Tech of the week: hand built vs factory wheels and new Rapha kit

Also new Parcours gravel wheels and pros’ Strava files from the Vuelta

Are hand built wheels better?

Last week we delved into wheelbuilding, asking if handbuilt wheels are a worthwhile investment, now that there are so many factory built wheel options out there, many built and trued by machines.

Better by hand?

We’ve talked to a bespoke wheelbuilder as well as to the godfather of the factory wheel, Mavic, which is itself now expanding its rim-only range with a new carbon option. Does this mean that the tide has turned for the factory built wheelset?

We’ve also covered the new Parcours Alta gravel wheelset. It’s got the wide profile you’d expect, but also has an aero profile that’s been wind tunnel tested. If you’re after ultimate versatility, there’s a dynamo hub option to power lights and GPS unit for long distance riding. Claimed weight is 1460 grams and price is £849, with the dynamo hub adding an extra £200.

New Rapha kit for hot and humid adventures

Riding in Vietnam can be hot and wet. So Rapha has launched the Outskirts collection, designed with input from EF Education First pro cyclist and GBDuro winner Lachlan Morton, who rode the length of the country as part of the team’s Alternative Calendar.

Designed for the long run: the new Rapha Outskirts collection

Items include an ultra-light silk wind jacket and casual performance kit like technical tees and a cotton jacket.

Also last week we had a look at the pros’ Strava files with speeds and power outputs for a couple of big days in the Vuelta a Espana, including the big climb at the end of Stage 16 and the super-fast, tailwind-driven Stage 17.

What did it take to win Stage 17 of the Vuelta? (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

And we’ve covered a study showing that high intensity exercise on a static bike can help alleviate the early stage symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Finally, deals last week were on Garmin computers and Castelli clothing, as well as some great end of season discounts on top name bikes.

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.