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…

SOUTH AFRICA CARBON BIKE REPAIR OPENING IN SEPTEMBER!

Good news for carbon bike owners in South Africa. Carbon Bike Repair will be operational as of 1st September 2017. We are taking ‘early bird’ bookings so if you want a quick quote please email to info@carbonbikerepair.co.za with some pictures. www.carbonbikerepair.co.za
Welcome to you in SA!

COLNAGO C60 OTTANTA 5 REPAIRS AND RESTORES

I seem to be posting a fair bit of Colnago related stuff. This is not a true reflection on a various brands we work on every day. That said CBR have 2 of only 9 in the UK. Both suffered some sort of damage and require precise restoration.

 

COLNAGO C59 RESTORATION

If you read our blog you will find other examples similar to this fracture repair and restoration. The image is unfortunately inline with the handbars so we get a few per year. This is for a Sigma Sport client.

FLAKING PAINT ON NAKED CARBON

Many who searched online for a resolution to this issue are in for not-so-good news – It was a bad idea from the start to clear lacquer any naked carbon. Don’t get confused between shiny moulded race car surfaces. These are not painted. Only a well polished high pressure mold can create this clean finish. When carbon was first used in bike manufacturing they understandably wanted to show the material off. The problem with carbon is the waxy resin surface which forms as an outer skin on the frame which cannot hold clear lacquers for very long. A bit like trying to spray onto nylon..There are a few clear coat primers out there but none very effective as far as we know.

The modern way to show carbon weave is to tint the carbon with a darker primer. This provides better grip and you can just about see the grain coming through. My advice is if you like your blistering frame then the best way would be to go this route but please don’t attempt a fresh clear lacquer respray. You are throwing good money after bad.

EXPRESS SERVICE DOWNTUBE REPAIR & RESTORE

A roof rack incident has left this Wilier damaged in a highly detailed section of the downtube. The client required his bike to be repaired within 1 week if possible so he could attend a race in Europe the following week. We managed to repair, test and restore the graphics to original within a few days.

Guess which one? The other is an original finish.

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.

 

INSPECTIONS AT CARBONBIKEREPAIR: INITIAL INSPECTION

Pre and post repair inspections are key to ensuring that we have control over the quality of the weld and the warranty of our repairs.

All bikes that come into CBR are subject to an initial pre-repair inspection before we provide a final quote. There are many cases where additional fractures go undetected.

This basic inspection consists of a visual inspection in a controlled environment. This initial fee is waived if the repair is undertaken.