Choosing an Indoor Trainer

For fair-weather cyclists like me, winter means a lot more miles logged indoors than out, so I figured it was time to do a brief overview on indoor trainers. Here’s a breakdown of the available options:

Wind Trainers (Resistance provided by an exposed fan)

  • Pros
    • Inexpensive (generally $100 & up)
    • Natural road feel
    • Ease of use (simply change gears to change resistance)
  • Cons
    • Noisy
    • Not good for low-cadence, high-wattage workouts. (You may not get sufficient resistance spinning even your largest gear below 80rpm.)


Magnetic Trainers (Resistance provided by magnetic force on an enclosed steel flywheel)

  • Pros
    • Reasonably priced ($150 and up)
    • Quiet
    • Adjustable resistance, usually sufficient for intense workouts.
  • Cons
    • Unnatural, “choppy,” road feel
    • Not user friendly. Resistance is altered via external controls which can be prone to failure.


Fluid Trainers (Resistance provided by a “fan” enclosed in fluid)

  • Pros
    • Quiet
    • The most natural road feel
    • Ease of use (simply change gears to change resistance)
    • Sufficient resistance for high-watt, low cadence workouts
  • Cons
    • Expensive (Generally $200 and up)
    • Cheaper units can leak fluid and become very hot to touch


If the cost of a fluid trainer is not prohibitive, it will provide the best road feel and more than enough resistance for any type of workout. While most people choose the magnetic trainer as the “second best” option, I often recommend wind trainers for their ease of use and smooth feel. Indeed, wind resistance units may not provide enough resistance for some, but if you are using a 52 or 53 tooth large chainring with an 11 tooth small cog, you will have a hard time maxing out your windtrainer at normal cadences of 80 to 100rpm. That said, if you can spin a 53×11 at 100 rpm on a windtrainer, you will surely have noise complaints from your neighbors.

In short, be realistic about your abilities and your relationship with your neighbors before your make your decision.

…Till next time.





Bike Safety 202

After our last seminar at the shop, you should have an idea of the rules of the road and the etiquette of riding in a group. (Don’t worry if you missed it, we’ll run it again!) This next seminar, friend of the shop, Ryan Connolly will discuss your legal rights and responsibilities as a cyclists and how to protect yourself and family financially in case of an accident.

The discussion begins at 10:30 and will feature pastries by team sponsor Daisy Cakes! If the weather is nice, we’ll do a short ride from the shop at 11:15.

From, “The air is crisp and cool, roads are swallowed up by trees turning red and yellow, and the sun is shining. Fall begs cyclists to get out on the open road. Unfortunately, statistics show that more riders on the road equates to more accidents as well. In my line of work, I’ve seen enough incidents involving cyclists being hit by cars to make me more than a little nervous when I strap on my shoes for a ride. Sure, there are certain precautions you can take to prevent an accident from occurring (wear visible clothing, stay near the shoulder, don’t ride during high traffic), but there is not much you can do to prevent a careless or distracted motorist from hitting you….” read more here



Wheel Maintenance: Preventing Galvanic Corrosion

A not infrequent scenario in certain parts of the country: A customer brings a recently purchased bike to a shop to have a wheel trued and is dismayed to learn that the spoke nipples are seized and the wheel needs to be rebuilt. The customer may be understandably upset–How can this happen on a brand new set of wheels? Why haven’t I haven’t experienced the same problem with other wheels?

The answer is at once straightforward and complicated. A wheel consists of a hub, spokes, and rim. The spokes are threaded into “nipples,” small nuts anchored at the rim. (A few wheels have the nipples at the hub.)


Spokes are typically made out of steel and nipples are made out of brass or aluminum.  When dissimilar metals or metal alloys come into electrical contact galvanic corrosion occurs: One metal corrodes and deposits residue on the other, causing the nipple and spoke to essentially fuse. That’s the straightforward answer. The complicated answer has to do with how the wheels are built and the climate in which they are ridden.

Wheels built with brass nipples generally don’t corrode. Brass and steel have similar relative voltages (only .10v difference) so not much electrical activity goes on. Many modern high performance wheels, however, use aluminum nipples because they are lighter than brass. Aluminum, however, has a .5volt difference from steel, which means a high likelihood of corrosion when the spoke and nipple come into contact with brackish water which contains the electrolytes necessary for galvanic corrosion to occur. Corrosion is rampant in coastal towns and in Northern states where roads are salted during the winter.

To inhibit corrosion, most high quality wheels are built with “spoke prep,” an enamel like material between spoke and nipple that prevents electrical contact. Spoke prep also creates friction which prevents the spokes from unthreading. Unfortunately, the prep slowly breaks down over time and will no longer provide protection. Further, high tension wheels often use a brittle prep (such as locktite), which reduces the chance of spokes loosening, but will disintegrate when nipples are turned during truing. Once the spoke prep has disintegrated, corrosion is inevitable unless the wheels are subsequently maintained.

Spoke nipples need to be lubricated EVERY time a rider is caught in the rain and probably once every month or two, irrespective of the weather. A petroleum based oil will displace water and prevent corrosion.

Durham Cycles' customer Lee Sandstead demonstrates proper nipple lubrication.

Durham Cycles’ customer Lee Sandstead demonstrates proper nipple lubrication.

As illustrated by Durham Cycles’ customer Lee Sandstead, simply place a single drop of lubricant on the spoke where it enters the nipple. A lightweight chain lube will penetrate the nipple well, coating all the threads. Even if you don’t see it happen, you are likely to get some lubricant on your rims–it is VERY important that you wipe the braking surface with a clean rag, then clean with alcohol until you are confident no residue remains.

That’s it for now. Remember, email your questions to us through the contact page or send us a note on Facebook.


Installing Tubular Tires

This is the first in our winter series of tutorials covering bicycle technology, maintenance, and training. Do you have a topic you’d like us to cover? Send us an email via our contact page or leave us a note on Facebook. We’ll try to address as many reader topics as possible. 

Installing Tubular Tires

Cyclocross season is heralded at Durham Cycles by the smell of glue and acetone. Tubular tires, which are glued onto the rim, still reign in cyclocross, where their supple ride and low pressure traction can’t be approached by clinchers. You will find innumerable tutorials on the web for gluing tubulars and we encourage you to explore and find what works best for you. The method below is used by the mechanics at Durham Cycles. Followed properly, it will create an exceptionally strong bond between tire and rim.

Tubular tire installation has 3 components: Tire preparation, rim preparation, and tire installation. The entire process for a new rim will take 72 hours, so don’t wait till the last minute to install your tires!

Tire Preparation

  1. Stretch tire. Place tire on a rim (a clincher rim will work) and inflate to full pressure for 24 hours.
  2. Remove tire and saturate base tape with glue. It’s important for the tire to be inflated enough to hold its shape. Move slowly around the tire, gluing 2 inches of tape at a time.  (Some people use a brush, we find that a gloved finger works just as well.)tubular wet
  3. Let glue dry completely then apply a second layer. If you look at the picture below, you’ll see that the first layer of glue is not absorbed evenly by the tape. It is important to repeat the procedure until the entire tape is saturated through-and-through. A properly prepped base tape will have a glossy, lacquered appearance. Several applications of glue may be necessary.

    Tubular dry

    Note that the this first layer of glue has not been absorbed evenly by the tape. Several applications of glue may be required before the base tape is fully saturated

  4. Once the tape is fully saturated. Let the tire dry for at least 24 hours

Rim preparation

Aluminum rims

  1. New rim: Remove any manufacturers’ stickers. Clean surface of rim with alcohol (Use a clean, soft cotton rag. Anything else is likely to leave fibers behind.) Abrade rim with 100-200 grit sand paper. Clean surface with alcohol again. Repeat. (We cannot stress the importance of starting with a clean rim. Any oils from the manufacturing process can prevent proper tire adhesion. Wear gloves to prevent transfer of oils from your hands.)
  2. Apply one thin layer of glue to the tire bed. Again, many people use a brush, but a gloved finger works well too. Be sure to get the glue all the way up to the top edge of the rim as demonstrated in the image from Park Tool, below. Remember, too much glue will get “rubbery” and loose strength when heated by brake friction, so apply glue in thin, even layers.glue14
  3. HANG the rim to dry overnight. Don’t let it sit in an area where the glue may collect debris.
  4. Apply a second coat to the rim, being sure to fill in any spots which were not thoroughly coated on the first pass.
  5. Hang the rim to dry for at least 10 hours
  6. Apply glue as necessary to fill in any areas which were not fully coated. Let dry.


Carbon rims

We have found no advantage to using “carbon specific” glue. While it is claimed to resist heat better (carbon rims do not dissipate heat as well as aluminum), some suggest the room temperature bond is not as strong.

  1. Carbon rims often have multiple adhesive labels and may have a thin layer of lubricant left on the rim bed from the manufacturer. If these lubricants are not removed, the glue will not adhere properly, yet it will be incredibly difficult to remove as harsh chemicals and abrasives cannot be used on carbon. (Be prepared to spend 10+ hours cleaning your rims back to the completely bare surface!) Most rims need to be lightly abraded, then cleaned with acetone or an other manufacturer recommended solvent. CONTACT THE MANUFACTURER BEFORE SANDING OR USING SOLVENTS ON YOUR RIM.
  2. Follow the above procedures for aluminum rims.

Tire installation

  1. (Optional) Apply masking tape to the sidewall of the rim to make it easier to remove any glue which spills onto the brake track.


    Taping the side of the rim can expedite clean-up!

  2. Apply one last coat of glue to the rim. You will let this coat dry only enough to become “tacky”- your gloved finger should stick to it, but no glue should come off on the glove. (Drying time is usually only a few minutes at this stage.)
  3. Keep 10 psi in the tire, just enough air so that it holds it’s shape. Install the tire, valve first, moving your hands opposite from one another while applying downward pressure. The edge of the rim opposite the valve should rest on a completely clean surface. (You must apply stretching force the entire time you are installing the tire or the last few inches will be extremely difficult to mount.)

    Proper installation requires that you stretch the tire evenly on opposite sides as you go. (Photo courtesy of Park Tools)


  4. Use your thumbs to push on the last bit of tire. Try not to drag the sidewall through the glue. If you get glue on the tire or side of the rim, wait for it to dry then pick it off. You may use acetone to clean the braking surface of Aluminum rims and Zipp Carbon rims (for other carbon rims, check with the manufacturer); however, be VERY CAREFUL not to get acetone on the tire as it may be drawn into the fabric and soften the glue.
  5. Immediately begin to center the tire on the rim. The base tape should show evenly on both sides and an even layer of glue should be visible between tire and rim. (Some handmade, small batch tires have uneven base tape–make sure the tread is centered and smooth, which may entail the tape being off-center in places.) Check very carefully at the valve, where the base tape may bunch and create a gap between the tire and rim. Also check carefully directly opposite of the valve, where the rim was resting during tire installation. If there are any gaps between the rim and tire, place a dab of glue on the edge of a business card and fill in the gap. Alternatively, you may use a new, clean, hydraulic brake syringe filed with glue.
  6. Fill the tire to about 80PSI, let sit for an 30 minutes, then inflate to max pressure. (Inflating to full pressure before the glue has “set-up” a bit may cause glue to seep over the sides of the rim.)
  7. Wait 24 hours, then ride!

A note on using a previously glued rims

It is not always necessary to strip a previously glued rim down to bare metal or carbon before installing a new tire. If the glue is clean and is not hard and brittle, it’s probably okay to simply add another layer of glue and install a new, properly prepared tire. If in doubt, ask your local bike shop to check it out for you. Before mounting a tire on an previously glued rim, pick out all dirt and debris from the rim bed with tweezers and scrape dirty glue off the edges of the rim. (For aluminum rims, a razor blade works well.)

Why we don’t use tubular tape

While there are methods incorporate tubular tape which may work, tubular tape does not extend to the edges of some rims – the most important area to have good adhesion. (If a tire is going to roll off, it will begin from the edge, not the center.) Further, the glue in tubular tape will not penetrate the fabric of the tire base tape as thoroughly as will traditional glue.

Thanks for reading!



Bull Moon Ride and Rin

Bull Moon Ride and Run

Bull Moon Ride and Rin

Durham Cycles is happy once again to support the Habitat for Humanity “Bull Moon Ride and Run!” 

From Habitat:

“The Bull Moon event is a 12-mile bike ride and a simultaneous 5K run on Saturday,  July 27th through downtown Durham, starting at 8:15 PM.  

Those of you who have participated in the past know it’s a big rollicking fundraiser that celebrates Habitat and the Durham community.  We like to say we are a bit different from the other events in town!  Ours starts at night, people come dressed in lights, glow sticks, anything that brings the fun. There’s cold beer, amazing food and an awesome party waiting for you at the end. Please consider riding, running or walking.  Or better yet, create a team… it’s open to Habitat friends, partners and well-wishers, families with kids of all ages are welcome too.  Younger kids can be pulled by bike trailers/tandems or pushed in strollers – for those of you with little kids and lots of energy! Just remember to light up those trailers and strollers for safety and for added fun and flair!”

Register Here

Early registration ends July 1st. To encourage you to get in early, if you register between 6/27 and 6/30 you can get 10% off virtually anything in the store — including bikes!!!!!!!!!! Just show us your registration confirmation. (Items that are already on sale are excluded.)


National Title

Collegiate Nationals – Live!

Duke dominated at nationals in Ogden, winning the D2 Team Time Trial and the D2 Criterium. Perhaps more importantly, the team showed remarkable depth, heart, and tact. During the crit, Duke animated the race. They took primes as easy as sprints for the county line; they drove breaks and chased down dangerous escapes. Matt Rinehart and Mike Mulvihill kept the pace hard for the duration of the race, with Matt Howe strategically placing himself in dangerous moves. In the end, Rob Ferris buried himself to escort Mulvihill to the line for the team’s second national title of the weekend. While the team had burnt a lot of matches before the road race, they still had three riders in the top 20, with Matt Howe finishing just off the podium and Mike Mulvihill showing his versatility with a 9th place finish. Mulvihill also took second in the individual Omnium standings and Duke took 6th in the Team Omnium – despite not fielding a women’s team. (Next year, DC is going to do all it can to support the expansion of Duke’s women’s squad.)


Men’s D2 road race begins at 12:30 Utah time

My Schedule only allows me to blog the D2 men’s races, but if you get a chance look up the results of D1 Marian University’s women’s team.Very impressive. …Mike Mulvihill: “Marian is the Duke of D1”.

Slight delay to the start of the D2 race. They’ll be underway in a few.

Race is underway.We’re camped out at the first feed zone and will give you updates as riders come through.

Riders do three laps of a 15 mile loop before heading out onto a larger 32 mile loop containing the large climb of the day.

First time through the feed zone. Yale rider off the front on doomed effort. Rinehart and Howe are patrolling near the front of the pack.

Second time through the feed zone. Rinehart is in a break of 6 with a few seconds on the field. Everyone is fueled up after a few missed hand-offs.

Third time through the feed zone. A dangerous looking break has nearly a minute, no Duke riders represented, but 1 minute won’t be much on the climb.

Sorry for the long delay–technical difficulties getting a signal in the mountains. The break was reeled in, but it looks like an MIT rider made a blistering attack on the climb and put almost 3 minutes on the field taking a decisive win.

Matt Howe was the first Duke rider to finish, coming in sixth out of an incredibly strong field. Mulvihill hit the line 9th, a mystifying effort after all the work he did in the crit yesterday. Howe worked like a dog in the crit as well–as did Rob Ferris who led out Mulvihill for the win yesterday, and finished strong again today. Kaleb finished top 20 with Rob not far behind. Jeff Reid fell back with an injury after ferrying bottles about in the field for the team. Matt R. finished in a strong group, but we don’t know his placement yet.

We’ll post final results and a summary in the next day or two.


The division 2 men’s crit will begin in about 15 minutes! Scroll down for live updates.

Crit is underway!

Mulvihill takes the first prime!!!!!!!











Rinehart takes the second prime!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!











Lot’s of breaks trying to form, but the race has been too fast for anything to stick.

Duke is animating the race. Mulvihill, just nipped for the third prime.

10 rider group with Rinehart has a little separation

Group is back together — Rinehart takes another prime!









4 man breakaway with Rinehart off the front.

Matt and Rob are trying to consolidate a small gap.

Perfect strategy. Howe who has been sheltered has joined Rinehart in the breakaway. A few seconds gap…

It’s all back together with 15 minutes to go.

Duke has been doing a lot of work.

Mike and Rob have a small gap









It’s all strung out with Duke well represented in every attack!

Mike Mulvihil and Rob Ferris are now in a strong group of 6 with only three laps to go. Duke is the only team with more than one rider in the break!

Mike and Rob are in a group of 5 with 12 second on the field.

Mulvihill takes the win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Almost caught in the last two hundred meters, but Mulvihil wins decisively!










Due to technical difficulties we couldn’t live blog the TTT today, but we we’re glad to see Duke dominate today with a time of 42:37, 48 seconds faster than 2nd place, Navy.

If things aren’t up and running here at 3:30 mountain time for the Crit  Tomorrow, go to our facebook page for live updates.

Winning Finish

Duke crossing the line with the best time in the D2 TTT for the second year in a row!


Stages Cycling Power Meter

main imageThis Valentine’s day Durham Cycles was gifted with one of the first batch of Stages Cycling power meters. Below we give you a rundown of the potential benefits and drawbacks of the newest competitor in the power market and provide a real-world data comparison between the Stages meter and the PowerTap G3.

Stages meters should, in theory, make their competitors very nervous. Stages meters do not require a proprietary hub or crankset (like PowerTap and Quarq, respectively), but are rather built into manufacturers left crank arms. The elegant looking strain gauge adds a mere 20 grams to a typical drive train (compared to 90+ grams for other systems), is easily installed, and is easily swapped between bikes with the same bottom bracket. Most significant for the average consumer, however, may be that Stages meters, which begin at $699, can cost less than half as much as other power meters. Reducing the total cost of entry into training with power even further, Stages meters are Bluetooth enabled, meaning they can deliver data directly to consumers’ smartphones, negating the need to spend several hundred dollars on a Garmin or other ANT capable cycling computer. (ANT is the wireless standard used by Saris, Garmin, and others.)

Potential Benefits over Powertap Potential Benefits over Quarq/SRM
-Less expensive-Potentially lighter weight

(Actual weight savings will vary depending on your current hub. A 105 hub, for instance is actually about 30 grams heavier than a G3 hub. Most high-end hubs will be 30 to 90 grams lighter than the G3.)

-Bluetooth enabled


-Less expensive-lighter weight

(The weight penalty will be relative to your current crankset. Nonetheless, even the modest Shimano 105 is around 90 grams lighter than a Quarq S975.)

-Bluetooth enabled

-Easily swapped between bikes of the same BB type

So whats the down side? Stages meters can only be retrofitted to aluminum crank arms, meaning that if you’re riding Sram Red or Force you’ll have to use a Rival left arm. Stages currently has no offerings for FSA cranksets, nor do they have BB30 options outside of Cannondale Hollowgram. Given the popularity of the BB30 platform, we can only guess that Stages is having problems sourcing arms from SRAM, which owns Quarq, Stages competitor in the power market.

First impressions:


Stages addresses water resistance issues (the bane of most power meters) with a bit of humor.


The stages meter comes with clear instructions and is easy to install. (Installation is the same as with any crank arm. Unlike Quarq crank-based systems, there is no need to mount an angular velocity magnet to your bottom bracket.) Like all power meters, the Stages meter should be calibrated regularly. Calibration procedures depend on the computer or application you are using. The Stages crank arm will need to be placed in the 6 o’clock position before calibration or you will receive an error message.

After installation, the unit was immediately recognized by our Garmin. Unlike other power meters, the Stages meter won’t begin to transmit power data until it receives actual pedaling force. (I.e. you have to take it out of your work stand and put your foot on the pedal to get a wattage reading.) Because the meter requires actual pedaling force, however minimal, there is short delay before data appears on your screen. You will also notice in the tables below that at very low wattage the meter may appear to “drop out,” but we suspect that this is a latency effect and not lost data. (In any case, the “drop outs” are rare and have no practical effect on the instant or averaged data.)

After installing the Stages crank for triathlete Tim W, we were pleased to receive an email the following day with a side-by-side comparison of the Stages meter and the PowerTap wheel which Tim had been using for the past couple of seasons:

“…I thought you would be interested in the data I collected on my ride today comparing the Stages Power on my crank with the PowerTap wheel. I was really pleased to see  consistent the data between the two power meters. I rode 4 x 12 min intervals. The average power for these intervals was remarkably close: Stages 219W, 217W, 194W, 188W. PowerTap 223W, 218W, 196W, 187W. Probably within the margin of error.

Attached are snap shots of the power files. The first two pictures show the unfiltered power data as displayed in Garmin Connect. There are clear differences between these two data sets. However, the second set of pictures show the 30s average power from RideWithGPS. Now you can see that the data is almost identical. So, whereas there may be some real time differences between the Stages and PowerTap, for training purposes I think the Stages Power device works just fine.”

For illustration purposes, we have overlaid the PowerTap and Stages graphs. As you’ll be able to see, Tim is correct, there are some differences in the instant readings, but the 30s averages are almost identical. It should be pointed out that we do not know which of the instant readings is the more accurate of the two. Given the latency effect of the Stages, I might wager the Powertap is providing more accurate second-by-second data, but second-by-second data is of limited importance for training. A comparison of the 3second averages might be helpful in future tests. Since there is no wattage lost in power transmission from crank to hub with the Stages meter, it may provide a more accurate 3s snapshot than the PowerTap, but, again, there are few practical implications of what are likely minor differences. (Further, Powertap accounts for drive train power loss in its software.)




30Sec mixPowerTap (30s)



Overall we are very impressed with Stages’ offering, and we suspect that their biggest problem may be satisfying customer demand. While the longevity of the Stages meter is unknown, the company has been around for a while providing power meters for stationary bikes, which suggests they have the infrastructure and experience to deal with warranty and maintenance issues. Despite the risks inherent in being an early adopter of a new product, riders using Shimano cranks may want to seriously consider the Stages meters before investing more than twice as much in a Powertap or Quarq.

Wheel Review: Velocity Pro-Build

Wheel Review

Velocity A23 Pro Build: $600-$700

General Information: Formerly from Australia, Velocity rims are now produced in Jacksonville Florida. Complete wheelsets are built by The Wheel Department in Grand Rapids Michigan. The A23 is one of a growing number of rims available with 22-24mm wide tire beds. As compared with typical 19mm tire beds, the wider profile both increases tire volume and reduces tire deflection, leading to notably better traction, especially when cornering. Significant aerodynamic benefits are also claimed.

A23 rims are available in two wheelsets: The 20/24 “Pro-Build” set uses CX Ray spokes and alloy nipples, while the 24/28 “Comp-Build” uses double butted spokes and brass nipples. Though the “Pro Build” is marketed more towards road racing, Velocity assured me that it would be sufficiently stout for cyclocross given a rider of my size (5’10”, 165lbs). The wheels were tested during one week of harsh cyclocross riding in deep gravel and knotty single track. The wheels also logged about 150 miles on pavement.

Specifications: Velocity Race Hubs / Velocity A23 Rims / Sapim CX Ray Spokes / Alloy Nipples / 24 Spoke Rear / 20 Spoke Front

Note on Scores: Don’t just look at the raw scores. Each score is relative to our reference wheel, a 32 hole, triple cross Mavic Open Pro. Further, scores should be considered relative to the needs and characteristics of individual riders.

Weight Score: 95

At 1460 actual grams (1400 claimed), these wheels are very light for the price point and took over one pound off of the Felt Branded wheels on my F15X. (Variances in milling mean one can expect up to a 10% variance in the weight of aluminum rims.) For reference, these wheels are about 350 grams lighter than a generic entry-level cross or road wheelset and 60 grams heavier than Mavis Ksyrium SLS Wheels, which are about as light as one gets without using exotic materials.

Stiffness: 70

In our lateral deflection test the “Pro-Build” wheels proved very flexible. Front radial wheels built on wide flange hubs should have no appreciable deflection under a 50lb lateral load. Both front and rear wheels, however, had notable amounts of flex. Given the strong build quality and the well-engineered hubs (widely spaced front hub flanges and differential drive/non-drive rear flanges), I attribute the flex to the rim, which does not fare well with such low spoke counts. (I have built numerous Velocity rims with 28 and 32 spokes and was very satisfied with their lateral stiffness.)

Ride Quality: 93

Despite being quite flexible in our shop test, rim deflection was virtually unnoticed on the trail when using 32mm cyclocross tires at low pressure. With such a high volume tire, energy is dissipated in the deflection of the casing before it is ever transferred to the rim. (A 23mm road tire, however, will transfer more energy directly to the rim and will not be as forgiving of a soft wheel. Further testing with road tires is required.) On the trail, these wheels performed admirably. The low rotational mass meant they saved energy when negotiating technical sections, where one has to spin up from a near dead stop. The wheels also climbed remarkably well, making easy work of our test climb, which includes about ¼ mile of deep gravel. The wheels seemed to float on top of loose gravel and dirt and they descended with aplomb, which was unexpected given their low spoke count and flexibility.

Build Quality: 100

In 20 years as a professional wheel builder, I have never seen a better built factory wheel than the A23. The A23s are not a stiff enough rim to mask poor crafts(wo)manship and the Pro-Builds stayed rail straight after a week’s abuse on very rough terrain under a rider who is not known for his finesse. When I say “rail straight,” I mean that after a week of abuse, the A23s look like they were just taken out of the stand of a top-notch builder. Here’s a quote from The Wheel Department’s website: “We are very confident in the quality of our builds. When you receive a wheel built by The Wheel Department it will be ready to ride. Our wheels should not need to be re-trued or re-tensioned after initial riding…”. They’re not kidding.


The Velocity race hubs are available separately and seem a wonderful platform for building any high-end wheel. Widely spaced front hub with  a high / low flanged rear hub, they weigh roughly the same as DT Swiss 240s at a fraction of the price.

Overall 89.5

In use, the Velocity A23 Pro-Build is light, fast, and plenty stiff enough for a lightweight rider. If you weigh more than 180lbs or plan to use these wheels exclusively on the road, where the low tire volume may lead to more rim deflection, you may want to consider other options from Mavic or Fulcrum. If you are 160lbs or less, however, you’d be hard pressed to find a better performing wheel then the A23 Pro-Build.


2012 Durham Cycles Awards

Geoffrey Martin


The “SAVING DAVE’S ASS MORE TIMES THAN CAN BE COUNTED” award goes to Geoffrey Martin. Mr. Martin regularly worked 7 days a week during Durham Cycle’s first months. Magically, despite a minimal inventory (and often in spite of Dave’s protestations), we would always seem to have exactly what customers needed most. Innumerable “freakouts” have been averted because of Geoff’s uncanny knowledge of the location of every tool and piece of inventory in the shop at all times. It is by virtue of Geoff’s coolness in crisis that Dave made it through the shops most harrowing days. Most importantly, Geoff’s sober advice and sincerity keep people returning to the store, which makes this whole endeavor possible. Geoffrey will be receiving a Saab 93 to tow behind his current Saab 93 and use for parts as necessary.



We are proud to announce that Scotty Matthess has won the “SAVING YOUR ASS ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS” award. In the past several months alone, Scotty, with his keen eye and vast industry knowledge, has spotted 3 cracked frames, 2 cracked Campy crankarms, a recalled stem, numerous recalled brakes, and a recalled baby seat. Scotty most likely saved people from serious injury, identifying problems before a failure could occur. Durham Cycles and its customers are incalculably grateful to Scotty for his service. Congratulations Scotty: Your certificate, hand calligraphed by Eddy Merckx using Sheldon Brown’s favorite fountain pen (hand made from a 1967 Nuovo Record Rear Axle, with an ink cartridge of dirty Phil Wood lube) is in the mail.

MOST INTIMIDATING: IT’S A TIE! We couldn’t decide which strikes more fear in the heart of a competitor BRENNA FORESTER’s fierce snarl or ERIC WANG’s Magisterial Pose

Brenna Forester










Artist’s Rendering

MOST LIKELY TO GIVE YOU DIABETES: ANOTHER TIE. This time it’s a split decision for BECKY WOODRUFF of the Duke Cycling Team and Conrad Catolos of Durham’s Daisy Cakes. Their sweet personalities aside, the surfeit of sugary treats these two regularly bring to the shop are likely to mean an upgrade to the “club cut” jersey for Dave and crew.

Becky Woodruff (Artist's Rendering)

Artist’s Rendering


Rachel Lambert
















Congratulations to all the winners and our incalculable gratitude to all our supporters. Here are a few more awards:

  • Most Likely to Lap You: Alex McDonald
  • Keeping the Rubberside Up Award: Matt Rineheart. (Also winner of the “Sprinter who looks most like John Donne” Award).
  • Most Likely to impale himself on his bicycle: Gael Hagen
  • Most Likely to Impale someone else on his Bicycle: David LoSchiavo
  • Most Likely to Beat You Mercilessly with his Politeness: Jonathan Crimens
  • Most Likely to Ask You About Your Wheels: Jacob Richardson
  • Most Likely to be Blown Away by a Crosswind: Tim Wilson, Allie Middleton
  • Least Likely to be Blown Away by a Crosswind: Michael Mulvihill