Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels

Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels

Internal Width: 30 mm

Sizes Available: 29’’

Material: Carbon Fiber (FusionFiber Thermoplastic)

Stated weight:

  • 30 EM Rim: 530 g
  • 30 EM 28h Wheelset: 1,884 g
  • 30 EM 32h Wheelset: 1,982 g
David Golay reviews the Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels for Blister
Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels (photo: Paris Gore)

Blister’s Measured Weight (30 EM 28h wheelset, w/ pre-installed rim tape):

  • Front: 856 g
  • Rear: 1,008 g
  • Total: 1,864 g


  • Wheelset w/ Industry Nine Hydra hubs: $2,599


Forge+Bond is a new company making carbon fiber wheels out of their facility in Utah, and while you presumably haven’t heard of Forge+Bond before (they’re launching today, after all), their parent company, CSS Composites might be familiar. That’s because CSS has been making wheels for Revel, Evil, and Chris King for a while now. Forge+Bond is the brand that they’re launching to continue their development efforts

Most of the carbon fiber bike parts that are out in the world use thermoset construction, but the Forge+Bond wheels are made with thermoplastic carbon construction — which Forge+Bond refers to as “FusionFiber.” And their first mountain bike wheels, the 30 EMs, are meant for all-around Trail and Enduro use.

[Forge+Bond is also launching a Gravel wheelset, dubbed the 25 GR, which uses similar construction just in a lighter, narrower package. We’re going to focus on the 30 EM MTB wheels here, but the high-level info about the construction applies to both.]

David Golay reviews the Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels for Blister
Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels

The Forge+Bond wheels aren’t the first thermoplastic wheels on the market, since Forge+Bond’s parent company, CSS Composites, has been making a variety of FusionFiber wheels for Revel, Evil, and Chris King (MTN30 review coming soon) for a while now. But Forge+Bond is describing the 30 EM wheels as the second generation of their FusionFiber wheels (though the versions that CSS makes for the aforementioned brands aren’t 100% identical to each other) and there’s some interesting stuff going on with their design.

Guerrilla Gravity has also been making thermoplastic carbon fiber frames for a while now — and we’ve talked with them about it on a few occasions, including Episodes 3 and 98 of Bikes & Big Ideas, but thermoplastic parts are still a rarity in the bike world. So what do we even mean by “thermoplastic” vs. “thermoset” and what has Forge+Bond done with the design of the 30 EMs? Let’s dive in.


Before we get into the particulars of the 30 EM wheels, it’d probably be worth doing a quick overview of the high-level differences between thermoplastic and thermoset carbon fiber. If you don’t feel like getting a bit nerdy on the matter, feel free to skip down a few paragraphs.

In short, carbon fiber parts of either sort are comprised of two main components: the carbon fibers themselves and some form of “matrix” that holds them together, makes them rigid, and gives the part structure. Thermoset parts use epoxy for the matrix and undergo a chemical reaction in the curing process, whereby the epoxy solidifies; thermoplastic parts use a matrix that can be melted and re-solidified — theoretically infinitely — which, among other things, means that thermoplastic parts can be recycled.

The asterisk there is that recycling thermoplastic parts essentially entails grinding them up, then remelting the chewed-up bits and molding them into something else. That inevitably produces some degradation of the material since the carbon fiber strands are cut shorter, and you lose the ability to as carefully control fiber orientation in the recycled product — we’re a long way from making new rims out of recycled rims, for example. But it’s still a whole lot better than what’s possible with thermoset carbon parts, and Forge+Bond is showing off some tire levers made of recycled FusionFiber material as a starting point, and promising more things to come down the line.

David Golay reviews the Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels for Blister
Recycled FusionFiber Tire Lever

And Forge+Bond is taking its recycling efforts seriously. For one, they handle all warranty claims directly, rather than going through shops or other third parties, so that they can guarantee the collection of all broken rims for recycling. And they say that they’re able to collect essentially all of the scrap material generated from the production of the 30 EMs too — claiming that just a fraction of a percent goes unrecycled. The rims are said to need no sanding or deburring once they come out of the final mold, though some excess material needs to be trimmed off earlier in the process. Forge+Bond says that working with thermoplastic carbon fiber allows them to automate a great deal of the trimming and layup processes in ways that wouldn’t be viable in thermoset composites and that their raw materials also don’t need to be refrigerated for storage before curing (in contrast to thermoset composites, which need to stay cold to prevent them from curing on their own, and still have a finite shelf life even when stored properly).

Forge+Bond is pretty tight-lipped about the finer details of how the 30 EM rims differ from the ones that CSS has made for the likes of Revel, Evil, and Chris King. They do say that while the concept is similar, the 30 EM rims feature some changes in the materials and manufacturing techniques based on what they’ve learned from past projects — think of the 30 EMs as the second-generation of FusionFiber wheels if you like.

Unsurprisingly, given both their name and the state of the market, the 30 EM rims feature a 30 mm internal width (Forge+Bond recommends 2.3’’ to 2.6’’ tires), and have especially wide, 4mm-thick sidewalls to help stave off rim damage and pinch flats. They’re available with either 28- or 32-hole drilling, but only in 29’’ diameter for now — though Forge+Bond has hinted that a 27.5’’ version is in the works. For the time being, they’re only available as a complete wheelset with Industry Nine Hydra hubs, though Forge+Bond has also said that a rim-only configuration will be available from select retailers for custom builds.

In addition to the recyclability and other sustainability benefits of thermoplastic carbon fiber, Forge+Bond says that it also has a real advantage over thermoset composites when it comes to damping properties in particular. Forge+Bond’s argument is essentially that the greater flexibility of their thermoplastic matrix material as compared to typical epoxy resins used in thermoset wheels (taking the carbon fibers themselves out of the equation for a moment) allows them to build wheels with more damping and that transmit less feedback to the rider, while also being stiff and precise in how they handle and hold a line.

The 30 EM rims also feature some interesting shaping that distributes additional material at the spoke holes where it’s needed for strength, and thins out between them to save weight; the rim sidewalls also feature some rippling to redistribute material where it’s needed, similar to what we’ve seen on a few different wheels from Nobl as well as the We Are One Convergence line, albeit in a more subtle fashion.

David Golay reviews the Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels for Blister
Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels (photo: Paris Gore)

That means that the 28- and 32-hole versions of the rims get their own dedicated molds and layups, but Forge+Bond says that they’re essentially the same design, just reconfigured for different spoke counts. The 32-hole version should build into a stiffer, burlier wheel due to the extra spokes, but the rims themselves are very similar.

For the time being, Forge+Bond’s wheels are available directly from Forge+Bond in the US and Canada, with alternate distributors and wider global sales opening up sometime down the road.

Forge+Bond 30 EM Wheels, BLISTER
Forge+Bond 30 EM rim, in work

Weight (and Comparisons)

At a stated weight of 530 g per rim, the 30 EMs are a touch on the heavier side of average for an all-around carbon rim, but only by a few tens of grams. Below are the listed weights for a variety of rims in both the lightweight Trail and burlier Enduro categories, as well as complete wheelset weights for reference; the wheelset weights are all as measured by Blister unless otherwise noted.


408 g Enve M630 (carbon)
395 g front / 435 g rear NOBL TR35 (carbon)
425 g We Are One Faction (carbon)
436 g Revel RW27 (carbon)
440 g Reserve 30|SL (carbon)
480 g Revel RW30 (carbon)
480 g Reserve 30|HD (carbon)
495 g We Are One Union (carbon)
500 g Reserve 30|SL AL (aluminum)
525 g DT Swiss XM 481 (aluminum)
525 g Race Face ARC30 (aluminum)
530 g Forge+Bond 30 EM (carbon)
570 g DT Swiss EX 511 (aluminum)
580 g Enve M730 (carbon)
580 g Reserve 30|HD AL (aluminum)


1,571 g NOBL TR35 + DT Swiss 240 EXP (carbon, measured)
1,576 g Reynolds Blacklabel 329 Trail Pro (carbon, measured)
1,639 g DT Swiss XMC 1501 (carbon, stated)
1,648 g Enve M630 + Industry Nine 1/1 (carbon, stated)
1,718 g Reserve 30|SL + Industry Nine 1/1 (carbon , measured)
1,740 g We Are One Faction + Industry Nine 1/1 (carbon, stated)
1,758 g Revel RW27 + Industry Nine 1/1 (carbon, stated)
1,803 g Chris King MTN30 (carbon, measured)
1,840 g Revel RW30 + Industry Nine Hydra (carbon, measured)
1,840 g Reserve 30|SL AL (aluminum, stated)
1,848 g DT Swiss XM 1700 (aluminum, stated)
1,849 g Santa Cruz Reserve 30|HD + Industry Nine Hydra (carbon, measured)
1,864 g Forge+Bond 30 EM 28h + Industry Nine Hydra (carbon, measured)
1,877 g We Are One Union + Industry Nine Hydra (carbon, 27.5’’ diameter, measured)
1,985 g DT Swiss EX 1700 (aluminum, stated)
2,069 g Enve M730 / Chris King (carbon, measured)
2,104 g Reserve 30|HD AL (aluminum, measured)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) Forge+Bond is making some big claims about the damping and ride quality of the 30 EM wheels, but are those borne out on trail?

(2) And how do the EM 30s compare to both other FusionFiber wheels from the likes of Revel and Chris King, as well as thermoset composite ones from a whole bunch of other brands, including Reserve and We Are One?

Bottom Line (For Now)

Forge+Bond is talking a big game about their new 30 EM wheels, in terms of their ride quality, their recyclability, and the sustainability efforts surrounding them. We’re curious to find out more — what Forge+Bond is able to make from the recycled material in the future, and what other products they’ll be rolling out going forward. We’ve got a pair of the 30 EM wheels in for review and have spent a bunch of time on them already, so stay tuned for a full review soon.

Share this post:

Leave a Comment