Mercury Wheels' Mystery Fiber-X Rim Material - Taipei Cycle Show 2019

Mar 28, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

Mercury Wheels have been an under the radar brand for about ten years but they are hoping to burst onto the scene in a big way with their new mountain bike wheelsets that feature a mystery material called Fiber-X.

The American brand have incorporated a strip of the material in the middle of the rim and it is apparently two times as strong as carbon but also more ductile, solving the main two problems Mercury sees with carbon wheels - impact resistance and stiffness. All impacts on the wheels are channeled towards the strip and it is apparently able to absorb them far better than a normal carbon rim.

The Fiber-X could have been any colour but Mercury went with silver to fit in with the brand name and stand out from the competition.

So what is the material? Well Mercury says that it "absorbs like Kevlar on steroids" and can resist a double impact of 120 joules but they flat out won't tell us what it is. We do know that it is a material that is widely available on the market but by keeping it a secret Mercury are hoping that they can stay one step ahead in the competitive world of wheel manufacturing.

Embossed logos mean no decals and a super premium finish.

The technology is currently only available in Mercury's X1 wheelset that are available as either an enduro or ebike version in 29" or 27.5". The enduro wheels have a 30mm inner width, 38mm outer width and 24mm depth. The wheels also use Mercury's own hubs that have a 6 pawl system with 3.5° of engagement. The wheels weigh 1,729 grams (29") and retail at $2,399USD for a pair.

More information here.


51 Comments

  • + 23
 I'm guessing it's either just fiberglass or a fiberglass blend, but no matter what it is I'm curious to see how it works out. Always refreshing to see something different (Even if there is no way I could afford it).
  • + 9
 My guess is that it is probably more kind of an aramid fibre. Yes, not all aramid fibres are yellow (as DuPont Kevlar is).
  • + 0
 Or maybe just alutex... I would love a company to make a frame for me covered with it. bejesus it would be glorious

www.crever.it/en/alutex
  • + 1
 Looks like 'Armordon' to me. only other place i have seen it used much is suitcases.
  • + 1
 Maybe its Dyneema? Pretty sure that's the strongest available fiber at the moment.
  • + 2
 @chrissangwich: Could be. Dyneema is also some kind of aramid, isn't it? I used to have lectures from someone from Akzo who was working on the material.
  • + 0
 Those specs sound like boron fiber, which is even stronger than carbon, and also WAY more expensive:

I think that boron is more brittle than carbon for an equivalent strength, which might explain why it's not being used at the bead edge, but I guess we'll see! Big Grin

Don't think dyneema is great under compression? Anybody wanna weight in there? I think it's similar to Kevlar in that it's a "tension only" material.
  • + 2
 @enki: No, it doesn't like compression. But the resin typically shrinks a little when it cures so this subjects the fibres to a little bit of tensile stress. As long as the air chamber (tire) is pressurized, the whole composite will be subject to tensile stress though of course the worst case to be prepared for is a flat tire. The thing that always worries me most with these composite rims (carbon or whatever we have here) is the walls being perforated for the spokes as if it were aluminium. I don't know how the loads are transferred in there but this matters a lot.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Looks like some form of Alutex, or a GLARE composite to me. And the values for twice as strong make sense, although not in the ways you might expect. Carbon can have a tensile strength of 3.5GPa, and the GLARE stuff can be 6.2GPa, not quite double but close. Plus it has super good impact resistance, like they use it on planes to contain explosions from terror attacks.
  • + 1
 @charlemagne: Glare is a aluminium-glass fibre laminate but it is a stack of layers, not an impregnated weave as you see here. The outer sheet is just aluminium so that's what it looks like, aluminium sheet. I happened to study at the faculty (Delft University of Technology, faculty of aerospace engineering) back when they were developing the material so I was bored to death with the stuff Wink .
  • + 14
 Sorry. That embossed logo...but if it was oil slick, then we'd talk.
  • + 6
 It is for instant stopping when using rim brakes.
  • + 4
 This is one of those times you want to talk to the designer. You want to increase impact performance? Which part is subject to impact, the center channel or the rim bead? What material is the rim bead? I need answers to those questions before I can start trolling.
  • + 3
 "by keeping it a secret Mercury are hoping that they can stay one step ahead in the competitive world of wheel manufacturing"


And by keeping it a secret, they will also stay many steps behind their competitors in sales....who is going to pay $2,400 USD for a wheelset from a little known company, using an unknown material on an unproven wheelset? And for one of their first offerings to be for an e-bike sends a very strong message as to who they feel are their target market.
  • + 1
 E-bikes have motor (Tadaaaa!!!) They can easily support 600-650g rims. A quality alloy rim in that weight is so strong, that making one out of composites is only for people who are more into having a wheelset made of composites rather than having a strong, reliable wheel. Considering E-bikes are heavy and dictate "plowing style", using composites for wheels which are hit into stuff more than a lighter bike, is purely impractical.
  • + 8
 Ummmm, dyneema?
  • + 4
 I was thinking the same. At least some sort of it.
Coming from the sailing world I'm used to see/try/sail/work with hi tech materials years before they become standard in cyclyng world. Same was with kevlar, carbon and titanium
  • + 4
 @spotheadi: Dyneema would be my best guess too
  • + 1
 Dyneema and spectra have the same problems as polypropelene- creep. Which means neither is good for fixed rigid structures.
  • + 7
 Jumping into the Enve grave?
  • + 7
 It's newspaper
  • + 4
 Anyone want to qualify their 120 joules claim by given any sort of real world context as to what that means? 120 is great until you learn that a rock impact is 150. ya know?
  • + 1
 could be kinetic energy , however if heat energy a snickers is 19,500 Joules which means the rim is actually a bit rubbish
  • + 1
 My wife got Mercury wheels on closeout for half-price (thanks Backcountry.com!) and they have been ABSOLUTELY bombproof! I have Nox Composites on my bike and they have been worry and problem free too...except I did have a couple of incidents with bot rear wheels.

Basically her rear wheel got run over by some jackass in an F-150 in a parking lot (he looked in the mirror and gunned it, so he knew he did it) and I evidently slammed a rock too hard on mine and cracked it (even with Huck Norris). I have to say the Mercury had less damage to the actual rim. Mine was still good enough to ride for a couple days, but wouldn’t hold air to run tubeless. Anyway, both companies replaced them with my proof of purchase.
  • + 5
 30mm inner diameter? Wow, those wheels are tiny! lol.
  • + 3
 Here is me riding on 23mm lol
  • + 5
 So when can I have them at 799 like all their other wheels on clearance.
  • + 5
 Flax ?
  • + 0
 I’m already running these wheels and I’m not sure of the science and magic behind them but I can’t attest enough to the performance of them. I’m running the previous gen + enduro wheels on another bike and also have the previous gen x1’s on a Rocky Mountain maiden. Currently torture testing this wheel in st. George Utah, I highly recommend these wheels.
  • + 2
 This add has been sponsered by ....
  • + 4
 Heaviest wheels of all time? 1,7229 grams! I'll let myself out now...
  • + 3
 indeed 17229 grams would be very heavy
  • + 1
 You wouldn't be able to crack those Paul Aston!!! - what is it? aaah yeah I'll hold your beer
  • - 1
 wheels are so heavy because they're wider now. I guess a 25 mm inner width and 1,5-1,6 kg for 29" wheelset would seems more reasonnable. And could justify such a high pricetag.
  • + 0
 Flow MK3's are 140g heavier, $1700 cheaper, and Rampage proven. If you build them up with hubs other than the cheap Stan's hubs and use butted spokes, the weight deficit is probably smaller.
  • + 4
 Vibranium?
  • + 1
 Dyneema absorbs energy whereas pure carbon transmits it from what I just read.
  • + 3
 Probably Asbestos
  • + 0
 If it is genuinely stronger than carbon and more ductile then it can only be Dyneema. But honestly it looks more like one of the many aluminized carbon variants.
  • + 1
 ha ha ha ha
  • + 1
 @Compositepro: Perhaps you'd like to suggest what else you think it might be. Assuming it's not just complete marketing bollocks.
  • + 1
 At that price I figure they will remain an under the radar brand for a while still.
  • + 1
 Dear Pinkbike,
What’s about Yishun graphene rims?
  • + 1
 plenty of graphene particle resin system out there, they make the carbon tougher, not a whole lot more.
  • + 1
 Cant wait to see XXX enduro specific fiber!
  • + 1
 $2400... mercury will continue to be an under thr radar brand.
  • + 1
 Diolen?
  • + 1
 Technora.
  • + 1
 Hmm.
  • - 1
 Snakeoil?? Anyone??

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