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Innovative carbon fibre wheels sign new distribution deal with Burton Agencies

US brand Mad Fiber, makers of some strikingly bold carbon wheels, have switched distributors and are now available in the UK through Burton Agencies.

Mad Fibre are carbon wheel specialists based in Seattle, US, and they make these wheels entirely in-house. Their aim was to use the full benefits of carbon fibre to produce an extremely light and stiff wheelset.

They claim the tubular wheels are just 1,085g a pair, while the clincher version increases to 1,300g (the weight increase is due to alloy tyre seat. That’s with 60mm front and 66mm rear deep-section rims and no rider weight limit. That's light by any standards, but weight is only part of the story with these wheels: it's the stiffness and strength that is their most interesting appeal.

The flat, wide 0.7mm thick carbon spokes are bonded to the rim sidewalls, and are made from unidirectional and 12k carbon. If you think they look a little flimsy, Mad Fibre confidently reckon they can handle 40 times the load they’re ever going to need to and can twist up to 90 degrees if anything gets caught in your wheel. The hubs and flanges are made from carbon too.

They’re constructed unlike any other wheels currently available. The rims, spokes and flanges are laid up without any tension, and then the flanges are drawn from the centre to the hub edge, which gives the necessary tension. This video shows the process from start to finish.

We said the stiffness and strength of the wheels is appealing, and this video shows what we mean. This video demonstrates Mad Fiber's own testing procedure to fatigue test the wheels on a rolling rig, with a 100lb side load and 200lb vertical weight, equivalent to a 400lb rider at a 30 degree lean angle. Pay close attention to the spokes.

“One of the benefits of the Mad Fiber construction process is that it is impossible for the wheel to come out of true in a traditional sense,” says Kevin Burton. “That is, the rim won’t bend and the spoke tension is evenly set for the life of the wheel, which is held to a standard of +/- .012” run out for trueness and roundness. There are no threaded metal fasteners (spokes/nipples) to loosen, and there is no bedding‐in process between metal surfaces such as with an aluminum rim/regular wheel.”

As you might expect, such a product doesn’t come cheap. Starting prices are £2,385 for Shimano compatible tubular wheels, rising to £2,471 for the clincher wheel with a Shimano freehub and ceramic bearings. Here are the full prices:

Tubular Road Wheels

  • Shimano £2,385
  • Shimano ceramic bearings £2,556
  • Campagnolo £2,385
  • Campagnolo ceramic bearings £2,556

Clincher Road Wheels

  • Shimano £2,385
  • Shimano ceramic bearings £2,471
  • Campagnolo £2,385
  • Campagnolo ceramic bearings £2,556

They’ll be supplied with wheel bags, titanium skewers and proprietary brake pads. You get a four-year warranty and there’s a crash replacement policy.

You can find out more at Mad Fiber's website, and contact Burton Agencies on 07809 764983 or via email: kev.burt7@ntlworld.com.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

15 comments

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beej.a [40 posts] 2 years ago
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The clinchers RRP on the Mad Fibre website is only $2900. I find it hard to believe that the cost of bringing these wheels into the UK constitutes a mark up that high

 39 Someone stands to make a lot of money from these gash looking things (just my opinion)

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dave atkinson [6148 posts] 2 years ago
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if you brought them in yourself you'd pay import duty and vat. assuming vat at 20% and the lowest normal rate of import duty (5%) that's, oh, £2,386

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Not KOM [79 posts] 2 years ago
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I always find it a little sad when you see a wheel set you like the look of - and these do look really cool and unusual - and then you realise that they would cost more than your entire bike is worth ....

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Leviathan [1786 posts] 2 years ago
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I think you should ask for a pair for a full review, then put them in the next grab bag.

Me please! (clinchers preferred)  4

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 2 years ago
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…although, going on from what Dave said, as these are being imported from the US the rate of VAT surely isn't going to be top whack although that said the rate of import duty could well be higher than 5 per cent. Plus of course buying from a distributor saves hassle and gives you a local point of contact is things go wrong.

That said it would do no harm at all if manufacturers and distributors were a bit more transparent about how they arrived at their pricing. That's not a pop at these wheels cos as Dave has pointed out the UK price doesn't seem unreasonable. But in an era when most cycling products are made in the Far East it's worth pointing out that London is closer to Taipei than either New York or LA and considerably closer than anywhere in the US Mid West so there shouldn't be that much disparity in price between stuff directly imported from the Far East in to either the US or Europe barring differences in import tarrifs - and the fact that European distribution distances are shorter.

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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That fiber is indeed mad. Those spokes look flimsy, so the stress tests are impressive.

Think it would noticeable if I turned up to the club run on these?!

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Burton Agencies [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Hi guys thanks for showing interest, a couple of things, firstly, the boys and girls at Road.cc will be getting a pair to run a full test in the coming few weeks, so keep an eye out for that review, secondly, we have tried to bring the overall cost down as much as possible to make it better value for you all, this is the equivalent price as what you will pay in Euro's but with the cost of shipping going up these days it becomes really difficult. I think you will find that they are great value for money given other product available in the market place.
They may not be for everyone but once you ride them you will really see the benefits they give you as a rider.

So keep an eye out for the review and happy riding folks!

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nostromo [55 posts] 2 years ago
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Amazing looking things. I think if you're worried about the price comparison between Europe and the home market, you're probably not in the frame for them anyway.

Having said that, if you want to go quick and you've got the cash to spare, go for it!

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Cooks [490 posts] 2 years ago
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Look cool, but hate the name. Nit picking...

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beej.a [40 posts] 2 years ago
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not that it matters a great deal to my self but are these wheels UCI legal?

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
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love the light weight, don't mind the price, but just wish they weren't so damn ugly ..

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Burton Agencies [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes they are UCI legal have a look at the listing attached - http://www.uci.ch/Modules/BUILTIN/getObject.asp?MenuId=&ObjTypeCode=FILE...

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Burton Agencies [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks are a very personal thing indeed, and it may not appeal to everyone, but once you ride them you will realize how good they are and what the riding benefits they give you.
Personally i think they look really cool, they seemed to work for Fast Freddie Rodriguez who won the American National Champs on them this year!
Have a look at the Mad Fiber page on Facebook to see the report-
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mad-Fiber/270055264579?fref=ts

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
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so are you stocking for uk retailers as yet?

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Burton Agencies [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes currently setting a network of dealers up as we speak, are you looking to stock the product or have a look at them?