CARBON WHEELS UNIQUELY MADE IN THE USA
FORGE+BOND, the manufacturer of recyclable thermoplastic carbon fiber bicycle wheels and components, debuted today by announcing the release of its first products: two new carbon wheelsets. The F+B 30 EM 29”, an enduro MTB wheel ($2,599 MSRP), and the F+B 25 GR 700c gravel wheel ($2,599 MSRP) will both be available today at www.forgeandbond.com and in select retailers spring 2023.
“At FORGE+BOND, we’re not just creating the best performing wheels on the planet, we’re also reimagining the way the world rides,” said Joe Wheadon, FORGE+BOND VP of Sales and Marketing. “From automated cutting and layup processes to delivering finished wheels, the production process is designed to save energy and eliminate waste at every step. FUSIONFIBER®, our proprietary advanced thermoplastic carbon fiber material, allows us to manufacture cycling components that can be recycled and made new again and again, forever. Our ultimate goal is to inspire others to join us in creating a world where nothing is wasted–not only in materials but also in resources and time.”
FORGE+BOND leverages an advanced thermoplastic composite material called FUSIONFIBER®, a proprietary material made with long-chain polymers instead of the brittle and toxic epoxies and resins used in typical carbon fiber manufacturing. The distinct characteristic of FORGE+BOND’s nylon based thermoplastic material means that the products are not only uniquely engineered and manufactured for strength and durability but can be recycled to be reprocessed in any number of ways. The material can literally be made and remade forever, and the net goal is to waste nothing.
Normally, improving strength requires adding more material, which increases weight and decreases performance. But FORGE+BOND rims made with FUSIONFIBER® offer a smoother, faster, confidence-inspiring ride, and much higher impact resistance without additional weight. FORGE+BOND rims have been tested to withstand a minimum of 275% of the UCI standard for impact resistance and microscopic flexing allowed by the nylon material in FUSIONFIBER® provides a 50% or greater increase in damping while maintaining lateral stability. FORGE+BOND’s proprietary design and manufacturing process creates a lightweight wheel that is stronger and more durable, and a smoother ride without sacrificing trail feedback or control.
“With FUSIONFIBER®, we don’t have to sacrifice stiffness to improve ride quality,” said Global Marketing Director Travis Tomczak. “We target the stiffness we want for maximum control and performance and the thermoplastic matrix acts as a damper to the entire system. By constantly iterating and gathering feedback from our testing team and athletes, we’ve created a wheel that gives riders the ability to charge through any terrain with confidence and control.”
The team behind FORGE+BOND includes lifelong riders and racers to brilliant aerospace and professional auto racing engineers with over a hundred years of cumulative carbon composites expertise. FORGE+BOND athletes include Red Bull Gravity Athlete Jill Kintner, Monster Gravity Athlete Mitch Ropelato, Cannondale Gravity Athlete Iago Garay, and Imaginary Collective riders TJ Eisenheart, Sydney Neilson, Truman Glasgow, and Andrew Dahleim.
F+B 30 EM 29” Wheel Specs
- Rim weight: 530g
- 28h wheelset weight (I9 Hydra): 1884g
- 32h wheelset weight (I9 Hydra): 1982g
- ERD: 594
- Outer Rim Width: 38mm
- Inner Rim Width: 30mm
- Bead Wall Thickness: 4mm
- Rim Depth: 22mm
- Spoke Count: 28h or 32h
- Spoke: Sapim D-Lite
- Rim Type: Hookless / Tubeless
- Hub Spec: Industry Nine Hydra
- Tire Size Range: 2.3”-2.6”
F+B 25 GR 700c Wheel Specs
- Rim weight: 380g
- Wheel set weight (I9 Torch): 1510g
- ERD: 592
- Outer Rim Width: 31.4mm
- Inner Rim Width: 25mm
- Bead Wall Thickness: 3.2mm
- Rim Depth: 25mm
- Spoke Count: 24h
- Spoke: Sapim CX Ray
- Rim Type: Hookless / Tubeless
- Hub Spec: Industry Nine Torch
- Tire Size Range: 32c-48c
FORGE+BOND 30 EM 29″
First Ride by Max Rhulen
We were lucky enough to be invited up to Bellingham, Washington to ride with the Forge+Bond crew, talk with their founders and learn about what makes them different. It’s hard re-inventing the wheel and while the shape and function may not be revolutionary, Forge+Bond have re-invented the manufacturing process, which results in a much different end product with an eye on environmental-consciousness and the pride of being Made in the USA. Straight out of the box it is apparent that Forge+Bond is offering a sleek, well designed carbon wheel to consumers. The wheels aren’t plastered with massive logos; and their NXS rim technology gives the rim a wavy profile that looks cool, but more importantly allows them to shave weight and increase strength. The Forge+Bond 30 EM 29” wheels were easy to set up: they mounted with ease and the bead set without the awful popping we have grown to accept, with a nervous anticipation.
Getting to ride these Forge+Bond wheels for the first time in Bellingham was the perfect testing ground. Supportive corners, roots, rocks, and steep descents were plentiful. In a place where mitigating fatigue is crucial, products show their true colors early on. It’s easy for carbon products to be overly stiff and harsh as they strive to achieve a certain weight to strength ratio. These wheels seemed different right away. It was noticeable that the Forge+Bond 30 EM 29” wheels didn’t deflect off square edges, which limited how much I was thrashed around on the trail. At 155lbs I often notice the fatigue and struggle to hold a line on overly stiff wheels. Over two long days of riding in Bellingham and then spending more time on the rocky trails home trails in Bend, Oregon I really appreciate how my hands and feet felt and the traction and support these wheels offered. While the Forge+Bond team were a tight-lipped about the science and particulars about their secret sauce, Forge+Bond’s Fusion Fiber has achieved a laterally stiff wheel that dampens vibrations when blitzing sections of trail and corners with little flexion.
The set of wheels we received were laced up with Industry Nine Hydra hubs. Engagement is basically instantaneous. Not much to complain about with their choice of spec here. It was certainly entertaining hearing 15 people buzzing down the trail with 690 points of engagement. These hubs helped to offset the slightly heavier weight of the wheels compared with some of the competitors, accelerating without too much persuasion.
Only having a few rides on these wheels their ride performance has already made an impression. However, getting out on them for more miles on familiar trails will be the true test. What is known is that Forge+Bond is pushing the envelope in carbon manufacturing to bring high performance goods to market with as little of an environmental impact as possible. We look forward to spending a lot more time thrashing on these before reporting back for a long-term review.
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