Forge & Bond Release New Budget-Minded Thermoplastic Wheelset

Feb 1, 2024 at 10:03
by Dario DiGiulio  
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These aren't the first wheels we've seen from Forge & Bond, buy they're certainly the least expensive ones from the Utah-based company. We touched on their first foray into the wheel market in a First Look last year, and this new release firmly addresses our main concern: price. All three of the new US-made wheelsets are $1,250 USD, which is half the price of their initial offerings.

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Cross-country wheel, for cross-country things.

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The all-mountain wheels should appeal to the broadest spectrum of trail riders.

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The EM is geared towards enduro racing and aggressive trail riding.

Forge and Bond's claim to fame is their development of what they've dubbed FusionFiber - a novel material that implements long-chain nylon polymers as opposed to the typical resins used in carbon fiber manufacturing. It's essentially carbon fiber as we know it, with a twist. In addition to some claims made about improved ride feel, the material can also be recycled into smaller carbon products.

All of the wheelsets use Forge and Bond's in-house hubs. These boost-spaced 6-bolt hubs were developed in conjunction with Bitex, a Taiwanese brand with a long history of hub manufacturing.

Find out more at forgeandbond.com.

Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
175 articles

92 Comments
  • 80 4
 1250 for a budget wheelset and in house hub.,,, No thanks
  • 18 1
 Bitex hubs are pretty good. I've got them on my road bike, and they're nicely made, bearings have lasted ok, free hub makes just the right amount of noise to alert dozy pedestrians without being annoying. Take the labels off and I don't anyone could tell the difference Vs a "name" hub
  • 5 2
 @mountainsofsussex: You can get a pair of dt-swiss 350 for 150$ and upgrade the ratchetring if xou want the nice sound.
  • 21 3
 Budget? Ha! Recently built up a new wheelset using DT350's and XM481 rims, for $650 Canadian pesos. Sure, you do you if you want carbon, but budget does not apply here.
  • 12 0
 @mountainsofsussex: agree Bitex hubs are good, but it's hard to see the value case on a $1,250 set of wheels.
  • 10 3
 Add to that the 1600 grams for an XC wheelset, and it’s a double no thanks. And is being able to turn expensive plastic wheels into smaller, expensive plastic knick-knacks really “sustainable” or “novel”?
  • 8 2
 @mountainsofsussex: Bitex hubs are indeed good. But I have them on an Elitewheels carbon fiber wheelset I got for $307 on an AliExpress 11-11 sale. The wheels are incredible for the price. Wouldn't be incredible for $1250.
  • 4 3
 A rim is 450. Would rather go with weao though.
  • 1 1
 @mkul7r4: ... some of the aliexpress wheels suck. I have gone though three rims off alibaba. I would stick to nextie or lightbicycle for carbon chinese rims. The warranty is better. And then the cost is around 900 shipped. Nextie has some deals around the 550 mark occasionally with their own in house hubs. $1200 is not bad by comparison for a completely different composite tech.
  • 2 1
 @mountainsofsussex: My experience with Bitex has been very weak springs and regular skipping from day one, and I am not that heavy or hard on gear. Would not buy again.
  • 2 0
 @nspace: you're obviously more Dangerholm than me!
  • 3 0
 @IanisC: How / where do you get a pair of dt Swiss 350 for $150?
  • 1 0
 @R-trailking-S: why would you buy 900 wheels with questionable quality and limited warranty, if you can pay a little more and have lifetime crash replacement?
  • 1 0
 @valrock: haha, are you talking about the lifetime rim warranty you can buy from light bicycle? Cause you could for an extra $200.

The quality is not really questionable on those 900 chinese wheelsets. Its the dearth of other off brand companies that pop in and out of exist for roughly two thirds the price of that
  • 46 6
 Any reason to go with new untested tech vs. We Are One for even less money?
  • 7 3
 made in America?? recycling??

I dont really get the market for these ones
  • 26 2
 @mtmc99: recycling? ...that's kinda a stretch, more like "green washing"
  • 9 1
 @chacou: Im not here to defend it. Just saying what they are advertising as the benefit. I suspect most of these are going right to the trash heap when they reach the end of their lifespan.
  • 8 1
 @mtmc99: it's all still downcycling. Turning something nice and polished into something smaller, rougher, and cheaper.
  • 2 1
 @mtmc99: Yeah, I mean I was subject to it. I bought a GG Gnarvana, because it's made in USA and the frame can be "recycled" theoretically, but realistically, especially now that GG has done a big "Irish Goodbye", nobody is "recycling" Revved frames.
  • 5 2
 Would and did buy WAO. Have some friends that have ridden the FaB wheels and watching that experience even if they paid me I wouldn't ride them.
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: How would you describe said experience?
  • 2 0
 @bishopsmike Its not "untested tech", these are a made in the USA rim that has been around for a while. The company responsible makes the rims for Revel and a few others, F+B is the in house brand. Nothing at all wrong with WAO by any means. This is an apples and oranges comparison, Thermoset vs. Thermoplastic.
  • 25 0
 So today's news has been: an 11k ebike, a 6-11k trail bike and a 1.2k "budget" wheelset, is it world monopoly day?
  • 12 0
 Didn't you hear: the bike industry is in great distress! Today's news proves......oh: nevermind. :/
  • 15 3
 Another carbon wheelset that…..weighs as much (or more) than DT aluminum wheels and has jankier hubs. Oh, and it costs a lot more too!!!! Yay!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 which ones? I want a solid Trail \ Enduro that would be "best bang for the buck". Can you point me at the right direction?

Also would like to know what would be best DH set ( 27.5)?
  • 7 2
 1250 for a "budget" wheelset. Lol
Some DT rims laced to hope hubs can be built up for under £500 and is more than enough wheel for literally any bike from toepath cruiser to WC race bike... Or you can spend over twice that on some Taiwanese cookie cutter hubs and some plastic rims and pretend "budget" has got anything to do with it.

This sport is getting ridiculous.
  • 2 2
 When does a sport become a fashion parade?
  • 2 1
 @Compositepro: About 5 years ago by my reckoning Frown
  • 6 1
 Just got a set of WR1 Triad/DTSwiss 350 wheels fron Custom Wheel Builders for $1214 shipped to CA, no tax. The market will speak.
  • 3 2
 That’s exactly what I just did. Couldn’t imagine a real market for these F+B wheels when you can get WAO with 350 hubs for cheaper.
  • 3 0
 I've spent a decent amount of time on F+B's AM wheels and they're pretty solid. No complaints so far. Bitex hubs are good quality too. As far as comparable value to brands like WAO, maybe not, but being in their homestate I deem it worth it.
  • 4 4
 fake news
  • 7 1
 I like how the cover image is someone about to push the front
  • 2 1
 Haha it definitely looks like that inside foot is about to eject from the pedal.
  • 7 1
 Fork & Knife
  • 6 0
 Crate & Barrel
  • 3 0
 Ham & Eggs
  • 4 0
 Twig & Berries
  • 3 0
 Bangers and mash
  • 2 0
 Nuts & Gum
  • 5 0
 Still waiting on the 27.5!!!
  • 28 0
 You'll probably have to wait until 2015.
  • 1 0
 @warmerdamj: LOL!!!! Yep…
  • 1 0
 I have set of Revel's fusion wheels, I cracked one, Revel send me new one no questions asked. I googled around, regular carbon ( with epoxy for bound ) can be repaired in many places depending on amount of damage. None of these CB repair places will take Fusion wheel as they all do not know how to deal with it.

My friend just had 2 sets of cracked NOBL wheels repaired for 150 CAD each and even got warranty from place that repaired them.

Now, my rim damage is not that big, so I am planning to play with it and try to repair myself with a few sheets of carbon fabric and epoxy.

With warranty for most carbon wheels I would not really care about the possibility of wheel explosion, but I would def not buy these 2nd hand.

Re RECYCABLITY, I did some research as I liked the idea. I came to the conclusion that is a standard "greenwashing". These cannot be recycled, they however can be "downcycled" - they can make other things ( Revel makes tire levers) out of broken wheels. Recycling isn't possible because you cannot make new things out of it, you can only make something smaller size ( long fibers in these are compromised, so you can only make shorter length things out of the source material). As with everything - everything can be recycled, the question is only how viable it is. And to recycle my wheel I will need to get to at least Revel or contact the guys who made it for Revel. Obviously, this is too much work for the average consumer who is max willing to use blue recycle bin or do occasional trip to the bottle depot
  • 6 2
 Did I just read a Pinkbike article about cheap nylons?!
  • 3 1
 "Forge and Bond's claim to fame is their development of what they've dubbed FusionFiber"
Wasn't this tech already developed and dubbed by Guerilla Gravity? (RIP)
  • 5 0
 Two different companies using the same prepreg thermoplastic material to make different things. GG called it Revved and made frames (plus prototyping rims before they ran out of money), F+B call it FusionFiber and make rims.

This tech is widely used in other industries.
  • 3 3
 @GTscoob: Not quite... You are referring to ThermoPlastic which is what GG frames are built with and used in many other industries. FusionFiber* is a patented variation of thermoplastic containing long nylon fibers allowing them to alter flex, strength and ride character differently than standard thermoplastic.
  • 1 0
 the inner width is 30mm and the outer width is 38mm?????????? spec says each bead thickness is 4mm so it adds up. Why oh why is the rim bead thickness stick out 4mm on each side!>??!
  • 3 0
 There's certainly a difference between "budget minded" and "value minded"
  • 3 0
 Love fusion fiber rims, but no 27.5?? Cmon!
  • 1 0
 162 Points of Engagement for those who are wondering. I'd certainly be OK with that. No mullet option at this time so they're a no go for me.
  • 1 1
 We partnered with Bitex on our carbon fiber wheel-set for a final cost of 1099€ MSRP. You get the strong properties of carbon rims with great value hubs from our english friends.
  • 1 0
 Weird they went with Sapim CX Ray spokes on their budget wheels... At MSRP thats like $150 in spokes alone on the AM 30 wheelset.
  • 3 1
 They may be in my budget once I find a used set.
  • 13 10
 29 is dead
  • 3 2
 I like that this is getting upvotes. I prefer smaller wheels myself but now it seems like the industry is moving away from 27.5 since I’ve been shopping for a modern hardtail. Now I’m reluctantly planning my next wheel build around 29 even though they are too tall for tech sections and bikepacking for my liking.
  • 1 0
 @lbsinrehab: I've mulleted my hardtail. It's pretty rad.
  • 1 2
 "Budget-Minded" seems to have a loose definition around the PB office. I guess if you are a dentist then these are pretty affordable, but they still cost as much as many "budget" bikes, and those come with wheels and tires.
  • 5 3
 It's all relative to a lineup. By no means are these a low price item in the broader context, but relative to their other wheels, they're cheap.
  • 1 0
 "improved ride feel" like every bike product ever made .
  • 13 16
 I know this will be a downvote magnet, but I think it’s time to move on from carbon fiber. Especially for wheels..
Thermoplastics held much promise back in the analog days.
  • 6 3
 Respectfully disagree, the durability and performance/$ ratio of wheels like the Line Elite 30s is hard to beat, even with nice aluminum wheelsets (I weigh ~92kg ready to ride).

I'm not going back to aluminum wheels unless I get a sponsorship.
  • 8 15
flag Muscovir FL (Feb 6, 2024 at 6:22) (Below Threshold)
 Carbon was never a particularly good material for mountain bikes to begin with. If you think about it, a non-isotropic plastic that is infamously fragile and susceptible to impact damage is a ridiculously bad choice for an application that involves frequent rock strikes and crashes.
  • 10 3
 CF should be more prevalent in wheels than frames. Love my WR1 wheels
  • 14 2
 Aluminum wheelsets are next to unrideable I created the stronger downvote magnate
  • 8 7
 @Muscovir: It's only fragile and susceptible to impact damage if you believe the dated hyperbole about carbon fiber structures having no compression strength, etc. If a carbon structure is designed correctly, it is very durable to impacts, compressive loads, lateral deflection, etc.

Also, if you have frequent rock strikes and crashes, you're not doing it right.
  • 1 0
 @skiboot1:
..it’s not working
  • 4 0
 @GrundleJ: do you live where there aren’t rocks in the trail that get kicked u off your front wheel?? I had that happen and it shattered the downtube of a Reign Advanced. Through the rubber downtube protector. And then Giant denied the warranty claim and said their bikes don’t break that way……

And I’ve flicked similar sized rocks up without incident on other bikes.
  • 1 3
 @sjma:
I agree, the current thermoplastics are not completely ready for prime time.
But is carbon fiber the final destination? We need an alternative to carbon and aluminum that is tough, light, compliant and cheap.
Yeah, not there yet, though I’ve heard that somewhere lurking in material scientists labs are plastics that can fit the bill right now.
  • 2 0
 I only downvoted because 'analog'
  • 2 2
 @wyorider: I killed a porky aluminum DH frame from a rock doing that. Sometimes s*** happens.
  • 3 1
 @Muscovir: carbon fiber's non isotropic properties are exactly what make it a great material for this application. You get to tune stiffness and compliance in different directions with different layups.

There are some tradeoffs with susceptibility to impact damage in the form of matrix/fiber cracking, but aluminum has tradeoffs too, mainly in the form of fatigue.
  • 4 0
 @Rkrum @Muscovir

Pick an isotropic property and be a dick about it.
  • 2 0
 @TStruckMTB:
Yeah I didn’t like that choice of wording myself when I wrote it.
But putting a finer point on it would mean a lengthy explanation, and I really don’t feel like writing another novel just to placate the passive aggressive, devil’s advocate geniuses.
  • 1 4
 @Rkrum: Sorry, but no. Material fatigue is an incredibly overblown concern. If the weight of the part mostly doesn't matter (- like on mountainbike frames) carbon has no real-world advantage over aluminium regarding fatigue life - at least not in the application as a frame material.
  • 2 1
 @Muscovir: That's just funny talk. I've personally killed at least 3 aluminum frames where fatigue was a big part of why they died. A couple of them had cracks at multiple welds after 5 years and a lot of miles. Yeah, I've been riding for a long time. Never done that to carbon. I'm not saying carbon is always better, it's not, and burly aluminum frames do fine. Lightweight aluminum fatigues, just as lightweight carbon cracks from impacts. Lightweight carbon doesn't fatigue.
  • 1 3
 @JustinVP: Don't be ridiculous. How would you even know that "fatigue was a big part of why they died"? Did you do a full metallurgical analysis by chance?

What you're describing is a fundamental problem of overly aggressive lightweight construction. That's supbar design, not a general shortcoming of the material. All of this can be entirely prevented by just adding material in critical zones. Add 200g to the weight of the frame, but it doubles in the amount of load cycles it can take.

If a modern frame, like a RAAW Madonna, is designed to withstand over 200.000 full load cycles on the test bench at EFBE, you've got no chance what so ever of killing that frame by fatigue alone. No matter how hard you ride, it won't happen. Chances are, you probably couldn't even find that much time to ride wihtin five years.
  • 1 3
 @JustinVP: And while we're at it: Carbon does in fact fatigue. The resin that binds the fibers breaks down on a molecular level and the frame starts delaminating over time. Worse yet, it happens exponentially.
  • 1 0
 @JustinVP: It can happen on a bike made of any material, but it happens most often to a carbon downtube. My XC whip is carbon, but I went back to metal big bikes-when the bike will be north of 30 pounds I stop worrying about weight.

It's also a lot more expensive to replace a broken carbon frame or rim than a comparable aluminum one.
  • 2 1
 Thermoplastics are typically tougher than thermosets. So for a certain amount of stiffness it may be lighter to use a thermoset but in terms of impact resistance, thermoplastics can be much better. It is the very reason why nylon is being used for these purposes. I wonder whether it would be possible to, if the rim does receive a ding and doesn't hold pressure anymore, to heat the area and bend it back. It think it should be possible to machine a part that fits the center channel (or actually a three-piece mold so that you can actually slide it under the rim hook) so that you actually have something to push against as the plastic cools down again. Now that would be a cool advantage of the thermoplastic material. Unless you actually break the fibres but this may be less likely to happen if the matrix doesn't shatter upon impact the way a thermoset does.
  • 2 2
 just had to check the date thought it was april already
  • 2 2
 Made in America: AM I A JOKE TO YOU?
  • 2 2
 How is this plastic different from the other plastic?
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