There are other ways to customize the wheels you’re looking for. Some of these provide “benefits” in that some guy one time said it was better because of various esoteric reasons. Most of them are just aesthetically interesting. Some of them may be horrible ideas.
The metal spokes we work with are able to be customized to different colors. I have access to the colors found here from Cerakote, specifically the air-cured variety. I frequently use these on spokes at the valve stem for a bit of accent color there. I just charge you what my paint guy charges (usually his cost on a small sample size of the Cerakote and a bit in time – most of the time it’s been fifty or sixty dollars), and a few dollars (maybe ten to twenty dollars) to compensate for my time going to and from his location.
Twisted Spoke Lacing:
Twisted spoke lacing (sometimes called snowflake lacing) doesn’t offer any benefit to anything, but it does sure look cool. Not many qualms doing it on a front wheel of a beach cruiser. Wheels that will see more serious use require some more considerations about weather or not this is a good idea. It probably isn’t a good idea, but it may not be a catastrophically bad idea. It looks cool, but can make the wheel harder to true. Have to discuss what you want it for to decide where on the good or bad idea scale this falls.
Usually requires spokes a few mm longer than a more traditional lacing pattern. This requires some moderate mental gymnastics on my part and some frustration in the lacing process, so I’ll charge accordingly, but also will try not to kill you on pricing for doing this – I’m guessing I’d charge about thirty or forty dollars a wheel for this.
If we want to use big bladed spokes, these won’t fit through the flanges of a hub. It requires that the hub shell be modified to accept these big ass blades. This kills the warranty. I have done it on several of my personal builds, and it’s an old timey time practice that some still do. Bladed spokes like the CXRay don’t require this as they’re a slimmer blade.
I sit there with a little tiny file and or a Dremel tool and go to town until I’m covered in aluminum dust and have slots in the hub just big enough to slide the spokes through.
Tying and Soldering:
Another holdover from the old timey times, tying and soldering spokes is the act of wrapping the places where the spoke crossing meet with tiny wire, and soldering it so it is unable to come undone, effectively immobilizing the spoke at this location. This has no real benefit. Some people believe that it would increase the torsional stiffness of the wheel (leading to better power transfer) by effectively increasing the diameter of the hub. There is little empirical evidence to back this up. One actual benefit, and reason it probably happened in the even older old timey times, was that in huge wheels, like on penny farthings, if a spoke broke and became lodged in the wheel it could have devastating consequences if the bike instantly stopped launching the rider forwards and off the saddle that was five or six feet up in the air. It has held on beyond this.
I likely will charge about fifty per wheel to do it.
Harlequin Handlebar Tape:
Another visitor from the old timey times. The handlebar tape is sort of braided together, creating a diamond pattern on the bars. It was much more common when handlebar tape was just cotton cloth, it still works best with that stuff. A few colors of that are still available to us from Newbaum’s cloth tape. It’s really nice. It takes a darned long time, I’d probably charge about $50 to do this.