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This refers to a number of factors within the wheel design that combine to deliver smooth compliant handling and acceleration. To achieve this designation, a wheel and its components have undergone specific design, engineering, manufacturing and assembly processes. The results deliver a wheel that is nimble through maneuvers and acceleration, absorbs high-energy vibration to reduce rider fatigue and delivers a level of control that engenders confidence in the rider.
A term familiar with our mountain bike riders, all our road wheels take advantage of this technology too. Widening the rim reduces the balloon effect of a tyre making it more stable in maneuvers and less prone to burping. Tyres and rims need to be matched to take full advantage of this technology. Our 23 to 25mm wide road rims are the perfect adaptation of this technology.
Noise reduction relates to the noticeably quieter ride you have on a Craftworx Carbon wheel set. The less obvious function of noise reduction technology is the reduction in vibration transmitted to the rider and subsequent reduction in rider fatigue. This all comes back to our dynamically balanced wheels that perform on multiple levels to achieve a better ride.
Once our analysis and testing showed we had developed very efficient shapes, we diverged from the usual process of over analysing frontal drag and turned our attention to off axis air flow, wheel dynamics and handling. With the multitude of variables that affect aerodynamic considerations, advantages quickly evaporate when the conditions no longer match those of air tunnel tests and computational fluid dynamics. Combined with our Seamless Transition Technology, our carbon rims achieve exceptional aerodynamic efficiencies, whilst maximising rider handling and performance
Tubeless ready gives the rider the option of setting up their wheels to run with or without an inner tube. To achieve this, the rim is designed slightly differently around the beading where the tyre and wheel come together to facilitate a more consistent seal and prevent burping of air under load. Tubeless ready rims can make it harder to install the tyre as they are designed to have less slack at the beading.
Craftworx expends significant time in QA to ensure all components are built to our exacting standards. During each stage of production, every alloy rim is visually checked and physically measured leaving nothing to chance. There are more than 10 QA checkpoints throughout production where skilled technicians monitor quality, ensuring every rim produced is perfect physically and cosmetically. QA doesn’t stop at a single component’s construction; we pursue it relentlessly through every component used to complete a wheel set and then through the final assembly process. The best demonstration of our QA process is the exceptional quality of our finished products.
Craftworx expends significant time in QA to ensure all components are built to our exacting standards. To produce a carbon rim we store the Pre-Impregnated Fibres in a temperature controlled environment and log every minute the material is outside that environment, we precision laser cut all materials, we precisely monitor the cure temperature and pressure of each rim, we check for construction and geometric irregularities or each finished rim, we batch test mechanical properties of the rims and finally we weigh every rim. QA doesn’t stop at a single component’s construction; we pursue it relentlessly through every component used to complete a wheel set and then through the final assembly process. The best demonstration of our QA process is the exceptional quality of our finished products.
Enhanced Aerodynamics; our Seamless Transition Technology reduces aerodynamic anomalies between the rim surface and tyre to improve drag coefficients. Air flowing past the wheel initially hits the tyre, then flows past the breaking surface and the rim surface before exiting the at rim apex; it then reverses this process as the rear of the wheel travels past the same point. We have worked hard to ensure we have minimised aerodynamic drag in our carbon wheels whilst maintaining ride dynamics.
Integrated braking surfaces in our carbon rims are possible through careful lamination and moulding techniques used in construction. Chemical adaptations to the resin system have been made to shed heat faster from the laminate whilst extending overall high temperature capacity. Why fight the heat if you can disperse it before problems arise. While most would stop here, we take this one step further, producing specifically formulated brake pads to optimize braking performance.
To maximize epoxy composite laminate mechanical properties, they must be consolidated using pressure and heated to facilitate cross-linking of the two-part epoxy system. Traditionally a vacuum system or autoclave was used to create the pressure differential required, however this predicated the need for pressure bags and breather materials. These ‘vacuum consumables’ (used in most composite technology today) are often left inside the final part increasing parasitic weight, creating unbalancing parts and degrading mechanical properties. Craftworx has worked with our partners to perfect the Expanding Foam Technology used in our carbon rims. With the ability to easily remove the foam after consolidation and cure, our rims are free from any vacuum consumables and the issues that they create.
In composite materials, fibres are held in place by a matrix, commonly an epoxy resin system. The capacity of the resin system to secure the fibres, transmit load between fibres and protect the fibres from damage is where a vast amount of composite technology resides. All the best analysis and processing is pointless if the resin’s ability to perform in the working environment is not carefully considered. We have worked with chemists to maximise specific mechanical properties of our resin system in the pursuit of producing the most robust, best handling rims available. These include laminate strength, impact toughness, abrasion resistance, heat resistance, UV protection and stain resistance, amongst others.
Through engineering analysis of the deflections, dynamic loads, and high frequency energy that a wheel contends with, we have come up with a Dual Carbon Layering Process (DLP). Our analysis determined that a mixture of high-modulus carbon fibre for stiffness combined with an intermediate modulus carbon fibre for toughness and energy absorption was the optimum combination. Adaptations to standard fibre orientations within the rim have delivered further improvements to the rim’s dynamic response and strength, facilitating a very light, very strong product while at the same time enhancing rider comfort.
To maximum mechanical properties in composite laminates, resin to hardener ratios need to be precise and specific resin to fibre ratios need to be achieved. Computer controlled pre-mixing of our resin systems occur under vacuum to prevent inclusions and contaminants. Fibre is then impregnated with the pre-catalysed resin ensuring precise resin fibre ratios are maintained. The final cure stage involving our Expanding Foam Technology to consolidate the laminate is managed carefully for temperature to maximise cross-linking of the two-part epoxy system. It is a very technical process and we work diligently to ensure it is done correctly and consistently.
We carefully reinforce all high stress areas and stress concentrations in our rims, however we noticed that the valve hole was regularly overlooked. It may seem like the innocuous valve hole is just a stress point that needs to be analysed for load transmitting around it under riding conditions, but consider the loads you impart on this humble penetration when you fumble around with your pump. Now consider that the rim has little more material in places than an aluminium can. Yep, we thought so also, so we stole a couple of grams off you to beef it up!
Craftworx engineers have worked closely with metallurgists and machinists to develop our Proprietary Hybrid Alloy, STSS. Material strengths and toughness were improved, along with machinability and weldability. Stronger, tougher materials are the key, however processing requirements are critical if they are to sustain their coveted properties through manufacture. By optimizing our rim designs we have produced rims that are up to 20% lighter and stronger than other manufacturers, while at the same time enhancing dynamic response and control creating a ride that is truly unique.
Aluminium rims are constructed from an extrusion that is rolled to form a circular shape and then joined in one of a number of ways. The lightest, strongest way to join the rolled extrusion is to weld it. Invisible Weld Technology refers to both the exceptional cosmetic finish of our rims and the uninterrupted load path delivered with this technology. To achieve maximum strength and fatigue properties in a rim, it is critical that the weld is as similar in properties and thickness to the parent material as possible. In addition to continuity of energy flow, on rim brake models, braking performance is enhanced and seamlessly smooth.
Eyelets were traditionally installed in rims to reinforce the area around the nipple. As materials improved, eyelets have became somewhat obsolete. Our experience has shown that under high loads and aggressive maneuvers, the humble eyelet has the capacity to absorb spoke articulation in the rim whilst more evenly distributing loads. This serves to extend the lifespan of the spokes, nipples and rims.
Why Hand Built?
All of the effort put into the development and manufacturing of our wheel components would be lost without the final and most important skill, building your wheels.
While most companies use machines for this final stage, we know that to achieve the ride dynamics, durability and performance that we expect, hand built is the only way.
There are a lot of technical aspects to building a wheel and while it is a skill that, in time, most capable mechanics can learn, it is something that is mastered by very few.
Craftworx has more than 30 years of wheel building experience, we are Masters of our Craft.