PRODUCT: LIGHT BICYCLE CARBON RIMS
HIGH QUALITY UP-TO-DATE TECHNOLOGY
CARBON RIMS WITH A FRIENDLY PRICE TAG
Light Bicycle carbon rims are no stranger to the cycling world. From a relatively unknown brand a few years back, the brand has won over customers through sheer product quality. And after countless good feedback, this brand that originate from China is now able to hold its own against bigger brand names with its high quality and competitively priced products. We take a look at what makes these rims famous.
STAYING FOCUS ON BUILDING CARBON RIMS
Light Bicycle started off as a carbon rim manufacturer and had been true (no puns intended) to their specialty all these years – rims and wheels. Currently, their manufacturing workmanship and know-how had gotten so good that they are able to easily churn out mountain bike rims with an average weight of 1500 grams, which is only 100 or so grams heavier than some other renowned brands's XC wheels. But the price difference could be as much as more than half!
And that's not all. Xiamen Light Bicycle Carbon Fibre Parts Industry Co Ltd has since been able to maintain a high standard of customer service even though sales from online orders have been growing.
GOOD PRODUCT WITH A GOOD PRICE
Being competitively priced doesn't mean the products are of any lower quality than other carbon rim makers. As can be attested by the many users who took their first steps trying out the rims in our local trails, and subsequently recommending them to their cycling mates. This is due to the extensive experience, research and product developments the company did on carbon fibre technology, wheels manufacturing know-hows, researches on products' intended use and riders' feedback. And the result has been a range of up-to-date and class-leading products.
HAND BUILT AND THE PERSONAL TOUCH
Call them old school or quality-conscious, but truth is that Light Bicycle carbon rims are still hand-built. Which means that every rim is hand-inspected as they underwent the carbon layup process. They would also record every built wheel's tension and measurement so as to ensure quality. And we can all agree that a pair of experienced hands beats any computer operated production line anytime.
THE WHOLE NINE YARDS ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS
As with all good wheels and rims manufacturers, Light Bicycle put their designs and prototypes through lab test like tyre mounting test, tyre pressure test, lateral stiffness, positive stiffness, weight counterpoise, ultimate test, spoke tension test, braking surface durability test and other relevant ones. And only when the prototypes pass these tests would they go into mass production. But it doesn't end there. After production, some of the production rims would be sent to racers for field test as well. In addition, production pieces are randomly picked for quality assurance lab test on a weekly basis.
NEW MANUFACTURING PROCESS
All the effort in acquiring information and know-how eventually boils down to how good the end products would be. And this is where Light Bicycle applies all that they have acquired. They currently adopt a new manufacturing process which has five advantages over the old manufacturing process.
(1) ONE PIECE IS BETTER THAN 3
The original process (as with many other carbon rim factories), usually joins 3 pieces of carbon during production for an easy layup process. It is not easy to layup a rim with a single piece of carbon as it is easy to cause wrinkle on the surface. But this process is much stronger than joining 3 pieces of carbon together since there are fewer joints on the finished product. By using one continuous piece of carbon for the production, the finished product is both lighter and stronger.
(Image 1 shows tge New Manufacturing process of using one piece of carbon to produce one rim, as opposed to the old method of joining 3 piece of carbon to create one rim. The overlap cause unevenness as well as add weight)
(2) CONSISTENT SPOKE HOLE THICKNESS
The old manufacturing method makes one curing carbon ring for the bottom of the rim, where the spoke holes are located, and the layup would proceed from there. The old method needed an additional process of curing the carbon ring to ensure the spoke holes were being at the true center as well as having even thickness throughout. But this would mean putting the carbon ring to another round of heating, which would affect the strength and prone to more manufacturing flaws. Also, the carbon ring is thick, which means a heavier rim. On the other hand, the new method do not need carbon rings in the process yet able to ensure the reinforced carbon layers stays in the center of the rim.This translate to even rims wall thickness and weight saving. Lab test shows that the new method improved spoke hole tension strength by 2 times.(Ed: claims not verified by Bikezilla)
(The new manufacturing method allows for omission of carbon ring which adds weight and could be the cause of uneven thickness of spoke holes)
(3) NO MORE BIG SQUARE HOLE
This so-called big-square hole is located on the rim bed and its purpose is for the rim maker to pull the air bags out from the mold during production. After the air bags were removed, the rim maker would usually bond a plate over this square hole. This big hole would cause that section to be slightly bigger than the other sections of the rim after tyres are inflated. The new manufacturing method does not require such a big square hole – only a smaller and round one – which would end up as a spoke hole. This improves the strength of the rim as well.
(4) SMOOTHER CROSS SECTION
The old manufacturing cannot produce a smooth cross section. In fact, one of the easiest way to see if you are getting a good piece of carbon rim is its workmanship. A smooth and even finishing usually reflect a more experienced and higher quality brand. And this is the result of the new manufacturing method for Light Bicycle. As can be seen from the diagram below, they are now able to produce rims with this level of finishing. A neat and even layup also means better and evenly distributed strength.
(5) QUALITY ASSURANCE TEST
To improve the system of quality assurance, Light Bicycle carbon rims also underwent a revised series of quality test before the rims are approved for delivery.
OTHER DETAILS IN THE RIM YOU WILL BE RIDING ON
Each rim carries its own layup schedule documents. With a unique fibre orientation for each type of rims, they are sort of 'tuned" for its intended purposes/ disciplines.
Angled spoke holes allows the nipple to pull straight in line with the spoke for reduced stress. This results in fewer broken spokes and nipples.
U SHAPED PROFILE
U-shape profile spreads the force of impacts and creates a more robust products.
The small ridges on either side of the drop channel help secure tubeless tires in place. The bead lock makes it easier to seal up tubeless tyres with a floor pump, and they are incredibly hard to burp.
While the rims are optimized for a tubeless setup with the addition of tubeless tape, they also work with tubes.
The rim's asymmetrical profile allows for equalized spoke tension which creates a stronger wheel that stays true.
Carbon fibre flows continuously over the bead area to provide the best impact resistance and a significant strength increase compared to a clincher rim.
T700 CARBON FIBRE
Light Bicycle offers premium Toray T700 carbon fibre which is currently touted as the carbon fibre with best strength to weight ratio.
AIMING FOR A PROMINENT SPOT IN THE CYCLING WORLD
Light Bicycle is a brand that is prepared for the long haul in the cycling industry. And it's not just empty talks. For a start, the factory offers safe and rewarding careers for their employees. 2 of their key emphasis to their employees are fair treatment and ongoing education. With a loyal and stable workforce, they are able to retain talents and expertise and has been able to gradually increase product quality and work towards a sustainable future for the company.
In the area of quality control, Light Bicycle started off with a strong foundation by separating the various departments (Cutting, CNC drilling machines, finishing, painting, testing, and production lines ) in separate work areas. This allows them more effective quality control at each stage of the manufacturing process. All products are also tracked via a barcode tracking system which ensures quality as well as serving as a source of information for research and development.
MORE CONVENIENCE NOW
There is really very little doubt about the quality and desirability of a set of Light Bicycle carbon rims or wheel set.
And now, beside the usual online order, you can add these gems to your custom bike build or see it in the flesh before fixing it onto you bike as an upgrade.
Tiong Hin Co is now the local agent for Light Bicycle and hold stocks for different rims width and diameters! And we are expecting more adopters of carbon rims with this added convenience. Time to go play with some carbon wheels!
All information by Light Bicycle and Tiong Hin Co.
Tiong Hin Co. Tyre
Block 108, Hougang Ave 1, #01-1293, Singapore 530108
Tel: (+65) 6280 0416 Fax: (+65) 6382 6982
Operating Hours: 2.30 pm – 10.00 pm (Monday to Saturday) Closed on every Sunday
Tiong Hin Trading (Pte) Ltd
Block 28, Sin Ming Lane, #04-133, Midview City Singapore (573972)
Tel: (+65) 6659 0903 Fax: (+65) 6659 0913
Operating Hours: 3.00 pm – 9.30 pm (Monday to Saturday) Closed on every Sunday
Tiong Hin Cycle
Block 163, Bukit Merah Central, #02-3607, Singapore (150163)
Tel: (+65) 62734583
Operating Hours: 1.00 pm – 7.00 pm (Monday to Saturday) Closed on every Sunday
(Light Bicycle Carbon Rims with Profile Racing Hubs – Stealth looking beauty!)