The 3k 12K UD carbon fiber weave for rim and frame


What is the difference for 3k, UD and 12k ?


The main type of carbon fiber used for the manufacture of bicycle parts are normal tow (under 12000 fibers) carbon fiber, like T700, or commonly known as 3k, 12k weave, and UD(uni-direction) carbon fiber.


carbon rim 3k 12k ud

(carbon rim 3k 12k UD)


carbon fiber weave 3k

(carbon fiber weave 3k)


carbon fiber weave 12k

(carbon fiber weave 12k)


carbon fiber weave UD

(carbon fiber weave UD)


Bicycle components, specifically carbon frames & rims are made using various grades of carbon fiber characterized mainly by their tensile strength and tensile modulus. Tensile strength is the amount of force needed to cause the fibers to break, while the tensile modulus is a measure of the carbon fiber's stiffness.


The cost of carbon fiber goes up with the increase in tensile strength, or increase in tensile modulus. And for carbon fiber weave also determines the cost of material with larger weave prepreg (eg.12k) costing less, due to the lower cost of manufacturing.


Carbon fiber layer(prepreg) has maximum strength only along the lengths of the fibers. That is why almost all the inside prepreg are using uni-directional carbon fiber while making carbon rims & frames. But the inside layup charts are still not identical. For example, the orientation are different( some are placed at 0 degree, some are 45 degree, 90 degree). This is very important to make carbon rims & frames with good strength & performance. That is also why using uni-directional fiber instead of woven carbon fiber (eg. 3k, 12k) creates stronger frames & rims.

Thus, the main use of woven carbon fiber is for appearance. But there is one mechanical benefit for 3k woven carbon fiber. Putting the 3k woven carbon fiber around hole area, it can prevent carbon fiber from laminating while machining holes.


For the weight difference, woven fiber has some area pass across each other. So, woven fiber is heavier than UD fiber. But, for rims, the size of carbon fiber is not large and only one layer different, the weight difference of woven fiber (3k &12k) and UD fiber is not big. Also, all rims have a weight range, for rims, it is +/-15g. So, sometimes, 3k rims & frames are lighter than UD.


For big size product (like frame), 3k frame will be heavier than UD. And for 12k, the weight different is not much difference.


carbon rim weave 3k matte

(carbon rim weave 3k matte)


carbon rim weave 12k matte

(carbon rim weave 12k matte)


carbon rim weave UD matte

(carbon rim weave UD matte)


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N

Nisha 2019/06/18

I am reading a lot about different types of carbon fiber used in carbon fiber bicycle, and came across T700G , T800G T1000G is used in bicycle manufacturing. What are the applications for T700G, T88G and T1000G, in the bicycle parts, can you specify? Is 24k tow prepreg is used in bicycle parts, if used in which part of bicycle?


LightBicycle 2019/06/18

Hi Nisha, Thanks for your inquiry! ​We do not use T88G carbon fiber prepreg currently. It is T700 and T800 that we use. For high modulus pregreg(like T800/T1000), it is better to use as less as possible on bike wheels, to prevent from big crack while crash. Thanks, Lightbicycle


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Sean 2019/05/16

Can you say something about lateral stiffness, compliance and impact resistance of your various 29er MTB wheels made with 3k, versus 12k versus UD? For example, you mention UD is stronger than 3k, but would a wheel built with 3k be a little more compliant and not as harsh as a wheel built with UD? I suppose the UD wheel will be more laterally stiff. Thanks, Sean


LightBicycle 2019/05/17

Hi Sean, First of all, UD is stronger than the other 2 weave carbon fibers from a big amount of testing data perspective. There will be individual differences in some cases. To make our rims stronger, we use UD carbon fiber with various orientation for all of our rims, only the top layer is customer optional for 3k, 12k, and UD to satisfied aesthetic needs. So the rims won't with too much difference at stiffness. However, UD is still our recommendation feature. Carbon fiber weave is not the only variable for stiffness and impact resistance. The layup process design, way of wheel building, riding style, etc. What rims/wheelset are you interested in? road wheels or mtb? You can compare the impact resistance, side stiffness, vertical stiffness of MTB rims at https://www.lightbicycle.com/product-compare/Rim-strength-comparison-on-29ER.html Thanks, Lightbicycle


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H

harly 2019/04/22

which is better to use for bicycle frame repair?the 3k or the 12k?can I used carbon kevlar?


LightBicycle 2019/04/23

Hi Harly, Light Bicycle is specialized at carbon rims/wheels. For our rims/wheels, we do not do repairs because any patched rim would not be as strong as it was. However, UD weave is stronger than 3K, 12k weave at the same weight, mold condition. Hope this is helpful for you. You can consult more with carbon fiber frame manufacturers or carbon fiber suppliers. Thanks, Lightbicycle


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A

Andrew 2018/09/30

I'm reading a lot about different types of carbon fiber used in bicycle construction and specifically the expanding use of T700, T800 and higher grades. What grade of carbon do you use in the construction of your wheels?


LightBicycle 2018/09/30

Hi Andrew T800 is stiffer and lighter. but T800 cannot be used too much, it is too stiff to crack if it is used too much. so, mostly we use T700 for our wheels, and T800 is used a little bit on flyweight version rims. Is there any rim of ours that you interested in? We can discuss further details by mail. Thanks Lightbicycle


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S

Samuel 2017/06/07

Hi, I'm from singapore and will like to build a strong carbon wheelset for my road bike. Can you provide me a quotation for 700c wheels with 44mm depth in 3k finishing,paired with dt swiss hubs (240 or 350)?


LightBicycle 2017/06/08

Hello Samuel, Thanks for your inquiry. Currently, only 45mm depth wheels are available. It is similar to 44mm depth. Does it work for you? Thanks, Lightbicycle


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Waynie 2017/03/15

I am planning to build a new road bike. I like the Trek madone 9 frame can you build a copy of it and also i like it to be disc brakes. The rims will be 45mm front and 65mm rear UD with DT Swiss hubs color red. I like the frames to be painted also do you sample colors? HOw much is th price? Thanks


LightBicycle 2017/03/16

ello Waynie, Thanks for your inquiry. We can build the road wheels for you, but we don’t sell frames now. Sorry for the inconvenience. The front U45mm/ rear U65mm clincher wheelset with following specs is $992/pair. -Rims: front RRU45C02/ rear RRU65C02. No brake tracks for disc, right? -Hubs: Black with red, DT 240S disc hubs. Are there front QR/ rear 135mm QR? -Spokes: Black, Sapim cx-ray spokes -Nipples: Alloy or brass? Black or red? Thanks, Lightbicycle


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J

John 2016/11/03

I am hoping to make the following purchase: wider 700c 38mm clincher carbon rims for cyclocross bikes with disc brakes. Can you suggest 3k or Ud for the outer layer for a dedicated Cyclocross racing wheelset? I weigh 69kilos. Thank you!


Light-Bicycle 2016/11/04

Hello John, You need rims without brake tracks for disc brake, right? What are the spoke counts for front and rear? Thanks, Light-bicycle


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D

Donnie 2016/06/30

Hi, I read with interest your explanation on the 3k and UD weave for rims finishing. I am in favor of the UD weave as I believe it is a stronger weave, however you did mention that lamination may occur during drilling (due to heat emission?) and this would definitely compromise the strength, durabillity and viability of the carbon rim. CAN you advice on this? Should I then opt for the 3k? I also understand there is a new special technological rim that does not require drilling except for the valve and can also dispense with rim tapes making the rims much stronger and bombproof. Do you carry those rims?


Light-Bicycle 2016/07/01

ello Donnie, Thanks for your contact. Our rims are constructed with a 3k weave on the nipple bed regardless of what the outer (aesthetic) ply is, so it is okay to use UD on the outer ply of the rim. It does not significantly impact the weight or strength of the rim. Our rims are at least 3mm thick where the nipple passes through. We use high end drill bits with a high speed automated drill at a regulated pressure so the holes are very accurate and as clean as possible. Thanks, Light-bicycle


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M

Morten 2016/02/18

Hi there, I am looking for a pair of Wheels for my Cervelo S3 roadbike. I would prefer 700c, 3K Carbon rims with a 35-50 mm heigh rim. i weigh 125 Kg, therefor i think it would be a good idea to choose a solid build hub, what do you recomend ? DT Swiss? how many spokes? I run the 11 speed Shimano ultegra, s


Light-Bicycle 2016/02/22

Hello Morten, Thanks for your inquiry. According to your details, we’d like to recommend the U45mm wheelset as following specs. -Rims: RRU45C02, 475 /-15g, 20H/24H. 3k matte? -Hubs: Black, DT 350 or DT 240S straight pull non disc hubs for Shimano 11s -Spokes: Black, Pillar x-tra 1420 aero -Nipples: Black brass Wheelset price (with DT 350 hubs): $849/pair Wheelset price (with DT 240S hubs): $654/pair Thanks, Lightbicycle


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L

luciano 2015/05/21

Hello there, I am willing to buy this cycling frame and this seller just told me that UD carbon is better than 3k. Another friend of mine told that theses frames from china are all made of the same carbon wich is different from the OEM frames because OEM don


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