You can’t re-invent the wheel, but with this rim, Revel has revolutionized it. In March of 2019, Adam Miller, the founder of Revel Bikes, was approached by his long-time friend Joe Stanish, former VP at ENVE and COO at Alchemy, with a new carbon composite material. Called “Fusion Fiber, and produced and manufactured by CSS Composites in Utah, this new carbon composite replaces the epoxy that is used in normal pre-impregnated (pre-preg) carbon with a nylon polymer.
What does this do for a bike rim?
Normal carbon fiber, saturated with epoxy, is extremely brittle. It is not good at dissipating the energy from point impacts, like a rock strike to a rim bead flange. With nylon fibers replacing that epoxy, Fusion-Fiber is more flexible and better able to handle the types of forces and impacts that a bike wheel undergoes.
Increased strength allows Revel to make the entire rim lighter, which, as a rotating mass, is arguably the most significant place to remove weight from on a bicycle. A 29” RW30 rim weighs 470 grams, whereas a comparable Enve rim, the M730, weighs 580 grams - over three ounces. This decreased brittleness compared to regular carbon also gives the rims a desirable ride feel. Described as being “quiet” by our employees, they have something of a damped sensation compared to much of the competition. It’s not that they are noodly or don’t track well, but that they don’t transmit as many vibrations through to you. This results in less pain in your hands and increased awareness of the trail beneath you.
Okay, but “revolutionized?”
It’s lighter, it’s stronger, it feels better… okay, but that’s what they all say. Where this rim, and the material it is made of, really changes the game is in how it’s made and what we do with it after it is no longer a usable wheel.
Firstly, Fusion Fiber does not have to be refrigerated. Huh? Yup, pre-preg fiber has to be kept in the fridge before its use, and has a limited shelf life. That is a ton of energy spent in refrigeration, and the possibility of a lot of waste should manufacturing timelines go wrong. Secondarily, Fusion Fiber is flash cooked. 20 seconds in the oven and it’s done. Traditional carbon, on the other hand, sits in the oven for an hour. That’s a whole bunch more energy consumed. Lastly, the RW30 rims come out of the mold in their final form (except for drilling the holes). Because there isn’t a bunch of epoxy all over, they aren’t sanded or painted. That eliminates a number of potential health hazards for employees, as well as potential inconsistencies in the final product.
Speaking of inconsistencies, because the carbon strips that these rims are made of are laid up by robots in Utah, the possibility of missing an important piece of the construction is far lower. Fewer mess-ups, less waste, and a better final product. What more can you ask for? I’ll tell you. Tradition carbon fiber goes in the landfill when it is no longer in use. You can’t melt it down, you can’t re-use it.. nothing. Fusion Fiber, on the other hand, can be! That sounds too good to be true. I thought so too. But no. When there is scrap material from manufacturing, or when you back over your wheel in your car and use your lifetime warranty to get a new one, Revel takes the old material, puts it in their wood-chipper, and cuts it down into little chunks. The makers of Fusion Fiber take those chucks, melt and press them into a block, and can then stamp and carve a new airplane/bicycle/car component out of it. Think bottle cages, chain-guide back-plates, tool holders, and more.
The RW30 comes in both 29” and 27.5” sizes, has a 29mm inner width (perfect for 2.4-2.6” tires), has a lifetime warranty, and best of all, has customizable graphics. It is designed for all-mountain/enduro riding, and was designed by guys who call Carbondale, Colorado their home. That means that sharp-edged rocks won’t phase this rim. It looks good, it feels good, and it’s good (i.e. not as bad) for the planet. What more could you ask for.