Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the common questions we get regarding our wheels, if you don't see the answer to your questions, don't hesitate to contact us or send an email to: info@rolfprima.com.

Technology questions

  1. Why does Rolf Prima pair the spokes at the rim?
  2. How do Paired Spokes allow Rolf Prima to build stronger wheels?
  3. Why is one rear hub flange bigger than the other?
  4. How are hand-built wheels better than machine built wheels?
  5. Why does Rolf Prima use internal spoke nipples?
  6. Why does Rolf Prima use J-bend spokes?

Product questions

  1. Is my wheel Campagnolo 8, 9, 10 & 11 speed compatible?
  2. Is my wheel Shimano 9, 10 & 11 speed compatible?
  3. Are Rolf Prima wheels compatible with Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM?
  4. Does Rolf Prima recommend a maximum tire inflation pressure?
  5. Where can I purchase Rolf Prima wheels?
  6. Should I do anything special in setting up my brakes?
  7. Does Rolf Prima recommend certain brake pads?
  8. Are Rolf Prima wheels approved by the UCI / ITU?
  9. Does Rolf Prima make 650c size wheels?
  10. Does Rolf Prima make 20" size wheels?
  11. Where are Rolf Prima wheels built?
  12. What is the size of the bearing in my hubs?
  13. Which wheel is for me?
  14. Does Rolf Prima offer a PowerTap wheel?
  15. Can I purchase replacement Rolf Prima decals?
  16. Are ceramic bearings offered in Rolf Prima wheels?
  17. Are there tire size recommendations?
  18. What length presta valve should I use?
  19. Do Rolf Prima wheels have max rider weights?
  20. Can I run my Rolf Prima cyclocross wheels tubeless?

Service questions

  1. Why can't Rolf Prima service older, Trek-built, "Rolf Wheels" branded wheels?
  2. Does Rolf Prima offer a crash/rebuild program?
  3. What can I do if I crash and my wheels get damaged?
  4. Where can I get replacement parts for my Rolf Prima wheel(s)?
  5. What is the warranty on Rolf Prima wheels?
  6. Should I do anything special in setting up my brakes?
  7. Does Rolf Prima recommend certain brake pads?
  8. If my wheel comes out of true, what should I do?
  9. If I break a spoke on a ride, can I ride home?
  10. If I break a spoke, does it have to be replaced with the exact same type of spoke?
  11. My wheel is making a noise.
  12. What size spoke wrench do I need for Rolf Prima wheels?
  13. Do my Rolf Prima wheels have to come back to the factory for all service needs?
  14. What type of grease do you recommend for hub service?
  15. Where is the serial number for my wheel located?

Q: Why does Rolf Prima pair the spokes at the rim?
A: By pairing spokes at the rim we are able to neutralize the left and right pulling forces, which allows us to build with fewer spokes, making lighter and more aerodynamic wheels. See Paired Spokes explained

- Imagine a very flexible rim using 10 evenly spaced spokes. It is easy to see how the rim will not run true because the rim is too flexible to resist the unbalanced left and right pulling forces under the tensioned spokes. With conventional lacing, the rim needs to be stiffer (heavier), more spokes need to be used or the spoke tensions need to be lowered. All have negative consequences.

- Imagine that same rim with 10 paired spokes. The paired spokes balance the left and right forces so the wheel runs true. As spoke counts go down, everyone else has to use heavier rims. Not us.

For more on our technology visit our  Tech page here


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Q: How do Paired Spokes allow Rolf Prima to build stronger wheels?
A: Rolf Prima wheels get their strength, stiffness and stability through the use of high spoke tensions. By pairing the spokes at the rim, we can build each wheel with a higher and more targeted  spoke tension than a traditionally laced wheel. Because the left and right side spokes meet at the rim at the same point, the left and right pulling forces from the high tensions are negated allowing the use of higher tension with no lateral trueness issues. These higher tensions increase stiffness and improve spoke durability by decreasing the load-cycle the spoke experiences. As the wheel rotates and each spoke comes in contact with the road surface it goes through a full tension to detension process under the weight of the rider. Higher tensioned spokes will not go from full tension to zero tension - that is easier on the spoke. See Paired Spokes explained


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Q: Why is one rear hub flange bigger than the other?
A: When you stand on the pedals, the chain pulls on the cogs of the rear wheel. This puts a torque into the rear hub. That torque gets transmitted through the spokes to the rim - that's what makes it turn. Our patented Differential Flange Diameter™ on the rear hub helps spread that torque to the non-drive spokes so it is not absorbed by only the drive side spokes. The larger flange provides a lever arm to provide that mechanical advantage. See Differential Flange Diameter explained


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Q: How are hand-built wheels better than machine built wheels?
A: Most bicycle wheels sold today are built using machines. For run-of-the-mill wheels this can work, but to build a truly light wheel with uniform tensions, you just can't match the skill of human hands. Every Rolf Prima wheel is carefully hand-built using a painstaking build process that enables our wheels to run true longer - without the need for constant attention or a "break-in period". In effect we build each wheel three times with two stress cycles in the build to seat and stretch all components.


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Q: Why does Rolf Prima use internal spoke nipples?
A: Internal nipples allow us to make a stronger wheel with higher spoke tensions for better fatigue life and stiffness. External nipples have a flange that is loaded in tension under the pulling forces of the spokes. Internal nipples are loaded in compression. Under higher tensions a nipple in compression lasts longer. As a bonus, aerodynamic performance is also significantly improved since the nipples are located inside the rim creating less wind drag. View our wind tunnel results here

See Internal Nipples explained


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Q:Why does Rolf Prima use J-bend spokes?
A: Ahh. The age-old question: Straight pull versus J-bend. The J shape of the spoke where it enters the spoke hole of the hub allows it to rotate slightly in the spoke hole under the torque loads coming from the chain/cogs. This movement helps the spoke absorb this input force more easily - increasing fatigue life. If you look closely at many straight pull hub designs, many try to replicate this feature including one that uses 2 flanges per side (4 per hub) with straight pull spokes threaded into brass barrels joining the flanges to allow rotation. In effect, a heavy way to replicate the benefits of a J-bend spoke. We cut to the chase and use the best spoke shape around - J bend.


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Q: Is my wheel Campagnolo 8, 9, 10 & 11 speed compatible?
Rolf Prima wheels configured with a Campagnolo® freehub body will fit 9 or 10 speed Campagnolo® ED compatible cassettes. 2009 and newer Rolf Prima wheels are also 11-speed Campagnolo® compatible. Some 2004–2008 wheels can be retrofitted to work with 11-speed Campagnolo, here is a breakdown that should help you determine what you need to do to make it work with 11 speed Campagnolo. click here. Rolf Prima wheels configured with a Campagnolo® freehub body will not fit 8 speed Campagnolo® ED compatible cassettes.


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Q: Is my wheel shimano 9, 10 & 11 speed compatible?
Rolf Prima wheels configured with a Shimano® freehub body will fit 9 or 10 speed Shimano® compatible cassettes. Most 2013 and newer Rolf Prima wheels are also 11-speed Shimano® compatible. Some 2004–2012 wheels can be retrofitted to work with 11-speed Shimano®, here is a breakdown that should help you determine if your wheel is or can be 11-speed Shimano® compatible. click here.


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Q: Are Rolf Prima wheels compatible with Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM drivetrains?
A: Yes. Shimano and SRAM systems use the same freehub body shape. Campagnolo however is different. Rolf Prima makes wheels that are compatible with either Campagnolo or Shimano/ SRAM drive systems. You will need to specify which system you need when buying your wheels. Don't worry though, if you change systems later, existing wheels can be converted to either system. For more information, click here for conversion instructions.


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Q: Does Rolf Prima recommend a maximum tire inflation pressure?
A: Yes, for aluminum clincher rims, do not inflate tires above the inflation pressure indicated on the tire sidewall or 120 psi whichever is lower. For Carbon tubular wheels, inflate tires to the maximum inflation pressure indicated on the tire sidewall, or at least a minimum of 120 psi.  For carbon clincher wheels do not exceed 120psi or the maximum pressure listed on the tires sidewall, whichever is lower.  For mountain bike wheels, do not inflate tires above the maximum inflation pressure of 40psi when used as tubeless.


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Q: Where can I purchase Rolf Prima wheels?
A: We sell our wheel systems through specialty bicycle and triathlete shops everywhere. If you can't find a shop near you or your favorite shop is not on our dealer list, let us know. We'll contact them to set them up as an authorized Rolf Prima dealer. See our Dealer locator: Rolf Prima Dealer locator


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Q: Should I do anything special in setting up my brakes?
A: Yes. For all Rolf Prima wheels we recommend Rolf Prima branded brake pads. These are available from your local Rolf Prima dealer or on the Rolf Prima store. Also see this for details on setting up your brakes. It is important to “toe-in” the pads in set up.


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Q: Does Rolf Prima recommend certain brake pads?
A: Yes. There are differences in feel between carbon and alloy braking surfaces. Some of the pads that come standard on bikes are fairly soft. These can be very “grabby” on alloy or carbon brake surfaces and may even cause a stutter feeling. For alloy brake surfaces, we recommend Rolf Prima Brake pads. These are a moderate pad for all conditions that provide good braking performance on our alloy and carbon wheels. Brake Setup Instructions


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Q: Are Rolf Prima wheels approved by the UCI?
A: This is an area of much confusion and it affects a small portion of riders. Unless you are racing mass start UCI road, UCI Cyclocross races or draft legal ITU triathlons, this does not really apply to you. The UCI/ITU approval rules only apply to those events. For many road races, cross races, the vast majority of triathlons (Ironman, IM70.3, almost all local tri’s etc) and time trials the requirements do not apply.

The UCI labels some wheels as “non-standard” and these need to be tested and approved. Below are the criteria for a “non-standard” wheel according to the UCI and ITU. If a wheel meets any of these criteria, it is “non-standard”.

- Rim taller than 25mm
- Fewer than 16 spokes
- Spokes with thickness over 2.4mm

** Rolf Prima “Standard” wheels  which do not require UCI approval: Aspin, Aspin SL, Apex, Elan, Elan Alpha, Elan RS, Elan CLS. These can be used in UCI/ITU and other events.
** Approved "non-standard" wheels please see UCI website but includes Vigor, Vigor Alpha, Vigor CLS, Ares4, Echelon/ SL, TdF6/6 SL, TdF8, TdF58, TdF38.


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Q: Does Rolf Prima make 650c size wheels ?
A: Yes. The Elan model is available in a 650c wheel size.


Q: Does Rolf Prima make 20" size wheels ?
A: Yes. The Apex SL is available in a 406c and 451c 20" wheel sizes.


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Q: Where are Rolf Prima wheels built?
A: All Rolf Prima wheels are hand built in our Eugene, Oregon facility by our skilled employees.


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Q: What is the size of the bearing in my hubs?
A: Here is a breakdown that shows which bearings are in your wheel. click here


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Q: Which wheel is for me?
A: Here is a breakdown that helps show which wheel is best going to fit your needs. click here


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Q: Does Rolf Prima offer a PowerTap wheel?
A: Yes - you can order the TdF6SL, TdF6 TdF4SL, 58RSC, 38RSC, Ares8, Ares6, Ares4, Vigor alpha, Vigor, Vigor RS or Elan alpha with a G3 PowerTap hub. Contact your local Rolf Prima dealer for further details.


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Q: Can I get replacement decals for my Rolf Prima wheel?
A: Yes, replacement decals can be purchased through your local shop or directly from Rolf Prima. Visit the Rolf Prima store


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Q: Are ceramic bearings offered in Rolf Prima wheels?
A: Yes, you can order your Rolf Prima wheels with ceramic bearings or upgrade your current Rolf Prima wheels with ceramic bearings at anytime. Read more about bearing upgrades on our Factory Service page.


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Q: Are there tire size recommendations?
A: Rolf Prima road wheels can be used with tire widths ranging from 20C - 28C.  Wider tires may be able to be used safely but they are not recommended.  Cyclocross models can be used with tires up to 34mm wide.  Ralos mountain bike wheels will perform best with tires between 1.9 and 2.25” wide.

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Q: What length presta valve should I use?
A: Our lower profile wheels: Elan, Dauphine, Aspin and Aspin SL can use 35mm or longer. Our deep alloy rims like the Vigor, Echelon, VCX, ECX, SSCX, Tandem and P-Town will work with a 48mm or longer. Our deep section carbon wheels come with valve extenders for inflating, however by using a 60mm valve, the TdF4SL can be used without a valve extender.


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Q: Do Rolf Prima wheels have max rider weights?
A. Yes and No. Every wheel from every manufacturer has limits but it is more than just weight. It also involves riding style and road conditions in your area. Some wheels are built for ultra-lightweight as #1 and some are built to be a bit stiffer. If you're a heavier rider or you tend to stand and throw the bike around, you should probably look for a wheel with increased stiffness. For that reason you may not want to go with our lightest wheel options like the TdF4 SL or Èlan. We might steer you towards wheels that we build with more spokes, stouter rims and/or more spoke tension such as the Vigor RS, Echelon SL, Aspin SL, 58RSC, 38RSC or TdF6. View our "Wheel comparison Chart" for more help or contact us to find out which wheel best fits your riding needs.


Q: Can I run my Rolf Prima cyclocross wheels tubeless?
A. All 2014 alloy clincher Rolf Prima cyclocross wheels can be set up for tubeless use by using a conversion kit such as offered by Stan's NoTubes. The rims set up well with 21mm rim tape along with a long valve stem (44mm) or a rubber rim strip can be used for bombproof performance at lower pressures. We recommend Stan's cyclocross tubeless kit (KT0014). It is not necessary to use a tubeless specific cyclocross tire though performance will vary depending on the tire selection. Never exceed the maximum pressure shown on the tire casing.


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Q: Why can't Rolf Prima service older, Trek-built, "Rolf Wheels" branded wheels?
A: Rolf Prima wheels are manufactured with different components and specification than the old "Rolf Wheels" branded wheels manufactured under license by Trek Bicycle Corporation. Rolf Prima is a separate entity and has no affiliation with Trek. Trek is servicing all warranties related to the "Rolf Wheels" brand manufactured through December 31, 2001. For more information on servicing "Rolf Wheels" branded products click here.


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Q: Do you offer a crash/rebuild program?
A: Yes. Purchase the Rolf Prima Hero Program within 15 days of wheel purchase for a two-year protection. To ensure every Rolf Prima wheel is built to the same specifications, we perform all rebuilds at our Eugene, Oregon facility - usually within 48 hours of receiving them. Didn't purchase the Hero Program? Don't worry we can rebuild any Rolf Prima wheel with our Factory Service options.


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Q: What can I do if I crash and my wheels get damaged?
A: We can often rebuild any crashed wheel, by using your existing hub and rebuilding it with a new rim, spokes and nipples. It is more cost effective to rebuild a wheel, than to replace it and with our 48hr turn around policy you are not without your wheel for long. Read more about our factory service options here.


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Q: Where can I get replacement parts for my Rolf Prima wheel?
A: Any professional bicycle shop can order replacement parts to service Rolf Prima wheels. If you don't have a shop near you, check our online store for replacement parts or contact us directly.


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Q: What's the warranty on Rolf Prima wheels?
A: Two (2) year protection from the date of purchase against defects in materials and workmanship. For more details on our warranty, click here.


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Q: If my wheel comes out of true, what should I do?
A: Rolf Prima wheels with internal nipples are not any harder to true than a traditionally laced wheel. Actually they are easier because of the paired spokes. You will need to remove the tire and rim strip to true them and that is part of the reason we put so much time into our build process. Our build process eliminates the normal "break-in" period most wheels have. You won't be constantly truing them - in fact we hear from many customers that they have never had to true them.


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Q: If I break a spoke on a ride, can I ride home?
A: Yes. In most cases by opening your brake pads you can ride home or to a bike shop for repair.


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Q: If I break a spoke, does it have to be replaced with the exact same type of spoke?
A: We do suggest replacing a broken spoke with a Rolf Prima spec'd spoke, however in a pinch or emergency, a standard J-bend spoke of the right length can be used.


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Q: My wheel is making a noise
A: This is complicated since there are many parts on a bike. The first, and most important, thing to do is to isolate the noise. Try changing wheels on the bike; if the noise is still there with a different set of wheels, the noise is not coming from the wheels (change only one wheel at a time so you know if it was front or rear). Try the wheels on another bike- is the same noise there? Once you have determined the noise is coming from the wheel and you have determined which one (front or rear) here are some common items to check. Note that below is a list of the top contenders. It could be something else.

- One of the most common causes of noise coming from a wheel is a rattling valve stem. Sounds crazy, but it is. If the valve stem is unthreaded, try placing a small piece of tape around the valve stem where it enters the rim. This will dampen the noise. If you have a threaded valve stem; thread the small nut that came with your tube onto the valve after the tube is installed. Tighten lightly.

- Not the valve stem? It could be worn bearings. Remove the wheels from the bike and spin the axle in your fingers. Is it rough or noisy? If so, it is time for a bearing replacement. Contact your local bike shop or view options on our Factory Service page.

- If you determine it is the rear wheel and it is making a creaking noise, it may be a dry axle. Follow the instructions in the Service Manual for disassembling the hub. Apply oil and reassemble.

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Q: What size spoke wrench do I need for Rolf Prima wheels?
A: For internal nipple Rolf Prima wheels use a 3/16 spoke wrench for truing. For external nipple Rolf Prima wheels you can use a standard spoke wrench or a square driver. Specific spoke wrenches for Rolf Prima wheels can be purchased from the Rolf Prima store


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Q: Do my Rolf Prima wheels have to come back to the factory for all service needs?
A: No, the only service we require that is performed at the factory is a full wheel rebuild. Any routine service can be performed at your local shop.


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Q: What type of grease do you recommend for hub service?
A: Standard white lithium grease works well especially if cut with a small amount of chain oil.


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Q: Where is the serial number for my wheel located?
A: Serial numbers are located under the rim strip, near the valve hole - see here.