Filament Winding Creates a Better Carbon Fork
Here at Wound Up Composites Cycles, we have the distinction of building the world’s only filament wound carbon fiber forks, and we’re proud of that distinction. We have been setting the industry standards for decades and have a quality assurance program in place that increases the stability of the product while decreasing any possibility of malfunction.
Filament wound forks is a winding manufacturing process in which I wind continuous fibers under tension at specified angles. They are wound in such a way that the fibers are impregnated in a resinous matrix. Under heat, the carbon fibers and resin cure into a strong and durable composite material. 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.
Three words: customization, optimization and uniformity. We’ll go into each of these below. 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.
Wound Up controls 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.
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.
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’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 Spectrum Cycles is talking about in their explanation of our forks’ performance!
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.