First Look: Forge+Bond's New Thermoplastic Wheels

Apr 11, 2023
by Dario DiGiulio  
photo

As the newest brand in the high-end wheel market, Forge+Bond is looking to do things a little differently. In order to accomplish this, Forge+Bond employs the novel thermoplastic composite technology pioneered by CSS Composites. The two companies are essentially one and the same, but Forge+Bond (F&B) is the market-facing result of all the R&D that CSS conducts.

F&B is unveiling their brand with a simple lineup, featuring a 29" enduro wheelset, as well as a gravel wheelset for the drop bar folks out there. We'll be focusing on the mountain side of things, with some early ride impressions later on.
F+B 30 EM Details

• 28 or 32 hole
• Internal rim width: 30mm
• Made in Gunnison, Utah
• Lifetime warranty
• Weight (29" 32h Centerlock Hydra): 1982 grams
• Weight (rim only): 530 grams
• Price: $2,599 USD
forgeandbond.com


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Full specs for the curious.

Core to the philosophy behind the thermoplastic construction technique is the environmental responsibility they tout. With a process that essentially eliminates waste, and a post-life recycling program, F&B is aiming to keep the embodied energy and material in a closed loop. While the recycling concept is quite compelling, it currently only allows for them to make smaller ancillary items, like these tire levers, which you can purchase on their site for $50 USD.

CSS and F&B are working on further projects with the recyclability of the material, but the relative lack of manufacturing waste is an accolade worth focusing on in the meantime. Where traditional epoxy-matrix carbon parts generate quite a bit of waste, the FusionFiber process minimizes the amount of offcuts or byproducts.

photo
Not water soluble.

Like any good composite manufacturer, Forge+Bond have put in a lot of time fine-tuning the layup of their rims, with a focus on durability and performance in addition to the vibration-damping characteristics inherent to the thermoplastic construction. This is the area in which F&B hopes to improve upon former FusionFiber wheels, as the durability of prior designs was a bit lacking relative to similar-weight epoxy carbon alternatives.

photo

While the novel material is a large part of the reduced environmental impact of the FusionFiber technology, the manufacturing chain and efficiency of production are a big part of what set these rims apart. CSS developed this graphic to help explain the differences between traditional carbon processes and their method, and bias-aside I think it does a good job of arguing for the latter.


photo
Roll wheels roll.


Riding the Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels

Unless they are extremely light, extremely stiff, or very low quality, it's pretty rare that a set of wheels makes a drastic difference to the immediate ride-feel of your bike. That remains the case with these thermoplastic hoops from Forge+Bond, but don't read that as a bad thing. I've been riding these wheels quite a bit over the past few weeks, and though the general takeaway is quite neutral, there are some aspects worth noting.

Compared to the other FusionFiber wheels I've spent time on (Evil's Loopholes and Revel Wheels), the Forge+Bond 30 EMs seem to be a little less damped across chattery terrain. That's likely due to the beefier construction to better hold up to the rigors of enduro racing and generally heavier riding, as the other two options have developed a bit of a reputation for poor durability. The other upside to that heavier construction is that the F&B wheels hold up better in hard corners and sideways compressions when you're really pushing through the bike.

The closest ride-feel proxy I can think of are the new We Are One Convergence wheels, which feature very similar build specs, but a very different rim design philosophy. (Stay tuned for more thoughts on the Convergence wheels soon). Both are composed in off-camber chunkier terrain, but precise when you want to push the bike in specific compressions, making for a very nicely performing wheelset. Ultimately, I think the wheelbuilding details like cross pattern, spoke tension, spoke count, etc. make a as big a difference as minute changes in the carbon layup of a rim, so the best thing you can do is take care of the wheels you have and make sure they're rolling true before smashing them into another rock.

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Kaz is likely scowling at the price here.

Though I haven't had the F&B wheelset long enough to give them a through thrashing and long-term durability test, they've held up very well to my use thus far. I've ridden them in and around Bellingham, as well as up on the North Shore, and even in some of the latter's nastier terrain they haven't gotten out of shape or lost any tension. The high speed g-heavy turns in Bellingham tend to de-tension wheels pretty quickly, but the thermoplastic hoops are still holding on tight to their fancy hubs. We're looking forward to testing these wheels in faster and rougher terrain to see how they shape up in the long term.

I'll save most of this for a different platform, but I'd love to see more high-end wheelsets speccing hubs other than the I9 Hydras. While the Hydras do provide the highest engagement of any pawl-driven hub out there, I've had my fair share of durability issues with them over the years. Luckily, they're easy to work on, and the team there is helpful with any issues that may arise. My main bias is towards quieter, simpler hubs like the old-model DT Swiss options, where reliability and simplicity makes them simply fade into the background.

Finally, a word on price. These are some of the more expensive aftermarket wheels we've seen recently, coming in a few hundred dollars over other domestically-manufactured options. Again, the closest comparison here is We Are One, whose Convergence wheelset costs around $1,800 USD. I think the choice here comes down to what you value, as the price reflects a bit more than just a high quality and effective pair of wheels. With their Utah-based manufacturing and zero-waste process, Forge+Bond presents a compelling case for being one of the more environmentally conscious options out there. I say this pretty often, but in the end the most eco-conscious thing you can do is buy nothing - though these are a pretty solid second option.




To wrap things up, here's the Forge+Bond brand launch video, featuring some heavy djent tunes.

Riders include a few of the F&B athletes, such as: Jill Kintner, Mitch Ropelato, TJ Eisenhart, Sydney Nielson, Iago Garay, Andrew Dahleim, and Truman Glasgow.




Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
171 articles

216 Comments
  • 250 5
 Ridiculous.
A price tag as high as the one of some entry level bikes.
A carbon wheelset that is heavier than a set of Newmen SLA and 4 to 5 times the price.
And "recycling" in a form that is no step forward because they only shred the fiber and reuse it as overpriced tire levers.
  • 75 2
 who doesn't need $50 tire levers... I found that the most ridiculous part of all of this.
  • 55 3
 Also recyclable and somewhat heavier than standard carbon: Aluminum. A nice set of Hunt 30mm Alu wheels is actually lighter and 1/5th the price.

I was interested in a Revel Rover gravel frame, but it’s legit a full pound heavier than most carbon frames, which is a lot in curly-bar world. I just don’t see the advantage of this technology, beyond maybe saving labor on the production side.
  • 13 2
 @trillot: Only $25 per lever!
  • 17 23
flag jeremy3220 FL (Apr 11, 2023 at 7:03) (Below Threshold)
 @Drew-O: I've never had an alloy wheelset that light that didn't need constant truing and didn't ding the rims.
  • 49 62
flag jackberg (Apr 11, 2023 at 7:04) (Below Threshold)
 People are entitled to spend their money however they like. If they want to buy $2500 wheels then they can do it!! Many things in this world are expensive. Calm down and don’t let the price hurt your ego Smile
  • 31 1
 I was only saying this morning what the world needs is another composite rim
  • 16 4
 Its not meant to be mounted on a black entry level bike but on a blue Yeti. So whatever the price, its justified !
  • 22 0
 ......Newmen!
  • 34 13
 Comparing this to alloy rims is irrelevant for some people. I went through an alloy rear rim every 6 months (including multiple truings and spoke fixing in that time), and now that I got a WAO rim, it's absolutely perfect after a year, no maintenance. Carbon rims can just handle more abuse than alu.

If they last another 6 months like that they'll officially be cheaper than if I bought an alloy rim and had replaced it three times. AND they have a lifetime replacement policy!

The real comparison is other good carbon rims. If I can get a proven WAO wheelset for $700 less, why would I get these?
  • 4 0
 @me2menow: Jerry is that you
  • 9 4
 @trillot: I’m gonna get a set of $50 tire levers, frame them up, add a byline under the levers;

“There’s a sucker born every minute”

It’s really amazing that a company would create a product that that is competing with similar products produced in the same country, using the similar materials and labor, but with a price tag 30% higher.

Someone needs to tell the investors to save their money Wink
  • 19 1
 @jackberg: I think your missing the point. It's not just an expensive set of wheels it's setting of industry standard prices and justifying the inflation of "cheaper" components.
  • 10 37
flag jackberg (Apr 11, 2023 at 7:34) (Below Threshold)
 Luxury wheels for Luxury bikes. People that can afford it are not offended by the price. This is how the world works.

ALSO a poem for you: A wheel that Mitch doesn’t break is expensive to make.

The wheels are really good, a lot has gone into them.
  • 28 1
 @jackberg: It's not a question of Liberty but one of common sense and taste.

A fool and their money are easily parted.
  • 12 0
 @jackberg: the higher the price ceiling gets, the higher it pulls the price up of the rest

They may be luxury but the prices these days are ridiculous
  • 1 0
 @mi-bike: look at you! Glass half full!
I like it!
  • 52 2
 @jackberg: You're missing the entire point. This isn't about the $2,500 price, this is about yet another company pretending it's doing good and using key words like "recycling" to allow themselves to massively upcharge on a product. All this without actually doing something that helps protect the Earth.
As was pointed out early, it's called Greenwashing and it's profit-driven not protection driven.
  • 8 2
 @jeremy3220 @bashhard I've had those newmen SL A 30 alloy wheels on my propain for 2000 miles now and they are so good! No dents. Mostly true. For a stock wheelset that weighs less than most carbon wheels thats incredible.
  • 4 0
 @ihertzler: agreed. I totalled a DT Swiss wheelset, switched to the SL A 30 and nothing but good experiences.
  • 26 1
 @rickybobby18: No doubt "strong" alu rims are a bit overhyped. I turned a pair DT ex511's into wall decor in only a couple weeks, running inserts and 23/25 psi while weighing 135 lbs. But, with the magic of a tube and a pair of pliers I was able to limp them through 3 days of racing nonetheless.

But, my teammate with the WAO's (who is undoubtedly a faster rider) blew one the hell up on a practice lap. It happens to any rim under enough stress, not the WAO's fault, but you can't "limp" a carbon rim. It's toast and if you want to keep racing you'll need a spare or a real fast spoke lace-er.

Alu rims are inexpensive, easily sourced, and can be run within an inch of their lives, in my opinion, that makes them indispensable to anyone racing on their own dime.
  • 16 1
 If you're actually looking for a rip material that is 100% recyclable, I recommend aluminum. Cheaper too, apparently.
  • 11 1
 I9 Enduro S Hydra's are only 16 grams heavier and $1,604 cheaper!!!
  • 5 2
 It is a tough sell. Not sure who would be buying them.
  • 4 6
 @ryanandrewrogers: I mean who's to say your teammate wouldn't have done the same an aluminum rim. I've seen many aluminum wheels fail catastrophically just like carbon. And you can definitely limp a cracked carbon rim. I know people that have ridden cracked carbon rims for months with no further issues. Not saying it's smart but it can be done to get you through a race.

I would argue that carbon rims with a good warranty make more sense for the cost-conscious racer than going through how ever many aluminum rims in a season and paying to replace them.
  • 4 1
 @trillot: who uses tire levers at all?
  • 14 0
 Also not available in 26 inch. Preposterous
  • 1 0
 @Drew-O: the advantage should be impact toughness in that ist should take substantilly more impact energy to smash but im going to go with the advantage to them is they can use their investment in composite tape layers etc to make bike parts in the down time between aeroplane parts ( they may actually also have a machine dedicated to bicycle part processing which needs paying for hence the expensive cost per unit)
  • 2 1
 @jeremy3220: For you downvoters this is FACTS
  • 1 3
 @jackberg: So true. I live in a world where my clients don't blink at spending 100K on a friggin watch.
  • 8 0
 @Drew-O: The Revel Rover isn't produced by CSS, nor does it use any of the same thermoplastic molding. It's produced in Vietnam with other Revel frames using traditional layup practices.

Revel doesn't make frames in the USA. Repeat, they don't make frames in the USA.
  • 2 5
 @nickfranko: Well at least they are trying to make a difference.
  • 6 2
 @jackberg: I have a poem for you: “a wheel that requires a poem to sell, is a wheel that can burn in hell”
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: You're right, I stand corrected. Since Revel does the thermoplastic thing for its wheels I figured this was the only explanation for a Rover frame+fork weighing nearly 2kg, but I guess it's just weird design/manufacturing decisions!
  • 1 0
 @Drew-O: Yeah, Revel frames in general seem to be overbuilt. My full x01 Rascal with HAWK27s still weighs around 30 pounds, but if that's what it takes to have ultimate peace of mind, I'm okay with it.
  • 1 0
 @Compositepro: Likewise, I would think their main selling point would be they're basically indestructible, especially compared to a traditional carbon rim. But they highlighted the recycle potential?

And even as someone who believes modern thermoplastic carbon is a superior frame/component material, I can't justify that price tag.
  • 2 4
 There is no point complaining about the price unless you have to pay. The only situation I can think of when one "has" to pay is when you're being surprised by a bill you didn't foresee, like expensive repair jobs for even more expensive parts you already paid for. In case of these wheels it seems pretty easy. You don't want to pay, don't buy them. If you're still stressed, spend your money on drugs instead. Unless you're getting addicted and the drugs turn out to be too expensive. In which case you'd ideally go back to complaining.
  • 4 0
 @vinay: well that went down a pretty narrow alley of argument.
But now you (rather spuriously) come to mentioned it. I think I would take the change left over from an ordinary set of wheels and spend it on drugs.

It's all just opinion here, not necessarily complaint, there are reasons why people think these and other pricey components are probably not worth it for the average rider, eg.

You don't rely on the indestructibility of your wheels for some endurance event, race, competition.
You don't regularly break wheels.
You don't believe the price of something imbues you with more self-worth.
You don't fetishize ground breaking or just the latest engineering concepts without some cynicism.
You would prefer to buy more bikes for the money you would spend on wheels.
  • 4 0
 @ranchitup: It is possible to limp a carbon rim but it takes quite a bit more: You have to make sure you don't have any shards of fiber that might poke through a tube. In my experience, a damaged carbon rim is far more compromised than an equally damaged aluminum rim in essentially any scenario.

If you have the patience to wait on the warranty, yes, carbon rims aren't a bad value.
  • 2 1
 @Steventux: The whole discussion was narrow already. These wheels are sold at a price you can get a decent bike for, yeah. And downcycling isn't great. Even the notion that something available at the extreme end of the price spectrum isn't worth it for the average rider... Is there anyone who wasn't aware of all this? Maybe I really have been trapped in the wrong bubble, but to me all this seems too obvious to be stated. When I read about a product like this, the aspect that makes it different from most/all carbon composite rims I've read about is that they use a thermoplastic matrix instead of thermoset? What does that imply? From what I know, thermoplastics can have much higher impact resistance than thermosets. The main failure mode for (well designed) long fiber composites is delamination, so basically the matrix that cracks. It is just that it is hidden so people will mostly see it when the fibers crack. Would these rims be more resistant against delamination? What does that mean for the service life, can it be longer? Also, could a rim be restored (after delamination) through (ultrasonic) welding. Especially as the delamination is hidden, just as a prevention measure every now and then. Remove the rim from the spokes, put it in the mold or between the rollers and press everything together again (under the heat of vibrations it needs for the cracks to seal). I don't know whether it is possible to do this, but that would be an interesting one. The reparation/restoration/maintenance during the service life, not necessarily the end of life process. I ride with aluminium rims too. But if I break them, I replace them. If they can find a way to actually repair these rims it still wouldn't pay off financially. But it would reduce the environmental load eventually. I'm not constantly breaking frames either but I am happy to know that my frame builder will always be able to repair my frame and charge a fair price for that. I would still have been cheaper off buying three off the shelf aluminium frames instead of one custom steel one, but I doubt these three aluminium frames together would have had a smaller footprint than my steel one.

Yet here we are despite all our armchair engineering brain- (and chair-)power, regurgitating the obvious. It is ok to ask questions or make statements. Just skip the overly obvious stuff.

Assuming you don't own these rims in the artice, enjoy but take it easy on the drugs.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: Thanks for the comprehensive answer. I learned quite a bit there rather than simply choking at the price tag. From an engineering perspective the technology is indeed interesting, I'll scope my opinion to "not worth it for how I ride".
It's not all that obvious what is obvious to others, hence the opinions, the tech is interesting, the price prohibitive.
  • 1 0
 @trillot: we were born with two good mitts! No levers needed.
  • 90 3
 Even better for the environment would be to not produce these at all.
  • 14 2
 Exactly, it's like trying to do a bad idea better. Just don't in the first place. Alloy wheels can be easily and genuinely recycled with metals. Stop trying to make something completely environmentally unsound work.
  • 4 3
 Comment gold
  • 79 3
 I'd rather spend that money on a much less sophisticated set of wheels that comes with a free bike.
  • 24 1
 Or, you can use that money to buy a pretty decent bike with a free set of wheels.
  • 9 1
 @mi-bike: or you could use that money to buy a free bike with a free set of wheels then enjoy over 2000 packets of crisps
  • 5 6
 @browner: I prefer chips.
  • 58 2
 Lost me at $2500
  • 34 1
 If I ever have that much money to waste I'm going Berd.
  • 25 1
 Lost me at fake recycling
  • 4 2
 Lost me at clicking the link and scrolling to the comment section
  • 11 0
 they really did lose you, because they're actually 2600
  • 14 0
 @mkul7r4: berd with Extralite hubs would be slightly cheaper, and about 700 grams lighter with their enduro rim
  • 3 0
 If they didn't lose you at $2500 they'll lose you with their launch video
  • 2 0
 100%. Even if these wheels were weightless, I’m not spending 2.5k on a wheelset unless it comes with an extra bike attached.
  • 1 0
 @seattledad: username checks out Smile
  • 54 0
 Looked at MSRP, scrolled to comments section.
  • 8 0
 Yup
  • 25 0
 Things are getting so expensive I can’t even afford to come to the comments section anymore
  • 11 0
 @Compositepro: one of these days we'll probably need a subscription just to read comment, then some dumb rich guy would go like "if you can't afford it just shit up"
  • 39 2
 - Zero waste
- 80% energy saved
- 95% (...) emissions eliminated

We made all this reductions so as we can price it as carbon but with a profit margin of a diamond.
  • 5 4
 This price reflects the strident “living wage” environmentalist shouters’ end product. Also Made in America!
  • 3 1
 @TwoNGlenn: You could just use cheap far eastern robot labour?
  • 7 0
 Saving that much money isn't cheap.
  • 37 0
 Lol another ridiculous greenwashing showpiece. $2500 wheels and a $50 lever to go with them.
  • 28 0
 Lets draw a couple of graphs with zero actual data on and claim 80% energy saved. Whats wrong with providing actual data?

I've no doubt there is massive savings, but what is this 80% based on? their actual production volumes or some scaled up model to maximise their claims. Why can't they just market it with real data instead of some weird graph.
  • 10 0
 1.jpeg = 1k.txt
  • 1 0
 And they don't even know how to spell "emissions"--the infographic says "Other Emmisions [sic]".
  • 9 0
 I'm glad someone else found that "chart" hilarious. Their machines use no energy. They must run on magnets and perpetual motion.
  • 1 0
 @noapathy: FM Principle. Ask your Dad what it means.
  • 3 0
 Many numbers are not backed up with data, because providing context reduces the impact of the number. They could cut 80% of the energy needed to run the machines to make the wheel, but if the manufacturing process only uses 15% of their power, then they have only really cut 12% of their power usage.
  • 30 2
 Nope train has left the station. Now arriving at We are one composites!
  • 23 1
 I wonder if anyone will ever investigate to see if the material aluminum would work well for rims? It's cheap, light, easily recycled and I can guess that rim flat spots could be removed with Knipex pliers or a vice with soft jaws. I'm a bit lost for what I'd call such a rim but for some reason 'DT Swiss EX511' springs to mind. The industry wants everything in boring black but I'd want them polished or anodized. I can only dream....
  • 6 1
 Yeah, dt makes nuclear war proof rims and they aren't even that expensive, makes these rims sound like a gimmick for the price
  • 7 0
 I have been running EX 511 for four years. I ride hard and or janky terrain and I am 235lbs. These tims have barely needed trueing except for a bad crash that broke several spikes. Barely even any minor rim dents and and pinch flats less than any other rims I have ridden. They are old tech but are bomb proof and cheap. What is it exactly that these expensive rims do that the EX511 doesn’t do as well and at lower cost?
  • 1 11
flag Korbi777 FL (Apr 11, 2023 at 9:22) (Below Threshold)
 @stephenzkie: no they dont. dt rims bend just as fast as any aluminum rims. friend of mine couldn't ride longer than 2 month on one rim.
  • 9 0
 @Korbi777: then their wheel builder sucks or the rider does lol
  • 6 2
 @kokofosho: seriously haha. i'm 230lbs. and i ride like an a*shole and any EX471 or EX511 i've had has never had to be touched. on the contrary, Stan's rims from 10-12 years ago were like wet spaghetti noodles and ovalized if you looked at them funny out of what could only be described as pure spite to their owners. had a Loaded rim explode one time and throw me down the hill so fast i got road rash from dirt like a crashed a motorbike, along with broken ribs and a wrist. Spank rims and DT rims are flawless. the time before this last build of mine, i got them for $60 a piece too. This time, DT caught on to the bike24 loophole i guess and so it was $100 a piece. still a far cry. for $700-800 you can build a wheelset that's about as bombproof as its ever gonna get. to each their own but i dunno why you'd do anything else besides the desire to look fancy.
  • 1 0
 @stephenzkie: They are good strong rims but definitely not bomb-proof (nuclear or otherwise). Harsh bottom out on an overshoot at Northstar claimed my front EX511. Replaced with a Raceface Arc HD. Still have a 511 on the back that has been fine.
  • 4 0
 @Sweatypants: "i'm 230lbs. and i ride like an a*shole". LMAO!!! I'm using this to describe my riding to my suspension tuner and wheel builder.
  • 6 3
 @vonroder77: lol just trying to be honest. if it can be broken, i have broken it haha. crank arms, bb's, rims, rear hubs, pedals, shocks, forks, seats, frames... my bike builds are now mostly comprised of whatever the most bulletproof thing is, overbuild wheels and whatever the most powerful, reliable brakes are, no carbon cranks, no finicky hubs. i like my bikes like i like my women... low maintenance and don't act up when i neglect them.
  • 1 0
 @Sweatypants: Yup! Same here. They need to make more wheel options with more spokes too. Found some 27.5, 36 spoke dh hoops I'm building up.
  • 2 0
 @vonroder77: that’s pretty much what I tell them at 200lbs. Earlier this year my wheel builder told me to go mullet as I was killing rear 29er rims faster than I did with 27.5…. Tried it out and so far it seems better.
  • 3 0
 @somebody-else: yeah I'm on a mullet setup now, they need more spokes to stay stiff. Popped for a carbon front 29er hoop and that helped a lot. Not worth the coin for me though, next bike I'm gonna do is a mullet 27.5/26.
  • 1 0
 @vonroder77: if I could find an XL Suppressor I would be all set
  • 2 0
 @somebody-else: don't let the ATF hear you.

All joking aside. The Current Banshee Rune will let you run 26 still.
  • 1 0
 @vonroder77: ooh didn’t know that, thanks!
  • 2 0
 @somebody-else: yeah check the Banshee site they even post the geo numbers with 26 inch wheels.
  • 24 3
 It's so bizarre to see prices creep in certain sectors of life. I understand the argument about "economy of scale", but let me provide a personal example that compares to these wheels:

I purchased a 4x set of fully custom (manufactured to order, to my own size and offset specifications/color), partially forged, performance rims and tires for my car. These came in at 10 lbs. lighter per wheel than the stock, performance wheelset and shipped with Michelin Pilot Sport AS4 tires for $2,100 + tax. Also, these wheels were manufactured by a smaller, independent company, and were sold through a dealer (therefore, there must have been sufficient margin in the stack).

I simply do not buy that there is anything that justifies these $2k+ mountain bike wheelset prices, aside from the fact that they support a passion or hobby and are therefore inflated.
  • 2 1
 What custom shop was it? We want to spend more money!!!!
  • 9 1
 There is definitely a mtb tax applied to everything in the hobby. The fact that ebikes cost more than motorcycles, despite being far less complex with copy/pasted electronics from generic Chinese suppliers, is proof enough of that.
  • 3 1
 @redrook: look at margins. It's not an MTB tax, it's the layers of the onion in the bike industry, every dealer marks the product up 20-40% when selling to the buyer. Factory -> brand -> distributor/wholesaler -> dealer -> customer. DTC brands are supposed to cut out a few of those steps in the middle, but these days with the change in consumer purchasing behavior are able to maximize profits rather than offer better pricing.

Moto / auto industry operates under much smaller margins. Bike margins are shrinking and you can see this affect in a lot of small shops that don't operate efficiently. Antiquated owners are starting to feel the heat of shrinking margins and unable to adjust their business models to get with the times.
  • 7 1
 @GTscoob: fair points. Although I will say that most bikes these days have a very small margin around 25% at the dealer level. That is of course a gross margin and doesn’t take into account the labor required to build the bike. Most bikes above the $4k price point have little assembly done from the factory these days. So, it’s true that dealers are definitely being squeezed, hard. It appears from my perspective to be an effort to cut out the middleman by bike companies that are now selling customer direct as well and this allows customers to “showroom” a product at a dealer and then buy directly from the manufacturer and probably get it a little faster, but at the same price.

I do want to note here that my above comments aren’t intended to make an ethical argument for how the market should work. Just hoping to shed some light on how it does work to combat all the rumors, emotionally charged rhetoric, and misinformation out there about how the bike business works.
  • 1 0
 @ShopMechanic: Username checks out.
  • 2 0
 I do want to add that the current dealer model is definitely not sustainable at these margins, at least not in smaller markets. So, I expect some significant disruptions to the market as we currently know it over the next 5 years.
  • 1 0
 Forgestars?
  • 2 0
 Its called greedflation.
  • 1 0
 @GTscoob: Don't regurgitate basic product supply line as if it's an explanation for how the mtb world is ridiculously more expensive than others. If you want to tell yourself that it's hand-to-mouth margins then you stay deluded. And since it extends into direct sales brands as well as dealers, I'd say that explanation is a red herring.
  • 17 0
 Forge+Bond sounds like a place where you’d get shitty craft whiskey by a guy with a waxed mustache and suspenders.
  • 3 0
 Flint & Tinder was taken.
  • 2 0
 Like Stratton Oakmont Inc Give yourself no choice but to succeed. Let the consequences of failure become so dire and so unthinkable that you'll have no choice but to do whatever it takes to succeed
  • 16 0
 What got me is the "zero waste process" an then "all trimming and waste recycled" in the same chart.
  • 7 1
 @Notmeatall: you're being awfully generous calling those pictures charts
  • 3 0
 @p0rtal00: "I am a generous god"
  • 14 1
 Waste nothing? Waste your money.
  • 8 0
 mountain bike industry: we need to save the planet!

also mountain bike industry: look at these over priced wear items made from carbon fiber!

(before i get flamed, yes i know wheels aren't typically a wear item. however, here in the az desert i would argue that)
  • 7 0
 I honestly thought these would be less pricey than carbon, considering the waste reduction. Maybe it'll happen with greater industrialization of the process but until that time I'll stick with my Alu DT Swiss
  • 3 0
 it's still carbon. Just a change of the matrix from epoxy to a thermoplastic one
  • 4 0
 @bashhard: just seems mad to go to a "zero waste process" but charge more for it.
  • 13 5
 I am waiting for titanium 3D printed rims for $10k, don't understand why no one makes them already. And $20k version with rope spokes made of unicorn mane (rainbow or white).
  • 8 2
 The unicorns went on strike they want better pay
  • 2 0
 Actually.. serious and probably a dumb question here but.. why hasn't anyone made titanium bike wheels? Would they just ride like shit? Too expensive to produce?
  • 3 0
 @Takaya94: difficult to extrude titanium into a hoop, and to be lighter it would have to be thinner so much more flexy. That being said I'd rather see some crazy (even heavyish) 3d printed Ti wheels with HR Giger looking organic shapes and spokes than more plastic... With the experiments using dyneema string spokes/etc more I'm sure we'll see literally laced carbon wheelsets soon and never my spinergy but from an alternate dimension pipedream.
  • 2 0
 @anomalouspixels: that's why I have specifically msntionex 3d printing, you can create a sponge-like structure inside, call it aerospace technology and just sit there and count your money (and see dental services price increase)
  • 1 0
 @Takaya94: i had ti spokes on one of my builds like 8 years ago or so. they actually performed real well and held up great. could have been a placebo effect, but they did feel a little more comfy to me, as in like absorbed some noise a little better, but who knows. BMX dudes have had them as an option forever, i just custom ordered the length i needed.
  • 4 0
 A lot of people are mentioning WAO vs a company like this, I'd love to see an article talking about a locally manufactured carbon wheel vs the locally manufactured thermoplastic option. All the diagrams are referring to Asian made carbon products, not local ones. WAO have also said that they do have a recycling project for their rims when people send them back for warranty. My other thought is that Guerilla Gravity is already something local with their revved carbon which they claim is 90% less sanding and finishing, and an entire frame is 3200 bucks.

It'd just be great to see true apples to apples comparisons to put these companies on blast that they're actively fudging numbers to justify their exorbitant costs.
  • 7 1
 GG built their business from the ground up to be competitive and save the consumer money. They've always tried to engineer their manufacturing solutions in-house, and this gives them a competitive edge because they aren't buying someone elses $100k machine, they are building their own for $20k. GG has always tried to generate demand first, then expand to meet that demand.

That's exactly what they did with the Revved frames. They saved a boatload of money on developing their own manufacturing tooling and rigs rather than buying some other companies super expensive off-the-shelf option.

CSS isn't that. From the very get-go, they spent a ton of money and immediately needed ROI, so they heavily marketed their product via "hip" outlets like Revel, Evil and Chris King. Forge+Bond is just bringing that marketing in-house so they can sell to whoever they want without marking their product down for another brand.

Unfortunately, they are doing the opposite - they are marking UP their products in a Direct-to-Consumer model, which makes no sense.

This is classic capitalistic luxury good pricing strategy. If you charge a lot of money you'll set yourself apart as being the best simply because you charge a lot of money. How'd that work for Kitsbow?
  • 5 1
 "Recycle" is a marketing term nowadays. It's made to make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Whiskey will do the same.

In reality, no one will "recycle" these wheels. Globally, 5% of plastics are recycled. 95% are not, due to costs to recycle it. It is cheaper to make new plastic. We should be burning plastics in power plants, with scrubbers.
  • 3 1
 Environment seems to be a marketing hookline
  • 5 1
 Even if you do recycle these rims, if there's only one facility in the world that will recycle them (their own factory) then the carbon footprint of shipping them back to Utah could be pretty high.
  • 5 1
 These will go great on my $6000 frame, $4000 custom tuned suspension, $3000 drive-train and $1200 worth of color matching cockpit. I just hope there's somewhere for me to carry my tire levers and $75 lightweight tube.
  • 5 1
 Waste nothing, except the toxic spray paint...I know its only a little bit of paint, but cmon guys - if you're pitching a sustainable product, you've got to cross your T's & dot your i's
  • 6 1
 I dig thermoplastic wheels. Hard to stomach the cost though vs NOBL or even WAO.
  • 5 0
 We use less material and our process is way more efficient, so we get to charge you way more!
  • 4 0
 For that price just buy like a pair of fr 541's and those rims could probably be handed down to your grand children at a fraction of the price
  • 2 0
 I think almost every new product that comes out these days launches way over priced, and I think its by design. Companies now understand that there is such a massive gap in wealth in the world that there will always be rich people that do not care about the cost and buy that 'Must have' new item and then in a few months they drastically reduce the prices for the masses. It seems pretty standard these days.
  • 4 0
 If they save so much energy and material while manufacturing the wheels, I would assume the price to be lower, not higher Smile .
  • 3 0
 I've been riding these wheels quite a bit over the past few weeks, and though the general takeaway is quite neutral, there are some aspects worth noting like it costing a metric fuck-ton of dollars for no performance benefit
  • 3 1
 More dumb 1990’s tech coming back to make mountain biking lame again. Thermoplastic is always too heavy compared to thermoset composites to be worth switching to, too expansive versus aluminum.

But……perfect for the build with a colorful but fragile i9 stem and too-heavy 5dev crankset.

You want a strong, recyclable rim? It’s called an EX511. Nipple washers mean it’s all aluminum, all the time. And weights the same as these.
  • 2 0
 Up next……the reintroduction of URT frames to hang this dog crap on.
  • 2 0
 That energy graphic is so warped. Traditional carbon composites can (and some do) use most of the same processes, such as automated cutting, minimal trimming needed, and low VOC finishes. The rapid cure and directly recyclable waste seem to be the only unique steps.
  • 4 2
 $2600 for wheels... $50 for tire levers...

f*ck this company, hope they go bankrupt and everyone involved in building this brand loses their asses purely for them having the audacity to try to normalize exorbitant overpricing of shit.
  • 4 1
 Is it pronounced “Forge and Bond” or “Forge plus Bond” or “Forge Bond”? At that price they should’ve just held onto the name ACT Aerospace
  • 1 1
 they saved so much money on their process that they had enough left over for not one but TWO uncomfortable substitutions for "and"!
  • 2 0
 Haha I understood that reference! Yea, I think these guys assume that the MTB industry is like the aerospace industry where your customers have unlimited funds and will spend it on something ridiculous just to impress their friends at the hangar club. Or maybe it's their firearm subsidiary where something similar happens... Or maybe it's CSS being born out of ENVE's leadership. There is nothing budget, nor value oriented, about anything having to do with CSS.
  • 5 0
 The name is Bond. Forge Bond.
  • 2 1
 @PHeller: They do make a nice fusion fiber rifle though. And as others have pointed out, this product is the epitome of "green washing"
  • 5 1
 I would ride these wheels if someone gave me a set - never going to buy them.
  • 4 0
 fancy new rim / process, but no close up & cross section profile images? kinda curious what it actually looks like?
  • 1 0
 Not so sure if you google toray and cetex it reads like a really environmentally nice way to make a fighter plane part
  • 5 0
 I'll stick to the good ole fashioned DT EX511 and XM481's for $160 a hoop.
  • 1 0
 look at how much energy (cough... $$$) ...we saved that we most definitely aren't passing down to the customer.

Sorry but its pretty unappealing to see a bunch of graphics about how their manufacturing process saves $$$ and then they have a price legitimately twice that of their competition.
  • 1 0
 I have some serious doubts about the claimed environmental benefits in the posted chart. For one, who is priming and painting carbon wheels? Every carbon wheelset I have handled was raw carbon. Even the clear coat claims are questionable. What clear coat needs to be autoclaved? Yes, you can bake a clear coat in an oven to speed curing, but not in an autoclave.
  • 2 1
 Holy cannoli! My 30mm btlos carbon wheels are just under 1600g and I paid just under $650, limited 2 year warranty but who cares they're cheaper than Alu wheelsets. BTLOS should sponsor me, I keep bragging about their pricing.
  • 1 0
 I am all for more competition on the market, but how is this superior in performance to a full carbon wheelset? It seems very vague.

Why push sustainability if aluminum is far more sustainable?

Justify the exorbitant price, I sincerely want to know.
  • 1 0
 when i start working in big retailer of electrical appliances .I learn that big company makes overpriced products just to take the money of people that want to spend a lot of money to feel that they make the right thing.For example we have 2 high end WM that are 1k euro - the one is really good from China ,high end made ! 2 motors! Next year the company come with product from Poland that have new design and really big marketing ! But inside this new WM it has nothing besides the design ...pure nothing...but you market and make crazy profit!
  • 1 0
 "Hmmm... yeah, there seems to be a serious lack of premium $2000 wheelset available. This is a niche market that we can fill! The market will provide! We will be profitable!"

Revel, Evil, Chris King, Nobl, Santa Cruz, I9, WAO, Raceface, Enve, DT Swiss, Roval, E*13, ZIPP, Ibis, Bontrager: "what the hell man"
  • 2 0
 So they don't use any of the recycling advantages of a thermoplastic resin, just shred them like thermoset carbon and make hugely overpriced tire levers?
What a greenwashing load of bullshit.
  • 1 0
 If you shred thermoset (epoxy) with carbon fiber, you cannot "remold" them into anything structural (or practically at all). The epoxy doesn't change (could burn it, but that has other issues of course). With thermoplastic, you can heat it again, melt/cool it, and make a tire lever, or dropout, or pedal body, etc. So they are "downcycling", as the carbon fibers become shorter (and overal material drops in strength/stiffness). This is better than throwing it in a landfill; and makes a new part without new material. This is taking advantage of the thermoplastic.
  • 1 0
 CURIOUS... has anyone bought these? seems like they dumped a ton of money in getting the word out and I don't get why someone would buy these over so many other options that are some much less expensive, lighter, and better warranty.
  • 1 0
 The fundamentals that our current economic state were built on can not continue. The reason everything has been so cheap is because we have always just harvested more and used cheap developing nation's labor. We haven't been paying the full expense for our amazing lives and others have been paying it for us. Material costs, labor costs and carbon offsets need to be a larger part of the final price of everything in the future if we want to continue to exist on this planet. These wheels aren't the final solution but they are a step forward in the right direction.
  • 1 0
 I make the material for these kind of applications. I'm thinking this is a Polyamide (nylon impact grade)with a percentage of chopped carbon fiber. I have been making this product for decades but mostly for things like aerospace applications but some recreational items like racquetball rackets or tennis rackets I'm not sure what they are paying for their raw material but I'm sure I could make them a similar product that would cost less so they could make them more affordable. Hell, I'll even buy their scrap wheels. If they want to bring these to market and make them mainstream and sell a slot of them they will have to do something about their unproven product. Make them somewhat affordable and if they work as well as I think they will, they could dominate the wheel market in no time.
  • 1 0
 I had a brand new Specialized carbon rim melt far from my exhaust just recently. Quite a shock to me as it was in the same position my old specialized carbon rim sat for years with no problem. I was on a two week trip with a cramped ride schedule, and as far as I could tell, this trip was going to be shot as of day one. Miraculously came across a 28h front rim from these guys. Built it up, and with the suggested nipple washers figured it would be two weeks of having to stink eye spoke tension and true the rim. I have beaten them consistently from Moab to Virgin now and I keep checking for break in. This thing is rock solid! Feels incredible riding and holds lines smooth and stress free. Seems to exhibit all the good traits of carbon rims except with a bit more compliance and the bit of extra weight puts my mind at ease about structural integrity. My trip was saved by an American company making parts right here in America that I could get my hands on right now. I’ll be buying a rear wheel to match from them soon. Happy to give these guys my hard earned money and go about enjoying my life. Yes they are expensive but most worthy mountain bike equipment is. If they end up going from bike to bike they’ll become more of a value with every ride.
  • 1 0
 Any details on the lifetime warranty? With both Reserve and We Are One having excellent warranty reputations at a lower cost, theirs better be bulletproof otherwise its hard to justify getting these.
  • 3 0
 It’s hard to justify buying these wheels, no matter what they offer, unless there was a missprint and you get two wheelsets for $2500.
  • 2 0
 @sanchofula: At first I thought I read wheelset, but then realised it was 2500 for a pair of rims lmao
  • 4 0
 Less material. Less labor. More $$$$. Makes sense.
  • 4 0
 More expensive than a set of Berds and 500 grams heavier.
  • 4 0
 More plastic parts in mountain biking. What’s the worst that can happen?
  • 1 0
 Backlash when you see a pengquin with a trek decal stuck to its behind?
  • 4 1
 Reminder that you can build a much better 1,515g enduro wheelset for $1,100
  • 2 0
 *Reminder that you can have a much better ~1,515g enduro wheelset for built for you for ~$1,180. If you want lighter, buy lighter, more expensive hubs. If you want cheaper, cheaper hubs and skip Berd spokes.

Parts list:
$115 NEWMEN Front Hub MTB FADE Straightpull 6-Bolt silver 15x110mm Thru Axle BOOST
$215 NEWMEN Rear Hub MTB FADE Straightpull 6-Bolt silver 12x148mm Thru Axle BOOST
$82 NOTUBES Rim 29" ZTR Flow MK4 28 Hole
$80 RACE FACE Rim 27.5" 650B ARC 30 Offset 28 Hole
$688 Berd custom wheelbuilding
$1,180 total
+
$32 76projects high flow valves
$1,212
  • 3 0
 Another commercial from pinkbike to promote a wheelset that costs and arm and a leg and weights a ton.
  • 5 2
 $2,600 530gram rim and 2,000gram wheelset. LOL.
About 130g too heavy on the rim and 300g+ to heavy on the wheelset.
  • 1 0
 Cool, but irrelevant wheelset and process until the people can afford it. Another dentist or tech bro product to help you feel better feels about ones own higher environmental impact that comes along with higher income.
  • 2 0
 When I read zero waste and made in US all I can imagine is a pile of new stuff made from all the wraps and plastics wasted after every lunch
  • 1 1
 what is with you guys..? this is what happens with new tech. look at tv's. when LEDs first came out, they were 10k+, now you can get them for a few hundred dollars. it's a new technology, far less waste, far fewer environmentally hazardous materials, etc. -- of course it's going to sell at a premium. but they will sell to the early adopters and hopefully go down in price if the reception is positive and they can begin working with economies of scale and cheaper manufacturing processes.
  • 5 2
 there's a Gunnison, Utah?
  • 2 0
 Yup, it’s right next to Denver Utah Wink
  • 2 0
 Kinda between Salt Lake and Cedar City. It's out there. In a place where land and labor should be cheap.
  • 5 2
 $50 tire levers? Sure, I'll take them all
  • 4 0
 Lost me at 3 grand
  • 4 0
 $3504 CAD at today’s rate. Plus 5%, of course. So $3717 all in. That is hilarious.
  • 1 1
 Interesting you have had issues i9 hydra hubs, I'm on my third set and have had zero issues with any industry nine hub or wheel set. I've ridden multiple enduros, bike park laps and a lot of miles all over the pnw.
  • 2 1
 I’ve had issues with 2 out of my 3 i9 wheelsets, and broke 2 of their stems.
  • 3 0
 Does anyone sell newmen wheels in USA
  • 1 1
 No but you can order online
  • 2 0
 i have a 20yo pair of 26" D321 that have made more for the enviroment then all those carbon ones...
  • 4 1
 The greenwashing needs to stop!
  • 1 0
 "like these tire levers, which you can purchase on their site for $50 USD."

If you choke on your breakfast when reading that, does your partner sue PB or F&B?
  • 3 0
 Max tyre pressure 40psi, doesn't inspire confidence.....
  • 1 0
 Stupid. Once I saw the price tag I was done. I'll keep my Spank wheelset and be just fine.
  • 4 2
 Why the hell does this exist?
  • 2 0
 So I am gathering by the pic, that these are waterfall friendly wheels.
  • 2 1
 Nah, son. I’ll stick with my NOBLs that were about half the price. And lighter.
  • 3 5
 Cool to see more companies producing bike products in the USA with materials that don't just end up in landfills. New tech isn't cheap. Never is, never will be... or we would already have it.. Some of us in the comments section understand what it takes to manufacture new tech from the ground up. Seems that most in here believe these products just make themselves with equipment you can get from harbor freight, materials sourced home depot, and skilled labor that is beating down your door to work for pennies and no benefits. Keep up the good work! Look forward to seeing more from this company and the industry as a whole.
  • 3 1
 I'm sure they're lovely but we don't need more plastic stuffFrown
  • 2 1
 i'm afraid i did not read any further than the price....i'll stick with trusty alloy.
  • 1 0
 Ive been trying to find that yellow and black fender. Does anyone know what its called?
  • 1 0
 It’s called Dario painted on his large fox bolt on mud fender
  • 1 0
 You can get a custom wheelset with fusion fiber rims AND Berd spokes for less than these
  • 1 0
 Strong, light, cheap. Pick one. At this point, the jury is still out if you even get one of those with this wheelset.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like an Etsy store selling signet stamps. Or maybe a microbrewery. Will they make my bike more hoppy?
  • 1 0
 My Bontrager Line 30 Pros have been faultless for 2 seasons now and they were half as much as these.
  • 2 0
 So what’s the Tg? I wanna know if they’re gonna melt in a hot summer
  • 1 0
 Zero waste
80% emissions reduction
95% of dust eliminated
99.5% profit margin
  • 1 0
 I'm not in the market for them but I do like how their spec list is comprehensive.
  • 2 3
 Just a few years ago $2500 was a bargain for hand laid USA ENVE wheelset. Where they lost me was differentiation to Evil Loopholes at $1300.
  • 8 0
 No, it wasn't a bargain.
  • 1 0
 Finally cheaper than carbon

What????????

Alu.. ohhhyeahh
  • 1 0
 "Have you ever heard of Nylon Polymer"- Uncle Rico
  • 1 1
 Lmao just what we needed. Something that already exists, but the more expensive version. I hope no one buys these...
  • 1 0
 This....no. This is getting out of hand.
  • 1 0
 how much for just the rims?
  • 1 0
 why so expensive? Can get a set of i9 Enduro-S Carbon wheels for less
  • 1 0
 Somewhere a dentist just got a little moist...
  • 2 1
 No pay for you. Next!
  • 1 1
 29 is dead
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