Filament Wound Carbon Forks.
Filament winding is a manufacturing process in which continuous fibers, in this case carbon fibers, are wound under tension at specified angles. As they are wound, the fibers are impregnated in a resinous matrix. Under heat, the carbon fibers and resin cure into a strong and durable composite material.
If it’s good enough for aerospace manufacturing…
Advanced Composites, Inc. builds a variety of components for the defense and aerospace industries. As part of ACI, we make our carbon fiber forks on the same equipment, to the same standards, as we make specialty aircraft parts. We follow the same processes and protocols, regardless of what sort of product we happen to be building. We have only one quality tier: extremely high.
Specific advantages of filament wound carbon fiber bike forks.
Three words: customization, optimization and uniformity. We’ll go into each of these below.
Customization of the carbon fork’s material profile.
Because it is not constrained to individual molds, the filament-winding process gives us the flexibility to tailor carbon fork lengths, as well as to add additional features.
Optimization of the carbon fork’s performance.
The filament-winding process allows maximum control over the properties of the final product.
We control the winding angle. The CNC (computerized numerical control) machine runs an engineered layup pattern that includes a predetermined wind angle. That is to say, the angle at which the carbon filaments wrap and overwrap the turning product. The angles of winding have great importance for the final product; for example, we could create two very different products, with differing properties, by changing only the wind angle. Because a carbon bicycle fork experiences a variety of forces, we want to optimize the balance of stiffness and torsional strength, and each type of fork has a different optimal balance. Our extensive R&D gives us the key information that our engineers use to develop a particular layup.
We control the carbon fiber type. We wind each fork from constituent carbon fibers (as opposed to ‘pre-preg,’ or off the shelf, fabrics), giving us a good deal of latitude to experiment and to employ the specific amalgamation of materials that best serves a particular fork’s needs.
We control the type of resin that impregnates the carbon filaments. Again, as with fibers, we can experiment with particular resin matrices and compounds, and optimize each for the demands that a given fork will encounter.
Uniformity of material distribution through the fork.
Our legs and steerers are turned from continuous carbon filaments. Subsequently, they have no seams, transition points, or other areas of weakness. Our carbon composite is an unbroken matrix of optimally-oriented filament rovings.
X effect carbon forks.
At the intersection of customization, optimization and uniformity, an extremely high-grade, high-performance carbon composite emerges. We call it X-Wound, and we believe it is part of what makes our forks so unique, in addition to first-rate composite technicians and engineers.
Wound Up carbon forks: a signature ride.
Wound Up’s filament-wound carbon fiber forks are acclaimed for their torsional rigidity and precise handling. They’re famous for their ability to absorb and dampen vibrations, leading to a virtually shudder-free ride. They are simultaneously stiff and forgiving, providing both support and cushion. Their fore and aft compliance, coupled with extraordinary lateral stiffness, produces exact, responsive steering. If you haven’t ridden a Wound Up carbon fork, do so ASAP. You’ll see what we are talking about in our explanation of our forks’ performance!
Wound Up carbon bike forks: going it alone.
To date, Wound Up Composite Cycles is the world’s only maker of filament-wound carbon fiber forks. Filament winding requires considerably more investment in equipment and infrastructure than other methods of composite manufacture. This is one obstacle that Wound Up has never faced; as part of Advanced Composites Inc., we benefit from the considerable ACI manufacturing infrastructure.