HAND­CRAFTED WHEELS BY CRAFTWORX

Australian Mountain Bike - - Between The Tape -

On the north side of Bris­bane, there’s a small shop frontage that hides some im­pres­sive wheel pro­duc­tion. Craftworx wheels was born in part from Ve­loc­ity Rims, and what started as a wheel-build­ing and re­pair ser­vice, has grown into a rim and hub de­sign, hand-built wheel spe­cial­ity com­pany.

Meet­ing with Mark Kirby, he states that the com­pany def­i­nitely has a South East Queens­land feel – mostly as their growth has been so or­ganic. Thanks to the skills of wheel builder Steven Craft, many peo­ple who buy Craftworx wheels have been per­son­ally re­ferred by pre­vi­ous happy cus­tomers.

Made for rid­ing

Craft and Kirby have de­vel­oped a full range of wheels, in­clud­ing the car­bon-rimmed Dirty Harry we tested last is­sue. But their range spans road wheels, XC wheels, trail rid­ing wheels and wheels best suited to grav­ity rid­ing. And while they have built rims and hubs with oth­ers in the past – they’ve used their long-term in­dus­try knowl­edge and cy­cling ex­pe­ri­ence to de­velop hubs, rims and to­tal wheel builds to suit each pur­pose.

“We are driven by func­tion,” says Kirby, when I ask about what leads them in de­sign. Wheels are de­signed with re­spon­sive­ness in mind. Not to­tal rim weight, or hub weight, but how the whole unit will op­er­ate. To this end, they avoid fol­low­ing trends - un­less there is a true in­crease in func­tion­al­ity.

Pre­ci­sion builds

In the work­shop Craft has a pre­ci­sion wheel tru­ing stand, and a cus­tom made jig for stress­ing spokes. Each wheel is pre­stressed to ex­act tol­er­ances with the arm that has a built-in Wurth torque wrench. It helps seat spoke heads into the hub, stretches spokes, and beds nip­ples in too. It’s just a small part of mak­ing a long-last­ing, great rid­ing wheel.

But the rims need to be made for the task too. Craftworx has four al­loy rims be­sides their Dirty Harry car­bon rim. By work­ing di­rectly with fac­to­ries to make the hubs and rims they want, Kirby and Craft be­lieve they have made bet­ter wheels than what’s mostly avail­able on the mar­ket. Each of their rims has a dif­fer­ent width, but they’re also dif­fer­ent in their stiff­ness. The de­mands of a rim for trail rid­ing is dif­fer­ent to that of a rim for grav­ity rac­ing af­ter all. It’s this abil­ity to make the rim ex­actly what they want it to be that means they have only re­cently re­leased a car­bon moun­tain bike wheel – as al­loy is such a hard ma­te­rial to beat.

“Peo­ple re­mem­ber re­li­a­bil­ity,” says Kirby, when asked about the key aim for their moun­tain bike wheels. And this mes­sage is start­ing to spread. Be­yond the doors of their work­shop, and be­yond the Queens­land border, more peo­ple are learn­ing about the qual­ity crafts­man­ship and in­tel­li­gent de­sign of Craftworx wheels. I was im­pressed with the Dirty Harry wheels I rode – maybe it’s worth check­ing out these Queens­land crafted wheels your­self?

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