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 thinking 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. 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 with more wheel builds while maintaining super strict quality standards and I also want to expand into doing more wholesale level builds. Despite how it played out in the end, 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 will listen 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 feel 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 these previous 5 years. 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.
Thank you 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.
Touring documentary, 3000k of some of the most harsh conditions I have ever seen a touring cyclist ride in!
You meet some rather amazing individuals doing what I do. When you specialize in building extremely durable wheels for people traveling long distances into some very harsh and unforgiving places all of your customers seem to be pretty great. Iohan is not only a great adventurer but also a fantastic rider to work with.
He runs the website over at bikewanderer.com and this video is just his warm up believe it or not! He is on his way to Alaska to work his way south all the way to Argentina so I highly suggest you try to follow along, he also runs a facebook page under the same name.
**Update 4/25/14** David Reid has completed his trip through the Arctic and you can get a lot more details here An Arctic First
This was a fun project, building a set of wheels heading to the Arctic Circle for a pretty epic adventure. Not sure how much detail I can go into so I will just leave it at, this will actually live up to the word epic, despite how over used it is. I will update with more details once I know if it is OK.
The build is pretty much our standard build at Borealis except instead of aluminum nipples I used brass. It was Turnagain FR-80 rims, Borealis hubs, double butted Wheelsmith spokes. Even though it is a standard build, it should be more than up to the task, our Turnagain rims have been super solid as are Wheelsmith spokes and our hubs worked well all the way to the South Pole so I have lots of confidence in their ability to handle this trip.
We just had this picture posted to our company facebook of the wheel I built for Daniel Burton's South Pole expedition. Not only did the wheel I built for him make it there fine but he also liked the little note of encouragement I threw on at the last minute so much that he kept it on the entire way.
This is what he said about it in one of the comments:
"I thought it was pretty cool so I left it on the wheel. It is really quiet biking in Antarctica. One of the few sounds was that tag hitting the derailleur as the wheel went around."
It always feels good knowing you helped on an expedition of this magnitude, even if just a little.
Obsession, or passion? Who am I to judge? Either way I simply love building wheels for those who appreciate quality!