All 9th Wave wheels are completely hand built by craftsmen in the Netherlands. Because the quality of a wheel set is the result of a perfect balance between the best materials, workmanship and good tools.
To ensure consistent quality we work with professional wheel truing stands and wheel alignment gauges from Park Tool. Next to that we use the superior spoke tension meter from Sapim together with a custom built pneumatic wheel stress machine. This enables us to guarantee that each wheel by 9th Wave has a perfect spoke tension and no need to retention the spokes after riding.
Most of our rims wheels have the typical 9th Wave signature shape. I.e. We design all our wheels asymmetrically when we see the opportunity for it and if it makes sense.
On our asymmetrical rims, the spoke holes are placed out of the center of the rim. Because of this we can build better quality wheels with a minimal difference in spoke tension between the left side and right side of the wheels. This benefits the total build quality of the wheels and ultimately the biking characteristics.
9th Wave disc rims have a hookless design for quick and easy mounting of tubeless tires and full use of the width of the rim. Additionally a hookless rim has superior impact durability and the extra volume created (without bead hook) helps to improve your traction on the trail.
For Road disc rims, We used the design of the mountain bike wheels as a basis. The only exception is a tiny bulge in the leading edge of the rim so that the rim is not 100% hookless but provides additional security at higher pressure.
At 9th Wave we tune the number of spokes in a wheel to match the wheel characteristics and we drill the spoke holes in the rim at an angle with an average of 6° with a laser-controlled robot. This results in significantly less stress on spoke and nipple when building the wheel because the spokes are aligned perfectly from the rim to the hub. In addition to the asymmetric rim these special drilled spoke holes contribute dramatically at a better built wheel.
For the critics: Drilling holes in the carbon does not affect the durability of the rim. In the layup process, dozens of layers 3k carbon in different directions are overlaid on each other (at 45 ° difference per layer). The woven fabric of 3K carbon and the many layers assure there are no harmful effects due to disruption of the structure.
In fact, the drilling of spoke holes has a number of advantages with respect to laminating spoke holes in carbon. Application of spoke holes during the laminating of the carbon, may cause undesirable thickening in the carbon formed around the spoke holes. Because of these thickenings problems may arise in a later stage with the building and tensioning of the wheel. By drilling the holes afterwards a nice even carbon lay up can be realized.
An additional benefit is greater flexibility because we use a rim from the same mold for 20, 24, 28 or 32 holes at customer requirement.
9th Wave logos on carbon products made with waterslide transfers. The super thin decals are applied very accurately after which the product is provided with a layer of matte or glossy clearcoat. Please, never use the word Sticker around one of our people…;-) To us it’s swearing! By using transfers your gear will stay neat and shiny for a long time and it will not suffer from discolored or loose stickers. We think your quality gear deserves a quality finish. The aluminum rims from 9th Wave logos are laser engraved.
Carbon lay up is pretty similar to the secret recipe of a star chef. The people who do the layup of the carbon rims determine the properties and much of the quality of the rim. You’ll understand: about our recipe we will not give too much away.
What we want to tell about this: We use different thicknesses, shapes and laying directions. For solidity we always make the core of our rims with 3K carbon, with a mix of UD carbon on the outside. The UD carbon on the outside of the rim mainly has an optical function.
And we like to emphasize that we make our wheels out of one piece of carbon per layer. This method requires more skill because it is difficult to put the large pieces into the mold without wrinkles. The advantage is, however, that the rim will be much sturdier and more reliable as opposed to less expensive wheels in which 3 or 4 parts are laminated against each other. (Hence cheaper wheels are often easily recognized by several planes in the carbon, Look for it, you will notice!)
The extremely lightweight ninefold editions of the 9th Wave wheels are created by a different lay-up method which is made possible by using a expensive and even higher quality carbon.
The assumption of many people that less carbon was used is not correct. However, the carbon lay up is processed more accurate ,therefore some material is saved. The best results, however, is achieved by a replacing parts of the carbon layers by a more expensive and higher quality carbon. A combination of different materials remains necessary in order not to affect the handling of the rim. (Example: a rim entirely from lightweight, high-quality carbon would be so stiff that no flex is left, which would only make the rim brittle and fragile) Read more…
During the production of the rim, an air bag is placed inside the rim. When mold is placed into the oven, the air bag is put under pressure very accurately to form the carbon. When the rim is finished, the airbag is completely removed. We’re doing this work very carefully and never leave airbag remains behind inside the rim.
There are brands that make bulges around the spoke holes on the outside of the rim to impress. 9th Wave has been reinforcing it’s rims since its founding in 2014 by 3 mm thick solid carbon fiber around the spoke holes to provide extra strength in places where it really matters. The wall thickness of the rest of the rim ranges from 3 mm to the spoke holes up to 0.8 mm in places where it is allowed to again 3 mm thickness at the rim horns (for mountain bike rims).