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Wheelbuilder Recommendations in/near Boston?

Old 12-16-20, 08:07 AM
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praise dakinis
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Wheelbuilder Recommendations in/near Boston?

Hey, Im wondering if anyone can recommend a great wheelbuilder in/around Boston from recent experience? Im looking to have a pair of touring wheels built up from pre-bought parts, including a front dynamo hub. It would be great to hear if anyone had a really good recent experience, especially with getting strong touring wheels built. Thanks!

(*I posted this in the regional section as well but got no responses, so I'm trying it here)
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Old 12-16-20, 03:51 PM
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You might try Peter White in New Hampshire. Not super local but close enough and well respected and knows his stuff. Plus his website is always a hoot and so old school. You might try Sheldon Brown 's old shop Harris Cyclery, I would hope the high standards have been kept up and they probably have at least one person who can build a decent wheel.
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Old 12-16-20, 04:03 PM
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Email Parlee Cycles in Beverly. Parlee is well known for uber expensive custom bikes and probably has several good wheel builders in the rolodex.
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Old 12-16-20, 09:28 PM
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I had a pair built at Wheelworks in Belmont last year, 650bs. Turned out quite well. If you visit the store, talk with Peter Mooney. Hes a principal of the shop and a frame builder. I recall the build charge was $40 or $45.

Would second Peter White in NH, but its a haul.
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Old 12-16-20, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BCDrums View Post
I had a pair built at Wheelworks in Belmont last year, 650bs. Turned out quite well. If you visit the store, talk with Peter Mooney. Hes a principal of the shop and a frame builder. I recall the build charge was $40 or $45.

Would second Peter White in NH, but its a haul.
Oh shizz I forgot Mooney owned a shop, he is gotdamn legend makes some really nice frames. A good solid option.
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Old 12-17-20, 03:07 PM
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The head mechanic at Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington built me a great set of wheels.

David
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Old 12-17-20, 05:56 PM
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November Bicycles in Newport, RI. Excellent!
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Old 12-27-20, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
You might try Peter White in New Hampshire. Not super local but close enough and well respected and knows his stuff. Plus his website is always a hoot and so old school. You might try Sheldon Brown 's old shop Harris Cyclery, I would hope the high standards have been kept up and they probably have at least one person who can build a decent wheel.
Originally Posted by BCDrums View Post
I had a pair built at Wheelworks in Belmont last year, 650bs. Turned out quite well. If you visit the store, talk with Peter Mooney. Hes a principal of the shop and a frame builder. I recall the build charge was $40 or $45.

Would second Peter White in NH, but its a haul.
BCDrums I've heard of Peter Mooney's frames but I've found both Belmont and Ace Wheelworks shops to give quite unreliable service -- for which they're unfortunately notorious. If Mooney himself was building the wheels I might be much more inclined, so that's something to definitely consider. Does he build the wheels himself?
Thanks for the advice everyone! I had originally planned to have them done at Harris Cyclery (legendary Sheldon Brown's place, so obvious choice) but found that when I had my headset installed there, they had torn the gasket about a quarter of the way around on the fork crown race that Cane Creek cleverly puts on there, which felt like disheartening negligence. I certainly wouldn't want such negligence (small but noteworthy) on a pair of fairly expensive touring wheels.
Peter White's website is indeed fantastic but he's pretty far from Cambridge and I've already assembled the wheel parts (mostly from Germany) and I don't think he'd be thrilled to take a job like that -- but he would be very high on the list as a wheelbuilder, for sure.
The other one that's crossed my radar is Woody's Cyclery out in Middleton (just a half-hour south of Cambridge) whose website says: "All wheelbuilding is done by Master Wheelbuilder John (aka Woody) Stanwood, and come with an unconditional guaranty of quality and a one-year warranty against spoke breakage (if wheel is built to Woodys recommended spec), along with one years free truing (barring crashes and abuse)," and also that "All wheels are fully handbuilt, threadlocked (Linseed oil on vintage wheels by request!) and are fully tensioned to the CORRECT tension for the rim, spokes, hub and intended usage and we verify all tension levels with a Tension meter, not our fingers, no black magic or hocus-pocus." Has anyone had Woody's do wheels for them? I'd be very interested...
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Old 12-27-20, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by praise dakinis View Post
BCDrums I've heard of Peter Mooney's frames but I've found both Belmont and Ace Wheelworks shops to give quite unreliable service -- for which they're unfortunately notorious. If Mooney himself was building the wheels I might be much more inclined, so that's something to definitely consider. Does he build the wheels himself?
No. I have bought two reliable sets of wheels there, but almost 30 years apart. Fortunately, I have not experienced poor service, nor have I heard of it.

Thanks for the advice everyone! I had originally planned to have them done at Harris Cyclery (legendary Sheldon Brown's place, so obvious choice) but found that when I had my headset installed there, they had torn the gasket about a quarter of the way around on the fork crown race that Cane Creek cleverly puts on there, which felt like disheartening negligence. I certainly wouldn't want such negligence (small but noteworthy) on a pair of fairly expensive touring wheels.
I bought wheels from Harris back when Sheldon was the attraction. Now I'd prefer to go to Wheelworks.

Peter White's website is indeed fantastic but he's pretty far from Cambridge and I've already assembled the wheel parts (mostly from Germany) and I don't think he'd be thrilled to take a job like that -- but he would be very high on the list as a wheelbuilder, for sure.
I seem to recall that Peter would build wheels with the customer's hubs, but not likely from the customer's rims and spokes, if that's what you have. Peter built my first touring wheels for a cross-country trip in 1980! The wheels were good, no trouble until a flange on the Campy hub cracked years after the trip.

The other one that's crossed my radar is Woody's Cyclery out in Middleton (just a half-hour south of Cambridge) whose website says: "All wheelbuilding is done by Master Wheelbuilder John (aka Woody) Stanwood, and come with an unconditional guaranty of quality and a one-year warranty against spoke breakage (if wheel is built to Woodys recommended spec), along with one years free truing (barring crashes and abuse)," and also that "All wheels are fully handbuilt, threadlocked (Linseed oil on vintage wheels by request!) and are fully tensioned to the CORRECT tension for the rim, spokes, hub and intended usage and we verify all tension levels with a Tension meter, not our fingers, no black magic or hocus-pocus." Has anyone had Woody's do wheels for them? I'd be very interested...
I don't know Woody, but thinking it through, it's possible that a builder at a shop would not want to build from your parts, because they won't want to stand behind the wheels if there is a problem that may or may not be because of your choice of parts. What led you to source the parts but not get a build at the same time?

Another thought; there's craft and experience involved in making a good wheel, but not magic. I would think any well-established shop would have a competent builder. Good luck.
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Old 01-04-21, 03:28 PM
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Thanks for all this @BCDrums, I really appreciate the input. I actually bought the parts because I had a very specific idea of what I wanted, and because the parts I wanted were much cheaper coming from Germany, even with $40 for shipping. I've emailed a bit with John at Woody's now, but it sounds like he doesn't like using parts he hasn't sold himself in case they fail (which is understandable), so I'm seeing how I can convince him They'll do it at Wheelworks but it's quite expensive, Mooney doesn't build any of the wheels himself, and again I unfortunately don't really trust them so much, too many very young, inexperienced people being put to tasks that take real know-how. I can see how it could be very hit-and-miss.

The other place I have in mind is Somervelo, I really like the guy who runs the place and he seems very competent. Can anyone speak to a good wheelbuilding experience from Somervelo?

Thanks very much again to all!
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Old 01-04-21, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by David in Maine View Post
The head mechanic at Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington built me a great set of wheels.

David
Thanks for this suggestion! I've been in there for a coffee and the place seemed amazing. I'll call them tomorrow when they're open!
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Old 01-04-21, 05:14 PM
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Just to be clear...

Originally Posted by praise dakinis View Post
They'll do it at Wheelworks but it's quite expensive, Mooney doesn't build any of the wheels himself, and again I unfortunately don't really trust them so much, too many very young, inexperienced people being put to tasks that take real know-how. I can see how it could be very hit-and-miss.
I have been to bike shops full of people in their first jobs. Wheelworks is not one of them. The guy who built my wheels in 1990 is still there. The staff and the mechanics have gray hair, and many of them have been at the shop for years. And you get what you pay for there.

Good luck with your wheels.
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Old 01-05-21, 08:40 PM
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Old 01-07-21, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BCDrums View Post
I have been to bike shops full of people in their first jobs. Wheelworks is not one of them. The guy who built my wheels in 1990 is still there. The staff and the mechanics have gray hair, and many of them have been at the shop for years. And you get what you pay for there.

Good luck with your wheels.
This is well put, and it does inspire confidence! I'll try giving them an open mind again the next time I go back. In the meantime, after much research and a number of phone calls I'm thinking that learning to build my own wheels might be a great skill to have. So I'm thinking to go that route, and then perhaps bring it by a shop (like Somervelo or Wheelworks) where a capable builder could check my work and make a few tweaks if needed. But again, I really appreciate the valuable input you've given me here!
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