2017 MCLAREN ROUBAIX REPAIR AND RESTORED

The jury is out whether or not this new head tube suspension system is good or not. We always enjoy getting bikes from Mclaren to sort out. It passed all QC checks, rebuilt and tested. You can save a bucket load of money repairing and restoring your bike just send us some pics and we can quote. Safe winter riding.

ADVANCED ENGINEERING 2017

The Advanced Engineering show in Birmingham is an opportunity for composite technology companies to share their offerings to companies like us.  This year’s show produced some interesting technology and materials for us to test over the winter. Safety is always the most important aspect of our process. It is therefore important to ensure that the new technology manufacturers use to build bikes are available for us to repair them.

MERCEDES F1 endorse CarbonBikeRepair

CERVELO DESIGN EVOLUTION

Yes I know the P5 is UCI compliant and therefore less futuristic however, just admire the design considerations in the new P5x! It reminds me of the Zipp bike which is still pretty handy I am told but this one has to be pound-for-pound the quickest manufactured bicycle out there right now. Let me know otherwise!

I am surprised however by the weight..I would have thought it slightly lighter but I imagine the inertia counts for a lot on flat terrain, still nice to see one here for repair and restoration.

ARE CARBON MOUNTAIN BIKES SAFE TO REPAIR?

Our warranty policy is clear but requires some clarification on the term ‘Normal riding.’ It was a damage limitation phrase derived by the powers-that-be in the legal departments regarding appropriate usage. Mountain bikes, in particular, fall foul to this when it comes to warranty claims. We know this because on occasion we have repaired BB’s which have collapsed only to get them back a week later. We then find out (via the grapevine) the the owner likes jumping off cliffs and the frame takes an ‘abnormal’ impact. ‘Normal riding’ would be trails and dirt roads or downhill courses but not stunt work. This is tricky to police so where do you stand when your bike breaks? It is really simple if your warranty is denied: Tell us that you are a cliff jumper and that it failed while you were jumping out of a plane over Blyde River Canyon. It is ok really! We will be sure to ‘beef up’ the repair so it can handle future knocks of this kind. I joke but you get the idea. You should never have to hide what you choose to do on your mountain bike. We will shore up any deficiencies there many be within reason, to ensure we don’t see you again. However don’t be surprised that an owner lifetime warranty is limited to certain repairs so do ask when you make enquiries. Happy riding.

dangerous carbon fractures

THE HIDDEN IMPORTANCE OF THE SEAT TUBE

You shouldn’t accept ridicule from cyclist who think they know just how important the seat tube is on a bike. For example, did you know that currently the humble seat tube is one of the most design focused areas on a carbon bike (I refer to established brands). Granted the new Cervelo P5x TT bike has done away with it but if you are a UCI compliant cyclist the seat tube is here to stay. Why so important? The biggest gains on UCI compliant road bikes these days comes from a more comfortable bike. Advances in aero tubes, BB stiffness and weight are well developed compared to rider fatigue. This is the no 1 enemy of competitive cycling. Trek’s development of the ISO Speed system in the Domane and Madone 9 is an obvious example of minimising rider fatigue without compromising frame stiffness. The genius of the Madone 9 with it’s internal flexi tube and external aero cover allows relative comfort on a sprinters bike.  Another myth is that thin seat stays provide a softer ride. The purpose of the seat stay is to push back (stay) the over-flexing seat tube. It does not allow the chain stays to flex as some think. The new thinking is to design the frame around the seat tube!

The more relative point from a carbon repair perspective is if you find a fracture anywhere on your seat tube, you should seek advice immediately. The seat tube flexes like a bow when stressed. Any flaws or cracks in the tube could compromise the structure of the whole frame. A bit like a house of cards.

 

carbon repair training

TRAINING AT CARBON BIKE REPAIR

The opening date for Carbon Bike Repair South Africa is set for 1st of September 2017. Their advanced training course is now coming to a successful conclusion before we fly them back home. However..there is one final test.  Even though they are now qualified in advanced carbon repair and restoration to Level 3, the new team are put to the ultimate test. Their task is to repair and paint restore this Trek Madone which was in 5 separate pieces. Once structural tests are successful and the graphics restored, the repairer will ride it in the next local 100km race.

So if you are ever considering getting your bike repaired in any branch of CBR, be assured that only those ‘living’ persons at Carbon Bike Repair will touch your bike.

 

MODERN CARBON BIKES & THE CONTINUAL EVOLUTION OF FRAMES

When carbon was first introduced into mainstream cycle manufacturing, carbon was seen as a ‘replacement’ for steel because it was stronger then steel (weight was still a problem) and was seen as ‘progress’. There was little consideration for the potential of ‘frame shaping’ into non conventional designs. In addition the poor relationship between alloy and carbon bonds became an issue as it turned out. There were some conceptual carbon bikes but I refer to the mainstream approach at the time. So for a while we generally went backwards in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

There are still companies such as Colnago and smaller brands who continue with carbon lug designs in some models which receive great reviews. Lugged frames allow the tailoring of frame sizes where mono-cock frames rely on mould size variety and stem lengths. Some say with lugs you can tune the ride quality best but I am not convinced.

Today’s bikes have little resemblance to the carbon bikes from 15- 20 years ago. It is such an exciting time to own a carbon bike. There is no doubt when you look at the 3 primary cycling disciplines: road, MTB and TT that road bikes, in particular from 2015 onwards, have evolved in areas such as agility, aerodynamics and comfort while making them still lighter and stiffer. I refer in particular to the higher end models where the competition to provide efficiencies are becoming harder to achieve. TT and MTB’s have carved the way for experimentation to bring new but maturised concepts to the road bike. Some suggest road bikes are starting to look more like a hybrid of mountain and TT bikes.

However –  The downside of this development seems to be where the line is drawn between the physical demands on experimental designs and consumer use. It is a mystery why some manufacturers still apply fatigue tests when they know perfectly well that carbon does not weaken with repetition as much as it does by impacts. It is the real-life effects upon the design or structure which seems to be over looked. These oversights make a common appearances in our workshops with alarming consistency. I guess it is the price you pay for progress. Just make sure your insurance policy is comprehensive enough or insure with a bike specialist insurer.

PACKING YOUR BIKE: DO’S AND DON’TS

Here are a few packing tips to help you with when it comes packing your carbon bike safely for courier delivery:

  1. Always use a dropout protector if you take the rear wheel off. It is a little plastic ‘stick’ that slots into the dropouts to stop the rear stays from being crushed in transit. Same with your forks. If you can’t get hold of one, roll up some cardboard into a tube and tape it in-between the rear dropouts. You’ll sleep better trust me!
  2. Never lean any components against a carbon surface. Wrap the frame in plastic packaging. The rubbing will damage the surface with very little effort. Carbon does not like abrasion. Secure everything in the box!
  3. Take your pedals and skewers off. Tape some cardboard over the hub ends to avoid them piercing the box.
  4. Run your chain over the big ring, adjust the rear mech in as far as it will go and lay some extra cardboard to the bottom of the box.
  5.  Before you close the box fill the rest of the space with ‘filler’ Newspapers, old packing or anything that will stop the components from rattling around inside the box.
  6. No need to wrap the packaged components with loads of tape. It just makes it harder to cut away without damaging the frame…
Look carbon dropout repair

LOOK 586 DROPOUT MODIFICATION

If you ever need an example of the level of competence within CBR here it is. A newly redesigned and injection moulded dropout to replace the original Look design.

Why did we change it? The left picture shows the original carbon dropout which is poor frankly. You can’t, without considerable risk, re-align the hanger without snapping the carbon dropout because there is NO support from the skewer when the wheel is fitted. There is too much reliance on the strength of this carbon section when, in fact, it needs to be less exposed.

This repair was for a Swiss client who loves the bike but after trying to repair it we gave up and suggested that we re-design the dropout to a different hanger system which he can replace as per normal if the hanger is damaged.

I don’t criticize the rest of the bike or the company but in our opinion this design, like some other manufacturers, have fallen short in this department. I would like to hear from Look as to why this is so. It is possible we have missed something obvious. I would be happy to share that update with you all in due course.