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
Clincher Road Wheels
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.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.