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Some things are worth the wait.
The Mad Fiber Clincher Wheelset is more than just a pretty face. In fact, in everyday terms, it's more like a supermodel with a PhD in aerospace engineering. Mad Fiber started with tubulars, and in order to alleviate the ailments that have long plagued carbon clinchers, it took its time bringing them to the market. However, good things happen to those who wait. Now, the Clincher Wheelset has superior braking, heat dispersion, rigidity, and aerodynamics, all at around a feathery 1300 grams.
To say that Mad Fiber's Clincher Wheelset construction is labor intensive would be an understatement. Are they Handmade? Certainly. Manufactured from start to finish in America by aerospace engineers? You bet. Ridiculously light? Just read ahead. The wheelset features a staggered depth with the front wheel at 60mm and the rear at 66mm. And even while being this deep, the Mad Fiber Clinchers only tip the scales around 1300 grams. Think about that for a second. That's lighter than Zipp 202 Firecrest Clinchers, Enve SES 3.4 Clinchers, and the Reynolds Thirty Two Cs. If you haven't noticed the trend, these wheels are all 35mm or less in depth. At this point, you have to be wondering how Mad Fiber did it? So, let's get into the carbon wizardry world of Ric Hjertberg.
Perhaps you don't know the name, but maybe you've heard of a not-so-little company called Wheelsmith? Well, Ric was the founder of that. And coupled with a stint as FSA's technology manager, it's safe to say that Ric knows a thing or two about wheels. However, with a lively new breed of engineers, Ric has been able to, quite literally, reinvent the wheel. Upon first look, you'll notice that the entire wheel is comprised of carbon fiber. And while this has been done by companies like Lightweight and dare we say it, Spinergy, Mad Fiber's wheels are essentially a single unit design that completely negates the use of bladders -- an all-too-commonplace, needless addition to wheel weight.
The rationale behind this is extensive, but in a word, it all comes down to tension. You see, every individual piece of the wheel is bonded into a single cohesive unit. And where this wheelset differs from anything that's been done is that the deep sidewalls partake in the tension process. To explain this, we'll start at the beginning of the construction. First off, the two sides of the rim are molded with fiberglass along the inside of the braking surface. Once molded individually, five-ply, flat carbon fiber spokes are placed through a small slot in the sidewall where adhesive and carbon fiber create the bond under mechanical pressure. Once the spokes are bonded to the sidewalls, the aluminum rim is applied, and both the non-drive and drive-sides of the wheel are aligned. And if you're thinking that you read that wrong, we did say aluminum. As Ric puts it, Mad Fiber doesn't apply carbon just for carbon's sake. Instead, Mad Fiber believes in the right material for the job, and the benefits of aluminum are stacking. Not only is the material a natural heat sink that absorbs and evenly distributes braking heat, but it also features an easily manipulated composition. This allowed Mad Fiber to make the clincher tubeless compatible and with a reliably mounting bead. Even more impressively, Hjertberg states that the clinchers have been tested up to 300 PSI without experiencing any deformation, meaning that these wheels have no pressure limit.
But, getting back on track, once the spokes are bonded to the sidewall, they're placed in their pattern, adhesive is applied, and they make contact with the carbon hub flanges for the first time. Afterwards, a metal cylinder is placed between the flanges while the bond process with the spokes takes place. And now, the outline of the wheel is in place, and if you've noticed, everything is in one singular, molded piece. The last step is to set the tension, and this is done through a fixture that secures the wheel while a technician manually stretches the spokes and sidewalls through tension adjustments to the fixture itself. Once the tension is set, resin adhesive is applied to the internal structure of the hub, and the wheel submits to a final bake.
So, the entire wheel is tensioned as one piece, and similar to the ideology of monocoque carbon frames, this results in heightened strength and increased torsional/lateral rigidity. The wheels' load path is now uninhibited and direct, resulting in an amazingly efficient power transfer. And having ridden them, we can attest to the wheels' responsiveness and character on climbs, sprints, and even while cornering on descents. Match that with the aerodynamic wheel profile that reduces drag by creating airflow over the frame from wheel to wheel, and speed becomes a no-brainer.
And if you're worried about your inability to true the wheels, you needn't fret. Mad Fiber not only asserts that its wheels are stronger than spoked wheels, but it also guarantees that their tension will not falter. To back this up, Mad Fiber offers a four-year warranty and crash replacement on its wheels.
The Mad Fiber Clincher Wheelset is available in a 700c size and in the color Black. Please note that the wheelset is offered with either Campagnolo or Shimano freehub bodies, and that the Shimano body is compatible with 11-speed Shimano cassettes. Also, the wheelset features two bearing options, standard, stainless steel or ceramic.
Additionally, each wheelset includes a set of Mad Fiber's brake pads. Failure to use these pads may void your wheels' warranty.