Mad Fiber was founded on a simple premise. Why not reinvent the wheel? The Seattle based company looked at current state of the art carbon wheels and realized this new material was being used simply as a substitute for aluminum – black metal in composite speak. Instead they looked at what a wheel needed to do at its most basic, the dimensions, the forces, the target weights. They went to aerospace and discovered the latest techniques used to create carbon structures with incredible strength. The marriage of these two concepts, the basic function of a bicycle wheel and the latest composites technology, resulted in Mad Fiber.
With immense pressure being key to creating incredibly strong carbon structures a three dimensional molded rim wasnt in Mad fibers future. Instead they mold flat structures, rim halves and spoke halves, then bond them with adhesives stronger than the carbon itself. Those two halves, rim and spokes, are bonded, then tented with a carbon cylinder to create the tension a wheel needs. The overall result is a single, unified structure, not a separate rim, spokes and hub.
Its 2013 now, and Mad Fiber is releasing their second-generation wheel set. Both clinchers and tubulars have been redesigned with the biggest changes occurring at the rear wheel. The carbon spokes are now bonded in a different pattern, with drive side and non-drive side meeting at the rim in groups of three. This should deliver more radial strength and lateral stiffness than the previous generation.
The free hub body is also new to accommodate 11-speed drive trains and can be swapped out between Shimano and Campy standards. It is backwards compatible to 10speed systems and even some 8 and 9 speed drive trains. Of course, if a rider is still on eight speed, new wheels are the last thing they need. New axles, alloy instead of steel, are within the hubs and feature an adjustable, locking collar now.
With Mad Fiber’s already incredibly light weight shaving grams wasnt necessary. The clincher still hits the scale at 1280 grams while the new tubular is slightly lighter at 1050grams. These weights are even more incredible considering the rims are 60 and 66mm deep, front to back. No traditional rim, even in carbon, can come close to these weights at these aero depths. Along with all these incredible numbers comes a serious price tag for the new Mad Fiber wheels – $3000 for wheels with steel bearings and $3200 for ceramic. Expensive? Sure, but you do get to choose custom graphics.