August 23, 2023 2 min read
With a legacy dating back to 1985, our seasoned wheel builder, Vern Niehaus, brings unparalleled expertise to the table. Over the past 30 years, he's honed his craft, producing custom-built wheels that stand apart from machine-made counterparts. By curating hubs, rims, spokes, and counts to match individual preferences, he infuses every wheel with a personalized touch, ensuring optimal performance and a ride like no other.
Q. Tell us about yourself.
I have been working in the bike industry since 1985. I have worked at a couple of shops before joining Cycle Analysis in Jacksonville Oregon. I've been with them for about 25 years building wheels and supporting their weekly rides every Wednesday night.
I did my first road race in 1979 at the Ashland Stage Race and my first MTB race in the mid 1980s at the Revenge of the Siskiyou race.
Q. How many years have you been building wheels?
I have been building wheels for over 30 years. My first wheel build was after I went to UBI in 1986. At that time all bike mechanics were required to know how to build wheels.
Q. What separates a hand-built wheel from a machine built wheel?
Hand built wheels are crafted with meticulous care to guarantee the wheel's accuracy and roundness, resulting in a more uniform spoke tension. Hand built wheels are much better than machine built ones as you can customize all the components to the wheel. You can pick the hub, rim, and spoke count. As a wheel builder I ask the customer what type of riding they are doing, are they looking for weight savings or better durability. I can recommend rims, spoke type and spoke count based on what the customer wants.
Q. Favorite AVT brands of hub/rim to build with?
White Industry hubs are my top choice due to their extensive options and variety. They offer various colors, center lock or 6-bolt rotor attachments, boost, super boost, or non-boost sizes. Astral Cycling and Velocity rims stand out for their affordability and being made in the US. When it comes to carbon rims, Astral Cycling and Enve shine.
Q. Can you share a memorable experience creating a custom wheel for a customer, pro or frame builder?
The most rewarding feedback I receive is when customers report setting personal records on familiar routes. It's a testament to the value of my work. Additionally, I've built wheels for notable figures like Chris Chance and Steve Potts, contributing to their customers' experiences.
Whether you're looking to upgrade your current ride or bling out a new build, we're happy to get you the exact set that fits your needs and desires! Learn more about our custom wheel build program.
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