I recently constructed a pair of wheels featuring a pair of 28 hole Gipiemme hubs that had sat in their box for thirty years. My customer was looking for a wheel set that would complement the appearance of a classic Moser that he had purchased. The bike will be ridden at the 2016 California edition of the Eroica, in Paso Robles; no doubt it will be ridden before, as well.
My customer has a fondness for the classic parts he couldn’t afford as a kid, but appreciates the progress in componentry that has been bestowed on us all. So, what rims to go with?
We wanted silver, just like Merckx, Ocana and Anquetil would have used; we wanted box section, like the old Mavic MA2s, not the aero designs prevalent in the 90s and later. We wanted wide because they work better in a multitude of ways, so we opted for the H Plus Son TB14 in silver. 23mm wide? Check. Welded seam, machined brake surface, double eyelets, elegant badge on the valve hole? Check’em all. They ended up looking really crisp, a beautiful mix of retro style and efficiency.
Building these wheels was not only a trip down memory lane for me, but also an occasion for realizing how much we stand on the shoulders of giants. Today, bikes handle better, stop better and climb better because of innumerable talented, passionate engineers and artists who wouldn’t stop looking for small subtle improvements. I feel blessed by their efforts.
Photos by Gabe Fox