Different carbon rim appearance

Do you know the different carbon rim appearance?

Carbon rim have different appearance. 3K, UD and 12K are three different weaves version of carbon fiber. The three weaves have widely used in manufacture carbon bicycle products. There is a lot of debate online about the difference between 3K, UD and 12K carbon appearance. People who are new to the carbon fiber rims may not know much about the carbon weaves.

UD is the abbreviation of Uni-Directional. The fibers weave by UD have arranged in one direction. And the UD weave is most common in making carbon fiber products. 3K means 3,000 filaments per “tow” and 12K means 12,000. They have discussed like a net. And the 3K weave carbon fiber is best known to people.Different weaving styles give carbon fiber different looks and properties.


Carbon Rim Appearance:

  • Pleas have a look at the below inset. It has showed the different issues and the different looks of the bicycle rim.
  • The UD weave looks like solid black. The crossover 12K weave pattern is 4 times the size of the 3K weave.
  • Most people may also know 1K, 6K, 18K and 24K. They are also crossed, just the size of the pattern is different.

Carbon Rim Performance:

For the carbon rims, normally we do not discuss the stiffness between the different weaves. Because the strength is almost the same in different weaves. The carbon fiber rims in different weaves are only the different in the outer layer carbon fiber. Inside all the different braided rims, mostly UD carbon fiber. We usually just consider different weaves just to show a different look.

However, they still differ in performance.

As we all know, the carbon fiber layer is a composite material of carbon fiber and resin material, which is used to bond the carbon fiber. And the 3K carbon fiber is arranged in a net-like cross. Therefore, 3K carbon fiber functions as a mesh to filter excess resin inside carbon fiber products. When building bicycle rims, we usually add a layer of 3K carbon fiber inside the rim channel to filter excess resin to balance the carbon fiber and resin material content. Another advantage of 3K carbon fiber is that it protects the spoke holes from peeling when drilling. That’s why we love adding layers of 3K braided fibers inside the rim. The advantage of UD carbon fiber is strength. That’s why we use UD fiber to make all our rims for support.

Also, there is an idea that a braided fiber like 3K would theoretically have better impact strength as the outer layer of a rim. But there is no real experience or testing to back this up. If you want to know more of the carbon bicycle rim production process, please have a look here.

In conclusion:

As mentioned before, whether it is a UD 3K or a 12K braided rim, the interior is mainly composed of UD fibers and a layer of 3K fibers. Our team makes all carbon fiber products high performance. No matter what kind of weave they use as an outer layer. There is no need to discuss the performance of the rim used for weaving. May the customer freely choose the weaving you like.


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