Maker’s Mark

If the best things in life are free, Messrs Lennon and McCartney must’ve just been given a huge bag of top-grade cocaine and were off their little chops when they wrote that one. There are plenty of great things in life that are free, the outdoors, mountains, air, but no-one is giving away bicycles, cocaine or bourbon last time I checked (and I did check… was lucky to get away with a warning, on several occasions).

You see, there are things, there are good things, and there are really good things. You can chip in for a case of Woodies with a couple of mates, get smashed down at the footy fields and probably cause some property damage on the way home. You could buy a bottle of Jim Beam, mix it with Coke and drink it from a plastic cup in the shed while listening to AC/DC. Or you could acquire a bottle of Maker’s Mark, drop in an ice cube or sup it straight from a tumbler, while reading Tolstoy in front of the fireplace in your slippers. There is a difference, and usually, you pay for that difference.

I’m sure there is plenty to be gained from riding around the park on a department store bike, for most people. We call these people ‘ordinary’, i.e they are not bike riders. Bike riders will quickly eschew the Huffy and buy a ‘good bike’ to get to work on, ride in local events and maybe tootle around on some trails occasionally. They are happy with their $1000 machine, and why not? There’s not too much wrong with those bikes. But Cyclists don’t do this as a sideline, and having equipment that not only functions, but adds a certain refinement to the activity not only enhances the physical experience, but more importantly the mental one.

This is why companies like Wheelworks exist. While catering to a minority of people who ride bikes, they are sought out by those in the know, whose tastes and requirements go beyond that of just ‘getting around’. They exist because we like things to not only work, but work well, and to add a good helping of form to function, garnished with that little bit of spice that sets the ayahuasca apart from the oregano. Their wheels may be built by hand like many others out there, but as we witnessed, their meticulous methods add yet another dimension to the already personalised touch that machine-built hoops can only aspire to.

No matter what methods are used in production, the taste test always is the true marker of quality. These wheels ride great. You want semantics? You need me to legitimise their quality with terms like “laterally stiff” and “marketably compliant”? Or should I just tell you that they felt great in corners (stiff), accelerated well (but not with the ‘snap’ of ultra-light ‘climbing wheels’), were fantastic at speed in strong winds (aero effect of the 35mm rim, and there’s a 50mm option if you want even more buzzword for your buck) and matched my bike perfectly (prompting lots of questions from other gear geeks). If I had to pigeonhole this wheelset, I’d think it’d be a great crit racing wheel due to the incredible cornering, and a great all-rounder for anyone who just wants a well-made, unique wheelset that is easy to forget about and just ride.

The Maker brand is becoming conspicuous by its presence in these parts, and infiltrating the wider community of connoisseurs off-shore. It’s the same path that Jack Daniel trod all those years ago, from a backwater to the world. Because when word gets out, quality can’t be ignored.

Check out the Maker website for more info.

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64 Replies to “Maker’s Mark”

  1. Luckily there is no rule on wheels ala n+1 and their accumulation can sometimes go unnoticed by the VMH. Damn you good sir for the review and temptation (and probable procurement if things go well).

    And since the topic was raised, Angel’s Envy is quite nice especially paired with some rarely cooked dead cow (fillet is best).

  2. Those are damn pretty. LBS tried to sell me on a new wheelset last time was in, but the VMH overheard and put the kibosh on the whole operation.

    Rittenhouse Rye, baby. Quality whiskey at a regular drinking price. Toss in a nice grilled pork chop with some braised broccolini and you’re off to the races.

  3. @brett   stop it !  My head hurts.

    No need for descriptive prose, as they just look, well, fast, solid and aero.

    Tristan hasn’t got any that are about to “fall of the back of a truck” I suppose ?   (tongue inserted firmly in cheek )

  4. Nice wheels for sure.

    I’m currently agonising over which wheels to buy for the new set. Tubular for sure… but that’s all I know. HED Ardennes are currently atop the list since they are alloy and these wheels are “training wheels”. The extra width will be nice.

    T11 hubs are nice, but the price is, well rediculous but as you say, that’s the price you pay for top shelf.

    Might have to have another look at their CF offering…

  5. Long time lurker pedantry alert: it was Berry Gordy, not Lennon and McCartney, who wrote those lyrics. Good point though.

    As someone with a larger frame and carriage, I cannot afford to scrimp on parts, as they will make the whole experience as comfortable as a dose of wet pavé.

  6. *Drool*…The Jaegher is a very handsome bike to begin with, of course, but with those wheels, it looks superb. Great job. (I’m not jealous at all: green just happens to be my natural color.)

    Not a big bourbon drinker myself, to be honest (but someone gave me a Jack Daniels silver select as a present once, and that tasted very nice, admittedly…) As for whisky: just returned from a holiday in Scotland – where we spent 2 days on the isle of Islay. That’s where it’s at for the likes of yours truly – with Bunnahabhain the firm favorite.

  7. Just ordered a pair of the 50s in blue and orange with blue hubs to match the gulf racing colours on my bike. Can’t wait

  8. Stop stop I want new wheels. I can’t afford any though. Yet.

    Can’t afford any of the whisky I like, either. Lagavulin or Talisker or Laphroiag.

  9. @RobSandy

    The Lagavulin 16 year is possibly the finest whiskey routinely offered for sale, however if your taste runs to islay whiskey you might find any of the many, much cheaper, Jura offerings to your liking, plus you can get a jersey to match which is a win win.

  10. @dark42echo

    @RobSandy

    The Lagavulin 16 year is possibly the finest whiskey routinely offered for sale, however if your taste runs to islay whiskey you might find any of the many, much cheaper, Jura offerings to your liking, plus you can get a jersey to match which is a win win.

    It’s certainly the best I’ve had. I bought a bottle after I finished my last degree.

    I’m fond of Jura, as a budgetus option.

  11. @ameezy

    Long time lurker pedantry alert: it was Berry Gordy, not Lennon and McCartney, who wrote those lyrics. Good point though.

    As someone with a larger frame and carriage, I cannot afford to scrimp on parts, as they will make the whole experience as comfortable as a dose of wet pavé.

    Damn! Two fuck ups in two articles. I’ll get me coat.

  12. @Puffy

    Nice wheels for sure.

    I’m currently agonising over which wheels to buy for the new set. Tubular for sure… but that’s all I know. HED Ardennes are currently atop the list since they are alloy and these wheels are “training wheels”. The extra width will be nice.

    T11 hubs are nice, but the price is, well rediculous but as you say, that’s the price you pay for top shelf.

    Might have to have another look at their CF offering…

    I’ve HED wheels, the Ardennes and Jets, and race ’em both. Training, racing… whatev… they’re fast, light and solid.

    Two things I’ve yet to spring for: carbon wheels and power meter.

    Brett’s Jaegher was smoking’ hot to begin with and these wheels are perfect complement to the bike. Gorgeous. How could a person not wanna ride every day with that bike in the stable?

  13. The Ardennes is the name of the wheelset that uses the Belgium rims, in case that’s the confusion…

  14. @RobSandy

    @dark42echo

    @RobSandy

    The Lagavulin 16 year is possibly the finest whiskey routinely offered for sale, however if your taste runs to islay whiskey you might find any of the many, much cheaper, Jura offerings to your liking, plus you can get a jersey to match which is a win win.

    It’s certainly the best I’ve had. I bought a bottle after I finished my last degree.

    I’m fond of Jura, as a budgetus option.

    I agree that the 16 y-o Lagavulin is a fine offering. However…

    The Lagavulin and the 25 year old Bunnahabhain are both absolutely delicious – each in its own peculiar way. And while on the subject: if you should ever come across the cask-strength variety of Aberlour called ‘A Bunadh’, go for it. That one is at the top of my list, next time I’m at an airport.

  15. @ErikdR

    @RobSandy

    @dark42echo

    @RobSandy

    The Lagavulin 16 year is possibly the finest whiskey routinely offered for sale, however if your taste runs to islay whiskey you might find any of the many, much cheaper, Jura offerings to your liking, plus you can get a jersey to match which is a win win.

    It’s certainly the best I’ve had. I bought a bottle after I finished my last degree.

    I’m fond of Jura, as a budgetus option.

    I agree that the 16 y-o Lagavulin is a fine offering. However…

    The Lagavulin and the 25 year old Bunnahabhain are both absolutely delicious – each in its own peculiar way. And while on the subject: if you should ever come across the cask-strength variety of Aberlour called ‘A Bunadh’, go for it. That one is at the top of my list, next time I’m at an airport.

    My mouth is actually watering. In the same way that I can’t afford the bike or componentry I want, I can’t afford to buy the whisky I want. In truth, if I had to choose I’d buy bike bits. Whisky is sadly temporary.

  16. @RobSandy

    @ErikdR

    My mouth is actually watering. In the same way that I can’t afford the bike or componentry I want, I can’t afford to buy the whisky I want. In truth, if I had to choose I’d buy bike bits. Whisky is sadly temporary.

    True dat – but I just realised that I’ve had the Bunna 25 for more than half a year now – and the bottle is still almost half full. It’s certainly not a matter of superhuman self-control on my part, either: a dram like that just has ‘special occasion’ written all over it – and I can nurse even a tiny glass for an hour or more. Sniff, sniff…

    But yes: If I were forced to choose between good whiskey and good bike parts, the bike parts would win, hands-down.

  17. @ErikdR

    @RobSandy

    @ErikdR

    My mouth is actually watering. In the same way that I can’t afford the bike or componentry I want, I can’t afford to buy the whisky I want. In truth, if I had to choose I’d buy bike bits. Whisky is sadly temporary.

    True dat – but I just realised that I’ve had the Bunna 25 for more than half a year now – and the bottle is still almost half full. It’s certainly not a matter of superhuman self-control on my part, either: a dram like that just has ‘special occasion’ written all over it – and I can nurse even a tiny glass for an hour or more. Sniff, sniff…

    But yes: If I were forced to choose between good whiskey and good bike parts, the bike parts would win, hands-down.

    I like to think about doing that…but then I find myself topping up my glass again. To be fair, I can make a bottle last a while I have just been out of stock for a while. I drop plenty of hints that whisky is a good birthday or Christmas present. We’ll see.

    I’ve got a feeling I might get bike things this year instead…huh…

  18. @RobSandy

    Isn’t it strange, though, how one manages to adapt one’s expenses to the available budget? I was thinking earlier today about how, in darker days – i.e. more than 11 years ago – I used to be a heavy smoker (shame on me). At the time, I would merrily spend up to 1,000 DKK (about USD 150) every MONTH on cigarettes – and yet it never felt as if I had to scrimp on other items like food, booze and the like… Odd, that.

    More on topic: as much as I appreciate the beauty of the ‘Maker’ wheelset (and the way they make that stunning Jaegher look), I’m actually still struggling to live up to/become worthy of the Dura Ace C24’s that I bought a few years ago. Apart from the #1 bike itself, that purchase will probably represent the largest amount I’ll be spending on bike bits for some time to come.

  19. Department store bikes. Was riding the MUP home from work yesterday and came upon a gentleman walking his road bike. I asked if he was okay. Front flat. I was going to help him…but it had Schrader valves. Only had a Presta spare tube and my pump only works with Prestas. He said he was okay, though he had about a 4 km walk back to his car. I told him he could ride it flat, he was okay with walking.

    Just had my Record hubs laced to some Ambrosio Excellent rims with some DT spokes for my Tommasini. Looking forward to the maiden ride.

  20. Great looking wheels, and I am sure they are fantastic to ride too!

    As a wheel builder I get asked about shipping my wheels to Australia and New Zealand often, but the shipping can be prohibitive. I suggest @Oli or Maker Wheel Works for a set of island built shoes for the lady!

  21. @Oli

    @tessar

    The Belgium is also a clincher – I know, I built some for myself. Great rims.

    They build up nice. Have you tried the Pacenti rims yet? Full disclosure: I am the Canadian distributor; BUT, I took them on after realizing how nice they are. If anyone can compete with HED on quality for alloy rims, it is Kirk.

  22. I’ve still never sprung for ‘bone rims. One day.

    Though speaking of the improvements of a half decent set, I just shoved my old Fulcrum racing ones on (in place of Ultegra SL80s.) What a difference, they’re not light, they’re not aero but they’ve got some snap to them. Kind of a 1/3 of a bottle of Laphroaig 10 after a night on the beer type of wheel. With a kebab and a fight with a coffee table thrown in.

  23. Does anyone else get a profound sense of disappointment when you see a set of Campagnolo wheels, whether they be Khamsin or Bora or otherwise and then you realise the groupset is Shimano or SRAM? All I can think is buy Fulcrum then (same company). I was looking at replacement back up wheels (for when my 50mm are being trued) and as an owner of a bike with Shimano groupset, I couldn’t bring myself to buy even entry level Campag wheels. Not out of rivalry, but out of respect and not wanting to falsely advertise…

    …or am I overthinking it?

  24. @brett

    @ameezy

    Long time lurker pedantry alert: it was Berry Gordy, not Lennon and McCartney, who wrote those lyrics. Good point though.

    As someone with a larger frame and carriage, I cannot afford to scrimp on parts, as they will make the whole experience as comfortable as a dose of wet pavé.

    Damn! Two fuck ups in two articles. I’ll get me coat.

    We’ll start calling you @Frank soon!

  25. @Dan_R

    Great looking wheels, and I am sure they are fantastic to ride too!

    As a wheel builder I get asked about shipping my wheels to Australia and New Zealand often, but the shipping can be prohibitive. I suggest @Oli or Maker Wheel Works for a set of island built shoes for the lady!

    Sadly, Im a case in point for that shipping cost as @Dan_R points out.   Had to go local in the end after selling the DA 24’s.

  26. @Mikael Liddy

    I’d say that the spirit of  Rule #8 would preclude from mixing and matching in that way. Same deal with bar ends, I had a Prologo bar end come out after getting doored (to match my handlebars and saddle) and my bike shop meaning well replaced it with a fizik end (while leaving my remaining Prologo in place). Thankfully it was all black and I got my hands on a replacement to ensure consistency.

  27. @Mikael Liddy

    @ErikdR C24s, now there’s a wheelset with some snap. Those things come up to speed in half a pedal stroke!

    Yes, they’re literally brilliant, I think. Great for climbing, respond instantly and the acceleration is superb. And I’m always amazed, in view of all that, at the relative plushness of the ride. Very comfortable – Japanese sorcery at its best.

  28. @Barracuda

    @Dan_R

    Great looking wheels, and I am sure they are fantastic to ride too!

    As a wheel builder I get asked about shipping my wheels to Australia and New Zealand often, but the shipping can be prohibitive. I suggest @Oli or Maker Wheel Works for a set of island built shoes for the lady!

    Sadly, Im a case in point for that shipping cost as @Dan_R points out.   Had to go local in the end after selling the DA 24’s.

    Any particular reason why you decided to sell the DA 24’s? (None of my business, of course – but just curious – also in view of previous post …)

  29. Yes, riding a perfectly built set of wheels is a joy, but the act of building your own wheels is a joy in itself. Adjust, spin, listen, stop, tweak, spin, listen, repeat – silence, save for the pleasing hum of the Campag hub. This is special.

  30. @ErikdR

    @Barracuda

    @Dan_R

    Great looking wheels, and I am sure they are fantastic to ride too!

    As a wheel builder I get asked about shipping my wheels to Australia and New Zealand often, but the shipping can be prohibitive. I suggest @Oli or Maker Wheel Works for a set of island built shoes for the lady!

    Sadly, Im a case in point for that shipping cost as @Dan_R points out.   Had to go local in the end after selling the DA 24’s.

    Any particular reason why you decided to sell the DA 24’s? (None of my business, of course – but just curious – also in view of previous post …)

    Delamination of clear coat on both front and back.  Full warranty return and decided to sell as brand new.

    Went with full carbon 38mm

  31. @Barracuda

    Delamination of clear coat on both front and back.  Full warranty return and decided to sell as brand new.

    Went with full carbon 38mm

    Yikes… That does NOT sound good. How many km had you been putting on those wheels – ballpark figure? (Shimano offer a 3-year warranty on the DA’s, right?)

  32. @ErikdR

    unsure on k’s but lets just say when Shimano saw them it was a no questions ask warranty return.  Yep 3 years

  33. @Barracuda

    Mine are ancient: the 7850 series. I reckon they’d been gathering dust for years in the LBS, and I was able to pick them up for about USD 650 – which sounded like a real bargain.

    At a guess, I’d say I’ve ridden about 1,000 km on them (on pretty good roads), and things look fine so far.

  34. Loved my C24’s but one wet ride in the Pyrenees and they were fucked. Grit caught in the brake blocks and a descent of the Tourmalet and Hautacam and they were almost down to the wear hole. Nothing is replaceable so the hubs are still in perfect condition but the rims are shot. Kinda like a fit old man with Alzheimer’s.

  35. @eenies

    Urgh… that sucks, big time. I’d actually been wondering about whether it’s possible to replace/repair anything on the C24’s, apart from tuning the hubs (e.g. spokes, if one breaks? They’re quite high-tension,apparently…)

  36. @eenies

    Just stumbled across a site called Colewheels-dot-com: couldn’t help thinking (hoping?) that it might be possible to lace a set of their (alloy) rims to your DA hubs-spokes? (Not sure whether they will sell loose rims, though – but may be worth a try. Just a thought…)

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