The Benefits of Pre-Built ‘System Wheels’
Whether you are looking for more immediate flex-free power transfer, bomb-proof quality or super light weight, fitting a set of system wheels is one of the most profound improvements you can make to a bicycle.
For over a hundred years, the ability to build a bicycle wheel tight, strong and true has been rightly regarded as one of the pinnacles of the bicycle mechanic’s craft. If you want your choice of rim, hub and spokes hand built for you into a wheel you can rely upon for years and years, our Service Centres (we have one in every branch) will be delighted to oblige.
Since Mavic pioneered complete ‘system wheels’ in the 1990s (followed by companies such as Shimano, Fulcrum, Roval and Giant) superior bicycle wheels have become readily available off the shelf.
The benefit of a system wheel is that the manufacturer can design the best wheel possible at that price without being obliged to make any compromises. (Compare this with the situation where, say, Mavic make a rim, they have to second guess how it will work with the vast array of spokes and hubs on the market.) With a wheel system, the manufacturer takes complete control of all the elements that go into the creation of a quality wheel – lacing pattern, spoke count, spoke thickness, spoke tension, rim width, hub flange size….
Furthermore, they can integrate the drilling patterns of both the hub and the rim with the bend and thickness of the spokes to ensure each spoke nestles perfectly in place and thus minimise stress on the spoke holes. Designing the rear wheel from scratch enables offset spoke lacing patterns that minimise ‘dishing’, and hence creates a stronger wheel. The manufacturer can reinforce the hub and rim or shave weight where appropriate depending whether the wheel is going to be used with a rim or a hub brake. They can create a complete range of wheels from the lightest weight to the absolute strongest with numerous options in between.
The end result is a wheel that you can argue is ‘beyond hand built’ quality yet, thanks to the economies of scale enjoyed by companies such as Mavic, Fulcrum and Shimano, one of these system wheels need not be significantly more expensive than a hand-built wheel made with a similar quality hub, rim and spokes.