By Joshua Rymon, PCI# 1252
Metropolitan (DC) Police Department
I recently had the opportunity to test a set of wheels by Teny Rims, a company based out of Taiwan. They have been making bicycle wheels since 1990, and also produce wheels for scooters and wheelchairs. Their bicycle rims only became commercially available in the United States in May 2011, so until now, I knew very little about the company.
My initial reaction had little to do with the wheels themselves, but was instead based on the quality of customer service I received. In the days of hour-long waits on hold and automated email accounts that no one actually checks, I was contacted directly by the company’s United States CEO, Calvin Watkins.
I expected to receive the wheels in the mail within a few weeks, but instead he offered to drive down to DC from Baltimore to deliver them personally. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least, and hopefully representative of the type of service that can be expected when working with the company professionally.
The wheels themselves are made of an aluminum magnesium alloy, and have six wide, integrated spokes. Unlike the ones on a traditional bicycle wheel, these spokes are a beefy ‘T’ shape, attached directly to the hub and rim. This type of construction seems like it would be much stronger and more durable than that of a regular wheel, but it comes at the cost of being able to adjust the tension of each spoke if the wheel comes out of true. The wheels are available in a variety of colors, in addition to traditional black.
I tested the wheels on my Trek 6000, riding singletrack in some parks near DC. When I swapped the Teny Cyclones for the stock wheels on my bike, I was surprised by the difference in weight. The Teny wheels are significantly heavier. I’m not talking about some barely noticeable amount, but more of a “why does this feel like it has a boot tied to it?” difference. As a roadie at heart, my initial impression was that no wheel could be good enough to justify that sort of an increase in weight. Weight is not as much of an issue on a patrol bike, but it still remains a concern when you take into account the additional gear with which public safety cyclists are already laden.
Once I hit the trails on the Teny Rims, I noticed two things: first, the additional weight made a noticeable difference while climbing; and second, once I was able to get up and over the hills, the bike was rock solid underneath me, able to take on whatever sort of abuse the trail could throw at it. I don’t know how much of the effect was psychological, but having a pair of heavy, solid metal wheels did inspire some extra confidence to push myself and my bike a bit harder into obstacles in the trail.
They rode surprisingly well, though I did find myself unusually fatigued during some rides.
I cannot speak about the long-term durability of the wheels or their integrated hubs, but they seemed to hold up well during my rides. For departmental use, I would not recommend them for hilly areas or for riders who may already have trouble with the weight of a patrol bike. If neither of these are an issue, the Teny Rims might be an option. As a bonus, they also add a unique appearance that would serve as a conversation item to help engage parts of the community.
Josh is an IPMBA Police Cyclist instructor, part-time mountain biker, and full-time roadie.
© 2012 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of IPMBA News.