Chris King, the brand best known for its headsets, has introduced what it calls “the world’s first and only recyclable aero wheelset” in the shape of the new ARD44. The wheels come with 44mm deep rims that are made from recyclable CSS Composites’ FusionFiber and feature Chris King’s existing R45D hubs. Chris King already uses FusionFiber in its GRD23 and MTN30 wheels.
Carbon fibre components are usually made with thermoset carbon fibre and epoxy resin. Strands of carbon are woven, mixed with epoxy, and then laid up. Instead of mixing carbon fibre with epoxy, FusionFiber combines carbon fibre with nylon.
“Epoxy is brittle and can crack fairly easily, whereas the nylon fibre bonding process produces a more flexible material that damps impact,” says Chris King. “This absorption creates a significantly stronger, quieter, and smoother riding rim than all traditional thermoset carbon fibre rims.”
If you do break a rim, the wheel can be dropped into a chipper, heated up, and made into something new. On the downside from a UK perspective, it does have to be shipped back to the production lab in Utah, USA, for that to happen.
Chris King says, “The ARD44’s rim produces a stable, responsive, and nimble ride while reducing bodily fatigue and strain on the rider due to the superior damping attributes of FusionFiber’s thermoplastic technology. It effectively minimises unnecessary road feedback and vibrations, resulting in better traction and a smooth, comfortable ride that will keep riders fresher for longer, and make the next day’s ride easier too.”
As mentioned, the ARD44 wheelset uses Chris King’s R45D hubs that feature bearings produced in-house and King's own RingDrive system which provides 45 points of simultaneous engagement.
Chris King says that the ARD44 wheelset – which has a 25mm internal rim width and 30.5mm external width – is aerodynamically optimised for 28mm-32mm tyres, although it can accommodate tyres up to 47mm wide. The rim is TSS (tubeless straight side) meaning that it’s hookless.
Chris King says, “The ARD44 meets the 2022 ETRTO standards, with a minimum tyre width recommendation of 28mm that we have tested and validated. While we stand by this width, we recognise the 2023 ETRTO recommendation for a 25mm internal rim width is a minimum tyre width of 29mm. We suggest considering this option while acknowledging the ARD44 has been validated with a 28mm tyre according to the 2022 ETRTO standards.”
Chris King claims a rim weight of 435g (+/- 15g) and a complete wheelset weight of 1,525g.
The Chris King ARD44 wheelset price is $2,850 (around £2,259) but we don’t yet have a UK price.
The ARD44 wheelset comes with a lifetime warranty and is available now in all of Chris King’s 2023 colour finishes.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.