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The term “aerospace materials” used to be a favorite buzzword in the bike industry. Its use seemed to peak around when aluminum took over in the ’90s. It implied that, if a substance was trustworthy enough to keep a plane full of 279 souls in the air, then it can surely keep my soul safe on the trail. It also implied that the people who made it are really really smart. And we can’t deny that there are a lot of brilliant minds in the bike industry, We challenge you to prove that there aren’t more brilliant minds in the aerospace industry. And there’s a simple reason why. There’s also more money in the aerospace industry. That’s not being cynical. In fact, the money that investors are ready to put into new aerospace technology can lead to some cool stuff. Cool stuff including Fusion Fiber, which is what the new Evil Loophole rims are made of.
Fusion Fiber was developed by a Utah carbon designer and manufacturer called CSS Composites. It was an answer to a call from the commercial airline industry who had put out a worldwide APB looking for faster, cheaper ways to produce lighter, more efficient airplane components. Fusion Fiber was their answer, and it just happened to have a mountain biker as one of its champions. He reached out to Revel Bikes early last year who was the first to use the material to make rims, but who also made it clear that their rims would not be the only place we would be seeing Fusion Fiber.
What makes Fusion Fiber so special isn’t necessarily the fiber itself, but the resin that holds it together. Essentially (but not technically) a thermoplastic resin, it is less brittle when cured and easier to work with when raw than traditional carbon fiber resin. It’s also more impact-resistant and more compliant, both valuable features if you ride carbon mountain bike rims. It also can be recycled to make other products, which is valuable if you sometimes break the carbon mountain bike rims you ride. Yes, high-end carbon wheels aren’t even a drop in the bucket as far as what’s in our landfills, but you have to start somewhere. The rim manufacturing and wheel lacing are done in Utah, the home state of CSS Composites, but Evil is not disclosing who is actually doing the manufacturing.
The Loophole rims feature reinforced spoke holes like what we’ve seen from Reserve and WTB. They’ve got a 29mm inner width, and are currently only available in a 29-inch version. The complete wheel weight for a standard Boost set is 915 grams up front and 1045 in the rear. They’re only available as complete wheels with Industry Nine Hydra hubs, but with quite a variety of options. Centerlock, 6-bolt, XD, Micro Spline, Boost and Super Boost 157 (Centerlock only). They have a burlier 3-cross lacing in the rear and a lighter 2-cross lacing up front, but both front and rear are 32-hole. The spokes are Sapim D-Light and the nipples are brass, running on Sapim’s nipple washers. The rims are powdercoated black, but come in a variety of removable sticker colors, most meant to match Evil’s frame colors.
The Evil Loophole wheels are going for $2,200. That’s the same price as the similar material Revel Wheels, using the same i9 Hydra hubs. Loopholes also have a lifetime warranty, but don’t let the name fool you. This is the kind of lifetime warranty you’d want to see. If you break them while riding and you’re the original owner, Evil won’t only replace the rim, but will repair the wheel at no cost to you. There’s also a crash-replacement program if damage doesn’t happen while riding.
We’ve got a set of the Loopholes in hand, so we’ve got a review coming soon. But if you can’t wait, they’re available now at evil-bikes.com