The 3k 12K UD carbon fiber weave for rim and frame

What is the difference for 3k, UD and 12k ?

The main type of carbon fiber used for the manufacture of bicycle parts are normal tow (under 12000 fibers) carbon fiber, like T700, or commonly known as 3k, 12k weave, and UD(uni-direction) carbon fiber.


carbon rim 3k 12k ud

carbon rim 3k 12k ud

carbon fiber weave 3k

carbon fiber weave 3k

carbon fiber weave 12k

carbon fiber weave 12k

carbon fiber weave UD

carbon fiber weave UD


Bicycle components, specifically carbon frames & rims are made using various grades of carbon fiber characterized mainly by their tensile strength and tensile modulus. Tensile strength is the amount of force needed to cause the fibers to break, while the tensile modulus is a measure of the carbon fiber's stiffness.


The cost of carbon fiber goes up with the increase in tensile strength, or increase in tensile modulus. And for carbon fiber weave also determines the cost of material with larger weave prepreg (eg.12k) costing less, due to the lower cost of manufacturing.


Carbon fiber layer(prepreg) has maximum strength only along the lengths of the fibers. That is why almost all the inside prepreg are using uni-directional carbon fiber while making carbon rims & frames. But the inside layup charts are still not identical. For example, the orientation are different( some are placed at 0 degree, some are 45 degree, 90 degree). This is very important to make carbon rims & frames with good strength & performance. That is also why using uni-directional fiber instead of woven carbon fiber (eg. 3k, 12k) creates stronger frames & rims.

Thus, the main use of woven carbon fiber is for appearance. But there is one mechanical benefit for 3k woven carbon fiber. Putting the 3k woven carbon fiber around hole area, it can prevent carbon fiber from laminating while machining holes.


For the weight difference, woven fiber has some area pass across each other. So, woven fiber is heavier than UD fiber. But, for rims, the size of carbon fiber is not large and only one layer different, the weight difference of woven fiber (3k &12k) and UD fiber is not big. Also, all rims have a weight range, for rims, it is +/-15g. So, sometimes, 3k rims & frames are lighter than UD.


For big size product (like frame), 3k frame will be heavier than UD. And for 12k, the weight different is not much difference.


carbon rim weave 3k matte

carbon rim weave 3k matte


carbon rim weave 12k matte

carbon rim weave 12k matte


carbon rim weave UD matte

carbon rim weave UD matte



Customer Reviews

  
2014-09-26

Jo :

Hello, I'm would like to know if there is any difference in terms of durability or bending between the 700c rim with 3k 12k or UD? Best regards, Jo

2014-09-27

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Jo, Thanks for your inquiry. For 3k/12k/UD, it is the outer carbon fiber layer to make the carbon fiber with different outlook. It is only the outer layer different and all the inside carbon fiber are the same. So, the strength & weight are almost the same. 3k/UD & matte are more popular. May I know which rim you'd prefe? Then I can mail you the attached cross-section drawing of rim and more detail information. Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2014-09-14

abdullah :

hi, i am making a trike for human powered vehicle challenge(HPVC) India 2015. i would like to know which grade will be best for that and what is the price of that grade .

2014-09-15

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Sir, Thanks for your inquiry. May I know the size of the rim? Is it 700C road rim? Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2014-07-24

Michael :

I would like to know the price of a MTB AM 27.5 wheel set Price U.S.$ for -- Non-clincher, 35mm x 27.5 (32 or 36h) with Chris King Hubs ISO 15 and ISO XD (Front15mm, Rear ISO XD 142x12 SRAM 11spd) finish UD matte Price US$ for 35mm x 27.5 (32 or 36h) with HOPE Pro 2 EVO 15mm front & Pro 2 EVO XD (142x12 Sram 11spd) UD matte finish Also, do you have an opinion about doing 32h vs. 36 hole for strength, durability, and longevity (lifespan) for a Giant Trance Advanced SX trail bike that is ridden very aggressively. Shipped to California, USA Thank you.

2014-07-24

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Michael, Thanks for your inquiry. Please find the attached cross-section drawing of the 35mm wide 27.5er hookless AM rim. It's OK to manufacture the rims with UD matte. http://www.flickr.com/photos/light-bicycle/sets/72157631432948364/detail/ Currently, there is no Chris King Hub here. But we have Hope pro 2 evo 15mm thru axle and 142*12mm thru axle for SRAM xx1. The hole is just with 32H, no 36H. The 32H wheels are strong and OK for most of customers. May I know your weight? For the spokes, it’s black bladed Pillar Aero X-TRA 1420 (4.3g/pcs for 260mm) and black/red/blue/green/gold(alloy) and silver(brass) nipples. Which color do you prefer? Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2014-03-21

craig :

I'm a little confused with this 3k and 12k Carbon. Is 12 or 3K best for a Rd bike Racer/Sportive bike or is this just a cosmetic think thanks

2014-03-28

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Craig, Thanks for your inquiry. For 3k/12k/UD, it is the outer carbon fiber layer to make the carbon fiber with different outlook. It is only the outer layer different and all the inside carbon fiber are the same. So, the strength & weight is almost the same. 3k/UD & matte are more popular. Which rim do you prefer? I would mail you the cross-section drawing and more detail information. Cheers, Light-bicycle

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2013-12-25

Kurt :

I would like to know the price for the new kind of 29er mtb wheelset (35mm outer width & 25mm depth) with new process: with, RED Rotaz or HOPE PRO 2 EVO, spoke: Pillar Aero X-TRA 1420 red nipples, UD matte 32H. With quick release

2013-12-26

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Kurt, Thanks for your inquiry. Please find the attached cross-section drawing of the 29er hookless rim(35mm outer width). So, your order is as below, right? Rims: UD matte and 32H Hubs: red Rotaz FD140/ RD240 QR(with quick release) or HOPE PRO 2 EVO standard QR(without quick release, should be purchased separately) Spokes: black bladed Pillar Aero X-TRA 1420 Nipples: red pillar alloy The price is USD598 with Rotaz and USD818 with Hope hubs for a pair wheels. The shipping cost is USD78 for a pair wheels to USA by EMS. Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-12-16

Matthew :

Is there any difference in rim's protection between matte and glossy cover?

2013-12-17

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Matt, hanks for your inquiry. For the finish(matte and glossy), they are with different coating. Please find the attached pictures. For 3k/12k/UD, it is the outer carbon fiber layer to make the carbon fiber with different outlook. It is only the outer layer different and all the inside carbon fiber are the same. So, the strength & weight is almost the same. UD & matte are more popular. http://www.flickr.com/photos/light-bicycle/sets/72157631432948364/detail/ May I know which rim you prefer? I can mail you the cross-section drawing and more information of it. Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-10-31

Bhupesh :

I live in Mumbai. The roads are very bad here. I want to make a light weight full carbon fibre bike. I like 3K weave pattern. Which do you suggest 3k, UD, or 12K? Is there any price difference between the different types of the carbon fibre? I want a 52cm frame, 1-1/8"fork, 27.2mm 350mm seat post, 29er (or 700c) rims to accommodate about 28mm wide tires.Bo bottle cages, or handlebars. How much would this all cost shipped to USA New York address Pincode 10018.

2013-11-05

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Bhupesh, Thanks for your inquiry. Sorry for the late reply, i just saw your message here. Which carbon bike do you like? road or cyclocross? size52? For the weave, 3k and UD is the most popular. So, your choice 3k is good. For rims, do you like 24mm deep/38mm deep/50mm deep? clincher or tubular? We have them with 23mm wide for road rims. It should be ok for 28mm tire. Thanks, Light-bicycle

2013-12-05

Carl :

Hello Light-Bicycle, here's a link to a bike i want to purchase. do you think it's worth it after reading the description? http://www.ebay.com/itm/2013-carbon-cycle-26-mountain-bike-carbon-fiber-/281207326555?_trksid=p2047675.l2557&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&nma=true&si=UbvrB6qM5bVTMwAW%2BJLxeEL6NKw%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

2013-12-06

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Carl, The link can not open. Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-10-13

Kenny :

How much extra weight in grams apprx. does clear coat add?

2013-10-14

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Kenny, The weight will be around 7g~8g added for clear coat painting. Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-08-07

Tiaan :

hi I'm Looking into making my own Triathlon Bike Frame can you please tell me what Carbon to use please Do I need to use 12k and 3k or can I only use 3k for the complete bike

2013-08-09

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Tiaan, Thanks for your inquiry. it is ok to manufacture frames for you, But normally, it is UD inside the whole frame, 3k on the top of frame. Why you like 3k for the whole frame? Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-07-19

Kenny :

Hi, I am interested in the 26 mtb carbon rims..but I now sure whether to use the 3k ,12k or UD wave ?will be using the rims for trail riding and light jumps and downhill

2013-07-19

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Kenny, Thanks for your inquiry. Currently, if you like rims for downhill, you can choose our new 26er rims. Please find attached rim cross-section drawing. It is 33mm wide and 30mm deep. The rim weight for DH will be around 460g /-15. If you like DH riding, you can choose UD, then 3k. These two are the best. Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-06-20

Gingerflash :

What can you tell me about the braking track on your clinchers? Do they have any special finish or treatment to improve wet braking and to cope with heat build-up? Thanks.

2013-06-21

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Richard, For brake track, we have basalt braking surface, and high resin to prevent from high temperature after long-time braking. Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-02-24

tom :

Matt : Hi, I'm living in Perth, Western Australia and would like to purchase the parts to build my own bike. I like the look of mountain bikes but would like 29" wheels. Can you; 1 - 'create' the most complete bike using the parts you manufacture(I would prefer matt finish with decals), 2 - email me the parts (so I can look at them on your site), 3 - provide cost for parts & shipping. Look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Thomas

2013-02-25

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Thomas, Thanks for your inquriy. And for 29er wheels, we have two types of 29er rims. One is narrow, and the other is wider and much stronger. The weight is sometimes the same. Which do you prefer? You can let us know your shipping address, then we can get the shipping cost accordingly for you. For decals, do you like our company logo or you like rims with your own logo? http://www.flickr.com/photos/light-bicycle/sets/72157631717562968/detail/ Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-02-24

Andy :

Hi, I have noticed that Zipp and Reynolds and many other expensive companies use UD carbon, not 3K for their wheels. Does that make the wheel lighter? If I order a Special Assembly wheelset from you in UD, will it be stronger?

2013-02-25

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Andy, Thanks for your inquiry. For UD layers, it is uni-direction. And the strength will be the best along the direction. So, it should be the strongest. But for rims, it is only the top layer different, all the inside are all UD layers. So, the strength is not much different. The weight & strength is almost the same. It is ok to order UD wheelset. Which size do you like? Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-02-11

Richard :

Good day, is 88mm carbon wheel stronger than 60mm wheel, and is 'uni-directional' weave better than '3K' weave, for 88mm wheel ? Thank you

2013-02-13

Light-Bicycle :

Hello Richard, Thanks for your inquiry. Yes, 88mm rims are stronger than 60mm, it is deeper. And for 88mm rims, the strength & weight for 3k & UD is almost the same, because the all the inside layers are the same, only the outer layer is different. http://www.flickr.com/photos/light-bicycle/sets/72157631588239854/detail/ Thanks, Light-bicycle

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2013-01-16

John :

so if given the choice between 3k and UD on a set of 50mm carbon rims which is better? 3k or UD? stronger stiffer lighter?

2013-01-16

Light-Bicycle :

Hello John,Thanks for your inquiry.For 50mm rims, we suggest you to order 3k matte. The strength is almost the same. But most customers like the top layer is 3k carbon layer.And it also looks nicer. Attached picture is for 3k 50mm rims.Thanks,Light-bicycle

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2012-09-25

Matt :

Hi, I'm living in Perth, Western Australia and would like to purchase the parts to build my own bike. I like the look of mountain bikes but would like 29" wheels. Can you; 1 - 'create' the most complete bike using the parts you manufacture(I would prefer matt finish with decals), 2 - email me the parts (so I can look at them on your site), 3 - provide cost for parts & shipping. Look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Matt

2012-09-25

Support :

Hello Matt, Thanks for your inquiry. You like to build a complete mtb 29er bike. correct? We have wheels, frame, fork, bars(do you like flat bar, or rise bar?), bottle cages, and seat posts. If it is all what you need, then we can make a list of pictures & price for you. Thanks, Light-bicycle

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