MERCEDES F1..

NOW IS THE TIME TO GET YOUR BIKE READY FOR THE SEASON

As the winter season creeps in we are able to attend to more pressing inquiries sooner. Don’t wait until the season is about to start before you seek assistance. We are also able to take on a few more custom resprays at this time so get in touch before the waiting times increase. Remember we offer an express service for those who need a quick turn around.

WHAT IS WARRANTIED FOR LIFE?

As a repair service we have to validate what we do if we are to have any credibility, we therefore warranty more areas of the bike then the manufacturer typically would. That said there are still components on the bike we would be foolish to warranty, namely locations that require clamping or assembling. Remember to ask what sort of warranty applies to your specific repair. 

THE WORLD CHAMPIONS BIKE

You can imagine our Slovakian team members getting excited to finally have Peter Sagan’s Specialized Tarmac in for custom work. We try not to show any favouritism!

 

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.

MY PROBLEM WITH CARBON SPOKES

Wheel designers are constantly looking for efficiencies but some current trends are turning out to be problematic. As with carbon clinchers I just wish they would put carbon spokes to bed now…I really don’t get it. 
Apart from the fact that carbon spoked wheels are very expensive, in most cases you can’t replace or repair them. In my view carbon spokes are completely unnecessary and can actually be dangerous. For example we were looking at a crashed front wheel this morning and someone commented just how sharp and exposed the fractured ends are. In a rim failure alloy spokes tend to bend and buckle. Carbon spokes, due to the long fibre construction, snap but stay rigid. Even if some manufacturers re-enforce their spokes with kevlar they are still mighty sharp.
If I hit a pothole I don’t know how I would feel about landing on a porcupine…  
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.

QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY!

We bang on about quality all the time. We don’t often get an opportunity to share the difference between fake restoration and factory finishes. This Agron18 was not restored to Nitrogen specification and clearly the customer was not happy. As a result it gets sent to CBR to get corrected. We wouldn’t bother coming to work if we can’t AT LEAST replace the correct detail to a restoration project… Attention to detail is the clue to the standard of work under the paint…