With more than 3 million rims and 400,000 aluminium bicycle wheels per year, Rodi Industries has become the largest wheel and rim manufacturer in Portugal. Recently, the manufacturer finished the construction of a new production facility for its cycling business. The new factory will not only allow for production optimisation and overall capacity but will also feature a new anodising line. This will improve product quality and will open the door to the production of other bicycle and e-bike related products.
Rodi has also invested in its product range. The company founded Blackjack, a brand for high-end wheels, in 2005. Today, the brand has its own identity, based on technological innovation and sustainability. The range consists of 11 models and includes specific rims for road bikes with disc brakes, gravel bikes, cross-country and enduro mountain bikes.
Many producers on the market work with rims made out of 6063 alloy. However, we were looking for a material with a higher quality
New line of high-end aluminium wheels
For the upcoming season, the Aveiro-based firm plans to further expand its Blackjack business with a new line of high-end aluminium wheels, the ‘Ready SL’ models. “Many producers on the market work with rims made out of 6063 alloy. However, we were looking for a material with a higher quality,” company spokesman Duarte Bernardo explains. “The goal was to reduce the wall thickness and the weight, and to improve the stiffness of the product.”
Sustainability important for Rodi Industries
Another important factor when it comes to the development of the new rims was the issue of sustainability. Since Rodi has committed to a more sustainable manufacturing growth and developing initiatives with a significant and measurable impact on the environment, the new aluminium rims will contain up to 30% recycled materials. “For us as a European company, it is also important to use European-certified raw materials only,” Bernardo says.
The result of this development was presented at Eurobike 2022 in Frankfurt. The new ‘Ready SL’ line contains 3 different models: one with 23 millimetres width for gravel bikes, one with 27 millimetres width for e-bikes and mountain bikes and one with 30 millimetres width for e-mountain bikes. “The advantage of the new aluminium type is that we can use it to produce either sleeved or welded rims. Additionally, the material allows us to industrialise the manufacturing process. Presently, our sleeved rims are mostly made by hand. But we have invested in new machines that allow us to automate the sleeving process,” Bernardo explains.
Currently, the company is performing the last tests for the automatisation process. The new automated production of the new Blackjack rims is then set to begin in March.
Even more new products
With a completely new line of rims in the high-end sector, Rodi shows that the investments the company made over the past years are paying off. In the future, Bernardo emphasises, this development will be reflected in even more new products. In the coming years, the Portuguese company intends to invest further in its ‘Ready SL’ line, which is supposed to grow to up to 7 models.