Reserve Wheelbuilder Interview Brad Davies

Reserve Wheelbuilder Interview Brad Davies

Over the course of the last year we've been featuring the artisans at our Santa Cruz, California wheel building facility. This month, we feature Brad Davies who, among other things, loves hand-building wheels and has at least a handful of nicknames. B-Rad has a penchant for frothy protein shakes and riding the Flow Trail in Demonstration Forest above his hometown of Santa Cruz. Davies is one of the good ones, always ready with a quick smile and a willingness to jump in and put a little love into the day's builds.

Q: What’s your hometown?

A: The mean streets of Santa Cruz, Ca.!

Do you have a nickname? If yes, how’d you get it? If not, make one up that suits your character. 

Riddy is the current nickname, it started out as the typical B-Rad nickname and over time my friends would just change it to less syllables I guess. But depending on what group of friends you are a part of you get a different name, if you knew me from elementary school or before you’ll call me Bradley, people who casually meet me it’s Brad and the tight-knit groups will call me B-rad or Riddy. It’s a very funny thing I've noticed over the years and how I know who’s known me the longest; even my best friend will refer to me as Bradley- D and he’s the only one who uses that. Same names, different styles for different groups.

How long have you been at Reserve? 

2 years this April!

How long have you been riding? 

Since I could walk, started racing early on, but I really got into it in Jr. High with BMX and from Jr. High though college I rode a single speed BMX bike from home on the westside to Aptos and back everyday. I developed a stigma in the community as a BMX guy only but I owned a steel downhill mountain bike called the SWD bike from Bicycle Fabrications in SF that I would ride on the weekends.That thing weighed like 50 lbs–I wish I still had it. 

How long have you been building wheels?

I would say for as long as I've worked for Reserve Wheels but the first 3 months all I did was load hubs which is like 1/4th of the wheel. It took a bit to get into the whole spectrum of building, but I love the progression and how long it took. I really feel I had to earn my spot which I put a lot of value in.

How many wheels do you estimate you’ve built since you’ve been at Reserve? 

I have no clue… my eyes are going crossed just thinking about that.

What brought you to wheel building?

Two of my former housemates used to work in this department so I'd hear a lot about it through them (Bo and Zach) so there was always interest in it. But it wasn't until I got to meet John (bossman) and the persistence of Zach Dunn in trying to get me to come in for an interview is what really set things up and got me excited for the opportunity. 

Would you rather build a wheel by machine or by hand?  

100% hand building, I love it, putting on some good bluesy roadhouse rock or a baseball game and building a wheel is definitely my vibe. Not only are there visual cues that allow you to see the change in the side-stroke and hop, but you can also feel and hear it. Sometimes you'll hear the snap crackle and pop of the tension release and the next thing you know it's as close to a perfect circle as you can get. 

Tell us something about wheel building that most people wouldn’t know. 

There is a tight side and a loose side and the difference in tension can be very dramatic on each side on a wheel that is perfectly on dish with no side stroke or dreaded hop. Some wheels will be very close in tension on either side and others will be dramatically different based on a multitude of factors (mostly component geometry) making each wheel build unique. 

What kind of riding do you typically do? Mountain, Gravel or Road? 

Mountain any chance I get, I LOVE to be on the trail and gliding through the single tracks, I’ll ride the road bike to and from work but it’s Mountain any chance I get. 

What is your favorite trail or favorite place to ride? 

The mountains near work have some really great trails, I’m still searching for my all time favorite but Flow Trail in Aptos with my puppy Beau so far has been the best!

Garage-check, what are you currently riding? Which wheels? Who built them? 

XS Santa Cruz Tallboy is the newest member of the family, DT Swiss on Raceface Hoops are the current build. Working on building a pair of AL Reserves for this bike that I should have rolling soon, The other bikes are a 1960’s classic Schwinn cruiser, and a Cervelo Aparo-5 with also DT Swiss hubs and Raceface hoops.     

What do you do when you are not building wheels? 

Road trips, off roading, camping, fishing, I spend the vast majority of my time with my puppy Beau who is a Queensland Heeler / Belgian Malinois mix with off-the-charts energy, most loyal and caring pup with great learning skills. Rips trails better than most people I know. If I’m not with him I’m out shooting photography. Photography is a huge passion of mine and I want to make it a main staple of my professional life one day, I also cook everyday. 

Rapid Fire

Beer, wine, cocktail or seltzer? 
Top shelf Whiskey no chaser or local IPA maybe red wine while I cook.

SRAM or Shimano? 


Coffee, Tea or Red Bull? 

Peanut Butter/Chocolate/Frozen Berries Mix protein shake

Thick or thin grips? 

The Santa Cruz team grips are awesome or Deity LockJaw…. Whatever thickness they are is what I like. 

Burrito or hamburger or pizza? 


RockShox or Fox? 

Fox in the front and Rockshox rear is the current ride, i’m open to ideas 

Seinfeld, Friends or Rick & Morty? 

White Collar is my jam!

I9 or DT Swiss? 

DT Swiss for the win! 

Puppies or kittens? 

My puppy BEAU!!!!

Describe your perfect day. 

Last friday…played with the pup at the beach during sunrise, hit the gym after, rode mountain bikes at noon and spent the rest of the day with the pup being absolute misfits. 

What is your special power? 

Excellent hand eye coordination.

Zurück zum Blog