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Forge+Bond Wheels are the Future of USA Carbon Manufacturing

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon graphic
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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.

Forge+Bond 30 EM 29 Wheel with Fusion Fiber tech

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 Wheel Review Carbon pipe

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. 

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon riding

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.

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon tire

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

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon MTB

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.

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon turing

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?

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon FF

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.

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon Layup

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 Wheel Review Carbonlogo +

NXS Design 

Forge+Bond use what they call NXS Design, a layup process that reduces weight while increasing strength and performance.

How?

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 Wheel Review Carbon impact testing

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 Wheel Review Carbon drop

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
Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon pipe

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 30 EM 29 Wheel set

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.

First Impressions

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon valve

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. 

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon shine

The logos and overall presentation are understated but in a good way. A wheelset that can match any bike without screaming, “I’m aftermarket!” 

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon full bike

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

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon rear

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 

Forge+Bond Wheel Review Carbon beauty

Both gravel and mountain bike Forge+Bond wheels are available online and will soon be at select dealers in the US and Canada.

ForgeAndBond.com 

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JRA Andrea
1 year ago

It doesn’t matter how recyclable it is and how much “better” overall it is than traditional carbon fiber… as long as it’s that much heavier than traditional carbon fiber, the market of people who will purchase it will be limited. Hopefully that part of the tech improves with time, as making fewer disposable products is always a good thing.

Roger Pedacter
Roger Pedacter
1 year ago
Reply to  JRA Andrea

380g (claimed) rim weight isn’t “that much heavier” than carbon/epoxy for a 25mm internal rim.

Oliver
Oliver
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Pedacter

It’s a bit heavy for a ‘gravel’ rim that shallow. But they don’t sell just the rims, and the full wheelset is crazy heavy. Those i9 hubs are boat anchors. Also, zero excuses for these being hookless … hooked in a thermoplastic should have virtually no cost or difficulty implication – just lazy work with the molds.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
1 year ago
Reply to  Oliver

I’d have zero interest in buying these if they were hooked rims. The industry is leaving hooks for a reason

Oliver
Oliver
1 year ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

Yeah, because hookless is cheaper (and potentially dangerous for road / gravel).

slyfink
slyfink
1 year ago
Reply to  Oliver

I’m confused why you would think hookless is a negative, and potentially dangerous for gravel and road? Do they put more stress than mtb under heavy cornering loads? would they not benefit from higher volume and increased pinch flat resistance in the same way mtbers do?

Roger Pedacter
Roger Pedacter
1 year ago
Reply to  slyfink

He’s just regurgitating the standard retrogrouch party line based on older low-quality rims with bad undersize tolerances. There’s no valid data to support any of that with modern, quality rims.

JoeT
JoeT
1 year ago
Reply to  JRA Andrea

Always comical listening to a gazillion non-pro racer poser wannabees with their silly power meters and a gazillion other poser gadgets also worried and obsessing about a few grams here and there as if it makes any serious difference in their amateur riding. These delusional bobbleheads actually believe they need the same equipment as a world class sponsored pro. I see these same morons regularly at my golf club. Can’t hit a seven iron straight or break 90 consistently to save their lives, but carrying every multi hundred dollar club and range gadget in the book thinking they will somehow magically make any serious difference in their games with their dogshat swings. LOL 🙂

Roger Pedacter
Roger Pedacter
1 year ago
Reply to  JoeT

Wow. I bet you’re super fun at parties.

Tom
Tom
11 months ago
Reply to  Roger Pedacter

apparently, you are…

John Chicken Bones
John Chicken Bones
1 year ago
Reply to  JoeT

These wheels are interesting. Their smaller impact on the planet definitely has me wondering more about them.

Everything OK at home Joe? That’s a lot of anger about internet commenters. I hope you get a nap in and eat a snickers or something. Go get a hug, and definitely get a ride in. Or go hit some balls at the driving range.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
1 year ago
Reply to  JRA Andrea

The market is already limited at that price point. They have target customers and will do fine.

Grillis
Grillis
1 year ago

Is this just the Fusion Fiber house brand? The jump between FF and F+B is makes it vague to me.
How are these different from the Revel wheels that also utilize Industry hubs? Or the Chris King wheels?
You write “The final rims do not need sanding, deburring, a clear coat, or paint.”
But in the next line write “Instead, Forge+Bond finishes its wheels with vinyl decals and powder-coating”. Is that a clear powder coat then?

K-Pop is dangerous to your health
K-Pop is dangerous to your health
11 months ago

F+B is a CSS house brand.

Tom
Tom
1 year ago

feels like bleeding edge to me – heavy, and not inexpensive. You can buy legitimate high end wheel sets for $1200-1500, provided they aren’t the big brands. I wish them luck.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom

You can buy good wheels in that price range. But that price range isn’t high end. High end and price are intrinsically related

Brian
1 year ago

Thanks for the Tech round-up guys, we (xtreme carbon) did some research about 10 years ago on thermoplastic / CF for rims and I can remember a conversation with jimmy from CSS and shared our findings that the real hurdles to overcome are cost of material (nylon is cost effective) but absorbs water that changes the material’s engineering properties overtime. My choice would be PPS / CF (more expensive). The next issue is weight / strength ratio and this will always be greater than Epoxy /CF. The other issue we found is the pull out shear strength for the spoke / nipple over time. All thermoplastics that are not crystalline in their chemistry suffer poorly when subject to the standard engineering creep testing when compared to Epoxy /CF sample.
Love the fact that these guys are having a crack at moving the industry in a new direction.

Recycle Schmecycle
Recycle Schmecycle
1 year ago

The “future of US carbon manufacturing” is recycled 2010 wheels at 2022 prices.
Meanwhile over at the Tapei show there are some insanely wild wheel concepts being pushed.

FritzP
FritzP
1 year ago

Yikes, $2,600 for 1500g shallow gravel wheelset with really noisy hubs?

Gbla
Gbla
1 year ago

*reads through all comments*

Wow, tough crowd.

Tom
Tom
11 months ago

love the dramatic pic of the woman, truing the wheel. While not holding the spoke…

Kjoro
Kjoro
11 months ago
Reply to  Tom

She’s tightening the spoke nipple from the rim hole…. there’s a tool for that… heck Park even makes a three way version

https://www.amazon.com/Park-Tool-Internal-Nipple-Wrench/dp/B00A3G1UGO

Brian
Brian
11 months ago

Hookless……. 🙁

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