First Look: New Thermoplastic Wheels From Forge+Bond



As the newest brand in the high-end wheel market, Forge+Bond is looking to do things a little differently. To achieve this, Forge+Bond employs a new thermoplastic composite technology developed by CSS Composites. Although the two companies are essentially one and the same, Forge+Bond (F&B) is the market achievement of all research and development conducted by CSS.

F&B launches the brand with a simple line-up featuring a 29″ enduro wheelset and a gravel wheelset for drop bars. .

F+B 30 EM Details

• 28 or 32 holes
• Internal rim width: 30mm
• Made in Gunnison, Utah
• Lifetime warranty
• Weight (29″ 32h Centerlock Hydra): 1982 grams
• Weight (rim only): 530 grams
• Price: US$2,599

The core of the philosophy behind thermoplastic structural technology is the environmental responsibility they advertise. F&B aims to keep embedded energy and materials closed loop with processes that are inherently waste-free and a post-consumer recycling program. The concept of recycling is very compelling, but currently on the site he can only manufacture small accessories like tire levers that can be purchased for US$50.

CSS and F&B are working on further projects on material recyclability, but the relatively low production waste is a tribute worth noting for now. However, the FusionFiber process minimizes the amount of offcuts and by-products.

Like any good composite material manufacturer, Forge+Bond spends a lot of time fine-tuning the rim layup, with a focus on durability and performance in addition to the vibration damping properties inherent in thermoplastic construction. have spent This is an area where F&B hopes to improve his previous FusionFiber wheels. The durability of the previous design was a bit lacking compared to similar weight epoxy carbon alternatives.
New materials are a big part of the reduced environmental impact of FusionFiber technology, but the manufacturing chain and production efficiencies are a big part of what makes these rims stand out. CSS created this diagram to illustrate the difference between the traditional carbon process and how it is done.

Ride Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels

Unless it’s very light, very stiff, or very low quality, a set of wheels rarely makes a dramatic difference in how your bike rides, and these thermoplastic hoops from Forge+Bond are no different. but don’t read that as a bad thing. I’ve been riding these wheels quite a bit over the past few weeks. Although the general conclusion is fairly neutral, there are some aspects worth noting.

Compared to other FusionFiber wheels I’ve spent time with (Evil’s Loopholes and Revel Wheels), the Forge+Bond 30 EM seems to have a little less damping in chattering terrain. It’s a bit higher, so it may have a sturdier build to withstand the rigors of enduro racing and generally heavier riding. Another benefit of the heavier construction is that the F&B wheels hold up better when you’re really pushing the bike through hard corners and sideways compression.

The closest ride quality proxy I can think of is the new We Are One Convergence wheels, which feature very similar build specs, but a very different rim design philosophy. (Stay tuned for more discussion on convergence wheels). Both consist of off-camber chunky terrain but are precise when you want to push the bike with a certain compression, making for a very good performing wheelset. , I think wheelbuilding details like spoke count make as much of a difference as a small change in the carbon layup on the rim. Make sure they are truly rolling before slamming them into another rock.

The F&B wheelset hasn’t lasted long enough to do thrashing and long term durability testing, but so far it has held up very well to my use. I’ve ridden them around and around, and they didn’t lose shape or lose tension even in some of the nasty terrain on the North Shore. The thermoplastic hoops are still held firmly to the fancy hubs, although they tend to loosen tension fairly quickly. We are looking forward to testing these wheels at higher speeds and in rougher terrain to see how they shape up in the long run.

I’ll save most of this for another platform, but would love to see more high-end wheelsets that use hubs other than the I9 Hydras. The Hydras offer the best engagement of any pawl-driven hub, but I’ve had my fair share of durability issues over the years. The team at is helpful with any issues that may arise. My main bias is to prefer quieter, simpler hubs like the older model DT Swiss options.

Finally, a word about price. These are some of the more expensive aftermarket wheels we’ve seen recently, costing hundreds of dollars more than other domestically manufactured options. Again, the closest comparison here is We Are One, with a Convergence wheelset priced at around $1,800 USD. I think the choice here comes down to what you value as the price reflects more than just a pair of quality, effective wheels. With its based manufacturing and zero-waste processes, it provides a compelling case for being one of the greener options. I say this quite often, but at the end of the day, the greenest thing you can do is not buy anything.

Finally, check out the Forge+Bond brand launch video. Featuring heavy djent tunes.

Riders include several F&B athletes such as: Jill Kintner, Mitch Ropelato, TJ Eisenhardt, Sidney Neilson, Iago Garay, Andrew Dahlem, Truman Glasgow.


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