Unfortunately carbon isn't all that great for the environment. While it's a fantastic material for making bikes and components from, there are plenty of problematic issues caused by toxic manufacturing chemicals, production waste, and that once a carbon product reaches the end of its life, it's destined for landfill.
CSS Composites believe they have the solution, using thermoplastic composite technology to create FusionFiber. This material isn't new, in fact, CSS Composites has already been producing some of the best MTB wheels for the likes of Chris King, Evil, and Revel for a few years now.
Back in April, CSS Composites launched their own consumer-facing brand called Forge+Bond (F&B) selling two US-manufactured FusionFiber wheelsets. F&B are now adding a cross-country and all-mountain wheelset to their existing enduro and gravel wheel offerings.
What is FusionFiber?
The main difference between FusionFiber and regular carbon is that it doesn't use any epoxy or resins, instead, CSS Composites uses long-chain nylon polymers. Not only are FusionFiber's core ingredients less poisonous for the planet, but the manufacturing process is far less intensive and so has a smaller carbon footprint. In a fully automated process, the dry nylon impregnated carbon fiber sheets are cut and laid up and treated with multiple thermal cycles. The materials are forged and bonded (see what they did there) to create a hollow rim.
As the process only uses heat and pressure instead of epoxy or resins, CSS Composites are able to recycle old FusionFiber products.
More information on the processes can be found at Forgeandbond.com.
On to the wheels
F&B has released two new wheels, the cross-country specific F+B 25 XC and the all-mountain/trail ready F+B 30 AM.
Both wheelsets only come in 29er, are built with 28 Sapim CX-Ray spokes, and come with the option of Industry 9 (I9) or DT Swiss hubs.
The F+B 25 XC is designed for cross-country racing and features a 25mm inner rim diameter and 31.4mm outer diameter. These sizes along with the 25mm depth are suspiciously similar to the gravel rim, which is quite narrow compared to many XC wheels which are getting close to 30mm. The rim weight is quoted at feathery 380g and when built up with a DT Swiss 240Boost CL hub weighs in at a claimed 1,455g. Alternatively, you can choose from an I9 Hydra Boost CL or I9 1/1 Boost 6B.
The F+B 30 AM has the same 30mm inner diameter/38mm outer diameter as the Enduro 30 EM wheelset but has a lighter front rim and comes in a 28h spoke count, rather than 32h. The lightest version is also built with DT Swiss 240 hubs and is claimed to weigh 1,702g. There is also the option of I9 Hydra 6B or CL and I9 1/1 Boost 6B hubs.
Pricing for the new wheels starts at $1,899. There must be some economies of scale at play too as F&D has reduced the cost of the F+B 30 EM to $1,899 as well, although the F+B 25 GR gravel wheels still cost $2,199. All wheelsets come with F&B's 30 Day Performance Guarantee and a Lifetime Warranty,
For more details, head over to Forgeandbond.com.
Pricing and specs
- F+B 25 XC 1/1: 1,560g, $1,899
- F+B 25 XC DT240: 1,455g, $2,199
- F+B 25 XC I9 Hydra: 1,515g, $2,199
- F+B 30 AM I9 1/1: 1,816g, $1,899
- F+B 30 AM DT 240: 1,702g, $2,199
- F+B 30 AM I9 Hydra: 1,760g, $2,199