Evil Bike Co. has launched a new wheelset called Loopholes. The rim is made from CSS Composites' FusionFiber, which uses long-chain polymers instead of epoxy resin to hold the fibers together. According to Evil, this has a few advantages. They claim "a 20% improvement in impact resistance over comparable carbon fiber rims", "a perfect balance of stiffness and compliance" (naturally), "50% improvement in vibration damping" and "noticeably quieter than traditional carbon wheels".
Not only that, Evil says the epoxy-free rims are easier to make with automated processes, meaning less manufacturing waste, and they're fully recyclable. I've never seen a carbon rim recycling point at my local recycling centre, so I asked Evil how that will work logistically. "Recycling will be handled through Evil," Cal Jelley from Evil tells me, "so if someone destroys a rim they will send it back to us and we will get them off to our manufacturer to be recycled. Automated cutting [during manufacture] means there is no wasted material, and recycling FusionFiber is as simple as shredding it into short fibres. These can be directly repurposed into new compression-moulded parts for other commercial uses with zero-waste."
Evil Loophole Details
• "FusionFiber" rim uses polymer, not epoxy resin, which is claimed to improve strength and vibration absorption.
• Intended use: Trail, Enduro, Freeride & DH
• 29" only (for now), Boost or SuperBoost spacing
• 1,940g claimed weight (XD driver)
• 480g claimed rim weight
• Reinforced spoke bosses
• 29mm internal width
• Industry Nine Hydra hubs
• 32 J-bend spokes per wheel, 2-cross front, 3-cross rear
• Made in the USA
• Lifetime original-owner warranty
• £2,299.99 / €2,499.99 / $2,200
As for the claims about more damping translating to a smoother ride, I remain skeptical. Any wheel is much stiffer than the tire and the suspension on either side of it, so the role wheels play in comfort and compliance is easy to overstate. A 50% increase in damping sounds impressive, but the damping ratio of a standard rim is so low that a 50% increase might not be a huge deal in terms of the bike as a whole.
Okay, skeptical sidenote over.
The rims are claimed to weigh 480g, which is lighter than many carbon rims these days, especially ones which are rated for anything up to DH use. Visibly reinforced spoke holes are claimed to increase the force required to pull a spoke through the rim by 15%. The wheelset weight varies a bit depending on freehub standard and rear hub width (Boost 148 or SuperBoost 157), but the claimed weights start at 1,940g (XD, 148mm). Sure, there are lighter alloy wheels, but the lifetime original-owner warranty is not to be sniffed at, and arguably suggests Evil expect them to last.
They are built on Industry Nine Hydra hubs with 32 J-bend Sapim D-Light spokes per wheel. The front is laced two-cross for extra compliance.
Evil says the wheels are available soon, but only as a complete wheelset and only in 29" for now. We're hoping to get a set in for test soon.