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A response to Wheelbuilder.com’s open letter to NAHBS builders

  • By Andy Tetmeyer
  • Published Mar. 7, 2014
Hed builds all of its wheels in-house in Minnesota, and is an exhibitor at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

We published an open letter earlier this week from Rich Sawiris of Wheelbuilder.com, in which he called upon hand-built bicycle makers to show their creations with custom wheels at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, which takes place March 14-16 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Today, we present a response to that letter from Andy Tetmeyer at Hed Cycling Products.

Regarding the recently published “Open letter to builders of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.”

Hed wheels will be on several bikes at NAHBS and 2014 will be the sixth year that Hed has purchased a booth to display our wheels at the show. We have spent time and money at the show for the past five years and will continue to do so in because we see value in it. There are very few other opportunities where we can support a venue for custom builders, develop relationships with them, and speak to consumers face to face. The builders and show attendees are exactly the people we want and NAHBS is where we start those relationships.

Every single one of our wheels is handbuilt here in Minnesota and we believe they are a fitting compliment to the gorgeous frames that will be on display at NAHBS. We have 46 wheelsets on offer, as well as three bare rim models with hole count/size/brake track options. Calculating different models of front and rear wheel offerings would yield well over 100 wheelset options available from Hed. All of our rims and hubs are our own design. We do not rely on off-the-shelf design. If we did, they would not perform as well as they do on such a wide range of bikes in all conditions.

By aggregating products from a number of manufacturers, a wheelbuilder is certainly able to offer a huge range of choice in a handbuilt wheel. We don’t dispute that such a business model produces more choice than our offerings here at Hed. However, choosing components from a large list of off-the-shelf products is not the only way to get an extremely high quality handbuilt wheel. As both builder and manufacturer, Hed has a large range of wheels that can be mixed or matched to enhance the ride of any bike. We don’t believe they detract in the slightest from a custom frame. Hed has been designing and building wheels for 28 years, and like many framebuilders, we’re constantly thinking about design and manufacturing tweaks that will make our product perform even better.

And, like a framebuilder, when we come up with an improvement we can test it right away and make a change if it proves itself — in both frames and wheels that is the advantage of making your own stuff.

However, we only offer black nipples.

Andy Tetmeyer
Hed Cycling Products

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech / Commentary TAGS: /

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