In the era of automation and standardization, especially in the bicycle industry, custom wheels are a rare find. Nowadays, wheel builders are few and far between, let alone female. Recently, Leah Sanda at PSIMET built a set of carbon fat tire wheels for my boyfriend. He mentioned Leah was someone I should interview. And he was absolutely right!
Leah has an impressive resume. Besides being a wheel builder, she’s also a structural engineer, a certified bike fitter, a triathlete, and a Cat 2 racer. During our interview, I asked if she had to prove herself to new customers. I loved her answer, “No, I think it’s because I carry myself with confidence.” It’s something instilled in her from a young age.
I believe we should teach the young women in our lives to stand tall, shake someone’s hand with authority, and never hide their intelligence.
Ok, back to custom wheels. Why would you want a set, especially if you’re not a racer? Leah points out a custom set of wheels doesn’t always cost more than a production set, and there are many advantages, including, “You can get a higher quality component mix when going custom.”
When designing a set of wheels, you’re able to specify a specific purpose, feel, stiffness, strength, and weight (rider’s and wheel weight). If you want to match your rims, spokes, and/or hubs to your bike frame, custom lets you do that, too.
Take a listen to my interview with Leah. I’m sure you’ll be as impressed with her knowledge and talent as I was.
Enjoy the ride!