Nothing would make more sense to review first than my wheels!
My title sponsor for 2016 and 2017 has been Southern Wheelworks. Dustin started the company a few years ago as a side project, working as an engineer during the day and building wheels late into the night. He hand-built wheels initially for local riders then word quickly spread of his talent. Dustin now builds wheels for those all over the country. When business started to grow and take off, Southern Wheelworks was ready to be a full-time service to cyclists of all kinds. Today, Dustin runs his shop out of Macon, GA providing customers with customized wheel builds to their liking and riding style.
When looking for a team and set of products to represent a few years ago, I didn’t know a lot about wheels. I initially spoke with Dustin and asked him what would be the best wheel build for my riding style. He put together a list of details about a set of wheels that fit my XC racing style with photos and full details
- HUBS: I9, 15×110 Boost front axle, 12×148 Boost rear axle, SRAM XD freehub body, orange
- RIMS: Nox Composites, Teocalli 29er front and Skyline 29er rear
- SPOKES: Sapim Laser, black
- NIPPLES: Alloy, black
We chose the Industry Nine hubs because of their light weight, durability, and responsiveness to each pedal stroke. We went with rims from Nox with a wider front rim and more narrow rear. The lighter/more narrow rear allows for a lighter feel, while the wider front increases sidewall support when cornering.
After confirming the details he had in mind, a few weeks later I went to pick up the wheels from him. With Dustin, everything from ordering and confirming the details of the build was organized with images and specific details.
When I went to pick up the wheels, he even mounted for me a new set of tires I had.
Before running a race-specific set of wheels on my XC bike, I didn’t know what I was missing. The huge benefits I’ve realized since running the new carbon wheel build are:
Control: Being able to maneuver your bike over technical obstacles most efficiently is key to getting through a section of trail unscathed. Being able to put power to the pedals at the exact moment you need it conserves energy and increases the likelihood of making it over that obstacle. That’s why I’m grateful for the 120 points of engagement (every 3 degrees) in my i9 Torch hubs. It allows me to quickly get through those tight corners and maneuver my way over technical trail sections.
Stability: Carbon wheels offer a much greater lateral stiffness compared to alloy. Also, with their greater strength-to-weight ratio, they protect against damage better. All these characteristics make for a more comfortable ride.
NOISE: Honestly, who doesn’t enjoy the loud scream of i9 hubs when charging a descent? Ok, maybe someone who enjoys conversating, being incognito, even being stealthy? None of which intrigue me enough to run a silent rear hub. Overall, the i9 Torch hubs are one of the loudest out there and with every tick of the internal pawls, you’re reminded that you DO have that engagement every 3 degrees.
Efficiency: Getting the most out of your wheel for the type of riding you’re doing, comes down to being comfortable on your ride. Because of the lower weight and increased strength of carbon, all the energy you’re putting into cranking the pedals is getting transferred to the ground.
My racing style may not be normal and representative of a customer to Southern Wheelworks, but the point is, WHATEVER your riding style, Dustin can offer a build that matches your budget and expectations. As being a company I’ve represented now for 2 years, whether your budget is a few hundred dollars or a few thousand, give Dustin a shout to discuss some options. SWW Instagram | SWW Facebook | SWW Website