Just when you thought the brand Hermes referred to a needlessly expensive silk scarf, a Southern California based company called Hermes Sport has been turning out some slick aluminum and carbon wheelsets at reasonable prices. Check ’em out.
Hermes Sport bicycle wheels was founded in July 2009 in Southern California by Alex Webster. Our company was born of a general, lifelong obsession with high-end bike parts and a particular fixation on wheels. Armed with this desire, we set about building the company’s first wheels out of a bedroom in the hippie community of Topanga, CA. A move to San Diego in early 2011 followed, setting up shop in an old furniture warehouse where we still do business today.
The desire to make only the best product possible and to be associated with like minded people brought us into the world of high-end custom framebuilders. Today, we’re happy to say they’re our biggest clients. Our fine focus on mastering and pushing forward the techniques of hand wheelbuilding has attracted a motley crew of builders, engineers, riders and fans to the Hermes Sport family. They are the ones who make the company what it is today, a long way from 2009’s lone eccentric hunched over a desk!
Today, we’re going further. We want to move beyond the best wheels we could make out of stock parts, so we’ve released our own design; the VK-series wheel systems. Complete wheels are our first concern; we don’t see ourselves as a rim or a hub company, rather as a complete wheel solution. Our products reflect this. All our efforts have been driven by the idea that every part we make should work together as a system to improve the way the whole wheel rides. It’s our firm wish to make the finest and most sophisticated possible wheels, with new engineering ideas backed up by the same hand-worked craftsmanship we’ve striven to perfect.
It’s been two years since Hermes Sport wheels were last offered to the general public on the aftermarket. Since then, we’ve gone under the radar, becoming a custom wheelbuilder of choice for some of the country’s top frame builders. Meanwhile, we have been biding our time and developing something really special. It’s now time to show the fruits of that prolonged effort.
We’re proud to introduce the VK-series wheels, a bold new wheel system design, to set a new standard in wheel performance, strength, stiffness and durability for road and cyclocross bikes. We’ve labored for two years to come up with this revolutionary new line, and it is a particular pleasure to say that most of their parts will be made right here in the USA! We’ve shot for something very bold; not just new wheel hubs and rims, but a new complete wheel system design.
The wheels are the carbon VK51 and the aluminum VK11 wheelset. Both will feature numerous innovations to give riders something unlike they’ve ever ridden before.
-Wide bracing angles: One of our first objectives when we set out to design these was to push the envelope with regards to flange width of our hubs; this enables us to make wheels much stiffer than equivalent wheels with traditional hubs, without any weight penalty.
-Triplet spoke lacing: Our rear hubs feature triplet lacing, with 16 drive-side spokes, and 8 non-drive-side spokes. Combined with our optimized flange geometry, this puts more spokes where they’re most needed — to handle riding stress, improve stiffness, and equalize spoke tension throughout the build, eliminating spoke breakages due to inadequate tension.
-Magnetic freehub system: The VK-series wheels feature an extremely sophisticated but also very simple magnetic ring-drive engagement system. Opposing magnets drive a single ratcheting ring into contact with the freehub. This reduces the number of moving parts, all of which are susceptible to wear or failure, from as many as 12 in some designs to one. Load is transferred to a larger portion of the hub shell spreading out stress and allowing us to shave weight from the total system. Our freehubs are made of gouge-proof 4140 steel, rendering notched freehubs a thing of the past. As an additional measure to ensure years of worry-free riding, our freehubs are exclusively lubricated with Dumonde Tech freehub grease.
-Oversize axles: Our front hubs feature 17mm axles in front and a massive 20/17mm tapered axle in rear enabling us to use some of the largest bearings ever put into a road hub. As such, hub shells can be made thinner than in traditional designs resulting in improved stiffness, extended durability, and weight reduction..
-Angular-contact bearings: Designed to take maximum advantage of Enduro’s revolutionary, patented angular-contact bearings, we space them as far apart as possible from the center of the hub which means the rider’s weight is better distributed vertically and horizontally through the individual balls of the bearing. This pays huge dividends in bearing life and wheel stiffness in the corners. Ceramic upgrade is available.
-Light weight: Only 1450 grams for each wheelset! (clincher)
-American craftsmanship: We’re proud to be making as much of our wheels as possible right here in the USA. Our hubs, spoke nipples, and aluminum rims are all American-made. All these components come together at the hands of one of our veteran wheel-builders right here in San Diego and are checked for consistency with our proprietary computerized wheel analysis system developed in-house.
It is our sincerest wish is to be able to give riders all the technological benefits of an all-in house designed, single-system wheelset, but at the same time deliver the peace of mind that every wheel we make is built using tried and true methods, by people whose experience is essential to making strong, long lasting wheels by hand, one at a time.
Hermes SportVK51wheelset: 50mm deep, 24.5mm wide carbon wheelset, tubular or clincher. MSRP $1995
Hermes SportVK11wheelset: 23mm wide alloy wheelset, clincher, tubeless compatible. MSRP $995
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