On Saturday afternoon, four representatives of the biggest names in bicycle wheel technology and manufacturing came together in a seminar room at the Philly Bike Expo to discuss the present and future of wheel building technology. The four panelists were Boyd Johnson of Boyd Cycling, Andy Tetmeyer of HED, Brian Roddy of Rolf Prima, and Alec White of White Industries. The panel discussion was moderated by Tommy Barse of Cutlass Velo.
The days when cyclists would purchase separate hubs, rims and spokes to be assembled by a wheel building expert at their local pro shop are largely gone now. This has both disadvantages and advantages, but it's when you consider the wheel as a holistic balance of forces and tensile materials that building such a delicate system under the guiding philosophy of a single manufacturer makes a lot of sense. While there was some gentle disagreement and debate about some topics such as tubeless tire technology (most panelists said that the technology is still far from perfection), there was a consensus on a lot of topics, including the efficacy of wider rims. Here, Andy Tetmeyer of HED describes the development of the wide rim, and the discovery of its benefits: