Easton Licenses Topolino Carbon Fiber Wheels Technology

Topolino Technology True Black VR4 carbon kevlar road bike wheels

Easton Cycling has just announced that they’re licensing Topolino’s composite technology for their bicycle wheels.

Shown above, Topolino’s wheels use a unique, continuous carbon/kevlar spoke that runs from rim to rim. The spokes run through the hub, rather than to it, so there’s no cutting or unnecessary interruption of the fibers. They say this makes a stiffer, lighter wheel. Topolino’s spokes have a carbon fiber central section surrounded by kevlar on the leading and trailing edges. This makes them strong and stiff, but with a durable exterior that also helps dampen road vibration.

Should be interesting to see what comes of this partnership. Full PR below…

PRESS RELEASE: Easton Cycling and Topolino Technology today announced a licensing agreement that will advance Easton Cycling wheels through the use of lighter and stiffer composite technology developed by Topolino. The long-­term agreement benefits Easton as it continues to invest in its brand and the wheel category. In conjunction with this agreement, Topolino will discontinue their Carbon Core and True Black bicycle wheel lines. However, Topolino will continue to provide parts, service and support for its customers’ existing wheels while focusing on its new line of high­?performance wheelchair wheels. The initial fruits of this agreement are expected to reach the marketplace next year.

“We are excited by the combination of Topolino Technology’s innovative designs and Easton’s materials leadership,” said Marty Mares, Business Unit Director for Easton Cycling. “This partnership will build on Easton’s momentum in the wheel category and deliver products that will improve cycling performance, whether for Pro Tour riders like Cadel Evans and the BMC Team or everyday cycling enthusiasts.”

Since the late 1980’s, Easton has led the bicycle industry in the engineering and development of composite materials. Today Easton engineers and product development team leverage in-­house testing labs, company owned composite manufacturing facilities, wind tunnels World Champion cyclists in pursuit of best in class products.

“As the founder of Topolino, this agreement is an exciting next step. Easton Cycling has the marketing and manufacturing muscle of Easton-­Bell Sports behind it, which will allow the company to reach a wider audienceand fully take advantage of this unique technology,” said Rafe Schlanger, Topolino Technology’s president.

Topolino Technology hand-?builds its composite wheels in the small town of Bethel, CT, as it has for over 10 years. Topolino’s signature composite spokes, both lighter and stiffer than traditional steel spokes, are also designed to provide superior vibration damping characteristics, resulting in a smoother ride, with more control.

Comments

CW - 10/16/12 - 2:19pm

VOMIT

Dan - 10/16/12 - 2:41pm

Let’s see if Easton can polish that turd.

Speedy - 10/16/12 - 3:32pm

If only they were addressing the AWFUL braking surface rather than the not-an-issue spokes. Last I checked Sapim CX-Rays laced to a hub worked just fine.

themanwhoknewtoomuch - 10/16/12 - 3:45pm

Knobs will destroy aerodynamics …

Mindless - 10/16/12 - 3:52pm

The way to address AWFUL braking surface is to use disk brakes.

Ajax - 10/16/12 - 4:14pm

Well, I think it is pretty cool and I, for one, applaud their efforts at more vibration dampening.

T - 10/16/12 - 4:15pm

Easton has a proven track record of taking crap wheel designs and leveraging their considerable market share to bury the competition in poorly designed wheels with dubious construction. Nothing to see here.

professore - 10/16/12 - 4:34pm

I wonder if these will be better than the King/DT/Open Pro wheels I built 9 years ago (for about $450) and never have had to true.

Meta - 10/16/12 - 5:30pm

There is no reason for anyone to consider this pile of rubbish. Easton for the most part is a rubbish company anyway. Tons of superb wheels out there now from Reynolds, Zipp, hell even ebay-chinese would be bitter than anything Easton ever made.

Dans - 10/16/12 - 5:36pm

Worst wheel brand on the market old crappy molds and designs with updated logos every other year.

David B - 10/16/12 - 7:30pm

I have had Easton carbon mtb wheels that are the best I have had. They are easy to service and run tubeless. Their customer service is among the best I have experienced. Their carbon rims are hard to beat, so it makes sense that they would look for another edge in the spoke side. I’m not completely sold, but I sure will look for how the reviews turn out.

Jim - 10/16/12 - 8:26pm

i would definitely buy and Easton baseball bat which I could use to beat the crap out of the horrible Easton Wheels.

Brendan - 10/16/12 - 9:15pm

I’ve never commented here before, so I’m wary to jump in here, but I’ve had nothing but good experiences with my Topolino wheels. Admittedly I have the model laced to a regular rim, so the braking track is a non-issue, but they’ve got well over 10,000 miles on them and have only been trued once. I will concede that it would be a big pain to replace a broken spoke, but I haven’t heard of that happening too often.

Although the Topolino design has its drawbacks, I think it’s important to have companies like this in the industry just to change things up a bit. That’s all.

wigs - 10/16/12 - 11:16pm

Poop, meet poop

fanboy - 10/16/12 - 11:56pm

so Easton is the Crank Brothers of the road world?

greg - 10/17/12 - 12:22am

no. but tipolino is. easton is the easton of road wheels.

Spencer - 10/17/12 - 2:16am

Poop meet poop is the best comment so far. All seem pretty accurate though. Poop meet poop. HA!

Dex - 10/17/12 - 3:42am

Topolino wheels are ok if your a 150lb or lighter rider who doesn’t climb, descend, or ride on anything but smooth tarmac. If your a 190lb wattmonster who bombs descents at 45+mph attacks 23% grades or rides on farm roads or cracked tarmac then the topolinos will be headed back and forth to the factory to be fixed before you ultimately make like a decathlete and use them as oversized discus tossing them mightily off the side of a mountain.

G... - 10/17/12 - 4:49am

If the two sets of Haven’s I have here are anything to go by, Easton wheels, or at least the rear ones, will spend most of their time NOT on the bike. At least I didn’t pay for them… and I’m sorry for those that have.

Joey B - 10/17/12 - 6:19am

Have a customer who bought Easton carbon clinchers only to have issue with the carbon. Easton replaced both rims with tubulars at his request. The rear tubular rim now has issues. Easton makes some quality products but I don’t think wheels fall into that category.

Danno - 10/17/12 - 11:49am

Wow, lots of H8. My Orion II’s treated me awesome, but maybe because they were from an earlier era and still had Velomax decals on them. Thought the Topolino fiber spoke deal was dead though. So 2003

Speedy - 10/17/12 - 1:18pm

@ Danno, their aluminum wheels (for road at least) are decent. I have a set of Easton Circuit wheels from a few years back that are still going strong and have needed very little maintenance. However, buy Easton carbon clinchers based on the performance of my Circuit’s was not the best decision. Mine, like so many others delaminated on the brake track. As I said prior, spending time and R/D on these spokes is a waste of time. Improving their rim design and carbon braking surface seems like a better use of resources. But that is just my novice opinion.

steve - 10/17/12 - 4:33pm

The Easton wheels for sure have some known issue, as do most brands. However I don’t see why there is so much hate on this announcement. It sounds like most of you think they will just make Topolino wheels with Easton logos, however if you read this announcement from other sources it says they are obtaining the patent. The one thing that is attractive about the Topolino wheel is that they are tension spokes, and can be trued unlike most carbon wheels on the market which under load the spokes go to zero or compression and can not be serviced. I applaud and encourage any company that wants to innovate. I will wait to pass judgement on the end product to see what they do with this technology

J - 10/17/12 - 4:35pm

I wonder how many people who have made a comment have ridden a set of Topolino wheels

steve - 10/17/12 - 4:58pm

The Easton wheels for sure have some known issue, as do most brands. However I don’t see why there is so much hate on this announcement. It sounds like most of you think they will just make Topolino wheels with Easton logos, however if you read this announcement from other sources it says they are obtaining the patent. The one thing that is attractive about the Topolino wheel is that they are tension spoke, unlike most carbon wheels on the market which under load the spokes go to zero tension or compression. I applaud and encourage any company that wants to innovate. I will wait to dismiss to see what they do with this technology, and the complete wheel.

Mark W. - 10/17/12 - 7:11pm

@steve
sapim and dt-swiss steel spokes are still super solid and you can still build crazy stiff and light wheels with them that ride well. this acquirement begs the question, ‘why doesn’t easton fix its know problems to make a better wheel?’ Myself, like others here, think that they are going after fixing a none problem with their wheels, they are acquiring a spoke technology, when it is the nice hubs and carbon rims more people have problems with, not their spokes. I think they would do well not to start mess with their spokes, and unlike the wheels above, stick to smaller spoke counts with alloy spokes, and better their actual problems.

greg - 10/18/12 - 12:19am

steve,
the only wheels with carbon spokes that go slack under load that i know of are the Reynolds RZR (and its pervy stepfather, Lew).
the only wheels with carbon spokes that go from tension to compression that i know of are Mavic RSys.
all others are intended to stay in tension.
i hope easton has something more up their sleeves than just adding topolino “tech” to what they already have.

Steve - 10/18/12 - 2:43am

@mark. Nowhere does it say that Easton is not working on their hub and rim issues, so I will take the release at face value. I agree that I hope Easton adresses their more urgent needs first. If they launch a product with the same hub and rim issues it would be a failure. However if those are adresses I would like to see what they can do with this technology.

@greg, the lightweight and mad fiber also lose all tension under rider & cornering loads. Once a spoke has no tension (and is fixed at both ends) it is in compression. Traditional spokes are only fixed at one end the hub, but the nipple is free to move up into the rim, the carbon spoke wheels are fixed at both ends so they are in compression once tension is lost.

echotraveler - 10/18/12 - 9:05pm

funny stuff, thanx guys.

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