Zach from Bike Rumor was kind enough to pay us a visit as the first Astral Rims came down the pipeline. Below are some excerpts from Zach's "First Look" story on Astral and how the design and tech from Rolf Prima lends itself to our new line of standalone rims.
Read the full article HERE!
Copy and Photos below courtesy of Zach Overholt
". . . The Astral concept has been in the works for Rolf Prima since 2011, but they finally feel like they have the space and the people to make it work. It wasn’t until 2014 that Rolf started making aluminum rims in Eugene, and Brian admits that it took a long time to get the process just right. . . That’s led Rolf to design some of their own tools like the spoke drilling machine [below] which was completely built in house.
"Everything Rolf and Astral does is meant to provide the most consistent and precise rim dimensions possible. That’s why all Rolf and Astral aluminum rims that have a brake track where both sides are machined at the same time. This ensures that both sides are perfectly parallel. Ever had a rim that shuddered when braking no matter how the brake was adjusted? Brian mentioned that this could be a result of unparallel brake tracks. Rims start as 14ft extrusions that will end up making two rims. If you’re wondering about the price of Astral rims, consider this: the cost of just the raw material is about the same cost as a finished rim from Taiwan. Clearly, Rolf is not doing this to compete on price – but quality.
". . . Just as important as the building of the rim, Rolf performs the same extensive testing on Astral rims in house as well. From their fatigue tester which was built in partnership with Michigan Tech that can perform ISO fatigue testing and brake track heat testing (and go way past ISO standards), to impact testing, lateral stiffness, and spoke pull through testing, Astral rims are put through the wringer."
"With all the testing in house, it’s enabled Rolf to test the exact same rim with the same number of spokes, with one drilled traditional and one drilled paired. Both wheels test just as well with the exception of the paired spoke rim offering better lateral stiffness for the same number of spokes, or the ability to build the same lateral stiffness with fewer spokes than a traditional wheel. Rolf also took the opportunity to show the difference between paired and non-paired designs in terms of spoke failure. By completely detensioning a single spoke on both wheels [below], with the same rim, same number of spokes, and same hub, we were able to see that there was a negligible 0.03″ difference in lateral run out between the two.
". . . For the moment, Astral will only be available as rim only, though complete builds are always a possibility in the future since Rolf Already has the infrastructure. More on that in the full factory tour coming soon!"