FAQs

We hope this section will help to answer many of your questions.  However, if you still need more information please contact us.

General
What tire widths can I use on my FFWD Wheels??

FFWD’s proprietary DARC aerodynamic rim profile is designed and optimized for a 23mm tire width.  However a broad range of tire widths can be used on all models.  For clincher wheels tire widths of 19-32mm can be used to accomodate a wide range of disciplines.  Tubular road/CX and track wheels are compatible with 17mm-33mm wide tires.

What brake pads are recommended??

We work closely with SwissStop for research and testing of FFWD rims and brake surfaces.

For carbon clincher and tubular wheels, SwissStop Black Prince pads ship with each wheel and are recommended.  SwissStop Yellow King pads may also be used.  We do not recommend using alternate pads with our rims, this will void the warranty.

For FFWD aluminum clinchers, we recommend SwissStop BXP or Original Black or an appropriate brake pad for aluminum rims.

Can I use carbon specific pads for my alloy rims??

No, it is not recommended and will void the warranty.

There are two very important reasons:
1) The brake pads we supply with our wheels are for carbon rims only, because of the special compound of which the pads are made.  This compound mix is not suitable for optimum brake performance on alloy surfaces.

2) It is also very important to keep the brake pads that are used for alloy rims separate from the ones used on carbon rims.  Alloy splinters can accumulate on the pad when braking.  When you use these pads on carbon rims, the splinters will scratch the carbon and possibly damage the fibers.  This is an important safety issue which must be avoided.

How can I find the hub model used in my wheels??

To determine what FFWD hub model has been used on your wheels, you can view our Hub ID Chart (.pdf) or visit our Downloads page under the support section.

Are FFWD Wheels 11spd compatible??

Yes, since late 2013 all FFWD Wheels are Shimano/SRAM 11 speed compatible and come standard with a 9/10spd spacer.

Are any of your wheels tubeless compatible??

All MTB wheel sets are tubeless ready.  For the road, currently the F2A is a tubeless compatible set using a DT Swiss Tubeless Compatible Kit or similar.

Are FFWD wheels tandem rated??

Yes, due to our rim technology, components and artisan hand building techniques select FFWD wheels are rated for tandem use and are widely used around the globe with elite and national teams in time-trials, road racing and on the track.

The Control versions of the 60mm F6 – F6C-C, F6C, and DISC, in addition to the F9T, DISC-T track wheels are suitable for tandem.

If you have specific questions or would like help selecting the best option for your intended use, feel free to contact us.

Is there a weight limit for FFWD FCC wheels??

The FFWD full carbon clincher wheels have been thoroughly tested in all areas of road cycling.  With field-testing on different terrains and lab tests for brake performance, the FFWD carbon clinchers and Confidence Brake Technology have proven to be strong and durable.

The F3R, F4R, F6R, F9R and DISC FCC models are strong wheels that are technically able to handle riders to 250lbs (113kg) just like all our models.

However, not all terrain and riding style suits the use of full carbon clincher wheels.  Depending on the combination of factors like rider weight, riding style, and typical terrain (flats, rollers, mountains) the best suitable wheel set can be selected from our range.

We are happy to help you with that choice, feel free to contact us.

How Competitive are FFWD wheels with regard to weight??

Actually, FFWD wheels are very competitive with regard to weight!

We demand more from our rims then we would if we designed for lower spoke tensions or if we imposed rider weight limits.

For instance, our rims have a reinforced high modulus carbon strip where the spoke holes are drilled and we use brass nipples which add a few grams of weight per wheel but offer significantly higher reliability than the competition.

We also finish our wheels with a clear coat.  Yes, it adds some weight (approx 20g for a F6 rim), but we are proud of our decals and we therefore want to keep them on the rim as long as possible. If the decals weren’t protected by the clear coat, they would very likely get damaged by road debris, UV rays, cleaning, etc. Plus it gives the wheel a great overall look, carbon shine all the way!

Furthermore, we feel that a small weight increase for a superior wheelset that will offer better performance and reliability is of much greater importance than being the lightest on the market.

Another factor regarding weight is the use of the 3K carbon weave as the outer layer of the rim.  As explained, this material has a slightly lower stiffness/weight ratio than UDF sheets of equal fibers, but adds strength and durability giving the rims a bombproof feature.

What is FFWD's philosophy on weight vs aerodynamics??

FFWD’s focus is on fast durable wheels. We don’t consider weight to be of equal importance although we of course try to make the wheels as light as possible within our strict quality and performance standards.

You can learn more about our proprietary DARC ‘Double Arc’ aerodynamic rim profile and testing here.

I see FFWD Wheels online, are these real??

We urge customers to buy local and support their independent bike dealer.

Purchases made online, via 3rd party auction sites or from overseas parties do not carry a valid warranty and may be counterfeit.  Authenticity and service can only be guaranteed by purchasing FFWD wheels through our network of authorized dealers or through this website.

If your local dealer does not currently carry FFWD Wheels, please have them visit this link!

WHEELS/RIMS/HUBS
How do I clean my FFWD Wheels??

Carbon wheels require routine maintenance to ensure a long lifetime of performance.  You can download our carbon wheel cleaning instructions here or under our Downloads page.

Do you offer ceramic bearings??

Yes, we have partnered exclusively with CeramicSpeed, a global leader in ceramic bearing technology.  Most wheel sets are available with a CeramicSpeed 6 bearing wheel kit upgrade package and are listed under the wheel options.

What hubs are used in FFWD Wheels??

For hub selection, we have chosen to partner with the global leader in high-performance hub technology, DT Swiss.  This close partnership allows us to focus exclusively on building superior performance rims and wheels, while DT Swiss focuses on R&D, testing and manufacturing of hubs.

Sure, we could design and manufacture our own proprietary hubs and charge a premium like many competitors, but that is not FFWD Wheels.

An additional benefit of using DT Swiss hubs is the availability of replacement parts for dealers and consumers along with a worldwide service network should a wheel ever need repair.

How can I find spoke lengths used on my wheels??

FFWD builds all spoked wheels with Sapim CX-Ray or DT Aerolite bladed J-Bend spokes which are widely available and easily replaceable if necessary.  To determine the spoke lengths used in your wheels, you can click on the FFWD Specification Chart (.pdf) or visit the Downloads page under Support.

What makes FFWD rims unique??

We use a combination of very high-quality Toray carbon fiber sheets for the majority of the lay-up.  This gives the rim a very high strength with sufficient stiffness to cope with hard application of the wheels.  So, rather than use a stiffer, but more brittle carbon type, we chose durability over ultimate stiffness.  In some lay-ups we add some higher modulus sheets to increase stiffness locally.  Additionally, each rim shape is proprietary with intensive R&D and testing leading to the final product.

Read more about our wheel technologies here.

Why use 3K carbon weave for the rims??

Multiple layers of different types of carbon are used on our wheels. Only the outer layer is made from a 3K weave. Underneath this layer are layers of UDF (Uni-Directional Fiber) sheets. The UDF sheets are arranged at optimal angles to produce the desired strength and stiffness for each model rim dependent upon the profile.  Pressure is not a great feature of a fiber. Just think of a string being pushed.  But when mixed with the proper resin and under the strictest production methods, the different angled sheets are bonded to form a single piece that is highly resistant to the forces exerted on a bicycle wheel.

The 3K weave has a slightly lower stiffness/weight ratio than UDF (Uni-Directional Fiber) sheets of equal fibers, but it makes our rims incredibly strong and bombproof. Why? Because when a UDF strand (or multiple) gets cut in a crash, for instance, the sheet is compromised and the tear will expand through a larger part of the sheet at continuous workload.  The 3K weave will stop any tear or damage from becoming worse by reinforcing the crossing layer of strands.

Although it is not advised to ride with a ‘hole’ in your rims, situations can occur where you might not know of a damaged rim or it is not an option to stop right away.  FFWD wheels offer additional durability and safety to get you home and keep you riding safely.

Why use 24 spokes for the rear wheel??

The front wheel only has lateral (direction of axle) and radial/frontal (perpendicular to the axle) forces to handle. The rear wheel however also has to deal with the rider’s power transfer [1]. This creates higher forces in the trailing spokes, because only the trailing spokes can transfer the power of the rider to the rim. The leading spokes will slacken when there is a momentum.

Let’s say a rider is on a hill and pushes the pedal with a force equal to 150kg [3]. When the gearing is on its lowest (for instance 39×27), the momentum in the hub is the highest. The initial load in our spokes is 110/120kgF in the rear and 90/100kgF in the front. The extra load (due to the drive momentum) that the rider puts on these spokes will be: 150*(175/78)*(55/23) = 800kgF [4]. This force has to be spread out over all trailing spokes. Less spokes means there will be higher peak forces in the rear wheel.

24 spokes -> 120 (800/12) = 187kg peak
20 spokes -> 120 (800/10) = 200kg peak That could be a reason why other manufacturers sometimes use a lower initial load on their spokes when using 18h or 20h. To keep the peak forces under control. This lower initial load, however, will decrease the lateral stiffness of the wheel (in other words: less force is needed to displace the rim sideways -> not a good thing).

So, FFWD decided to put in an extra 20g, but in exchange we can build wheels with a higher durability, stiffness and more responsiveness. For those who feel that they need more rigidity than our standard 20/24h lacing, we offer a ControlTM version with 24/28h lacing. ControlTM is available on the F6R models.