|Rim Hub Spokes Bearings||
The bicycle wheel is a beautifully efficient structure...
It is a relatively lightweight component, yet it can support tremendous loads. Although the basic design has not changed much over the past century, we decided to use our knowledge of the latest composite materials and rethink the design, using these materials in a whole new way.
We decided to use our knowledge
Taking advantage of today's materials...
For the spokes, we use a hybrid construction with Kevlar fibers alongside carbon fibers, all within a thermoplastic resin matrix. The carbon fibers provide superior stiffness, while the Kevlar adds tremendous toughness.
This unique material is incredibly strong and fantastically light. Topolino's composite spoke material is stronger than a 14g stainless steel spoke and is only one-fifth the weight.
And light weight is only the beginning
The thermoplastic resin and Kevlar/carbon fibers work together to significantly dampen road vibration, for a difference you can feel. While maintaining its excellent lateral stiffness and firm responsiveness, these composite spokes absorb some of the road buzz, for greater comfort and control.
We also use a special thermoplastic carbon fiber composite material for the hub shell. It has strength matching that of aerospace aluminum, but is 45% lighter.
But materials are only part of the story,
We go all the way...
Rather than interrupting the Kevlar and carbon fibers, each spoke spans diametrically across the whole wheel. This reduces spoke stress at the hub and allows the continuous unbroken fibers in the spoke to span clear across the wheel.
With conventional steel spokes, the spokes are not well matched to the hub flange. As any wheelbuilder knows, steel spokes must be manually bent near the flange and forced into alignment to direct the spoke toward the rim.
This creates a flex point in the spoke and it is this flex and squirm of that is one of the main causes of spoke breakage due to fatigue.
In contrast, the Topolino hub and its spokes are perfectly mated into an integral unit to fully support each spoke within the hub flange. Even within the hub, each spoke is pefectly aligned with its span to the rim. Thus, the spokes are held in pure tension, with none of the fatigue-inducing movement or flex that is characteristic of conventional steel spokes.
Because the current nine and ten speed cassettes take up even more real estate on the rear axle, the rear hub flanges have an unbalanced offset as compared to the rim centerline. The result of this offset is a significant difference in spoke tension between the drive-side and non drive-side spokes that is the Achilles heel of rear wheels. Some designers have attempted to balance the tension by moving the flanges closer together. While this may balance the tension to some degree, the narrower flange spacing does nothing to help the lateral strength and stiffness of the wheel.
At Topolino, we have chosen a different route. Our rear wheel utilizes 50% more spokes on the drive-side flange. This creates a far more balanced spoke tension and also significantly improves the lateral strength of the wheel.
All this is very important because
Sensible spoke count...
Since our spokes are so light, there is virtually no weight penalty for adding a few more. This allows us to use what we call a "sensible spoke count". We lace our front wheels with 24 spokes and the rear with 30 spokes. As compared to the current trend in low spoke-count wheels, adding a few more spokes results in far better stress distribution around the rim. We are able to use a much lighter rim for lower rotating inertia while, at the same time, building a stronger wheel.
While our focus was to create the lightest, strongest wheels on the planet, we paid close attention to aerodynamics as well. So, we formed those special Kevlar spokes into a bladed aero profile with a 2:1 aspect ratio. And while our rims are purpose-built for their intended use, in all of our rims we also utilize a rim section that is as aerodynamic as possible. Even our narrower 19mm deep rims employ a flowing teardrop profile, as opposed to the squared-off box profile utilized by some other high end wheel makers. Not only are these wheels light, but they slice through the wind as well.
In the real world, stuff happens. Crashes can sometimes occur, potholes sometimes can't be avoided, and some of us have even been known to back into the garage without taking the bike off the roof. Even though we packed a whole bunch of technology and innovation into these wheels, they were designed to be repairable and to exist in the real world. Topolino's unique spokes and hub are built as modular "wheel halves" that are laced to the rim in a conventional fashion. This means that, if a wheel does become damaged (in a crash, for instance), the individual parts are all replaceable using conventional tools and the wheel may be easily rebuilt to live again.
Testing: Topolino wheels prove their mettle...
At Topolino, innovation is but one part of the story. As a technology based company, the key to insuring that our wheels live up to our standards requires testing, testing... and more testing. In fact, we have created one of the most advanced wheel testing labs in the industry. A Topolino wheel must survive a rigorous gauntlet of testing before it is ever introduced to the public. But it doesn't stop in the lab; we also use a wide range of test riders from pro racers to high mileage enthusiasts and from climbers to Clydesdales. All this to insure that the wheels are the absolute best for the most important rider of all: you.
Craftsmanship: The final key to a better wheel...
Wheel-building robots do exist... but we don't use 'em. All of our amazing technology and innovation would be short-lived unless the wheels were built to the most exacting standards. Our skilled wheel-builders have many years of experience in their craft. Each Topolino wheel is fully built by hand and every spoke is tuned an gauged for perfectly balanced tension. We have even developed proprietary processes to insure that all of the spokes are specially pre-stressed and settled. In fact, we have the most exacting standards of final spec in the industry. The net result? A wheel that is perfectly true and round and built to stay that way.