ROLLING HIFI THe wheels that keep us spinning

Wheels matter

It's just that simple. No matter what bike you have, if you don't have the right wheels underneath you, it's not going to be the ride you want. Fortunately for the #vynlhitfactory, we've got the fine folks at Hifi Wheels to keep us rolling. We sat down with Josh Liberles for the skinny on all things wheel, HiFi, and bikes.

VB: Why did you want to start a wheel company, anyways?

JL: We’re all bike geeks – racers and super fans. And upgrading wheels makes one of the biggest impacts to how a bike rides and performs. HiFi is the ultimate supergroup: Bre Rue brings the technical savvy; Patrick Palmer and Jake VanderZanden have tremendous business acumen; Robbie Douangpanya brings boundless and infectious enthusiasm; David Wilcox is a legendary wheel builder and cycling personality; Zach Heath, our head of shred, brings MTB knowledge (and mad skillz!); and I’m a relationship builder and long-time racer with tons of industry experience.

We set out to produce the wheels that we want to ride ourselves, and at a retail price point we could swing. There are also so many boring cycling – and specifically wheel – companies out there. We want to bring some more fun and enthusiasm to the sport. The performance can be super serious, and our wheels can look like spinning records.

Deep Dish Goodness...

VB: Rad! So what makes a good wheel, anyways?

JL: Durability; performance; a rim width that works well with modern tires without pushing too far. Serviceability is really important to us, too. If you eventually need a bearing or a spoke, there’s nothing weird or proprietary – our wheels are easy to work on. But most of all, a “good wheel set” is one that makes you excited to ride your bike.

VB: Ok, so what makes HiFis different than other wheels?

It’s the sum of the parts – literally, in terms of good tech in our hubs and rims, and figuratively in terms of our unique nexus of quality, performance, style, and price. And there’s too much damned pretentiousness in cycling. HiFi is your neighborhood world-class wheel company, even if you don’t happen to live in Portland. We make absolutely top-level stuff that isn’t reserved for World Tour riders.

And as far as I know, we’re also the first wheel company to offer custom graphics on wheels, from one-offs to team edition. Whether it’s special-edition stuff to accompany the SSCXWCXPDX event; track wheels for the Stanridge Speed Red Hook team; BRAAAP wraps; or Color Doping.

Spinnin' the HiFi

VB: What’s the one thing most riders don’t know/understand about wheels and wheelbuilding?

JL: Good wheels revolutionize a bike’s ride quality and performance. If you ride your bike regularly – women, trans, femme, man, weekend warrior, commuter, elite racer – you deserve high quality wheels. Along with a high-quality frame that fits you, it’s the most important improvement you can make, and it can be relatively affordable. Most big brands put crappy stock wheels on their complete bikes to hit a price point; wheels are the way to take your rig from ho-hum to heck yeah.

VB: Let's look forward - Where do you want the company to be in 5 years?

HiFi will be the best alternative wheel brand, and we’re well on the way already. As we grow, and with more resources, we’ll be able to continue to push the tech in our rims and hubs. We don’t aspire to rival the biggest brands’ scale, but we’ll always have an outsized voice.

HiFi Wheels - Where the magic happens.

VB: Finally, maybe most importantly, what bikes do you all ride and why?

HiFi’s stables house an eclectic, rad group of bikes. Among them we count Squid cyclocross and “big kid’s” BMX bikes; Ritte road bikes; several Colnago road bikes and even a MTB; Sage Cycles gravel bikes; a steel Chapman All Road bike; a Seven Evergreen; one of the new ORBEA MTBs; and an Evil shred sled. Of special note are Bre’s custom Ruegamer carbon bikes, handmade by her own hands. She’s done some amazing, super-inventive stuff! And our family has a couple of exciting new steeds on the horizon, including a beautiful new VYNL Cyclocross bike heading to Robbie, and a custom steel gravel adventure bike heading to Josh from Tinno Cycles in Medellin, Colombia!

Vynl Hit Factory wheels of choice.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.