Latest news, product updates, technical how to's, bling builds and more from AVT Bike.

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12 Bling Builds of Xmas - Squid Sierra Shredder

The first bike in our 12 Bling Builds of Xmas is the Squid Sierra Shredder!

This bike just seemed like a perfect way to kick off our 12 Bling Builds of Xmas!  It's colorful, has some amazing one-off anodizing from Paul Components, White Industries, and Velocity and looks like it would be as much fun to ride as it is to look at! 


Check out the photos below, and if you want more information about the bike and the process of creating it, check out Squid's blog

Photo courtesy of Squid Bikes

Photo courtesy of Squid Bikes

Photo courtesy of Squid Bikes

Photo courtesy of Squid Bikes

Photo courtesy of Squid Bikes

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Rare and Hard to Find Hub Colors

Here at AVT we have the latest parts, but we also have some older, out of production ones, and in this post we show a sampling of them!

What hub do you need on you're work bench?

With the rainbow of colors that manufacturers like Chris King, White Industries, and Phil Wood produce, it's easy to forget that those respective rainbows have changed over the years!

This coming Monday Chris King's color choices will be changing again because they will have their last call for their Polished Turquoise and Polished Mango.  After those last batches get anodized, they will be increasingly hard to get a hold on, so if you've been wanting a set for your bike, now's the last sure time to get some before the options become limited!

But what if that color that you know would be perfect for your bike is already out of production?  We don't talk about it every day, but we have more parts than those shown on our Rare & Hard to Find and AVT Outlet pages(though they're great places to start!).  Below is a small sampling of some of the many hubs that we have waiting for that special project! 

Our stock is limited on these parts, and we have more of some colors than of others, so if you're looking for something in particular, the sooner you get your order in the better!

Chris King R45D in Polished Green
Chris King R45 hub in Polished Pewter
Chris King R45 front hub in a dark Polished Brown
Chris King R45 hub in Gold
Phil Wood Track hub in White
Phil Wood Track hub in Mango
Phil Wood Track hub in Pink
White Industries T11 hubset in Green

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That's One Classy Brompton You've Got There....

Custom built Brompton folding bike that uses all the the best parts from Chris King, White Industries, Paul Components, and Phil Wood!

A month or so ago a customer bought some shiny bits from White Industries, Phil Wood, and Chris King to finish out his special folding bike build.  Now we've got photos of the finished bike, and we're pretty impressed!

This bike uses White Industries' beautiful VBC Square Taper cranks and matching big ring with a Phil Wood Square Taper bottom bracket, so this rider will be able to just ride his bike day after day without worrying about his bottom bracket going bad!

The parts that he's chosen for this build are perfect because they not only give the bike the look he's going for, but they're all durable enough to last a lifetime! From the Chris King 2Nut Headset to the Phil Wood Brompton front hub and Square Taper bottom bracket, and Paul Components Polished Canti Levers these parts blend durability with good looks, and really are perfect for the bike that you just want to ride for a long time!

We just love the details on this bike, so take a look at the rest of the photos below

As always, if you're working on a Blink Build, we'd love to hear from you! 

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Our Black Friday Sale is here!

Our Black Friday Sale is on now! From now through Monday, November 26th, we're offering 15% OFF SITEWIDE!

Well, it may not quite be Black Friday yet, but it's close enough as far as we're concerned! 


Between now and the end of the day on Monday, November 26th, we're offering 15% OFF SITEWIDE when you use the code BlackFriday2018 at checkout!

This is your chance to get those wheels, that headset, bottom bracket, or anything else we sell at a HUGE discount, and it won't last, so be sure to use the code before Monday ends!


Black Friday Terms & Conditions:
- Discount code is valid until midnight Monday 26th November.
- Discount code cannot be used in conjunction with other promo codes.
- Free USA shipping over $75 and International over $350 still apply.
- Please allow extra time to prepare your order for shipping during this busy time! Most orders placed during the promotional period will ship towards the end of the week of 26th November or the start of the following week.
- Please also allow additional time for certain products which are assembled on demand including many rear hubs and wheels.
- AVT’s office including email / live chat / phone support will be closed over the Thanksgiving Holiday (Thursday 22nd & Friday 23rd Nov). We will re-open again on Monday 26th, but please be patient as we catch up on inquiries & orders received over the holiday period.

Click Here To Read More.


Dropset Fit Roundup

Chris King DropSet compatibility revisited

You may have read our first blog post about which DropSet fits which bike, but now that we've worked with more customers, and done more digging to find out which bikes work with which DropSets, we figured it would be a good idea to do a followup post! 

First a little refresher on the different models:

DropSet 1: IS41/28.6 45/45 degree Upper Bearing, IS52/40 45/45 degree Lower Bearing (fits many Santa Cruz, Yeti, Alchemy, IBIS).
DropSet 2
: IS42/28.6 45/45 degree Upper Bearing, IS52/40 45/45 degree Lower Bearing (fits OPEN plus many Specialized, Trek, Cervelo and other major brands).
DropSet 3
: IS41/28.6 45/45 degree Upper Bearing, IS52/40 36/45 degree Lower Bearing (fits forks with a 36/45 degree crown race).

Below is a list of the bikes and brands we've checked out.  It's not exhaustive by any means, and we encourage you in any case to take a look at your headset bearings (they will almost always have their dimensions etched onto the outside of the bearing) before ordering just to be sure yours matches the information we have! 

If you need help finding the correct headset for a bike that's not on this list, we'd recommend checking the Cane Creek Headset Fit Finder, and then calling us so that we can make sure you get the right one!

All-City:

The new Cosmic Stallion uses the an integrated tapered IS42/28.6 IS52/40 headset, which translates to a DropSet 2 headset.  Pretty much every All-City frame is compatible with a Chris King headset, and many will also work with the options we have from White Industries and Phil Wood, but we're sticking to DropSet compatibility here, so we won't go into detail on the others!

Ibis Cycles:

Most of the Ibis frames use one of the InSet variations, but the Hakka MX uses and integrated tapered IS41/28.6 IS52/40 headset which translates to the DropSet 1 headset.

Mason Cycles:

All Mason Cycles frames currently use integrated tapered IS42/28.6 IS52/40 headsets, so they work with the DropSet 2.  

Santa Cruz:

The vast majority of Current Santa Cruz bikes use integrated tapered IS41/28.6 IS52/40 headsets, so they work with the DropSet 1.  The few exceptions to this are the V10, which uses  an Inset 5 and the Jackal, which uses an InSet 3.

Trek:

Many, but not all Trek bikes use the DropSet 3.  The best idea with these is to remove your headset bearings and check the size, because Trek uses many different headset styles and standards across their line, and some are completely proprietary, while others will work fine with an aftermarket headset like DropSet.

Specialized:

Many Specialized bikes use a DropSet 2, but because of the wide range of variations between the models it's hard to say with much certainty until you look at the bearings in your bike, so that's what we recommend doing in order to determine which will work best.  One example that we've researched is the current S-Works Tarmac Disc, which uses the DropSet 2

3T:

The 3T Exploro uses an integrated tapered IS42/28.6 | IS52/40 headset, which translates into a DropSet 2.  Currently there isn't a Chris King headset that will work with the Strada, which uses a smaller lower bearing.

Open:

The Open U.P. uses an integrated tapered IS42/28.6 | IS52/40 headset, like the 3T Strada above, so it uses a DropSet 2 as well.  This is true for all versions of U.P., including the 'Classic', 'New', and the U.P.P.E.R.

Genesis:

Genesis, like some of the other brands already mentioned, uses a variety of headsets, some of which have Chris king equivalents, and some of which don't.  We've found that many of the ones that use integrated headsets use the DropSet 2, but we recommend checking the bearings in yours before ordering. 

Beyond this list, Chris King has these general compatibility notes:

The DropSet 1 is compatible with Santa Cruz, Yeti, and Alchemy, among others.

The DropSet 2 is compatible with Open, 3T, All City, Low, Cinelli, and Lynsky, among others.

The DropSet 3 is compatible with the Santa Cruz Stigmata (without baseplate), among others.

Given the vast array of variations in headset dimensions right now, it's beyond the scope of this post to list everything, because in many cases finding out what will fit what takes some research, so we'd love to hear from you about any new fits that you find.  This will help us help other riders to find the right headset for their bikes!

And of course, if you need our help figuring out which headset will fit your bike, we're here, so just give us a shout!

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Black Axles Now Standard On Most Chris King Hubs...

As you might have seen, black axles and end caps have been available up to now only on Chris King Matte hubs, or as an optional upgrade.

But new for 2019, Chris King will now be shipping all hub colors with the exception of SILVER with the black axles, axle clamps, end caps and driveshell.

Matte Punch Boost AB hub shown with both black parts (standard) and silver parts (custom).

So good news all round for fans of the black parts, but we're all about customization here at AVT, so if you are still looking for a pair of Chris King hubs in any color with the silver parts (or a pair of Silver hubs with black parts for that matter!) we've added that as an option AT NO EXTRA CHARGE! 

A pair of new gloss black Centerlock R45 hubs, previously available with silver parts as standard, now with black parts.

Just contact us once you've placed your order if you'd like to change the parts color - and please allow a few extra days for hub assembly before shipping.

Click Here To Read More.


Centerlock Hubs Compared

Centerlock hubs have come into their own, and now Chris King, White Industries, and Phil Wood all have offerings! We've got your breakdown of

** Looking for this week's Promo Code? Read on to the end of this post... **

As Shimano's centerlock rotor mounting standard has become widely accepted by hub manufacturers and us riders alike, there is now an increasing number of options available, and we all know that where there are choices, there are questions!  Now that Phil Wood's new Centerlock Disc hubs are joining the White Industries CLD and Chris King R45D Centerlock in our store, we thought it would be a perfect time to talk about the differences between the three. 

While opinions vary from rider to rider on whether ISO (6-bolt) or Centerlock is the best standard, we do tend go with the latter when there's an option.  The simple, one-tool installation and removal is easy on the wrists, very secure, and just feels like an elegant, modern solution to disc mounting.  It's lower profile, and should offer slightly better aerodynamics (though we haven't found any studies on that), but most importantly, it just works well.  Whether you're already a fan of centerlock or not, we hope this post will help you understand more about the options that we have to offer because we feel that they're really good ones!

There are a number of considerations when it comes to choosing the best hub, so rather than comparing each of the parts, we'll just talk about the key points of each.  That way you can see which one has the features you're looking for!

White Industries CLD and CLD+

Like all White Industries hubs, the CLD is beautifully machined in Petaluma, CA.  It's available in a standard 135/142mm  rear and 100mm OLD front version called the CLD, and a 148mm rear and 110mm front boost version called the CLD+.  Both versions are available in White Industries' full range of colors: polished silver, black, gold, pink, purple, red, or blue anodized (though the colors do come with a slight up-charge).

 

We really like the fact that each of of these is available with the full range of White Industries freehub bodies, so if you want an XD driver on your gravel bike, you can do that no problem.  Speaking of freehub bodies (including the new Shimano Micro Spline compatible one!), White Industries makes all of theirs out of titanium, which not only means they're lightweight, but it also makes them more durable than an aluminum variants.  This is mainly a consideration for the classic Shimano HG style because the individual cassette cogs will tend to dig into aluminum freehub bodies to varying degrees over time.  A titanium freehub means no marring, great durability, all without the weight of steel! 

If there's a place where the White Industries hubs fall behind the others in this post it's probably their bearings and bearing adjustment, which uses a simple system of set screws to hold the adjustment ring in place.  White Industries, like most other hub companies (that's important!), uses stock sealed cartridge bearings.  That's not really a bad thing, but in this group, it's a small disadvantage.  Some might even say that it's probably better to leave bearing manufacture to bearing companies, but as we'll see later, that's not the end of that story.  One upshot of this type of bearing is the White Industries only offers a 60 day warranty on the bearings in their hubs (which is longer than most considering that many companies consider bearings disposable, and don't warranty them at all), but when compared to Chris King's 5 year bearing warranty, it's a bit on the short side.  A potential positive of this choice though, is that the bearings are all standard sizes, and so are readily available should you need to replace them.  On top of that, you have choices when it comes to replacements: there are steel, stainless steel, and ceramic bearing options out there, and on top of that, you have choices of different seals and types of grease.  All of this lets you tune your bearings to your riding conditions and needs, and makes this 'disadvantage' look a lot more like a potential advantage.  And importantly, this also allows these hubs to be more affordable than the other options.

Overall White Industries CLD and CLD+ hubs are really great hubs.  They're lightweight, have an extremely smooth and low-drag freehub with a distinct, but not overly loud sound, and you get all of that for a lot less money than the competition.  We recommend them highly, and use them on many of our own bikes!

Chris King R45D Centerlock

The R45 was Chris King's fist deviation from their classic 72 tooth ring drive mechanism, and this centerlock disc version of that hub uses that same new mechanism.  Along with the new 45 tooth ring drive, which reduces drag when coasting, this is also the first (and currently only) hub that Chris King offers with a centerlock rotor mount.  This hub is available in Chris King's super-rainbow of colors, which, as of this writing is: Black, Silver, Red, Navy, Mango, Turquoise, Matte Jet, Matte Slate, Matte Punch, Matte Mango, Matte Turquoise.  These hubs are available in 24, 28, and 32 hole drillings.

The R45D Centerlock has a lot going for it, and high on the list of its positive attributes has to be its bearings.  While you can make the argument that it might be best for a manufacturer that makes only bearings to be in charge of that part of the hub, Chris King seems to have proven that that's not always the case because the bearings in these hubs–like the bearings in all Chris King products–are second to none, and they've got a warranty to back it up!  These bearings tend to feel slightly stiff when they're brand new, because, like the best old Campagnolo hubs from yesteryear, they are made to break in and give decades of smooth riding.  All you have to do is periodically service them and adjust the hubs!  It's safe and justified to say that these bearings are in a league of their own, and they are an important part of what you're paying for when you invest in Chris King parts.  They're also one of the big reasons we love this stuff so much!

Beyond the bearings, you have the Ring Drive mechanism.  Now whether or not you love the classic Chris King buzz sound, it's hard to deny the fundamental design merits of this freehub design.  By completely engaging two rings, drive force is spread out much more widely than it is in a traditional pawl design, and on top of that, you get super fast engagement (though slower on the R45 than on Chris King's other hubs with their greater number of teeth).  Like the bearings, the freehub mechanism is designed to be serviced periodically, and only gets better with age.

So with all of the really special aspects of the R45D Centerlock hubs, are there any downsides?  Yeah, the answer is yes, in certain circumstances.

  • First, the R45D Centerlock is only available with an aluminum Shimano HG 11 speed driveshell option, so if you want to use a Campagnolo, Sram XG, or one of the other cassette options designed around an XG driver, you're out of luck–at least currently.
  • Second, the R45D Centerlock isn't available in a boost version.  Because this is a road and gravel-specific hub (with its focus on lightweight and low-drag), where boost spacing isn't used, it might make more sense to say that currently Chris King doesn't currently offer a centerlock mountain bike hub.

These may or may not be deal-breakers for you, and if they are, we have the other options for you that are available with multiple driver and spacing options!  For many riders, the limitation to a Shimano Driveshell isn't a limitation at all, and road, cross, and gravel bikes with boost spacing isn't really a thing, so the R45D Centerlock hubs will work great for most riders.  At the end of the day, these are arguably some of the best, if not the best road disc road hubs on the market: you might be able to find slightly lighter hubs, or hubs with more freehub options, but you won't find a lightweight hub that will only get better with time, and that you can expect to ride and still be proud to ride in 10 or 20 years.

Phil Wood Centerlock

This one's fresh out of the anodizing tank, as it were, and is set to start shipping any day (which is why we don't have a photo of it in the wild). If you're familiar with Phil Wood's other hubs, you'll have an idea of the their design philosophy: make it durable, polish it well.  Well, of course there's a lot more to it than that, but it's not without reason that Phil Wood has built up a reputation for making extremely durable parts with finishes that you can get lost in.  Hubs with the iconic red script logo are built to last, with beautifully polished hub shells, and heavy duty axles, and easy-to-service freehub designs.  These hubs are available for 100mm OLD, 9mm QR, or 15mm thru axle front spacing, and 135mm QR or 142x12mm TA rear.  Like the other options Phil Wood hubs come in a wide range of colors, and like White Industries, those colors cost a bit extra.  Because Phil Wood does small runs of each color, sometimes there's a bit more of a wait for some of the options, which currently are: Silver, Black, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Pink, and Gun Metal Gray. 

The centerlock hubs have high flanges with windows to save weight, and because of how much smaller the rotor mount is than their ISO hubs, these should save some weight when compared with their other disc hubs.  With the different axle and driveshell options available, these hubs can be built for light-weight or maximum durability, so you can really tune them for your needs!

Phil Wood, like White Industries, uses sealed cartridge bearings in stock sizes in their hubs.  What sets them apart, however, is that those bearings are completely custom made for them, and they bring nearly 50 years of sealed bearing experience to those bearing designs, specifying everything from bearing tolerance to seal gap and type.  Phil Wood was by most accounts the first company to use sealed cartridge bearings in bicycles, and since the early days, they've been known for have the best out there.  All of their bearings are also filled with their well-known and loved Phil Wood Waterproof grease.  They also have standard, and low-drag carbonyte options available.  There's a good reason why Phil Wood replacement bearings have long been the go-to for anyone looking to upgrade the stock sealed cartridge bearings in their hubs (and other parts): these are a big step above much of the competition, and are designed to give long service intervals with low to no maintenance.  

Phil Wood has used a simple, but effective freehub design for quite a few years, but last year it got a few upgrades including a new 40 too drive ring with five, individually-sprung pawls.  All of this makes for a freehub that has the same great durability as the previous version, but with faster engagement.  Based on our experience, Phil Wood freehubs are among the easiest to service of any currently available, and like the rest of Phil Wood's line, are designed with maximum durability in mind.

Since the company's start in 1971, Phil Wood has been in the business of making hubs.  In the time since, they've tended to stay away from trends to make things lighter at the expense of durability, and have instead focused on making really high-quality parts that are worth investing in, and that holds true today.  These hubs might not be the lightest, they might not have the fastest engagement, but they are beautiful, work flawlessly, and are designed and built to last.  If you you think they're the right hubs for you, you're probably right because they are fantastic, and come with our very high recommendation!

So which one is best for you?

While each of these options represents one of the best hubs available, they each have their strengths, so below you'll find some of the key points compared.

Color Options

White Industries:

  •  Polished silver, black, gold, pink, purple, red, or blue anodized

Chris King:

  •  Black, Silver, Red, Navy, Mango, Turquoise, Matte Jet, Matte Slate, Matte Punch, Matte Mango, Matte Turquoise

Phil Wood:

  • Silver, Black, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Pink, and Gun Metal Gray

Spacing Options

White Industries:

  • CLD front is available in 100mm spacing for 9mm QR, 12mm TA, or 15mm TA.
  • CLD+ front is available in 110mm spacing for 9mm QR or 15mm TA.
  • CLD rear is available in 135mm QR or 142x12mm TA spacing.
  • CLD+ rear is available in 148x12mm TA spacing.

Chris King:

  • R45D Centerlock front is available in 100mm spacing for 9mm QR or 12mm TA.
  • R45D Centerlock rear is available in 135mm QR or 142x12mm TA spacing.

Phil Wood:

  • Centerlock Disc front is available in 100mm spacing for 9mm QR, 12mm TA, or 15mm TA.
  • Centerlock Disc rear is available in 135mm QR or 142x12mm spacing.

Freehub body (driveshell) Options

White Industries:

  • Shimano HG 11 speed (compatible with 8/9/10 speed with included spacer).
  • Campagnolo.
  • Sram XD/XDR.
  • Shimano Micro Spline compatible freehub body in the works.

Note: all White Industries drivers use the same titanium construction and 3 pawl/ 48 point engagement.

Chris King:

  • Shimano HG 11 speed.

Note: only available with aluminum driveshell, so there are no stainless, or Campagnolo options available for the R45, though they are for other Chris King hubs.

Phil Wood:

  • Shimano HG 8/9/10/11 speed.
  • Campagnolo 9/10/11/12 speed.
  • Sram XD.

Note: all Phil Wood drivers available in heat treated stainless steel or 7075 aluminum.

Still have questions?  There are a lot more details on each of the product pages, so check those out, but if you have more, we're here to help!  Give us a shout, and we'll help you figure out the best option for you! 

Once you've decided which hub will work best, use the code below to save!

THIS WEEK'S PROMO CODE = 12_Centerlock

Buy any Centerlock hub from Chris King, White Industries or Phil Wood and get 12% off.
Just use code: 12_Centerlock when you checkout. Applies to any quantity of hub purchase.
Valid until midnight Nov 14th.

Click Here To Read More.


A Closer Look at Mike Desalvo's Builder's Choice bike

If you saw our post about our favorite bikes from the Chris King Open House, then you'll recognize this bike, and you'll also understand why we wanted to look at it in a little bit more depth! 

Mike's idea is that of making a bike that he's into building–which in some ways might seem like a no-brainer–but given that custom builders are in many ways are building bikes for other peoples moods, they don't always get to build the bikes that they might be most into.  Thinking about this though, it really seems like if you're getting a bike that the builder is stoked-on, you're most likely to get the best bike that builder can make, so it's really a win-win for everyone: the builder gets to build the bike that makes him happy to build, you get to ride the best-thought-out, most stoke-filled bike you can get from that builder!


This bike also highlights the new Chris King Matte Turquoise color, which we're really stoked-on.  The matte finish of the components sets-off the deep gloss black of the fork and front triangle, while simultaneously tying in with the brushed ti of the rear!  There are only four more of these bikes available, and whoever manages to snag one, is going to have a killer ride for sure.

Check out the photos, and if you like what you see, check out Desalvo Cycles!  If you just need to get some of the lovely matte goodness, we can help you with that!


 

Click Here To Read More.


Alloy Wheels Are Better Than Ever!

Alloy rims are still a great option for your road bike, and here are some of our favorites!

With all of the focus on carbon rims these days, it would be natural to think that there was no place for alloy ones anymore; but in our opinion, that couldn't be further from the truth!  While carbon rims do offer some real benefits, they're expensive, and not necessarily the best choice (at least for bikes with rim brakes) for wet-weather riding because of generally poor braking in the wet.  And let's face it, not everyone has the money to drop on a new carbon wheelset–especially on a backup or winter wheelset.  Because of this we wanted to highlight a few alloy rims that we feel are not just OK second-choices, but that actually provide great performance and features that make them desirable options regardless of price.  Note that this post focuses on alloy road rims; in the future we'll talk about some of our favorite mountain rims.

Alloy rim technology and profiles have come a long way from the ones we rode 20 years ago, bringing stronger, lighter alloys to wide, tubeless-compatible rim profiles.  And if you just don't want to go disc, or are looking for a nice wheelset to put on an older rim-brake bike, some of the best of these use a ceramic coating to deliver low-weight braking on par with discs that isn't affected by wet weather!  These rims make a great alternative to carbon for off-season rides, or just a lower-cost option for any time of year, but as noted above: don't let the lower price fool you, because these are great rims, and we ride and recommend them daily.    

With that bit of introduction, here are a few of our favorites:

HED Belgium Plus

https://www.avt.bike/search.html?Search=belgium%20plus&utm_source=Blog&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=Oct29

The HED Belgium rim was arguably the first high-performance rim that used a wider profile to spread the tire out to match the rim with more closely for greater aerodynamics and traction, and higher air-volume for a smoother ride.  Steve Hed had a very long history researching and making aerodynamic parts (we've all probably seen the famous HED tri-spoke wheel that has been a fixture of time trials and track racing), and this rim brings that no-how to a rim that is light, durable, and versatile, making it great for everyday use.  The Plus version of this rim (which is the one we offer with our wheelsets) adds 2mm to the overall width of the rim, which works better with the 25mm and up tire sizes that many of us ride these days.  And yes, the Belgium Plus is tubeless compatible, so you'll get a super-supple ride from your tires, and won't have to worry about every little sticker giving you a flat! 

This rim is available with a machined brake track for rim brakes or without for discs.  This our go-to rim, and in our opinion, both of the complete options below are some of the best values in road wheels at the moment!

Specs:
  • External width: 25mm
  • Depth: 24mm
  • Seam: Welded
  • Brake track: Machined (on rim brake model)
  • Tubeless Ready
  • Weight: 465 grams

Complete Wheels built around Chris King R45 hubs are available here.

Complete Wheels built around White Industries T11 hubs are available here.

Astral Solstice

If you're looking for a super-light, made-in-USA alloy rim, then this one just might be for you! 

Astral has been keeping a low-profile, and their graphics are similarly low-key, but behind all of that is a high-quality alloy rim that won't make you pay any weight penalties.  Astral is one of the few companies that actually makes their rims entirely in the USA, and to our knowledge, is the only one making a welded rim in the USA, so this is a pretty special product.  Truth be told, the only beef we can find with Astral's rims is that the graphics are a bit ho-hum, but especially for a winter wheelset, your rims are likely to get dirty anyway so that really doesn't matter much.  Like the HED option above, the Solstice is tubeless ready so you can have the best ride quality and puncture protection, but it has a slightly narrower profile, which is probably part of how it shaves-off some weight.  The rim brake version of the wheelset below comes in at a mere 1370 grams, and the disc version only ups the weight to 1440 grams, so this is a great option for riders who either just want to keep the weight down without the cost of carbon, or who want a lightweight winter wheelset!

Specs:
  • External width: 23.5mm
  • Depth: 22mm
  • Seam: Welded
  • Brake track: Machined (on rim brake model)
  • Tubeless Ready
  • Weight: 425 grams

Complete wheels built with White Industries T11 hubs and Astral Solstice rims are available here.

Mavic Open Pro UST

It's hard to discuss alloy rims without at least thinking of the Mavic Open Pro. This rim was, and to some still is, the standard workhorse rim for road bikes: great Maxtal alloy, a welded seam, tough double eyelets, nice machined brake track, and great overall quality have made this rim a keeper! Over the years though–especially as Mavic pushed the cycling world more and more toward wheel systems starting with the Helium wheelset–the venerable Open Pro's glory has faded a bit.

Well, that's finally changed with the new Open Pro UST and Open Pro UST Disc: these rims are wider, fully UST compliant, while maintaining a reasonable weight. They've also added some crazy shaping to the rim profile, with a look more reminiscent of Mavic's high-end Ksyrium wheel systems, which probably increases the strength while keeping the weight down because it focuses material at the spoke holes, but it definitely looks rad!

These are rims that we haven't offered in the past (we will be adding them to our AVT Works Custom Wheels soon)–partly because we just like the other options that have so much.  It's hard not to have a certain attachment to Mavic's rims though: most of us have ridden, and have enjoyed riding them because they tend to be very durable for their weight, whether that's because Mavic's Maxtal alloy really is as good as they say it is, or because they're just well made and well designed.  Another place where Mavic excels is their tubeless support: they're one of the few manufacturers to use the UST standard.  While savvy and cynical readers might point out that Mavic was one of the founders of the standard, that doesn't change the fact that it's one that seems to work quite well.  Our experience of using rims that are UST compliant is that they are very reliable and easy to set-up tubeless, so that's a plus in our book!

Specs:
  • Internal width: 19mm
  • Depth: 25mm (at spoke holes)
  • Seam: Welded
  • Brake track: Machined (on rim brake model)
  • Tubeless Ready (UST compliant)
  • Weight: 430 grams

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While the rims to this point will give you a lightweight, high-performance wheelset, for the very best braking performance with rim brakes, a ceramic coating offers significant advantages, which brings us to....

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Boyd Altamont Ceramic Alloy

This is where the really special stuff starts happening: the Boyd Altamont Ceramic alloy rims might look like carbon from a distance, but that stealthy coating is actual ceramic!  This coating covers the entire rim–including the brake track–which protects the rim because the coating is more durable than paint, but more importantly, it improves the braking in both wet and dry conditions when using rim brakes

As far as we're concerned, Ceramic coated rims are where it's at for rim brakes.  They make it possible to have the light-weight of a rim brake bike, but with the stopping capabilities (and uniformity across weather conditions) that discs usually give.  It's really a win-win, so we're really excited about them!

The Altamont's 30mm deep rim profile is decidedly more aero than the other models in this post, but it's still squarely in the all-around category, making it a great choice for just about any type of riding.  If you ride rim brakes, and want an alloy rim–whether it's as a winter backup for a carbon one, or as a high-performance year-round one–we can't recommend this rim highly enough!  The combination of medium depth, wide width, and the durability and braking performance make it a really impressive option, so if you're thinking it might fit the bill for you, our bet is that it will!

Specs:
  • External width: 24mm
  • Depth: 30mm
  • Seam: Welded
  • Brake track: Ceramic Coated
  • Tubeless Ready
  • Weight: 485 grams

Boyd Altamont Ceramic Alloy rims are available here.

Complete wheelsets built with White Industries T11 hubs and Boyd Altamont Ceramic Alloy rims are available here.

Complete wheelsets built with Chris King R45 hubs and Boyd Altamont Ceramic Alloy rims are available here.

As a special promo through the end of November, we're offering half-off one of our Donnelly road and gravel tire bundles when you spend over $500!  Just use promo code "Tire_Promo" at checkout!

Hopefully this has been helpful, but if you're not sure which rim will be best for your next wheelset, just get in touch!  We're always stoked to get riders on the best parts for their riding-styles, bikes, and budgets!




 

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Some of Our Favorites from the Chris King Open House

As expected, Chris King's Open House brought with it many beautiful bikes.  We've collected some photos of a few of our favorites below. 

The first of the bikes is one that you may have seen in our Instagram feed before the Last week: Rob English's custom gravel bike.  This bike is, like so many of Rob's bikes, beautiful and extremely unified in its appearance. 

Rob uses Chris King's new Matte Mango R45 hubs and InSet as the major accent colors, which he echoes in the headbadge and tiny flecks in the paint.

While these are purely aesthetic points, they seem hard to leave out when they are also examples of the unified approach Rob English seems to take with his bikes: the integrated seatmast that makes room for an extra bidon, and the short 150mm cranks that allow for a lower bottom bracket.  This bike seems like a perfect match for the Chris King components that it uses because while those components are colorful and beautiful, they're also some of the most durable and functional available.  This bike blends form and function really nicely, making it appropriate that it come first.

The next bike that really stood out was this Mosaic GT1 uses Chris King's Matte Mango R45 hubs, InSet, and ThreadFit 24 Bottom Bracket to accent the amazing fade paintjob, and it also pulls in a seatclamp that matches the color of the Chris King parts pretty well.  It's worth noting that if you want to do this on your bike, we're happy to help!  We've found good matches for most of the colors that Chris King, White Industries, and Phil Wood offer, so just let us know if that's what you're after! 

When fenders are painted to match the bike they really take on a whole new feel: this bike looks like a bit of springtime for a dark, rainy ride, and the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and hydraulic disc brakes would make it even
more perfectly suited to that situation!

The next bike that caught our attention is this Steel Refugio from Stinner.  First off, the paintjob is amazing: I mean, who doesn't love outer space all over their bike?  This thing looks like half of it's a sun, and half is the expanse of space, and if that isn't good enough, then I don't know what is!  The Matte Mango parts perfectly set-off this paint job.

...But there's actually a lot more to it than that: this bike makes great use of the flexibility of Shimano's Di2 systems, and has quite a bit of tech tucked-into it!  The combination of Di2 dropbar levers, with the XTR Di2 rear derailleur allow it to have a wide range 1x drivetrain with Shimano's super-comfortable hydraulic Di2 levers.  In an interesting turn, the bike manages to mix things up a bit more by using a Sram crankset with a Quark power meter!  Who says there's no flexibility with modern drivetrains?  This bike shows that while there might not be as much as back in the friction-shifting days, there's still quite a bit of room to get creative with your build!

Continuing the trend of unique drivetrains, this Klatch Pinion CTX from Co-Motion Cycles, which uses, as you might have guessed, the Pinion Gearbox.  We haven't gotten to actually ride this system, but from inspecting an open version, it's definitely a work of engineered art, and could be a great option for riders who really don't want to deal with an external gear system (or who just don't like to lube their chain, in this case).

The Pinion Gearbox keeps this bike looking pretty simple, and the integrated seatmast and Chris King InSet 2 help maintain that look by keeping the accents fairly low-key.  One other interesting note about this bike is the shifter setup: the German company Tout Terrain, which has tended to specialize in very specialized touring parts and bikes, made these special drop-bar shift levers for the Pinion Gearbox.

There weren't that many mountain bikes at the Open House, but this one from Sklar really caught out attention.  It's just so low-key, with its semi-clear finish, and has the feel of a classic klunker in the best sense.  We really like how well the Paul Klamper brakes match the Chris King Matte Mango parts!  The White Industries M30 Crankset mimics the shadowy look, and those Enve M630 wheels are going to make that one snappy klunker!

In looking at the bikes we've talked about to this point, you'll notice that they all feature the Matte Mango color, so what about bikes with the new Matte Turquoise?  Since we've received these new colors at AVT, we've actually been really impressed by what a cool color it is, so we wanted to finish with a couple of bikes that use that color!

Right down the street from us, Mike Desalvo builds some pretty sweet bikes, and this one is no exception: the simple lines are bounded by the Matte Turquoise R45 hubs, T47 bottom bracket, and InSet which together make for a bike that looks fast, but doesn't shout it out the way some of the other bikes do.  This bike looks like it would be very at home on the mix of pavement and dirt forest roads around us here in Ashland, Oregon!  We plan on bringing you more photos of this bike in the future too!

 

One last bike that we just couldn't leave out is this Speedvagen Rugged Road, also decked-out in Chris King Matte Turquoise parts, Enve wheels, and a paint job that fits Speedvagen's racing pedigree perfectly.


With the refinements we've come to expect from Speedvagen like the integrated seatmast with Enve internals, stainless steel clamping surface, and an incredibly clean look, heavily shaped tubing, and aggressive position, this bike might just make any ride into a race!

If you've got any questions about the parts in these builds, feel free to get in touch!  Want to build a bike with the parts kit and wheels on one of these?  We've got you covered!  These are just some of our favorites, but there are plenty of others too, so check out the sources below for more photos if you like what you see here!

Photos courtesy of The Radavist (photos 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, and 10), bikeportland.org (photos 3, 4, 7, 8, and 11).

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