Seattle-based wheel maker Mad Fiber rolled out a new wheelset this week. Dubbed Road.2, the new offering is an update to its introductory wheel models and includes new carbon manufacturing concepts and materials. Retail pricing for steel bearing equipped wheels is $2,999, with ceramic bearings pushing the price to $3,199. They are available now.
Based on Mad Fiber’s original wheels, the Road.2 model builds on the company’s carbon-optimization philosophy through which the entire wheel design is geared toward taking maximum advantage of the properties of carbon fiber, making them light, aerodynamic and strong.
As with its predecessor, the new wheels measure 60mm front and 66mm rear, weigh a claimed 1050 grams (tubular) and 1280 grams (clincher) per pair, and have no rider weight restrictions (unlike most many other super light offerings).
Updates to the new wheels include new spoke positioning for the rear wheel where the position of the spokes now intersect rather than alternate. Mad Fiber claims it’s been able to make a 15-percent gain in radial strength and lateral stiffness compared to its first generation wheel design. Further, Mad Fiber says the new spoke placement has resulted in improvements in wheel trueness, roundness and dish, which it claims means the wheels never come out of true.
The Road.2 also has a new aluminum freehub body design, which replaces the titanium White Industries freehub body of the first generation wheels and enables 11-speed compatibility while remaining reverse-compatible to 10-speed cassettes and in some instances 8- and 9-speed versions. The new freehubs are also interchangeable, meaning that a Campagnolo freehub body equipped wheel can be converted to a Shimano/SRAM freehub body and vice-versa.
Additional updates include aluminum axle sets replacing the cro-mo steel axles of the first wheels, which are also updated to include a locking, more easily adjustable bearing collar.
Aesthetics have also been improved through refinement of molds and carbon finishing processes, allowing Mad Fiber to deliver what it claims is a more refined appearance in terms of the finish, particularly around the rear hub body, and backside of the spokes.
Also gone is the external-cam titanium quick release skewer set, replaced by an internal-cam skewer using a carbon lever and hollow steel skewer. The primary purposes of this change are to increase clamping force with a better cam design, and to increase skewer strength along with the clamping force. The 79-gram skewer set is claimed to offer a more secure clamping mechanism and reduce lateral flex in the total skewer/axle/wheel system, improving ride feel and handling.
For lighter weight riders, and those who want the absolute lowest weight solutions available, the Ti skewers will remain available as aftermarket items.
Mad Fiber will also continue to offer ABEC-3 steel-bearing equipped wheels alongside its ceramic bearing offerings. Through a partnership with Ceramic Speed, Mad Fiber will now offer Ceramic Speed bearings stock in their ceramic bearing equipped wheels, and as an aftermarket upgrade for the steel bearing equipped wheels.
Bearing seats have also been upgraded from aluminum to Garolite, a fiber-reinforced plastic that enables improved bond with the wheels’ carbon hubshells and improves wheel and bearing durability.
Finally, Mad Fiber has introduced a custom graphics program. Beyond the stock graphics (white for the tubulars, gray/white for clinchers) Mad Fiber will offer by special order all black/stealth graphics, gray/red, gray/blue, and gray/orange.