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Wheels on Fire

The latest set of wheels is the first set to come out of the MakeWork grant. I’ve had this set in mind for some time now. Basically it is my rather loud response to the current trend of little red accents on mostly black wheels or bikes. I had the rims and hubs powder coated (painted) RED. The rims are deep section, Velocity B43 and the hubs are Miche fixed track. I used 32 spokes in black, with a half twist at the third crossing. The twisting of spokes has a few functions. In the case of track wheels, it makes the wheel much stiffer (faster). It essentially makes the flange of the hub three times the size, without adding weight. And it looks pretty cool too. I can do a full twist as well, but that's kinda overkill, unless there is a disc brake involved.


Equipment within MakeWork

I’ve had a plan in place for a while about what would be purchased. I have most of the spokes that I need already but I would like to get some 15/16 double butted spokes and nipples for the various weight sensitive projects. I’ll also be getting a variety of nipples in various colors. Rims are a major part of all this. Mavic is a long time favorite of mine. Spank is a new favorite. Velocity and I are old friends as well. Ghisallo is an option that we already have in stock. Time will tell about Stan’s No Tubes. Apparently they don’t like to call people back. Hubs are the priciest parts. So I’ve given this a great deal of thought. Not just any hub will do. There is much to be considered. The overall design determines how the wheel will function as well as the look of the end product. Also to be considered is ease in maintenance.  I think it is reasonable to expect that I will not be the only person to work on these wheels. So with that in mind I like the idea of hubs like Victoire, Hope and Ringle. Those are likely to be the hubs I order first.


MakeWork Grant. The beginning.... 


I’m excited to announce that Merlyn Mechanics recently received a MakeWork grant via CreateHere in Chattanooga, TN. In four short years, MakeWork has provided over $665,000 to 85 Chattanooga area artists.

This grant will allow me to build the kinds I wheels I could not afford to build before. One of the main issues that I’ve had in the past is not having anything in stock to show to customers. This may seem like an odd problem to have. It’s not because I couldn’t afford to build anything before. It’s because they would sell before I could show them to the next potential customer. So I’ve decided to build sets for show only. They will be fully functional wheelsets to show what is possible. Also I will be able to have certain components painted or powder coated. For example, if the hubs and rims don’t come in the color the customer or I want then for a few dollars more that can be arranged. This is true of spokes as well. Several shops have asked on the behalf of their customers if I can build a wheel with powder coated spokes and twisted spokes. It was previously thought that this would not be possible because the twisting of the spokes would crack and flake off the paint in the twisted section. Yet I have devised a way to make it possible. Not only that but I can also now make spokes in more than one color. So picture in your mind a green hub spokes in green then white into a red rim. Italian or Hungarian, your choice. It all depends on how you see the order of color in your world.

The new processes for painting and the addition of color where there previously wasn’t any makes for an exciting time for me. My thinking is that color matching to the bike that the wheels will go on is important to making the bike look whole. This rather than a frame and parts with wheels throne on because you need them. My belief is that your bike should be more than an extension of you in function but also in design. Design is more than form and function but the accents of color that tie a thing together.

I would also like to say that I would not have gotten the grant without the help of my wife Heather Huston. Thanks for the help and the continued support of this ongoing project.

Wheels We've Built

Custom is the name of the game for certain riders.  There are just some things you can’t buy off the shelf.  Custom builds simply last longer and are key to the cyclist in the know.


In almost 30 years of wheel building, we have constructed wheels for road, track, mountain, cyclo-cross, around the world tours and more!  We have the experience to create custom wheels like no other.


Our comprehensive experience with a wide range of highly specialized race wheels has enabled us to develop a unique wheel building technique.  Our wheel building method involves meticulous attention to fine details that may not be visible to the eye, but are crucial to the durability and performance of highly stressed wheels.  All of our wheels receive the same level of attention to detail whether you are a veteran pro or a recreational cyclist.

If you’re in need of a custom build, from bikes to wheels, we’re the company for you.  Merlyn Mechanics offers “built-to-order” wheels and state of the art race builds for road, mountain and touring.

Specializing in artisan wheel builds, catered to your custom specs, we marry old world craftsmanship with new world technology.  And with expert cycling industry experience, we’ve got the race knowledge to make your dream build a reality.

Please note, part and color combinations are limitless.  Contact us or visit our online store to get started.


Save a Rim! Grab Our UpCycled Bottle Openers!

Who needs a dumpster when you can upcycle?

Merlyn Mechanics offers these unique bottle openers made from 100% recycled bicycle rims and designed to accommodate your beverage of choice.  Just open and serve.  We designed our standard version to accessorize your kitchen tool kit, created a longer, bartender version that sticks out of your pocket for easy access when you’re hard at work and a go-to wall mount version to pop your cap any day, any time.

Directions: Cap should be opened with inside lip or “bead” of rim.

Utilize this bottle opener for a nice ale or the champagne of beers … we don’t judge.  Enjoy.

Snag your own at our online shop.

Here's how it works. Watch our little demo video and enjoy!