Carbon fiber first became popular for its strong, light properties in the world of aerospace, but eventually made its way to the automotive world. Once reserved for high-end supercars, this miracle material is now available on more attainable vehicles. Now it is making its way to wheels, like the Forgeline Carbon+Forged wheels.
“Carbon fiber is really popular in the aftermarket in general,” David Schardt, owner of Forgeline, explained. “It is significantly lighter than steel. It is stronger in some aspects and stiffer in some aspects. And, people think it looks really cool as well.”
Forgeline worked with EMERGENT to fuse its aluminum wheel centers with lightweight, carbon fiber barrels. This allows for a flexible wheel that can be customized for your application and still reduce wheel weight by over 40 percent.
It makes for a very, very light wheel that is still customizable. — David Schardt, Forgeline
As manufacturers and enthusiasts looked for a way to shave weight to improve performance, it was only natural for carbon fiber wheels to become a thing. Notably, vehicles like the Ford GT and Shelby GT350R offer full carbon fiber wheels, but those units are designed specifically for those cars. What happens if you want some carbon fiber wheels for your ride?
“As far as the aftermarket goes, you would have to make a mold for every, single, different kind of car, so you can’t customize it very much. You don’t want to change the colors and the designs end up being kind of bland. The obvious choice was to do just the rim because the inertia affects the wheel the most, as that’s the weight on the outermost part of the wheel,” David said. “Then we make an aluminum center, like we normally would, that you can customize in any color, style or offset to make that easy. It makes for a very, very light wheel that is still customizable like our others.”
Currently the wheels are available in two styles, the CF201, which features a five V-spoke design, and the CF202, which features a directional, split-five-spoke design. Both are available in 20- and 21-inch sizes. The 20×9-inch version weighs just 17 pounds; with the 20×12-inch version tip the scales at only 18.5 pounds. More importantly, these wheels shave the weight with a carbon fiber barrel and an aluminum center section, so they are lighter where it matters most, which is said to improve acceleration, braking, ride quality, fuel economy and more.
By using a two-piece structure — carbon fiber barrel and CNC-machined aluminum center — the Carbon+Forged wheels can be customized in a myriad of ways to fit and match your vehicle.
The outside barrel is 40 percent lighter than our lightest forged wheel. — David Schardt, Forgeline
“So take our best, lightest wheel and the outside barrel is 40 percent lighter than our lightest forged wheel. That reduces the inertia, obviously, so it is substantial,” Dave said. “It is also stiff and robust. A lot of people worry about hitting a pothole and breaking them, but they probably have 35 percent more impact capability than an aluminum rim. They are not something you are going to have to worry about. They are strong enough for Detroit streets or wherever you drive.”
In fact, Forgeline says are built to exceed both SAE and TUV test specs and surpass the AK-LH 08 Radial Impact Test standard. Of course, striking good looks, light weight and durability in a high-tech package comes at considerable cost. These wheels retail for about $15,000 for a set of four.
Forgeline’s owner, David Schardt, showed us just how light the Carbon+Forged wheels are. They are 42 percent lighter than the company’s lightest aluminum wheels, tipping the scales at only 17 pounds for a 20×9-inch example and 18.5 pounds for a 20×12-inch example.
“They end up on the higher end cars,” he said. “Actually the first set of wheels that we sold was for a Corvette ZR-1, but we are imagining them on Lamborginis, Ferraris, Mercedes, and Porsche GT3/GT4. We have an order for a Pro Touring, widebody Camaro though, so I think people want something completely different and you will probably see them on a lot of different stuff.”
So, whether you have a high-end build or a supercar, Forgeline can hook you up with a high-tech, high-performance wheel customized to your specifications. For more on the Carbon+Forged wheels, visit the official Forgeline site here.