Joe Young has over 30 years experience as a racer, coach, master mechanic, and wheelbuilder. His resume is impressive. You can see it on this web site. From April l995 to September l997, Joe was Tom Ritchey’s Production Manager and wheelbuilder, responsible for building:
• The first OCR (off-center) rim ridden by Thomas Frischknecht to win the 1996 World Cup
• The wheels for Team Ritchey, and for the teams Ritchey supported
• The wheels that Frischknecht rode to win the silver medal in the ’96 Olympics
“The Mountain Bike World Cup is the toughest on the rider and equipment. Building wheels for the pros takes a lot of know how and experience. Joe Young is one of the few wheelbuilders who has my whole confidence. This guy knows how to build wheels.” Thomas Frischknecht
During those years, he also designed and built wheels for Grant Petersen, founder of Rivendell.
Now independent, and founder of Joe Young Wheels, he is building these same high quality wheels for the general public. Joe built his first wheel in 1966. As manager and jack-of-all-trades for the only high end bike shop in the Dallas area, he built wheels for both the casual rider and for those facing the most challenging conditions.
“I remember the Dallas Cowboy who walked into my bike shop one hot afternoon. Now there was a physics problem. And then there was Chris Ronan, dubbed ‘the Ronanator’. He was a 6’6″ racer who could torque the frame and wheel three quarters of an inch just by the power he put on his pedals. And then there was the self-contained tourist who wanted to ride to Alaska with everything she owned. She made it too, on perfectly designed wheels for her size, her body, the weight she was carrying, and for the type of riding she had planned.”
Then, in 1983 Joe met Bill Woodall, a Campagnolo neutral support and Tour de France team mechanic. Woodall taught Euro wheelbuilding techniques and together they supported the Texas Metros, a world class women’s team sponsored by PepsiCo, Campagnolo and Cinelli. By this time, he had earned a reputation for building the lightest, fastest, most durable wheels, and built for National champion Miji Reoch, Olympian Janelle Parks, and also for the Ft. Worth “Roads with no Paint ” club featuring “The Bridge is almost Out” ride on winter Sundays.
In the mid 80’s, Joe began redesigning wheels appropriate to the needs of mountain bikers. “I recognized that the design of the wheel was less critical than hub, spoke, and tire quality. The mountain bike needed more than ‘fat tires’. All the framebuilders and wheelbuilders at that time were being challenged to come up with new designs.”
Over the years, Joe has distilled his experience almost into a philosophy. It is fun to listen to him talk. Especially while he works. “The bicycle wheel is an integral part of bicycle design. Whatever the concept, however the frame is constructed, it is paramount that the wheel reflect and enhance the integrity and performance of the machine.” Joe Young Wheels is about simplicity and elegance. It’s not about turning the clock back. It’s about integrating the best of today’s innovations with the time-tested results of the past so that you can have a smooth, safe, strong, fast ride.
“The mountain bike world-cup is the toughest on the rider and equipment. Building wheels for the pro’s takes a lot of know how and experience. Joe Young is one of the few wheelbuilders who has my whole confidence. This guy knows how to build wheels!” Thomas Frischknecht
“Some people must have been born with a spoke wrench in one hand. At Ritchey Design, when Joe built the wheel, we never had any worries.” Tom Ritchey