Reserve Wheelbuilder Kyle Snyder Interview

Reserve Wheelbuilder Kyle Snyder Interview

Building wheels is an art, a dark art according to some, executed by technicians steeped in the teachings of the craft. It’s a specific alchemy that transmutes a pile of spokes, nipples, a rim and a hub into a stiff yet compliant, perfectly dialed mountain or road slayer. One of Reserve’s resident wheel sorcerers is Kyle Snyder, a man as understated as he is skilled. We took some time out of our busy wheel building day to continue the builder series, asking Kyle a few questions about his process, his likes and dislikes, and to stir the mercurial pot so to speak. 

(Q) What’s your hometown?

(A) San Jose, California

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

Callito, given to me by my awesome coworkers

How long have you been at Reserve?

It’ll be 3 years in April, 5 years at SCB in March!

How long have you been riding?

Since I was 4 years old! My dad took me mountain biking up in Soquel Demo Forest (don’t tell anybody). He would bring our yellow lab, Thunder, along for the ride and when I would tire out, my Dad would tie Thunder’s leash to the head tube of my bike. Thunder would pull me out.

How long have you been building wheels?

Almost three years.

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

I can’t count that high…Probably in the 10s of thousands though.

What brought you to wheel building?

I’ve always wanted to learn how to build wheels and this was my golden opportunity.

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

Personally I like hand building wheels, but the machine is super fun to use and it works like a charm. 

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

Building wheels is like playing ‘whack-a-mole’, every time you make one adjustment, another one pops up. Fixing hop stroke, side stroke acts up, fix side stroke and dish acts up, and so on.

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

Freeride mountain biking. I like jumping.

What is your favorite trail or favorite place to ride?

A trail that rhymes with ‘Hugs’, it’s fast and flowy.

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

2021 Santa Cruz Nomad 5, Reserve 30 rims with DT swiss 350 hubs. I think Keila and David’s builder cards were on them when I got them. Keila's now on the Santa Cruz Rider Support team, and David  still works on Reserves.

What occupies your time when you’re not building wheels?

Riding bikes of course!

Rapid Fire

Beer, wine, cocktail or seltzer?


SRAM or Shimano?

Metallica or Megadeth?

Coffee, Tea or Red Bull?


Thick or thin grips?

It's all the same to me.

Burrito or hamburger or pizza?


RockShox or Fox?


Seinfeld, Friends or Rick & Morty?

Any show with cool old cars. 

i9 or DT Swiss?

DT swiss for me please.

Puppies or kittens? 

Puppies, Thunder!

Describe your perfect day.

Any day with the sun shining.

What is your special power?

Building wheels.

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