Rolf Prima: Re-Inventing the (Spoked) Wheel

by Janet Bressler-Bilenky

Re-Inventing the (Spoked) Wheel


The safety bicycle was born in 1885, and the wire wheel is a few decades older than that. So, yeah, changes to bikes-as-we-know-them have been incremental and unpretentious. Why mess with what works? That’s not to say that improvements in design, materials and construction have not happened. Acceptance of the “new” takes time in the tradition-bound world of cycling. And when innovations are adopted, it can seem like an industry-wide “why didn’t I think of that?” 


In 1997, Rolf Dietrich came up with his paired spoke technology, resulting in a stronger, lighter wheel than conventional spokepatterns. Through patent issues, licensing agreements forged (and dismantled) and economic fluctuations, the brand that bears his name has weathered the storms and come out triumphantly hand-building wheels in the USA. Mr Dietrich retired in 2009, but under the leadership of Brian Roddy, Rolf Prima lives on stronger than ever. 


Rolf Prima presents a full selection of road, mountain, triathlon and tandem wheels featuring in-house rim manufacturing to their exacting standards. They now have a staff of 14 employees (and growing!), and recently moved to expanded facilities (still in Eugene, OR!)


“We will be showing some of our new Adventure wheels,” says marketing manager Brooke Stehley. “They come in 650b and 700c with customized hub, rim and decal color options. Adventure and gravel equipment is one of the most exciting trends in the bicycle industry today. Many of us here are bike packers and gravel seekers, so it’s fun to see it become more popular.”


The folks at Rolf Prima are “cyclists, craftsmen and perfectionists”. Their wheels go through rigorous testing and they love what they do. Because of their dedication to the sport, Rolf Prima offers sponsorship opportunities to athletes, teams and clubs. The Philly Bike Expo is proud to welcome Rolf Prima as a sponsor in 2017!