When we think of the latest and greatest from the cycling world, we immediately think of carbon fiber. We have carbon bars, wheels, frames, chainrings (yikes!), and anything you can think of. And now we have US-made Forge+Bond carbon.
So what makes Forge+Bond different?
They want to create more from less. They put it simply, “We’re on a mission to pioneer processes and create products that stay out of landfills. We aim to clean the collective house, starting with the sport and Earth we love.”
That sounds great, and some lofty ambition. So how do they plan to do it?
Forge+Bond carbon, made sustainably in the USA
Forge+Bond starts by eliminating toxic epoxy-impregnated carbon fiber materials (thermoset composites) from its supply chain and production by re-making materials from the ground up as thermoplastic composites.
Their composites products are made in the USA (well – like 98%); even the raw carbon material used to craft the rims comes from the US. And Forge+Bond manufactures every wheel in Gunnison, UT. The hubs are from Industry Nine and are manufactured/built in Asheville, North Carolina. The spokes and valves are the only components not from the USA.
If you’re a carbon wheel nut like us, you’ve probably read about FusionFiber and its part of the new Revel wheel line-up. This process for carbon production is 100% recyclable and made in the USA by CSS Composites, which just so happens to be the parent company of Forge+Bond.
FusionFiber utilizes non-epoxy-impregnated carbon fiber. How does carbon cure without epoxy? FusionFiber uses a rapid curing process, reducing production time and energy usage. Unlike pre-preg (epoxy-filled) carbon fiber, FusionFiber doesn’t come in rolls and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. The process for FusionFiber is fully automated; the cutting, layup, and shaping process. The final rims do not need sanding, deburring, a clear coat, or paint.
Instead, Forge+Bond finishes its wheels with vinyl decals and powder-coating. A lighter and more durable process than clear-coating. Plus, it makes decal replacement and customization much easier aftermarket.
How does FusionFiber ride?
Considering FusionFiber carbon differs from most, one can only consider that a wheel crafted from it might have a different ride quality. FusionFiber is made with long-chain nylon polymers instead of epoxies and resins used in typical carbon fiber.
Those long-chain nylon polymers allow FusionFiber rims to absorb impacts through microscopic flexing in the fibers and radially dissipate shock throughout the rim.
Forge+Bond use what they call NXS Design, a layup process that reduces weight while increasing strength and performance.
It’s a design philosophy used on many high-end bike frames; add more material where you need it and less where you don’t.
Forge+Bond rims have been tested to withstand a minimum of 275% of the UCI standard for impact resistance and a minimum of 950lbs of spoke pull force. The FusionFiber carbon material also provides a 50% or greater in damping while maintaining lateral stability. Forge+Bond provided a graph to illustrate the issue better.
Introducing Forge+Bond Wheels
The initial offering from Forge+Bond is two wheelsets. The F+B 25 GR is a gravel performance-focused wheelset, and the F+B 30 EM 29″ is an enduro/trail-focused wheelset—both utilize FusionFiber, NXS Design, and Radial Cross Ply carbon layups – with Radial Cross Ply being their patented way of turning the raw carbon fiber into a finished rim.
Currently, the wheels are offered with Industry Nine hubs and built with Sapim D-Lite spokes.
Forge+Bond carbon wheels – Pricing, details & actual weights
Forge+Bond F+B 30 EM 29
- Weight: 1884g claimed, (1,854g as tested with tape and valves)
- MSRP: $2,599
Forge+Bond F+B 25 GR
- Weight: 1490g (with valves and tape)
- MSRP: $2,599
Return Warranty and Crash Replacement
All Forge+Bond wheels feature a Lifetime warranty to the original owner against structural defects in material or workmanship. This warranty holds with all models of Forge+Bond wheels and components.
Forge+Bond also have a crash replacement policy where the shipping customer pays for shipping, and they’ll take care of the rest. We’re guessing that means a new rim and getting you back on the bike quickly/safely. The only thing Forge+Bond does ask is that you send the rim back so they can recycle it into tire levers or something else using short fiber carbon that is chopped up from the original long fiber. The rims can’t be recycled into more rims, but they can be recycled into many other useful products.
Though my time on the Forge+Bond wheels has been brief so far, the impression is lasting. Firstly, the wheels are striking. The rim has a unique wave design from the radial cross-ply and NXS Design.
Weight-wise, the F+B 25 GR are not the lightest gravel wheels on the market, but they come in at a respectable 1490g. Considering the ethos of the Forge+Bond, a weight like this produces a long-lasting wheel that can take a hit and keep ticking.
The logos and overall presentation are understated but in a good way. A wheelset that can match any bike without screaming, “I’m aftermarket!”
Setting up the wheels with my go-to Vittoria Terrano Zeros was uneventful and quick, with no problems seating at all. The bead is beefy, around 3.4mm thick, and inspires confidence in these wheels holing up to my single-track shenanigans. The 25mm internal rim width is right on the money for plumping up a gravel tire like the 38mm ones I mounted.
Riding – Out on the road, gravel & trails
The F+B 25 GR spin up fast on the road and respond to pedaling input. The Industry Nine hubs are a fantastic build partner for this wheelset. The hubs are smooth, with the same near-instant engagement as I remember.
These F+B 25 GR wheels feel very comfortable on the gravel, especially over rough terrain. The sensation is like switching from deep carbon wheels to a boxy low, profile rim. Though the wheels I came from were already low-profile rims, the same tires — yet F+B 25 GR is a more comfortable ride. More on that — After a few races on the wheels, stay tuned for a full review shortly.
Forge+Bond carbon wheels availability
Both gravel and mountain bike Forge+Bond wheels are available online and will soon be at select dealers in the US and Canada.