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UNI – The Foundation of Our Ultralight Wheelsets

Development

After two years of continuous experimentation with lighter carbon fiber materials and increased research and development of resins by the Elitewheels team, a set of optimal material ratios was finally reached. Our in-house designed UNI has properties that fall between Toray T800 and T1000 carbon fiber. The following table compares the properties of T800, T1000, and UNI, whose tensile strength and tensile modulus are more balanced.

UNI materials test values

Testing of wheels using UNI carbon fiber has shown that they have a higher strength to weight ratio as compared to wheels made from more traditional carbon fiber.
*All test data are from Elitewheels’ test lab

1. Lateral Stiffness

Lateral stiffness in a rim means the amount it moves from side to side given an amount of force. Laterally stiff rims feel more responsive during powerful accelerations like sprinting. The stiffer the rim, the more power is transfered to forward motion when riding. Cornering and bike handling in general are also improved.

Under the max load of 50kgf, the UNI carbon fiber 45-03 rim deforms only 9.07mm. This is a lateral stiffness increase of 22% is compared to an equivalent depth non-UNI carbon fiber 45-01 rim (11.65mm deformation).

UNI Materials Lateral Stiffness

2. Vertical Stiffness

Vertical stiffness indicates the amount a rim deforms horizontally given an amount of force. Variables such as pressure and rider contribute to a slight deformation of the rim which directly affects the rolling coefficient of both the rim and tire. The maximum rider weight limit of the UNI 45-03 rim is 130kg. As long as the rider weight limit is not exceeded, rims featuring UNI will roll well on a road surface.
Under a load of 300kgf, the UNI 45-03 deforms by 8.2mm, an improvement of 10% in vertical stiffness compared to an equivalent depth 45-01 rim (9.06mm deformation) using more traditional carbon fiber.

UNI Materials Positive Stiffness

3. Spoke hole tension

The best spoke tension value is to ensure excellent rigidity requirements without excessive vibration. The test values of UNI 45-03 and same-deep 45-01 are very close, both are 340kgf. Therefore, it can be proved that the lighter spoke hole wall thickness design will not reduce the tension of the spoke hole.

For rims with UNI, only 3mm of carbon fiber reinforcement is needed for spoke holes as opposed to 3.2mm with more traditional carbon fiber wheels. UNI rims can therefore handle high spoke tensions and stress at a lower weight.

Spoke holes are drilled at precise angles to reduce stress placed on carbon spokes, making them longer lasting and far less susceptible to damage. The spoke holes  are drilled at angles from 3.4°-8.2° depending on their location and depending on the length of each hub’s flange.

UNI Materials Spoke hole tension

4. Impact Resistance

We conduct the standard UCI impact test to get our wheels UCI approved. The vertical impact test is used to demonstrate that the wheel is strong enough in case of a possible collision. Having the certification is necessary for all wheels raced in UCI competition races.

 

UNI Materials Impact Resistance

Wheels featuring UNI

Elitewheels makes multiple wheels using our more premium UNI carbon fiber. All of the wheels in our Drive series road series and our G45 gravel wheelset feature UNI as well as carbon spokes.Rims made using UNI are made with wider inner widths, starting at 19.5mm for wheels like the Drive 40V. Drive disc brake road wheels and the gravel G45 have inner rim widths of 21mm and 24mm respectively. The reason is to be able to accomodate a wider selection of tires. These inner widths carefully selected to be compatible with tires ranging from 23mm to 50mm depending on the wheel.

These race ready wheels have passed the UCI impact test as well as more than 10 others. They are light, stiff, aero, and strong, making them suitable for all kinds of riding including racing at the top echelon. Our sponsored Continental team athletes have had multiple first place finishes in international competitions.

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