Shop Tour: Rolf Prima Wheels

Rolf Prima Logo

I recently took a day trip down to Eugene, and while there, I had the pleasure of stopping by Rolf Prima’s headquarters for a little tour.

For over a decade now, Rolf Prima has been producing high quality performance wheels. Their paired spoke design differentiates the wheels, and makes them really stand out on the bike.  I have had the pleasure to review both their P-Town single speed wheelset, as well as their ECX tubular cyclocross wheelset.  Both have held up very well, and after seeing how Rolf Prima builds and test their wheels, its no surprise either.

Make the jump to see the tour.

Rolf Prima Tour Build Station

Engineers at Rolf Prima design the entire wheel in-house.  Orders are then placed for the parts they need.   Once manufactured, all those parts are assembled by hand at their headquarters in Eugene, OR.

Rolf Prima Tour Spokes Shelf

Spokes in a variety of sizes, as well as a few boxes of hubs.

Rolf Prima Tour Laced Hubs

Laced up hubs ready to be attached rims.

Rolf Prima Tour Build Station Beard

At one of their build stations, a man with a fabulous beard diligently assembles a Rolf Prima wheel.

After being assembled.  Each wheel is stressed a total of three times on this machine which “breaks in” the wheel so when you ride it for the first time there are no pings and pops from the spokes.  It also helps keep the wheel in true much longer.  From my experience, it works well.  After using two sets of their wheels I have yet to have to pull one off and true it.

Rolf Prima Tour Decal Table

Next come the decals.  This station is marked up to accommodate all the different wheels they make.

Rolf Prima Tour Decal Table Close Up

Each decal has a small indent to help position it in correct spot.

Rolf Prima Tour Decal Boxes

What better way to label your decal drawers than with the decal that is inside each one.

Rolf Prima Tour Drill Press

Rolf does a lot of in-house testing in a corner of their workshop.

They even run wheels through an entire life cycle in about two weeks using a drum tester.

Rolf Prima Tour Inventory

The finished product gets boxed and stacked on shelves, awaiting to be shipped out to the customer.

Comments

Justin - 02/27/12 - 10:23pm

Paired spoke wheels were a bad idea fifteen years ago and they still are today…sorry Rolf.

Meta - 02/27/12 - 10:42pm

I’m saving up to get Lightweight Ventoux wheels. No more spokes in the traditional sense. I know a guy who has 20K miles on them and they still look and feel like new!

Sevo - 02/27/12 - 11:51pm

Colorado Cyclist uses the exact same type of wheel stressing device…..or whatever you want to call it. I’ve never had a bad set of wheels from them as a result.

Meta-It’s your neck not ours. I’ll take traditional spoked wheels please. with Enve hoops and some king hubs or DT :)

bart - 02/28/12 - 12:59pm

would have been interesting to see the load numbers when the machine was running…damn trade secrets.

slow joe crow - 02/28/12 - 1:56pm

If paired spoke wheels are still around after 15 years they can’t be a totally stupid idea either. I would consider a set, especially if I could get them with Chris king hubs to up the Oregon content.

gee - 02/28/12 - 2:54pm

had a set of Rolfs on my first “nice” bike. Never had a single issue with them. I have had two Chris King rear hubs require a full rebuild so far in 2012….

DRC - 03/01/12 - 3:27pm

Cool to see this. I’ve put about 1000 miles on my Rolf Echelons, plus I have friends with Echelons and Vigors. I’ve put them through the ringer weighing 190 lbs doing hard sprints and hitting potholes and such, still perfectly true. Love the spoke patterns, they look so much better than basic laced spokes.

ROLF FAN - 05/10/12 - 9:08am

I manage a shop that is a Rolf Dealer. I personally have had 3 sets of Vigor RS wheels – my first set was my everyday wheel and then endured 2 seasons of cross and gravel road rides before they became my wife’s everyday wheel. These wheels are probably 7-8 years old and have never even needed a truing. My second set I rode for 4 years then sold them to my step dad a year ago. I am 230lbs and he is 270 – these wheels have never needed a truing and one time needed a hub adjustment. My latest set are as durable as the others so far. We sell 20-25 sets per year – maybe a couple times each year we have a customer break a spoke – and we maybe send 2-3 wheels back to be rebuilt each year for something other than a crash. Considering that we have 200-250 sets out there being ridden – that is pretty good. We got to the point where we dropped Easton and Mavic because of free hub body issues and poor build quality issues. We now primarily sell Rolf or Velocity wheels – incidentally, both companies build all of their wheels by hand and both offer top notch service – and at anytime (if I chose to do so) I could call and talk to the person who built that particular set of wheels. As far as JUSTIN thinking paired spoke wheels are a bad idea – then I would call my Rolfs the best bad idea product I have ever purchased.

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