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Posted by on Apr 11, 2018 in bikes, gear and gadgets, slider | 2 comments

A day at FF Wheels

A day at FF Wheels

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a long time now, but the guy who hit my bike with his car kinda threw a spanner in the works (and me to the asphalt). This blog post is not about the accident, but about he excellent service at FF Wheels.

A few years ago, my coach advised me to buy a power meter. I decided I wanted a hub version, so I’d have the possibility to use the wheel on both my bikes. I wanted stiff wheels and after some online searching, I found a set of FF Wheels with a Powertap power meter. These FSR wheels looked amazing and had excellent reviews, so I ordered them right away. This turned out one of the best bike related purchases! The FSR wheels are indeed stiff and fast and I’ve been using them on a daily basis in sunny Sicily. This means that I’ve ridden over 40,000 km with this wheel set.

Then, one day, I noticed a small dent in the rear wheel, so I contacted the guys at FF Wheels and asked them whether this was a real safety issue. They explained me that, while this small dent would not cause problems at this moment, it might get worse over time. Obviously, the idea of a possible safety issue while going down hill with over 60 km/hr wasn’t that appealing to me, but buying a new (expensive) wheel wasn’t either. I would have gone for a new wheel, but luckily, FF Wheels is a quality wheel builder and has an excellent Crash replacement policy:

“In case of bad luck, FFWD supports you by offering replacement rims for half the regular price. This is on top of the 2-year warranty if you have registered your wheels as first owner.”

If you have a problem with one of your wheels, you can send it to FF Wheels, but because I was planning to go to The Netherlands anyway, I asked them if it was okay if I dropped by. And luckily for me, it was.

On a Monday morning in January of this year, I drove to Zwolle, the capital of the province of Overijssel in the east of The Netherlands. FF Wheels is located in a business park on the outskirts of the city.

The FF Wheels building in Zwolle

The FF Wheels building in Zwolle

I was greeted by one of the employees and after chatting about quality (all FF wheels are hand built) and new wheel/cycling trends over a cup of coffee, Rik van Putten, the Commercial Manager at Fast Forward Wheels, took me on a tour of the factory. As soon as I entered the factory floor I felt like a kid in a candy store. Shiny, carbon wheels everywhere!

Wheels. wheels, wheels

Wheels. wheels, wheels

Fast Forward makes all kind of wheels, from MTB, to road bike, triathlon and track wheels.

Three spoke wheels

Three spoke wheels

FF track wheels

FF track wheels

From the part of the factory floor where all finished wheels are located, we arrived at the repair department, where I gave my wheel to Oscar Torres, who started working on it while we continued our tour.

Repairing my wheel

Oscar Torres repairing my wheel

The factory floor seen from the repair department

The factory floor seen from the repair department

In the warehouse, FF wheels keeps all wheel parts, many of which from DT Swiss.

The warehouse

The warehouse

The department where they make new wheels is also conveniently close to the warehouse. While I was there, one of the employees was working on a wheel that was clearly meant for a Bianchi bike. The FF wheels come in three decal options: black and white, red and white (like my wheels) and Bianchi celest, which is actually more minty green than it is “sky blue”…

Fine tuning a new wheel

Fine tuning a new wheel

Working on a new wheel

Working on a new wheel

Next is the shipping department, with lots of wheel bags, ready for shipping:

Shipping department

Shipping department

Sets of FF Wheels, ready for shipping

Sets of FF Wheels, ready for shipping

The office is in the center of the factory floor.

The office in the center of the factory floor

The office in the center of the factory floor

At the end of the tour, Oscar Torres was just finishing up.

Fitting new spokes

Fitting new spokes

Fine tuning my wheel

Fine tuning my wheel

When a rim is replaced under the FF crash replacement policy, the rim and the spokes are being replaced, so for only a few hundred Euros I ended up with almost a new wheel! And it does look like a new wheel:

My new FF wheel

My new FF wheel

When you have money to spend on your bike, fast wheels are a real good investment. And when you buy quality like the FF wheels, it’s good to know that you can count on an excellent service!

I’m looking forward to using my new wheel in Sicily and I’d like to thank Rik at Fast Forward for taking the time to give me a behind the scenes look.

2 Comments

  1. Hello Don Bici

    I am vince from Malta. I come to sicily to cycle soooo many times and i love it. I am interested to get a new set of wheels and i am mixed up between fulcrum speed c40 or the fast forward carbon f4r. What do you think?

    Grazie mille

    • Ciao Vincent,

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think that there’s much difference between the two mentioned set of wheels. They weigh more or less the same and they both get good reviews. The hubs of the Fulcrum wheels are probably a bit better (ceramic), the rim height is different and there’s quite a difference in price. If there isn’t a real big difference in performance, I’d go with the (cheaper) FF.

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