Revel Bikes innovated an entirely new approach to carbon fiber. And the brand claims it not only beats traditional carbon on weight and strength, but it’s also the first completely recyclable carbon wheel.
Despite one dirty little secret, carbon fiber remains the gold standard for many in the high-performance cycling world. Carbon is ultralight, surprisingly strong, and very stiff — all of which translates to more speed.
But with the exception of a few cottage brands that specialize in carbon repair, almost all carbon fiber winds up in the landfill at the end of its life. Today, however, that might all start to change.
Revel Bikes just unveiled Revel Wheels, carbon fiber rims that feature both new material and new lay-up techniques. And, according to Revel, the tech — dubbed Fusion Fiber — not only outperforms standard carbon, but it can also be recycled into new parts.
“It’s unlike any composite material the bicycle world has ever seen,” the brand said in a press release.
Revel Wheels: Recyclable Carbon Fiber
OK, how does it work? According to Revel, Fusion Fiber refers to both the materials and construction process. On the materials side, Fusion Fiber does away with the epoxy traditionally used to hold carbon layers together. In its place, Revel developed an “advanced polymer” that acts more like nylon.
The brand then injects this polymer into unidirectional, long-fiber German and Japanese carbon. And unlike the epoxy of old, this polymer has an “unlimited shelf life” and doesn’t require refrigeration. But it’s in the manufacturing process where, Revel says, “things get really crazy.”
“The rims are laid-up and cross-plied robotically, leaving no space for human error or inconsistencies,” the brand states.
Lighter, Stronger, More Flex
Cure times shrink from around 45 minutes to just 20 seconds, so more wheels come out more quickly and with greater consistency. And once the rim comes out of the mold, because it contains no epoxy resin, it doesn’t require sanding, scraping, or clear-coating. So even fewer chemicals come into play.
When it’s all said and done, Revel claims the finished wheels are lighter, stronger, and offer more flex than standard carbon. This could result in greater compliance in turns and better absorption of impacts.
The brand didn’t specify how it recycles the carbon or what parts it plans to make. It also told us that the “ultimate goal” would be to make carbon frames with Fusion Fiber down the road.
Revel Wheels Fusion Fiber RW30 Carbon Rims
The debut product for Fusion Fiber is the RW30 Rim. The rims cost $699 apiece and come in 27.5- or 29-inch diameters. If you’re really feeling saucy (or just not that handy), Revel also offers full wheel builds. You can opt for a wheelset (front and rear) built with either Industry Nine 1/1 boost or Hydra boost hubs. Full wheelsets cost $1,975 and $2,200, respectively.
Revel Wheels also offers a lifetime warranty on the rims. And if something does break and needs to be repaired or recycled, Revel will send a loaner set in the meantime.
All in all, Revel Wheels looks like a real leap in an industry that often measures change in grams and millimeters. Check out full specs on Fusion Fiber and the new RW30 rims here.