Madfiber – How mad is that?
They may be called Mad Fiber wheels, but they’re really rather clever
One look at these outlandish carbon hoops and it’s likely you’d say the name is apt. Listening to the story of the origin of the wheels, it sounds like classic ‘back of a beer coaster’ stuff.
Two guys meet in a bar. One, Dr Max Kismarton, happens to be an aircraft designer for Boeing, specialising in carbon fibre and teaching aerospace engineering. The other, Ric Hjertberg, is former technology manager for component maker FSA, and founder of Wheelsmith, essentially the first-ever aftermarket wheel company. They talk, come up with an idea, get to work, and the result is a set of wheels that quite simply looks and rides like no other.
The key, Hjertberg stresses, ‘is not simply substituting metal parts with carbon’, something he says the aerospace industry refers to as ‘the black metal phase’. Mad Fiber’s method makes the most of carbon’s strength in tension. The wheels are built two-dimensionally, in plies, and only once all the spoke-bonding has taken place are they pulled into a 3D structure to become, Mad Fiber boldly claims, “a singular construct, for a wheel that’s made true and stays true”.
Mad Fiber uses an aluminium tyre seat because, it states matter-of-factly, “aluminium is the right material for the job”. Hjertberg adds, “Aluminium holds up better than carbon when it comes to containing the very high pressure of clincher tyre bead forces and dissipating brake heat.” The flat, ribbon-shaped spokes are just 0.7mm thick, which makes them extremely aerodynamic – a claim backed up by data from tests done at the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel.
Using a 60mm rim depth paired with 12 spokes at the front and a 66mm rear with 18 spokes, Mad Fiber makes the interesting claim that its wheels are “extremely overbuilt, and capable of withstanding more than 40 times the load they’ll see in even the most extreme riding conditions,” yet, the wheels weigh in at just 1,300g a pair.
There’s a four-year warranty and a crash replacement scheme too, further reinforcing the company’s confidence in the product. Plus, Mad Fiber supplies its own proprietary composition brake pads along with some tasty-looking carbon and titanium skewers with each set of wheels. All you need to do now is decide whether you want them more than your next family holiday.