is it helps me turn the page. When I was operating as Chris Murray Wheel Works, it was always treated more as a hobby than a real business and this change will help me transition mentally which I need to do if this will succeed and if I do not want to end up homeless. Now it's real, now it is my only way to feed myself and my family so choose which ever cliche' catch phrase of sink or swim, jump into the deep end, trial by fire, etc you prefer. This is my wake up call to know it is real.
Let's be totally honest here too, I have always had my share of problems with authority and issues with control so now if things are not going the way that I would like, I only have myself to blame.
Bigger, faster, stronger:
The new goals are simple, do a lot of the things I was doing well previously, just even better. I have always been proud of the quality of the wheels I build and you guys seem to love them as well and that enthusiasm from you, my friends and customers, are a big part of what made me feel this could work. Now I just want to take it to the next step, more wheel builds while maintaining super strict quality standards, I also want to expand into doing more wholesale level builds. Despite how it played out, I really loved my time building production volumes of wheels at Borealis with our original crew. As cheesy as it sounds, you reach an almost zen like state when building 10+ wheels in a day. So I will be reaching out to shops, frame builders, anyone who may need a bunch of wheels built and see if they would like to use my services.
I will also be offering mobile service as well. I was thrilled to have a bunch of you ask "but who will work on my bike" after leaving the shop. I am still here and more than happy to keep your machine running smooth! Now I will just have a little time to breathe while doing it since I won't be juggling 15 things in the middle of your repair. Back to that "better" part. I will have the time to really obsess over the details like I love.
There are many harsh lessons to be learned from the gambling experience, but the harshest one of all is the difference between having Fun and being Smart. Hunter S. Thompson
Starting a business is part gambling, and part educated guess for sure, and I do not have too much of a safety net but I really feel this is ready to work. I have received far more support from family and friends than I ever thought possible in this adventure that is #startuplife that I felt it has to work. Only time will really tell but I do not give up easy and the previous 3 businesses I worked at were all new enough to be considered a start up so lots of lessons learned. I have seen what works, what does not work and learned more than I ever thought possible from friends who are WAY smarter than I am so hopefully I can bring all that knowledge together and keep this thing rolling for a long time.
Thanks for reading and all the support you have sent my way over the years. I truly could not have done it without you.
Size Matters...when talking rim width (get your mind out of the gutter people). Rim width plays a huge role in how your bike handles, how your tires feel, and how easily you roll over loose or irregular surfaces. This applies to all styles of bikes no doubt, but unlike skinnier tired bikes, rather than slightly tweaking handling characteristics, rim width on a fatbike can completely transform the way a fatbike handles, from a light and nimble singletrack slayer to a monster truck that goes over any and everything in its path but might not handle being thrown around quite so well. Below is a quick and dirty guide to help you select the best possible rim width for your riding style.
Plus Widths (40mm-50mm) - These rims while not technically true "fat" sizes deserve honorable mention, especially for those of us trying to build super light wheels on the cheap or those of us who want to build a bike with loads of traction but will never need to take full advantage of the float fatbikes can offer. These are obviously great with "plus" or 3" wide tires but they can also work well with 4" wide fat tires. They round the profile of the tire a bit which cuts down on float but it makes the bike transition from upright to railing corners very quick and easy. Lots of riders like this option when trying to get a set of wheels in the weight range of a proper carbon fat rim but without spending a ton of cash. Just don't try to mount anything wider than a 4" tire on them.
65mm Widths - This is by far my favorite size to build for year round fat biking. They are light, they make leaning the bike into corners super easy, and still give good enough float for MOST riders. They are great everywhere but super deep sand/snow. They can even take 5" tires without issue.
80mm Widths - If you mostly use your fatbike in sand/snow but still would like it to handle reasonably well on fast techy singletrack, this is a great rim width for you. They have most of the float of a 100mm rim but without hurting the way your bike feels on tight twisty trails too much. They can take all tire sizes and take you nearly anywhere you would like to go. This truly falls into the jack of all trades, master of none (except maybe groomed snow) category. If you don't know what size to order after reading this, get 80's.
100mm Widths - Right now this is about as big as fat rims come, these really turn your bike into a monster truck. You will roll over/through nearly anything in your path, they give more float in deep sand and snow than anything else out there. They also flatten your tire out pretty significantly meaning more of the knobs are in contact with the ground to give you as much traction as possible. The downside to all that is they make getting the bike leaned over and into a tight corner take a bit more effort and increase rolling resistance on firm surfaces but this is OK because this rim is to take you to places a bike can not normally go. That's not to say you can't ride technical singletrack on them, because you absolutely can and some people love the way they feel there, just know it will take a bit more effort to move the bike around underneath you. Naturally being the biggest, they are also the heaviest so unless you are looking at rims like the HED BFD, expect to pay a bit of a weight penalty.
Obviously personal preference can make all points above moot but for most riders, this will give you a really good starting point to selecting the best rim width for your bike. Always be sure to take into consideration frame limitations, if a 5" tire barely clears your frame on 80mm rims, don't expect to move up to 100mm wide rims because the wider your rims are, the wider your tires will pack out. Feel free to email me via the contact form with any more specific questions.
Obsession, or passion? Who am I to judge? Either way I simply love building wheels for those who appreciate quality!