JUDE KIRSTEIN, WHEEL BUILDER
by Ana V. Francés
Sugar wheels, hand-built Bicycle Wheels
Born of the love for the hand-built bicycle wheel and it’s powerful ability to revolutionize rides, lives, and communities: Sugar Wheel Works was founded in Portland, Oregon by Jude Kirstein. The work begins with the small things. How the company operates is equally important as creating and building a quality wheel. From what lubricants are used, how local orders are picked up and delivered, Sugar strives to make a positive impact on the community and beyond.
1. Why wheels?
I love this question because it comes with a snarky come back: why not? the real answer is that i know it’s not “Sexy” like a frame or a rack but it’s useful, utilitarian and when done right can really make or break the ride. utilitarian and graceful.
2. What are the main advantages of a hand-made wheel?
First i’d like to say a hand made wheel isn’t for everyone. we run across this and we have to accept with grace that not everyone buys into our philosophy on wheels. But to answer your question there are a few reasons why hand built wheels are better: you get better components, easy to repair, the highest quality build, parts that can be re used multiple times, precision and a sense of style.
3. What do you enjoy most about your work?
It depends on the day. There are days when i love working with every person that comes through the door and solving the problem at hand. there are also the days when all i want to do is build and i love building… I’ve gotten to this point with my work (the building part) where everything just sort of fades away and it really is meditative. It didn’t start that way. I was a train wreck when i first started but after hours and hours of work i’ve gotten to that point where it is meditative…
4. How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been doing this for about 4 years on my own and 8 years total.
5. What kind of bike do you ride?
I have a few bikes…my favorite is a sweetpea little black dress. It even has a custom hub from Phil Wood.