Zed Wheel Works Consulting

To formalize my relationship with Broad Street Cycles, I have been operating my consulting services as Zed Wheel Works Consulting. This is my proprietorship offering a part-time contract custom order wheel building services. I work full time in the IT consulting industry as a senior Solutions Architect for Sierra Systems. Prior to that I was VP Technology at Latitude Technologies.
The relationship at Broad Street Cycles was created to allow you to ask for hand built wheels built by me. Many of you have put your faith in me to build high quality hand built wheels, and many of you have remarked how true your wheels are after years of use. This comes as no surprise to me since I continue to fuss over building the best wheel I can using the best tools and techniques, but the feedback is always appreciated.

For you next custom wheel build, contact Broad Street Cycles and ask for a ZED built wheel set.




Replacement Program for failed Pacenti SL23 rims

Warranty Replacement Offer for failed Pacenti SL23 rims:

Here’s my offer: Since Pacenti will no longer warranty his failing SL23 rims, neither can I. I don’t mean to be harsh, but:

  1. I did not design or manufacture these rims, Pacenti did.
  2. I no longer deal in retail and have closed Zed Wheel Works. I only continue to build wheels as a custom service through Broad Street Cycles.
  3. Pacenti needs to hear directly from you. He needs to know that not honouring providing warranty of failed version 1 rims when its design was known to have a durability issue.

However, don’t expect this issue to apply to other Pacenti models, such as the SL25; it doesn’t in my experience.

If you are unsatisfied then I suggest contacing Pacenti. Provide your concerns about his failing to honour his warranty along with the rim’s serial number and purchase date. I can’t warranty these rims at my cost.

The Replacement Offer: Take your failed wheel to Broad Street Cycles, and ask for it to be repaired using  a similar rim,  from another brand, such as HED Belgium C2, H Plus Son Archetype or  Kinlin XR31T.  You’ll pay for the rim and spokes,  but I will rebuild the wheel for you at a 30% discount on ‘zed wheel build’ labour.  That’s the best I can do.

This offer is good until December 31, 2016.

Warranty woes

Over the past two plus years I built and sold a lot of custom wheels built around the Pacenti SL23 alloy clincher rim. The SL23 purported to be a wonderful new rim from American Kirk Pacenti. Co-developed by Fairwheel Bikes, the SL23 is a wide tubeless ready alloy rim with many attractive characteristics, including weight, braking performance and wide comfort and handling. I recommended it for good reasons. I rode them too, for the past two years.

This is what Fairwheel Bikes had to say about this rim in their alloy rim roundup:

In the interest in transparency in our reviews I think it’s important to say we contributed to the design of this rim, producing what we feel is the most balanced rim on the market.

And here’s what one of the reviewers said about  the then new Pacenti SL23 version 1 rim after riding it for a while:

Eric: I’ve been riding a pre-production rim for a while now and I’ve had no issues. It’s a new rim on the market, but very well designed and I have a good feeling it will test more aero than any other rim only option here.

I felt the same way about this rim. But after a year of riding it, approximately 4000km, the rim developed cracks around the nipple holes.  Then, on a regular basis every single rim I sold that was built for a rear wheel came back to me with cracking around the nipple holes.  The tension was always slightly below the recommended maximum tension, around 110 kg of force.  Pacenti and his distributors were good about replacing them at first – sending out replacement rims having shown photos and serial numbers of the cracking rims.

Then in April 2015, Kirk Pacenti introduced the Pacenti SL23 Version 2 rim. This rim was meant to address some of the criticisms of the version 1 rim including addressing but not directly acknowledging the cracking by increasing the thickness of the alloy at the nipple bed to increase durability (well, to be more honest, to obtain durability).  Here’s what Fairwheel Bikes said about this new version:

In April 2015 Pacenti released the first update to the rim to make three small changes to further improve building and riding. The rim is now 2.3mm wider internally — while only increasing .5mm externally — and has lower bead hooks further supporting the tire and increasing tire volume. The bead well is deeper making installing and changing tires easier. Finally the spoke bed is thicker allowing wheel builders to use higher spoke tensions and improving overall durability of every SL23 wheelset.

The downside of the Version 2 is its incredibly shallow brake track. While it works fine when pads are setup just right, some riders have complained it is just too narrow. Additionally, the some riders having ridden on version 1 rims that failed on them, had commented that the braking wasn’t as good on the Version 2 rim.

As of today, 5 months after ceasing operation of Zed Wheel Works, I continue to be dealing with cracked Pacenti SL23 rims with little over a year’s use. What’s worse, I am now also dealing with failed sleeves, on Version 2 rims and some cracking at the nipples on Version 2 rims as well. The sleeve is the metal shim that is peened at the rim joint. Pacenti suggests re-peening as a cure, but I’ve seen a few of these sleeves fall off completely, an indicator of quality issues.

No rim is perfect. I recently had the rarity of dealing with a cracked H Plus Son Archetype rim.  But failing Pacenti SL23 rims, especially the version 1 rim was a pandemic. Any supplier in their right mind of ethical conduct would have recalled these rims or at the very least continued to honour the warranty, even extending it where rim cracking was occurring. Kirk has done neither. In a recent email conversation with him, he has announced that the warranty on all version one SL23s is no longer honoured.  This is terrible for the retailer and customer alike.

For all of my former customers who selected Pacenti SL23 rims, I am sorry. You put your faith in me and I put my faith in Pacenti. This warranty nightmare was a large contributor to the decision I made to stop running Zed Wheel Works.

For your future rim choices, I have had great luck with HED Belgium C2 rims. I’ll be running these rims on my own bike very soon, replacing Pacenti SL23 Version 2 rims as I simply do not want to send the false message that I continue to endorse Pacenti SL23 rims.

The odd thing is that I have seen zero issues with the  similar Pacenti SL25 disc rim, which is based on the SL23 rim brake rim, and I’ve built up and sold many of these too. Likewise, the TL28 disc mountain bike rim is also very good. No issues.  You don’t have to stop riding Pacenti rims, but I would choose H+ Archetypes or HED Belgium C2s over Pacentil SL23 version 2 rims.



One metre: passing a cyclist safely

So far in 2016, there has been a sharp interest in Ontario’s one metre law, passed last September. This regulation requires the driver of a vehicle to give at least a one meter gap between their vehicle and a cyclist when overtaking.   The regulation as stated in the Ontario Act, passing of Bill 31 – Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015 is:

Ontario Bill 31 – Section 148 (6.1) Every person in charge of a motor vehicle on a highway who is overtaking a person travelling on a bicycle shall, as nearly as may be practicable, leave a distance of not less than one metre between the bicycle and the motor vehicle and shall maintain that distance until safely past the bicycle.

The BC Motor Vehicle Act already has rules for drivers overtaking safely. The problem is the way the regulation is written the rules do not apply when overtaking cycles

What? How can this be?

It comes down to weaknesses in the Act and its motor vehicle centric biases.  To understand this, we need to look at the terms as defined and used in the Act:

The BC Motor Vehicle Act, Chapter 318, defines the terms vehicle,  motor vehicle and motorcycle as:

BC MVA – Chapter 318, Part 1 Definitions (1)
“vehicle” means a device in, on or by which a person or thing is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, but does not include a device designed to be moved by human power, a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks, mobile equipment or a motor assisted cycle;

“motor vehicle” means a vehicle, not run on rails, that is designed to be self propelled or propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but does not include mobile equipment or a motor assisted cycle;

“motorcycle” means a motor vehicle that runs on 2 or 3 wheels and has a saddle or seat for the driver to sit astride;

Whereas, in Chapter 318, Part 3 of the Act, a cycle is defined as:

BC MVA – Part 3 Definitions 119(1)
cycle” means a device having any number of wheels that is propelled by human power and on which a person may ride and includes a motor assisted cycle, but does not include a skate board, roller skates or in-line roller skates;

Five things to observe:

  1. A cycle is not a vehicle.
  2. A motor vehicle is a kind of vehicle.
  3. A motorcycle is a kind of motor vehicle.
  4. A cycle and a vehicle is a device.
  5. The term device is not defined.

The definition quite deliberately excludes a cycle from being a kind of vehicle. So, why is this concerning?  Doesn’t the law cover off the conduct of operator’s of cycles to simply have the same rights and responsibilities of drivers? Yes, it does, and that’s how we understand that cyclists must follow the same rules of the road as  motorists, but there are regulations that depend on the term vehicle, but really should include all forms of vehicles, whether motorized or not – i.e. should include cycles, but do not.

Part 3 150(1)(a) and Section 157(1)(a) speak of an operator of a vehicle in relation to another vehicle. These regulations should also include cycle:

Chapter 318, Part 3
Driver on right

150 (1) The driver of a vehicle must confine the course of the vehicle to the right hand half of the roadway if the roadway is of sufficient width and it is practicable to do so, except

(a) when overtaking and passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction,

This should say vehicle or cycle.  There is no other regulation that says what a driver of a vehicle must do this regarding a cycle when driving along on the right hand half of the roadway.

Safely Overtaking

So Chapter 318, Part 3, Section 157 is where the MVA speaks to driver duties when overtaking another vehicle.  This is where the regulation could simply add cycle and the notion of 1 metre gap.  And why not apply the rule generally? Would you want someone overtaking your car at 90 km/h and have them overtake your car within a metre?

Chapter 318, Part 3
Duty when overtaking

157  (1) Except as provided in section 158, the driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle

(a) must cause the vehicle to pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance, and

(b) must not cause or permit the vehicle to return to the right side of the highway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

So, it seems our duty as drivers for safely overtaking someone else is limited to when that someone else is driving a vehicle, but not a cycle.  This is certainly  not intentional, but more likely sloppy regulation authoring, or perhaps intentional to marginalize the actual rights and safety of the cyclist? I’ll let conspiracy theorists run with that one, but regardless, the MVA is clearly in need of amending.

I’ve said it before, the BC MVA is a poorly written set of regulations. A cycle should have been defined as a type of vehicle, similarly to the way a motor vehicle is defined as a kind of vehicle. This way driver responsibilities relating to operating safely relative to other vehicles would automatically include cycles, and therefore the intended safety of cyclists.

Since a cycle is not a vehicle, a driver of a vehicle has no regulatory obligation to pass a cycle in a safe manner.

It’s time to amend the Motor Vehicle Act

It wouldn’t take much to simply amend the regulation to have a one meter safe passing rule for all types of vehicles and re-define a cycle as a type of vehicle, which it does not do today.

Here are my suggested changes to the BC Motor Vehicle Act that would include the one meter rule:


Duty when overtaking

157  (1) Except as provided in section 158, the driver operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or cycle

(a) must cause the vehicle to pass to the left of the other vehicle or cycle at a safe distance, and 

(b) must not cause or permit the vehicle to return to the right side of the highway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle or cycle, and

(c) must cause the vehicle to maintain a distance of not less than one metre between the vehicle and the other vehicle or cycle being overtaken and shall maintain at least that distance until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle or cycle.



Alternatively, the Act must be changed to either include cycle when referring to a vehicle or redefine the terms to include a cycle as a kind of vehicle, altering the language where the rules need apply only to motor vehicles, or motorcycles.  For example, Chapter 318, Section 162(1) is the ‘Following too Closely’ rule. It applies only to following too closely to another vehicle, thus excluding cycles.

Adding a cycle as a kind of vehicle to the definitions would then require the term “driver” to be renamed as “operator”, which would be much clearer as cycles and motorcycles are not ‘driven’, but ridden.

It is past time to fully amend the BC Motor Vehicle Act.


DriveSmart BC – “Passing a Cyclist Safely”

BC Motor Vehicle Act – Chapter 318

Legislative Assembly of Ontario – Bill 31




Zed is dead, but lives on at Broad Street Cycles

Zed Wheel Works operating as Zed Wheels and zedwheels.com has permanently closed shop. If you’d been following along, you had read about Zed becoming a victim of fraud. That combined with the increased commitment needed to run a shop on his own, Brad decided to close down Zed Wheels. But he’s not yet stopped building wheels!  Zed has essentially been subsumed by Broad Street Cycles. Zed founder Brad Head will continue crafting hand built custom wheels for their customers and his loyal customers under contract to Broad Street Cycles.

The new wheel works department of Broad Street Cycles will be located in the spacious lower floor and Brad will supplement the works and skills of Matt, a senior mechanic at Broad Street and talented wheel builder and will add increased capacity to the custom wheel works program.  What the customers will continue to enjoy is the obsession to high quality craftsmanship that had built the reputation that Zed Wheels is known for.

When requesting custom wheel building work from Broad Street Cycles you’ll have the option for a “Zed Build “- that means Zed founder and wheel fanatic Brad will be doing the build for your custom set of wheels.

By June 12, 2016 ZedWheels.com will shut down. The legacy of builds and articles will live on at this site zedwheelworks.com.  For the wheel works department at Broad Street Cycles, Brad will use his IT skills to create a newly updated web site for Broad Street Cycles that will add their custom wheel works offering and quote request. We hope this to be up and running by the end of June, 2016. In the meantime, contact Broad Street Cycles by email or phone to enquire about your custom wheel building needs.

“It’s been five years now since Zed Wheels started and I’m pleased to continue the relationship I’ve had with Broad Street Cycles as a contracted wheel builder. As a part-time builder and full-time IT professional, this is a perfect arrangement allowing me to continue to do what I love – building great wheels, while improving customer service, inventory management as a division of Broad Street Cycles,” – Brad Head.

Broad Street Cycles is located in downtown Victoria, BC at 1419 Broad Street.

Credit Card Fraud: who is the real victim?

Short answer: small businesses, like mine. There are two types of credit card fraud. The first is the classic one that we all think about. Someone has stolen your card, or your identity or both, and goes on a shopping spree buying up everything in sight until the real cardholder contacts their issuing bank. The card is cancelled and the issuing bank investigates. The real cardholder is protected.  But who pays? The shopping spree they went on.. goods were purchased, presumably lawfully. The issuing bank determines fraud and issues charge-backs – grabbing back the money from the retailer. The retailer loses. This can devastate small companies. This happened to me this winter.

The second form of credit card fraud is less known, at least to consumers. The so called “friendly-fraud”. The consumer makes a purchase, often online and then for whatever reason, decides themselves that the product isn’t what they want, or simply changed their mind, or simply want to exploit the issuing bank’s consumer-biased policies with regard to fraud.  They call their issuing bank and request a charge-back stating some fictitious reason. The bank investigates, sort of, and then executes a charge back. The retailer that sold the product loses out, and the consumer gets free stuff!  And somehow this isn’t unlawful?

So, to use the old phrase, ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’, this is the spoke that broke Zed Wheel Works.  Effective today, Zed Wheel Works as an online retailer is no longer.   I will no longer be an online proprietor.  If you want me to build wheels, send me a quote request, call me, have a dialog with me and we’ll go from there.

Unfortunately, PayPal, or any other quasi or full-on merchant bank won’t help the online retailer. The premise is that the retailer is assumed to be guilty of shady practices or that they should be held accountable for the fraud. Well, in the case of using a merchant account that must be PCI-compliant, this is difficult to achieve, since the retailer has no information pertaining to the credit card being used. We trust that the fraud management of the merchant system is doing the right thing.

In my case, I had no idea whether the name associated with the credit card was in fact the same as the billing and shipping address provided, even though I have a ‘rule’ in my commerce package to match those names, it doesn’t help here.

Essentially, online retailers are sitting ducks on this one.

You can read about this more here: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/merchants-victims-credit-card-fraud/

Want to know more about chargeback fraud and how easy it is to do: http://chargebacktech.eu/chargeback-fraud/

To me, there are two perfect crimes in our age:  murder by automotive “accident”, especially vehicles striking pedestrians or cyclists, and chargeback fraud.


Steven’s custom ENVE SES 4.5 clincher wheels

Steven had previously purchased a set of custom hand built ENVE SES 8.9 clinchers with red Chris King R45 hubs. He uses them for Ironman and triathlon competitions. This fall, he ordered this set. Sticking with the same red CK R45 hubs, he chose the very balance all-rounder ENVE SES 4.5 clincher rim, a new model for 2015. This rim is a great balance between aero and weight and this build, with Sapim CX-Ray spokes comes in at a hair over 1500 grams. For an aero clincher set with Chris King hubs this is a very good weight.

Steven said his 8.9s have been great. I’m always happy when I hear about satisfied customers. That never gets old. I hope Steven enjoys this wheel set as much as he’s enjoyed the ENVE 8.9s.