Pete Matthews ' The Worlds Best Handbuilt Custom Cycle Wheel Builder ' began road racing at 15 years old in 1958. Always built his own bikes and began truing wheels in the 1960’s.He raced internationally from 1966 to 1972 and became the national road race champion in 1968, won the Star Trophy (Now Premier Calendar) in 1969 & 1970.
In 1972 Pete bought Jim Soens bike shop in Anfield, Liverpool. He immediately began designing, building and selling wheels for a living. Residing over his shop he spentmany hours in the evening, experimenting with various components. He discovered his foresight and painstaking work paid off and offered the world’s first “Stay True Guarantee”. By realising that his wheels were one of the biggest advantages to his own racing performances, he rode 28, then 24 spoked wheels to prove to others it was possible to use these in road races.
As Pete was still competing internationally he wanted the best ever wheels for himself, and 28’s for road racing became the norm, then 24’s, unheared of apart from time trials and track pursuits. When people were sceptical about ordering 24’s, Pete decided he must do something really special and invested in 18 hole rims for front wheels. The rims arrived and were immediately built, successfully tested and sold quickly. 18 only radial, so Pete then decided to order 16 & 20 hole rims – The World’s Firstbuilt on 32 & 40 hole hubs.
Pete then had his own Aero Spokes made on Merseyside, first in the UK. World’s first commercial “WheelBalancing”. His 16 & 20 spoke wheels began to win events with Pete then buying 16 & 20 hole hubs.
In 1982 Pete made John Woodburn two sets of 20 / 20 wheels and John broke Lands’ End to John O’Groats – End to End Record on them – another world’s first.
Already building for various Great Britain Pro Teams and individuals. Discerning riders began to take notice of Pete’s wheels and those who wanted something special contacted him for their personal use. Professionals who were sponsored by continental teams sought an advantage, Sean Yates rode 40 spoke front and 40 spoke rear, Tony Doyle rode 28 spoke for 6 days, and this was unheard of as 36 spokes were the norm. In the late 1980’s Pete began working on and perfecting UPC- Ultimate Position Concept, enabling riders to buy a bike knowing the position was perfect for them. Having produced Robert Millar’s first hand built frame in the mid 1970’s, Robert wanted special wheels for climbing. Pete and Robert worked together to give him an edge. He had carbon rims made especially for him that were extremely light. They had a special breaking surface, deep enough for aero dynamics but shallow enough for stability in cross winds.
A comprehensive list of Pete’s wheel users is compiled elsewhere on this site.
Pete is joined in business by his son Lee, who is 38 years old, married with two young children and has been riding a bike since he was 3 years old.
Lee began racing at 15, and obtained an elite racing licence in 1998 and went on to be part of an England team racing in tours of Jamaica and Dominican Republic. Lee raced as a first category rider for ten years, during this time he assisted his father with the building of wheels, gaining valuable knowledge and experience in the science of wheel building.