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THE BLACK GOLD – CARBON

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Ask a cyclist about THE material for bikes and components and he will introduce to you “carbon” as the panacea and start romancing over “the black gold”. And yes, we agree! Carbon has radically changed and improved the performance of bikes today, but also the way carbon is used in the context of bicycles has changed over the last few years. Here you can learn more about our own individual attitude towards this material and why we are sure that it will increase the performance of your bike in a most striking fashion.

Carbon has radically changed and improved the performance of bikes today

Most of us have seen material trends come and go and all of us have realized that carbon is not just a trend. The first carbon fiber frames were launched in the 1980’s and although the experts agreed about the potential of the material, it took quite a long time until the bikes could benefit from it. Carbon is stiffer, lighter and stronger than steel or aluminum, but knowing this is still far from a solution to building the optimum bike. To top it all, the material is very expensive.

It is even more complex, since talking about “carbon” is wrong [since we are cyclists and not scientists; however we will simply ignore this over the next few sentences ;-)].

The special challenge is to understand the perfect mixture of fibers, resin and finally how to define the types of fibers (e.g. unidirectional (UD) and the lay-up in the mould.  Consequently, we should rather talk about carbon fiber reinforced plastics instead of only carbon, but it is not our objective here to explain scientific details about the material. It is rather a question of whether carbon wheels for bicycles will significantly enhance the performance of the bike.

Maybe you remember the first carbon wheels for road bikes: high and stiff rims only for tubular tires and with great aerodynamic characteristics. Unfortunately, this aerodynamic advantage quite often was a downside in crosswind conditions and finally the brake performance with cork brake pads was even a high risk. Who does not remember the horror scenarios in the bike magazines about zero brake performance, especially in wet conditions or overheating rims, which caused exploding tires or even a complete collapse of the rim. Although the stiffness of the rim was sometimes outstanding, there was virtually no comfort for the rider. Even the pro peloton relied on conventional rims for the classic races with cobble stones until 5-6 years ago. Today this has changed dramatically and now we can profit from the outstanding attributes of carbon.

The design flexibility of carbon enables aerodynamic shapes with high riding stability in crosswind conditions.

The key to success is to use the best shape for the specific requirements and the right type of fiber and lay-up at different locations of the rim. Especially the latter is the biggest asset of carbon. In contrast to aluminum and steel you can mix different material properties in one component and the characteristics are not limited to a certain grade of alloy or shape.

Stiffness and comfort are no longer in competition and lay-ups for the braking surface offer strong braking power and pleasant modulation. The design flexibility of carbon enables aerodynamic shapes with high riding stability in crosswind conditions.

Finally, the outside of the wheel is much lighter with a carbon rim. This has a positive influence on the inertia of the wheel, which in turn means a great acceleration for you.

And if you have ever seen a UD carbon surface reflecting the sunlight and heard the sound of a carbon wheel following the rhythm of your ride, you will realize that carbon provides even more than just facts and figures to enhance your cycling experience.

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For our carbon rims, we have experimented with different shapes, different lay-ups and different resins to find the ideal combination for the specific field of application. The unique shape of the CAMERIG44 is a result of this development process, but also of the special mixture of resin and fibers for the brake surface of the rim brake version.

Highest brake power in dry and wet conditions, best brake modulation and finally a low heat generation between brake pad and rim are important points in our requirement specification for the right material and lay-up. For the HOUFFA25 rim the aerodynamics and brake performance were less important so we have optimized the shape to achieve a perfect balance between an ideal fit for a 2.25” tubeless (ready) tire and low weight. In a wide rim bed the tire offers much better performance in the areas of comfort and controllability. Furthermore, we have focused our attention on a special resin to improve the impact strength.

The unique shape of the CAMERIG44 is a result of this development process