What is Recon Pro all about?
We set out to develop a better way of manufacturing carbon rims: one that was not only stronger but more environmentally friendly had a more durable finish and didn’t require post-production finishing. These rims come out of the mold as a finished product and the original carbon fiber texture is clearly visible to the naked eye.
We've come a long way
It took over two years to streamline the new Pro production line because every process needed to be broken down and scrutinized to the last detail. From the material preparation, heating, and cooling control, to a new style of molds and tooling, each area had to meet an unprecedented standard in order to achieve our goals. The carbon fiber and resin systems remain undisturbed - right out of the mold.
Why is it so hard to make?
Firstly, Recon Pro rims require no post-production, meaning that every little dust spot, twisted piece of carbon fiber, any flaw, would be visible once it came out from the mold. There’s no going back! No wet-sanding, no patching, no clear coat. We give you the 100% carbon fiber texture in all its glory.
How does it look?
Our development team took a long time to determine what the Pro rims look like on the surface. There were so many options on the table: Granular? Brushed metal? Weave pattern? Raw carbon fiber texture? We made several samples and sent them to many big customers and pro riders for consulting. At last, we had the winner. A satin finish that reflects light and presents a clear vision of the carbon fiber. Now you have it - visibility of every last detail.
Looking good, even when wet
There was one major problem at the beginning of the development: white marks would appear on the rim surface after extended soaking. We know cyclists ride in all conditions so we did accelerated testing in a variety of extreme conditions. Reference photo below. We were determined to fix this pesky problem!
After narrowing down the root cause of this irregularity, we were able to adjust the mold, layup, and other processes in order to fix this issue. Now you can ride hard and put them away wet.
• Stronger (3-5% increase over equivalent non-Pro products)
• Flyweight design for reduced weight
• Highly scratch-resistant
• Better looking
• Lifetime Warranty available
• More environmentally friendly
What makes the Pro series rim different from non-pro rims
The Black Tek(Scratch resistance)
Flyweight Construction Method
Asymmetric Rim Profile
Smooth Wall Technology
Aviation class CNC drills
Sizing accuracy Technology
Upgraded mold material
Environmentally-friendly Release Agent
Environmental Friendly Manufacturing Process
Molding Pulsation Technology
/ Customized Epoxy Resin
The newly improved resin system has superior consistency and forms the
smoothest and most durable finish we’ve ever created. From a lengthened
fatigue life to more robust interlaminar bonds, ExoTek raises the bar in
performance and aesthetics.
The resin on the rim surface is sanded off for traditional rims, but for Recon Pro rims a thin layer of resin remains on the surface, yielding 3-5% more rim strength.
/ The Black Tek (Scratch Resistance)
Rims featuring BlackTek come out of the molds as a finished product. Traditionally, rims are wet-sanded to remove imperfections like excess resin and then sprayed with a clear coat. Black Tek rims come with a factory finish and the outer carbon layer is never disturbed after the curing cycle is completed. This is the hardest wearing and finish we have ever produced.
/ Flyweight Construction Method
Our lightest construction method uses an exclusive unidirectional prepreg with a very low fiber areal weight. A variable thickness nipple bed reinforces key areas around the spoke holes, eliminating excess material. A blend of Toray T-700 and T-800 offers the weight-saving benefits of T-800 carbon without compromising the strength or stiffness of the rim.
/ Asymmetric Rim Profile
Over the years, we’ve optimized an asymmetric profile that maintains the outright impact performance of asymmetric design but enjoys the benefits of offset spoke holes. This design significantly equalizes spoke tension between drive and non-drive spokes which results in a stronger wheel build that stays true longer.
/ Smooth Wall Technology
We’ve developed a special air bladder material, that follows the inner contours of our rims. Coupled with our three-dimensionally shaped air duct, the inner wall of the rim is smoother, lighter, and is without wrinkles. The bladder is removed through the valve hole without the use of chemicals or a need for patching, improving the strength of the rims.
/ Aviation class CNC drills
No tear out! Our Pro rims are drilled with Aviation-grade CNC drills with drill bits specifically designed for drilling through advanced composites. The bits have a unique cutting edge which makes extremely clean holes. Each hole is inspected to ensure they are free of burrs. The drilling speed and temperature is adjusted as the bit wears, and the bit is inspected after every 60 holes. Competitors use more common high-speed bits which heats up the holes and often leaves scorch marks. It won’t be uncommon to see some delamination in other carbon rims due to the inferior drilling process.
/ Sizing accuracy Technology
Light Bicycle makes the rim size more accurate and undisturbed by using a
The layup and pre-mold go straight inside the final mold without the need to remove the rim until it is fully cured. With traditional manufacturing processes, you’ll see the rim layup occurring in an inexpensive alloy pre-mold, then the rim comes out and is re-fitted into a higher quality mold that encapsulates the rim. The problem is that you can get some distortion when refitting the rim. With our process, no contamination happens on the rim surface and you get a rim that will build up with incredible roundness. The mold cost is higher and we sacrifice some production capacity, however, wheel builders will feel the difference in quality.
/ Upgraded mold material
Traditional molds can become stained with a yellow appearance due to the
epoxy resin. This can work its way into the final product.
Our Pro rims require higher-end molds with fewer impurities made from a few different kinds of steel, including S136 to meet the accuracy request of the engineering team. The parting lines on the rim surface are incredibly small, and this speaks to the accuracy of our molds. Some factories have wider parting lines and will claim it’s just aesthetics, however, the truth is that wider parting lines make a weaker and less accurate rim. Parting lines occur when two mold plates do not fit tightly together, and the lines form after the rims are cooled down. Resin and even carbon fiber will be squeezed through the gaps once the rim bladder is pressurized. The best condition for carbon fiber is to remain continuous and undisturbed. process.
/ Environmentally-friendly Release Agent
A release agent is applied to the mold to make it easier to remove the rims.
The most common release agent used in carbon rim manufacturing is oil
mixed with a small amount of wax. There will be some residue on the rim
surface after it comes out of the mold, so wet-sanding is used for removal.
This isn’t an option for our Pro rims.
Desiring an effective mold release agent that was also as green as possible proved to be a challenge. We opted for the more expensive Henkel and Chem-Trend, and based on the product’s performance we stand by our decision. This non-transfer type release agent forms microfilm by chemically bonding with the surface of the mold. The film remains stable at high heat, withstanding temperatures up to 400 ° C. After the molding process, the release agent flashes off so no sanding is required. The application of the release agent is critical, we need to warm the mold up to a certain temperature in order to apply it, and it needs to be spread very evenly. We deploy a heat-sensitive camera to check our work.
/ Environmental Friendly Manufacturing Process
The Falcon Pro and Recon Pro series rims are manufactured by an optimized process that doesn't apply any post-production like painting, water sanding, etc. So it's even more environmentally friendly than traditionally made rims. NO wastewater emission during the whole process.
/ Molding Pulsation Technology
The molding pulsation refers to the dynamic control of air pressure to reach
a balanced value that matches the resin flow. Air pressure, oil pressure and
temperature must be adjusted frequently as the resin discharge changes
during the entire molding process.
What does it do?
1. Avoids problems like over-discharged resin, air wrap on the rim surface,etc.
2. Makes the binding force between carbon layers stronger, increasing the fatigue life of the rim.
A couple more things
Unlike our traditional rims, the Pro rim surface is not suitable for waterslide decals. However, we found a new technology to apply the decals, allowing for personalized colors and graphics.
The new glossy-black-waterslide-based decal for Recon Pro series. Avery vinyl logo-kits are available in 11 colors. The vinyl is replaceable and easy to install.
What about the tubeless tape?
If you are running tubeless tires, you might have a concern about the tape not sticking to the rims that well. We addressed this by changing the formula of the carbon fiber and resin on the rim bed for ease of tubeless setup.
Whether your tough on wheels or have never cracked a rim, our new warranty gives you the opportunity to get the coverage you need and avoid overpaying for what you don’t want. Our Recon Pro line of rims comes standard with our Pro 5-year Warranty against manufacture’s defects and, for the first time ever, with the option to upgrade this standard warranty to our Premium Lifetime Warranty.
Available in both 650B and 29er
|Rim model||Outer Width||Depth||Discipline||Weight(+/-15g)||Price(each)||Explore|
|29er-XC925||30mm||23mm||Cross Country||295g flyweight
|29er-AM927||33mm||24mm||All Mountain||400g||USD 269||
|29er-AM930||36mm||25mm||All Mountain||440g||USD 279||
|29er-AM935||41mm||27mm||All Mountain||470g||USD 289||
|650B -XC725||30mm||23mm||Cross Country||285g flyweight
|650B-AM727||33mm||24mm||All Mountain||385g||USD 269||
|650B-AM730||36mm||25mm||All Mountain||425g||USD 279||
|650B-AM735||41mm||27mm||All Mountain||455g||USD 289||