The Taiwan Bicycle
Manufacturing Industry Review

Rim Manufacturing-Visit to Kinlin

Glenn Reeves

Kinlin are not the biggest rim makers around but they certainly are a quality producer with customers that include Dahon, Giant, Ritchey, Reynolds, American Classic to name a few.

Kinlin Rims

I currently use their XR-200 rim for a wheelset that I put together two or so years ago which has proved to be very popular.

This recent visit was to see what is new, thinking I could upgrade from XR-200, or source an even higher quality rim and add a wheelset to the range, particularly deeper rim.

XR200 is low profile, very durable, weighing in at 380 grams though, so it would be a hard act to follow.

I went on a quick tour of the factory to get a better idea of the processes behind their manufacturing. All processes are in-house, starting with creating the two aluminum alloys they use for their rims, which puts them apart from many others.

1. 1 tonne slabs of aluminum from Portland, Australia make the base material.

2.  this base material is combined with a particular batch of ingredients in their smelter, which measures around 4mX3m to produce the two types of alloy that go into the rims: Dura-Alloy–KLR60 and Super Alloy–KLM41 (XKeymet®).

KLR60 is qualitatively distinct from al6061 but KLM41 is something else again.

It contains maganese and niobium. The thing with nobium is that its melting point is 2300°C, whereas aluminum is 620°C. Bringing these two together in the one alloy is a process they have mastered.

3. lengths of solid cylinders measuring some 15cm diameter of KLR60 and KLM41  are produced and then cut into smaller lengths.

4. these are then extruded through the main processing jigs to produce lengths of rim several meters long which are then cut to approximate length.

5. these are (cold)  rolled into the correct diameter with overlap where the rim will be pinned

6.  8 hours of heat treatment for artificial ageing. T10 is the level of processing applied here. To put this in context:

  • T6 – Solution heat treated then artificially aged.
  • T7 – Solution heat treated then and overaged/stabilized.
  • T8 – Solution heat treated, cold worked, then artificially aged.
  • T9 – Solution heat treated, artificially aged, then cold worked.
  • T10 – Cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process, cold worked, then artificially aged.

7. surface treatment and polishing

8. rim is drilled

9. anodizing and any extra workings completes the sequence.

The particular rim that caught my attention that is fabricated from KLM41 is the XR-300. It has a 30mm aero profile, OW 18.3, IW 13.6. On the lookout for a deeper profile rim, this is interesting. Weighing 45og is a moderate sacrifice for gaining the deeper profile.

No decisions on this as yet, but it was a great visit and provided much food for thought.

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