Breaking into the over-saturated wheel business is a tricky, tricky thing. Somehow, you’ve got to make yourself known. You’ve got to separate yourself from the hundreds of wheel vendors buying premade products from overseas and simply plastering their logo on. There’s a lot of white noise down at the bottom. Innovation has been forsaken, and always on sale products are the new normal. As cyclists and retailers, that terrifies us.
Hitting 55mph down that big hill on Hwy. 337 in Leakey, TX. Slamming into tree roots you didn’t quite see during a cyclo-cross race. Getting a blowout during a commute home and having to ride the rim to the safety of a sidewalk. Trusting the products you ride is an integral part of enjoying cycling, and a lot of the shockingly inexpensive carbon wheels floating around the internet are, in our opinion, not to be trusted.
On the other hand, there are the behemoth bike companies that sponsor pro-tour teams and seem to have a full page ad in every cycling magazine you pick up. The really do make nice wheels. Unfortunately, the normal for them is a wheelset that costs more than your entire bike, and quite possibly your first car. Full page ads aren’t free, after all.
Austin, TX based State Wheels is one of those select few wheel manufacturers that exist in between the two extremes. They offer innovative, quality wheels with a lot less hype. In fact, we carry State Wheels in all seven of our locations, and do quite well with them. It’s a product we believe in, and a great option for any cyclist looking for performance, but bored to tears of seeing the same wheels at every group ride.
Using quality, American made products, like White Industries hubsets, and building every wheel by hand helps to define the quality of State Wheels. And you’ve probably seen the State Wheels sprinter van providing neutral support for bike races and triathlons all over Texas. In fact, they were just at Ironman Galveston 70.3 a couple weeks ago.
We recently caught up with State Wheels founder, Joseph LaFico, and asked him five quick questions.