Chris King Launches Their First Recyclable Aero Carbon Wheels Made in America
Chris King Precision Components have unveiled the ARD44, their new FusionFiber wheelset which is the first recyclable carbon wheel made in America.
The Portland, Oregon-based company, which is perhaps best known for its hubs, first displayed the ARD44s at this year’s Sea Otter Classic bike exposition.
The 44mm-deep wheelset is laced to the company’s R45D hub (available in ceramic or steel), which combines the company’s legendary smoothness with less weight and more aerodynamic advantage than ever before.
The wheels themselves are built by CSS Composites, using their innovative FusionFiber technology, which creates a wheel that is reportedly more durable and dampening, and are more impact resistant than their traditional carbon fiber counterparts.
In keeping with Chris King’s longstanding efforts to create components and processes that are more sustainable, the ARD44 are wholly downcyclable, meaning they can be reused to create new or different products.
Whereas most carbon products are made using a process called “thermoset”—in which sheets of carbon fiber are adhered together using an epoxy inherent to the carbon itself—FusionFiber uses a process that employs non-epoxy-impregnated fiber called “thermoplastic.”
This makes the downcycling process easier and cleaner. Additionally, the creation of FusionFiber products can be fully automated, which cuts down on production time and therefore on energy usage. According to Chris King and CSS, the entire process is significantly greener than traditional carbon fiber wheel manufacturing.
While thee ARD44 is the first road wheelset using this technology, Chris King has used this process for its mountain and gravel wheels.
“While we were fine-tuning the GRD23 and MTN30 rims, I knew developing our own road rim was the next step. To design a high-performance wheel that's worthy of the King name is no small feat, but the moment I rode the first prototype, I knew we were on to something special/unique,” Greg Hudson, Wheel Product Manager at Chris King, recently told Cycling Weekly.
“These ARD44 wheels represent everything we've come to understand about what makes riders faster. We already had a hub we knew outperformed the competition, but getting this rim completed the picture. That the rim could also be made in a more sustainable way, and that, ultimately, is the cherry on top,” Hudson added.
The ARD44 wheels feature a hookless, tubeless rim with 25mm internal width and 30.5mm external width. And though the ARD44 can accommodate tires up to 47mm, Chris King recommends running a width between 28 and 32mm.
For the aesthetically conscious, the ARD44 also carries Chris King’s new wheel logo; a black “KING”decal in subtle contrast to the carbon of the wheels.
And, as with all Chris King wheelsets, the ARD44s are supported by a lifetime warranty.
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