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36T Secures Government Funding to Develop Carbon Fiber Road Bike Wheels in Australia

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36T team with carbon wheels on bike

There’s no better boost to your financing, and likely your confidence, than receiving grant money from the government to develop your product idea. Australian startup wheel company 36T was one of four companies who were awarded $25,000 Smart Design Vouchers from the Australian Department of State Development, Business and Innovation, making it possible to begin developing their first carbon-rich road racing wheelset.

36T’s high-end wheelset will be developed in collaboration with the Deakin University School of Engineering, at their $34 million carbon fiber research facility called Carbon Nexus. It’s an ideal fit for producing these wheels, as they employ carbon for the rims, spokes, hub shells and spacers to achieve an estimated weight of less than 1000g for the pair…

36T carbon wheels on road bike

The wheels use 16 spokes for both the front and rear, which are laced in a two cross pattern. The rear wheel is laced asymmetrically to optimize aerodynamic performance and maintain lateral stiffness. On the drive side, larger section spokes are used to optimize drive loads and compensate for reduced lateral stiffness due to the shallower spoke angle.

36T’s spokes are made using a patent pending process that aligns the carbon’s fibers to achieve desired properties. Their advanced construction makes for tough but flexible spokes, and preserves fiber continuity to help alleviate load forces where the spokes meet the hub.

36T carbon wheels, hub prototype
An early look at 36T’s prototype hub, photo posted in February of 2014

The company’s hubs have no unnecessary decorative shells or parts, just quality manufacturing on display with raw carbon shining through. The hubs use three ceramic bearings which are strategically positioned to reduce bearing and axle load and increase the wheel’s stiffness. The bearings are oil lubricated, which 36T says increases durability, serviceability, and tolerance to water and grime ingress. That is, whatever gets past the full contact, low friction lip seals.

The hub’s titanium freehub body affords 48 points of engagement through two phased sets of three pawls, which 36T says provides reliability and near-instant pickup. Currently Shimano and Sram compatible units are being developed, with Campagnolo on the to-do list for later this year.

36T carbon road wheels, team checking prototype

The rims are 35mm deep and 25mm wide, and are designed to provide high lateral and torsional stiffness. Their semi-toroidal shape presents competitive aerodynamics and low drag coefficients through a wide range of yaw angles. Computerized laminate optimization ensures the least amount of material required is used, eliminating any unneeded grams of excess carbon. The spokes are widely offset in the rims to maximize their bracing angle and lateral stiffness, for unwavering performance during standing sprints or climbs.

Carbon Nexus research facility
A peek inside the Carbon Nexus facility

As Australia’s only carbon wheel manufacturer 36T decided to keep all the design, manufacturing and testing within the country, allowing them to maintain control over the process from start to finish. They intend to have their wheelsets available sometime this year. 36T’s website is just launching, so for now you’ll find the most info on their Facebook page.

36t.com.au

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TheKaiser
TheKaiser
7 years ago

These look like cool wheels. Although the soft focus and reflections makes it tough to tell in that picture of the rim well, it looks like they are tubulars. Are they planning to do a carbon clincher too?

The cross over spoke pattern is reminiscent of the Shimano D-A “Sweet 16” wheels from the 90s, which seemed like an intriguing way of increasing bracing angle but was dumped by Shimano for the next iteration of their high end wheels.

FoolCyclist
FoolCyclist
7 years ago

You lost me at ceramic bearings.

capt'n
capt'n
7 years ago

If these spokes are carbon and are they bonded to the rim, I hope the tolerances are better than Lightweight.

CC
CC
7 years ago

What is a government doing giving money to bike companies to develop racing products? I guess it’s better than bombs, but still pretty stupid.

Kyle
Kyle
7 years ago

They gave them $25 000, which is chump change really, The acknowledgement is perhaps more telling.

Craig
Craig
7 years ago

@CC. Some governments allocate funds to help businesses that have strong export potential for the country. It might sound stupid but a huge part of the potential market for this company will be outside of Australia. Any jobs created by this company are good for the Australian economy, and so is the profit earned from foreign sales as a portion of this profit ultimately gets paid as taxes back into the Australian economy. So it’s not stupid at all, it’s actually quite smart.

Jim
Jim
7 years ago

Good to see my taxes at work – Do I get a discount as I’m a “backer” ? 🙂

At least they will hopefully keep manufacturing local, (probably why they got a handout) Geelong could do with a boost economically with a certain car manufacturer pulling up the stumps.

Still I’m not sure about carbon spokes??

Homeschool Jay
Homeschool Jay
7 years ago

Great fact checking from the guys at bikerumor, you reviewed a wholly Australian made set of MTB wheels just 1 month ago!

https://bikerumor.com/2015/05/26/long-term-review-bouwmeester-tammar-4-8-carbon-fiber-wide-enduro-wheels/

ras11
ras11
7 years ago

Very very impressive weight… For a clincher!? Only seen magnesium rims below 1100g

RQ
RQ
7 years ago

I can’t figure out what’s new about these. The problems that haven’t yet been solved for this type of wheel design is serviceability and ease of manufacture. They don’t appear to be working on that.

Ashley
Ashley
7 years ago

Well done guys! Keep at it!

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