Forge+Bond Releases Two New Rim Designs

Aug 2, 2023 at 10:33
by Dario DiGiulio  
Forge+Bond is the face of CSS Composites, the domestic manufacturer of all the FusionFiber wheels that we've seen rebranded by companies such as Revel, Evil, and Chris King. They launched the F+B brand with a Trail wheel, focused on the broadest part of the market, but are now expanding the lineup with an XC and an All-Mountain offering. Additionally, they're expanding their hub options in the builds, so consumers have a bit more choice when it comes to what they build their plastic hoops up with.

We've already touched on the manufacturing methods and details behind the hoops in an earlier First Look, so let's get into the new stuff.

25 XC
F+B 25 XC Details

• Tire Size Range: 2.1” - 2.4”
• Rim Outer Width: 31.4mm
• Rim Inner Width: 25mm
• Beadwall Thickness: 3.2mm
• Spoke Count: 28
• Spoke Type: Sapim CX Ray
• Hub Options: I9 1/1, DT 240, I9 Hydra
• Rim Weight: 380g
• Wheelset Weight: 1455-1564g

25 XC
Covered by the F+B Lifetime Guarantee.
25 XC
With every purchase, F+B will donate $100 to local NICA teams.

All three hub options are identical, save for price and weight. Pricing starts at $1899 USD for the Industry 9 1/1 hub option and jumps to $2199 USD for the DT Swiss 240 and Industry 9 Hydra builds. Both of the I9 builds are in the 1500g+ range, which is fairly chunky for a modern XC wheelset, but if the damping characteristics of the rims prove to be true then it could be worth the weight penalty for some people.

30 AM
F+B 30 AM Details

• Tire Size Range: 2.3” - 2.6”
• Rim Outer Width: 38mm
• Rim Inner Width: 30mm
• Beadwall Thickness: 4mm
• Spoke Count: 28
• Spoke Type: Sapim CX Ray
• Hub Options: I9 1/1, DT 240, I9 Hydra
• Front Rim Weight: 480g
• Rear Rim Weight: 530g
• Wheelset Weight: 1702-1816g

30 AM
Strangely, the DT options are Centerlock-only.
30 AM
All F+B rims can be down-cycled into their house-brand tire levers.

I've been spending some time on the beefier F+B hoops for a while now, and they've held up well. The ride quality is fairly standard, holding up to hard hits and corners nicely as you'd expect from a downhill-oriented wheelset. That said, the model I have features a 32-hole build, and weighs around 1982 grams, so I don't think it can speak for these new models. These are the heaviest-duty version in the lineup, known as the 30 EM. We'll try to spend some time on some of the lighter versions and report back on how they hold up.

More information on the wheels, production methods, and philosophy behind the brand can be found at

Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
124 articles

  • 27 1
 almost 2 kg, $2k and with the only claimed benefit being extra damping these really don't seem like a good deal. Now that we see high quality carbon wheelsets available for less money I feel like the market for over $2000 wheelsets has to be very limited.
  • 11 5
 W R 1
  • 1 1
 Not easy to find but it exists good value for money wheel-sets on the market Wink
  • 3 0
 @shorecarbon: yup, wao’s are sick rims/wheels for the money.
  • 1 0
 1700-1800grams is competitive, assuming all other factors are the same.
  • 3 1
 W A O
  • 8 0
 "WAAAOOOO" -Owen Wilson
  • 3 1
 Light Bicycle!
  • 1 1
 We are running a kickstarter campaign to help funding our project. Here is the link

What are you thoughts ?

Thanks !
  • 18 0
 I’ve gone full circle from average alloy rims, to decent carbon hoops, and now have DT Swiss EX471 rims on every single one of my bikes and couldn’t be happier. I never should’ve bothered venturing into the world of carbon and plastic hoops. I’ve officially gone the longest I’ve EVER gone in my riding career without a broken rim—3 full seasons, whereas no matter the carbon rim I tried, I invariably ended up having a catastrophic rim failure at least once a season, sometimes up to five. I’ll admit the rear rim on my DH bike isn’t perfectly round anymore, it holds air without fail, my spokes all still hold tension pretty evenly (read: haven’t had to true them more than 1-2 times a year), and most critically the stiffness of the wheel still inspires massive confidence while riding rough stuff. Happy camper right here.
  • 3 0
 that's reassuring to hear..I'm sure in certain cases a carbon hoop is better, but i too have some EX471s and they are extremely strong. I feel like it's a situation of marginal gains at a certain point.
  • 15 1
 Up to 5 catastrophic rim failures a year?….. what the hell are you doing to be blowing up 5 wheels a year? Lol especially carbon (unless its like budget china carbon or somthing)
  • 2 1
 @nismo325: I guess “catastrophic” can mean different things haha—for me it’s just damage bad enough to warrant a new rim for any reason, but thankfully I’ve never had one blow up into pieces like we’ve all seen some go!

Most of the alloy ones were decent rims, Stan’s Flow MK3, Easton ARC before and after they became RaceFace ARC and got stronger alloy, and a handful of others. As for carbon, I went thru Derby, Nobl, WeAreOne, Ibis, Revel, and probably others. Even went thru a few DT EX511’s, but the narrower profile on the 471 rim seems to hold up a bit better, and it helps that I get along with a rounder tire profile than the squared-off standard that 30mm rims cause.
  • 3 2
 @nismo325: Carbon is overrated.
  • 2 0
 I concur with this. I had a set of carbon wheels fail on me last year, they were only mid-range OEM items in this case but I have owned some more premium ones in the past too with similar issues. Whilst awaiting warranty replacement, I threw a set of very affordable alloy wheels on my bike for a race, worth roughly a quarter of the price of the carbons. To my delight, they felt so much better, with no perceivable detriment to performance and still havent had a single issue with them, the carbon ones never went back on the bike.
  • 14 1
 A highly-reviewed and long-established We are One wheelset with 1/1 i9's is $1275...that's like..

*counts on fingers*

a lot cheaper
  • 1 0
 I guess that less smellier than *counting on your toes*
  • 9 0
 I've built one set of the EM30s 28h/32h combo and have been riding them for about a month now, with 10 days riding logged in E47/SDM/La Massif/VBN/etc (all around Quebec, basically).

The rims themselves are of great construction quality IMHO. From a builders perspective, they are very clean and wrinkle free internally, and very round and flat (definitely not always the case). In turn, they build up very smoothly, very true, with very even tension. They have all the markers I look for, when the aim is to build a quality carbon wheelset. F+B also designed the nipple bed to work with Sapim MG washers, which accompany the rims - again, something I appreciate. Nipple bed and drilling are well executed to ensure spokes have a good straight path to hub flange (again, definitely not always the case). On first blush, all signs point to these hoops building into wheels that will live long fuss free lives. From the builders perspective again, I can't ask for much more. I definitely won't dispute the design and execution of these hoops is well done from what I have seen.

They have definitely been a good ride for me over the past month. They have a fairly muted ride characte, as many have come to expect from todays high end carbon hoops, and for me that's a positive. I've come up short on a few features and cased these hoops hard on numerous occasions, and I've heard a few rim pings while pinballing though rock sections, and they just keep rolling true without signs of abuse. Short term feedback - they have been great.
  • 2 0
 Appreciate this insight. Gives a little bit of credence to the cost of the rim.
  • 11 1
 I can tell you what I’m just dying to add to my XC bike — a heavy AND expensive wheelset.
  • 3 0
 Way of I told you they had a 25mm inner width?
  • 10 0
 Pretty pissed this isnt a collab between James Bond and Geordi la Forge...
  • 7 1
 Before anyone gives this brand money shoot them an email and see how long it takes to get a reply. If it's more than 48hrs (it will be), it might be worth holding out for something else.
  • 1 4
 Real men demand immediate consolation or they take their money elsewhere. Is 47 hours ok, or will you be needing a discount code?
  • 1 0
 You're not wrong. This is a pretty common test with any DTC company and you hope that at least their warranty/ customer service response times are par with their sales inquiry response times.
  • 4 0
 Step 1: buy XC carbon wheel set from the largest manufacturer you can, with a solid local distributor and lots of replacement stock, and with a lifetime crash replacement warranty. Step 2: enjoy the lightness and ride those lightweight bitches relentlessly in all conditions until they inevitably break. Step 3: replace with new wheelset for free. Step4: Repeat step 2 and 3 infinitely.
  • 2 0
 ^ This guy hucks!
  • 4 0
 It sounds like you have the EM version from the launch back in April, which were claimed to be 1982g. Maybe just a bit of model confusion or they sent you the beefier enduro wheels and not the AM
  • 2 0
 I think so, keen eye.
  • 3 0
 I for one would love to see a heavier-duty version of the 25 XC for a trail/all-mountain bike, kind of like a carbon (ahem..."fusion-fiber") sibling to the venerable DT XM421. Almost all the new, durability-focused, wide bead carbon rims are coming in around 30mm, but I bet there's a market for a 25mm rim for those of us still on 2.3-2.4" tires with rounder profiles. The WAO Faction (27mm, 425g-ish) is my current pick for a burlier carbon rim that's on the narrower side. I'd for sure opt for a 25mm rim if it was a bit lighter, still had good compliance, and was rated for a trail/AM bike (that is, if the F&B warranty was good enough).
  • 1 0
 But why? Any tire made in the last decade or so has been designed around a wider rim.
  • 6 0
 The Commenters have spoken: No more greenwashed plastic wheels!
  • 2 0
 Good friends With some of the brands behind F+B as well as some of the athletes. Not the lightest but the lifetime crash replacement and donation to NICA AND being built here in good ol Utah makes me want to buy their gravel wheelset with that lovely 25mm IW
  • 5 0
 Way over claimed weight, 28spoke and still nearly 2kg. Ouch.
  • 2 0
 I accidentally quoted the heavier set I have in for test, we'll confirm the actual weights when we get an AM set in.
  • 5 0
 yay we can turn these expensive and heavy carbon wheels into tire levers
  • 3 0
 Nice looking wheels, and I like the NICA donation aspect too; I'd roll with these..
  • 1 0
 I just bought some i9 trail 270s on sale for $900 and a claimed weight of 1500g for a pair. And that’s AL! strange these are so heavy and expensive. I guess the lifetime warranty has to be priced in.
  • 2 3
 Meh. Bike industry went down the thermoplastic path in the 1990’s. Same problem today-which is that the strength/weight ratio isn’t awesome.

These just aren’t a good buy compared to something like an aluminum DT rim. Or a good thermoset rim like a WAO product.
  • 3 0
 Forge & Bond, good to see a law firm branching out into wheels.
  • 3 0
 2kg and $2k? Lol
  • 1 0
 Are we out of dentists to buy carbon wheels yet , its the gift that leeps on giving
  • 2 0
 I second: "2kg and $2k? Lol"
  • 1 0
 New rim designs? They’re that hoop that goes between the spokes and the tyre ain’t they
  • 2 0
 The hoops themselves look really good. Personally I don't mind the weight.
  • 3 1
 NOBL Thanks
  • 4 0

My Nobls laced to Onyx hubs were significantly cheaper, a bit lighter, and Nobl responds to warranty claims in under 24 hours (even over the weekend)! I've blown two of them up in the last year and both times I had a new hoop delivered to western NC in less than a week. Last warranty claim they even called to make sure I was satisfied with the product!
  • 1 0
 Have they actually sold any of these?
  • 1 0
 big huge version of that preview pic please!
  • 4 2
 No 27.5?
  • 1 0
 Forge and Bond are like Gork and Mork?

Copyright © 2000 - 2023. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.027186
Mobile Version of Website