Reinventing the wheel: Carbondale’s Revel Bikes crafts wheel using new material
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Revel Bikes owner Adam Miller found something special in Carbondale.
Now mountain bikers can find something special in his products.
Revel Bikes’ RW30 wheel is made from Fusion-Fiber, a carbon fiber material unlike what bike enthusiasts may be familiar with.
Revel’s website claims Fusion-Fiber is “a toughened, high performance composite polymer that makes for a significantly more durable, lighter, and better riding wheel with a nice damped feel.”
If you were to compare a piece of Fusion-Fiber with a piece of regular carbon fiber, “The weight is the same, but (Fusion-Fiber is) so much stronger that you can use less,” Miller said.
Fusion-Fiber was created by CSS Composites in an aerospace facility in southern Utah. Miller said what makes the material unique is the use of nylon rather than epoxy to hold the carbon fiber pieces together.
For one thing, epoxy is brittle and can fracture, the website says, while nylon is flexible.
Epoxy is also not healthy for the environment or the worker, especially during sanding, when the resin can be inhaled, Miller said.
And as unlikely as it may sound, Revel’s RW30 wheels are recyclable. Not in the sense of making new wheels from old wheels, but the website explains how old rims are chopped into small blocks that are then melted down and turned into other parts. “Think stem, seat collar, chain guide. This is just the beginning, so we are experimenting,” Miller said.
Revel lucked into use of this material from Miller’s friendship with Joe Stanish of CSS.
“Joe reached out to me to be their first partner. … I think about how lucky I am when there are so many bigger bike brands out there,” Miller said.
For now, Revel is the only bike company using Fusion-Fiber, though “some other brands will have some products made from this material later this summer,” Miller said.
The RW30 became available Feb. 27. Built wheels sell for $1,975 or $2,200, depending on the hub.
Miller is no stranger to the bike industry. After growing up in Anchorage, he went to school in Colorado Springs, where he founded Borealis Fat Bikes. He sold that business in 2015. After a move to Ogden, Utah, he founded both Revel Bikes and Why Cycles in 2016. He moved himself and his business to Carbondale in 2017.
“Why Cycles and Revel bikes is the exact same company, just two separate brands. Why Cycles makes upscale titanium bikes, while Revel makes upscale carbon full-suspension mountain bikes,” Miller said.
Currently, Revel offers two bikes in addition to the wheels. Complete bikes range from $4,999 for the cheapest component build to $9,999 for the high end. Revel bikes can be ordered online at revelbikes.com and from four online dealers (found on the website) or at dealers spread across the country.
Why Cycles has six bikes for distinctly different purposes: a road bike; a bikepacking bike; a hardtail mountain bike; a dirt jump bike; a fat bike; and a road/gravel/cross bike that can also accommodate mountain bike wheels. The cheapest offering is $2,999 for the normal build on the dirt jump bike; most expensive is $8,299 for the high-end-build bikepacking bike. Why Cycles bikes can be ordered online at whycycles.com or through a dealer, including Aloha Mountain Cyclery in Carbondale.
The bikes are built in China at what Miller calls “an awesome factory.”
The headquarters of Why Cycles/Revel Bikes is at 770 Industry Place Unit B in Carbondale, where all the brain work takes place, and the public is (normally) welcome.
“We have a showroom built out and an espresso bar offering free espresso — beans roasted from First Ascent Coffee Roasters in Crested Butte and shipped to us weekly; we’re espresso nerds, too — to people shopping for bikes. Free demo rides, too. But during the COVID stuff we are shut down to the public. As soon as it all blows over, stop by to check out some bikes,” Miller said.