The wheel has always fascinated me, and why wouldn’t it? It’s one of the oldest known inventions, with the earliest archeological example believed to be about 5500 years old. They get us from point A to point B every day, one way or another. Without the wheel, we’d be reduced to walking. It’s not natural. So when I got the chance to have a look at the Wheelworks team and their slick operation in action, I was more than a little excited. And the best part? I get to ride them!
I headed over to the salubrious Wellington beachside suburb of Lyall Bay to meet up with Wheelworks’ owner Tristan Thomas, a transplanted Canadian and former engineer who started the company in 2008 and has been churning out wheelsets in increasingly large numbers ever since. Recently Wheelworks have launched discipline-specific branding for their wheels, with the mountain bike side dubbed Flite and the road builds under the Maker moniker.
Tristan and his right hand man Gavin McCarthy ran me through the build process, and if you think it’s just a matter of chucking some spokes in and giving them a few turns, well you’d be very far from the mark: the process Tristan has developed over the years is one of precision, order and involves more than a few tools and tricks that most other builders wouldn’t even know of. I’ll do my best to run you through the steps as I watched my Maker/White Industries/DT x Velominati wheelset come to life.
I’ll be putting some time on these wheels over the next month or so and will bring a full ride report after that.