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)


COMMENTS

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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M

Matt 2015/04/28

Hi, I'm curious about the braking surface. I know some compaines recommend using carbon specific pads. For your rims, would you recommend any specific pad for cyclocross? If so do you sell them? I've always used Koolstop Salmon pads and have been happy, but would love your input


Light-Bicycle 2015/04/29

Hello Matt, Thanks for your inquiry. For brake pads, you have to use the ones for carbon rims only. Then it will work. We have attached new brake pads. It is USD10 (4pcs), which is with nice quality and feedback. For rims, we will recommend our new 25mm wide U-shaped 35mm/ 45mm/ 55m clincher rims. It is much wider and stronger. Thanks, Light-bicycle


R

Ralph 2016/07/10

Hi! How much if dt swiss 240s straightpull hubs with 36t star ratchet upgrade. Sapim cx ray black spokes Internal nipples 60mm clinchers front and rear 12k weave Mat finish Thanks! Pls reply in my email also.


Light-Bicycle 2016/07/11

Hi Ralph, Thanks for your inquiry. Currently, only 23mm wide V-shape 60mm and 25mm wide U shape 55mm clincher rim are available. U-shape 55mm wheels are what we recommend. It is much wider and stronger. The U55mm clincher wheelset with following specs is USD1010/pair. -Rims: RRU55C02, 515 /-15g, 12k matte, internal nipple holes. 20H/24H? -Hubs: Black, DT 240S straight pull non disc hubs QR for Shimano 11s (36T) -Spokes: Black, Sapim cx-ray -Nipples: Alloy or brass? Red or black? Thanks, Light-bicycle


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R

Rob 2015/04/08

I weigh 136 kg and was wondering if these rims would hold up on my new DH bike with me on them? Can they be made stronger for someone my size? I mainly ride the steep, technical rock gardens and hit some drops. I've dented rims in the past. Are these going to crack on the bead? Thanks, Rob


Light-Bicycle 2015/04/09

ello Rob, Thanks for your inquiry. According to your description, we will recommend the 38mm wide 650B DH rims. DH version is much stronger with extra carbon fiber. Please find attached rim cross-section drawing. We have sold many RM650BC13 rims, and all of them work well. So, you can trust our quality. RM650BC13 (38mm wide 650B DH rim) hookless: 490 /-15g, USD188/pcs If you like stronger one, we can add some carbon fiber to enhance the rims' strength, with a heavier weight about 520g. Is that ok for you? It is USD5 added. For rim weave, do you prefer 3k, 12k or UD? Matte or glossy? 32H? Thanks, Light-bicycle


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J

Jo 2014/09/26

Hello, I'm would like to know if there is any difference in terms of durability or bending between the 700c rim with 3k 12k or UD? Best regards, Jo


Light-Bicycle 2014/09/27

Hello Jo, Thanks for your inquiry. For 3k/12k/UD, it is the outer carbon fiber layer to make the carbon fiber with different outlook. It is only the outer layer different and all the inside carbon fiber are the same. So, the strength & weight are almost the same. 3k/UD & matte are more popular. May I know which rim you'd prefe? Then I can mail you the attached cross-section drawing of rim and more detail information. Thanks, Light-bicycle


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