Chris King has a new all-road wheelset, with the ARD44 adding to the marque’s recently introduced range of gravel and mountain bike wheels made from a recyclable thermoplastic material.
Chris King claims the carbon footprint of the ARD44’s rims is 30 per cent lower than a standard epoxy-based carbon rim.
Whereas the prepreg strips used for standard carbon rims need to be kept refrigerated, which uses energy, the FusionFiber material used for the ARD44 rims is stable at room temperature.
It was developed by US-based CSS Composites and Chris King says it took around 18 months of R&D to perfect the rim design.
There’s significant harmful waste generated by epoxy-based rim manufacture, according to Chris King, while FusionFiber rim production is fully automated and results in zero waste. The rim also takes around a third as much heating time to cure as a conventional carbon rim.
Instead of using epoxy as the matrix to hold the carbon fibres, FusionFiber has a nylon matrix.
Among the advantages of its rim material, Chris King says nylon is less brittle than epoxy, so it’s less likely to crack under stress.
Its flexibility means the rim is stronger and more comfortable than epoxy. Chris King’s tests show its ARD44 rims can withstand up to 275 per cent of the UCI standard for impact resistance and a spoke pull force of over 950lb.
The wheelset has a lifetime warranty, but FusionFiber is also recyclable and Chris King says if a rider were to break a rim, it would be shipped back to its factory in Utah, chipped and made into something else.
ARD44 wheel profile
The new Chris King ARD44 wheelset is designed for both road and gravel use. While its aerodynamics are tuned around the 28mm to 32mm-wide tyres that are typical on modern road bikes, the wheels can handle gravel bike tyres up to 47mm wide.
The rim has a hookless bead with a 25mm internal rim width, 30.5mm external width and a depth of 44mm. It is designed to be run tubeless. Claimed weight for the rim is 435g, while the complete wheelset weighs a claimed 1,525g.
According to Greg Hudson, wheel product manager at Chris King: “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 is the cherry on top.”
Chris King is famed for its hubs and the ARD44 wheels run on the R45D design.
This uses Chris King’s RingDrive freehub system, with its characteristic bulge on the freehub side of the hub body and 45 points of engagement. The standard hubs have steel bearings, but there’s a ceramic bearing upgrade option, which adds $120 to the ARD44 wheelset’s $2,850 cost.
Chris King makes the R45D hubs in a wide range of colours. The new logo is low-profile though, with a large black-on-black Chris King wordmark and the ARD44 model name in small lettering.
Chris King ARD44 specifications
- Rim depth: 44mm
- Internal width: 25mm
- External width: 30.5mm
- Hubs: Chris King R45D Centerlock disc
- Rim claimed weight: 435g
- Wheelset claimed weight: 1,525g
- Wheelset price, steel bearings: $2,850
- Wheelset price, ceramic bearings: $2,970