Atomik Carbon launched in 2012, founded by business owners and investors who are self-described cycling lifers. “It was inevitable that we would get into cycling as a business and build a bike brand,” said company founder Wayne Lee. As mountain bikers, a natural starting point for the new company was a product they would immediately use themselves: wheels. “We didn’t want to go as far as creating a new bike brand, but wheels seemed to be the component that could most improve your ride.”
Atomik saw that with carbon as a material, they could produce a very lightweight wheel, but a lot of other carbon wheel manufacturers were aiming for absolute lightweight too, and sometimes at the expense of ride quality. “We’ve been down that road, and it doesn’t end well for anybody,” said Wayne in a recent interview. For several years by now, the main selling points for Atomik wheels are strength and ride quality. Recently, color has entered the conversation too.
This was triggered by the adoption a few years back of the remarkable Berd spokes. “The Berd product is one of the best we’ve ever tested, it reduces weight but retains the strength, and you can immediately feel the difference in ride quality. It took us less than 100 yards to feel it.”
Berd’s revolutionary polyethylene braided spokes are lightweight and very strong, producing a 32-spoke 29er MTB wheelset at about 1600g, and a 28-spoke 700C x 33mm gravel wheelset under 1300g.
Atomik’s Berd-spoked wheels are known for significantly reducing road and trail vibration, and have proved very popular in recent years. “We have built about 800 sets of berd-spoked wheels over the past three years,” he says, which is an achievement in itself, because they are not easily built. “There’s a particular process you have to follow, it’s lengthy and takes some practice to get it right, but we’ve developed it to a production level,” says Wayne.
Demo video of lacing Berd spokes
Then they learned that Berd spokes can be dyed. “We designed machines to dye the spokes, and we can add colored nipples. In some cases people want all spokes and nipples colored, or maybe just the spokes either side of the valve. We can do a wide range of different spoke and nipple color combinations and patterns too. And of course color choice on rim decals.”
The Atomik booth was buzzing throughout the show. “It was really fantastic! One of the reasons we selected Philly Bike Expo is the many custom builders, and that went really well. A lot of frame builders had heard of us, but not much beyond that. Now, because of this show, we are going to have a lot of demo wheels going out. All the builders we spoke to agree this would be a plus for them. Partly because of the high quality and customization we offer, but also we offer OEM prices.”
Wayne also spoke of his conversations with PBE attendees. “We found them to be very knowledgeable. This was a first for us at consumer shows! It was a whole different demographic, different from what we’re used to. We really enjoyed being there.”