We don’t often get asked to repair recumbents but this one is a super light disabled version which is clearly an expensive and hard to find bike. The structural damage affected the chasis and the safety nose cone. I am glad to say we were able to complete this as well as hide the repair in the weave.

Glad we could help out on this one.


Firstly there are a few things we need to clear up:
 Carbon is not abrasive friendly. Bags and cardboard are not abrasive friendly. Simply covering tubes with lagging foam does virtually NOTHING to stop external blunt force from distorting and cracking the frame.
The general rule to safely transport a bike in a soft bag/ cardboard requires 2 things:

1- Create a ‘soft’ frame around the bike to avoid contact with the frame itself.

2 – Covering the surfaces with non-abrasive padding to avoid abrasion and additional impacts

Here we go:
1 – Wheels/ seat post/ pedals/ rear mech/ bars from stem cap off.
2 – Unscrew the hanger from the dropout instead of only removing the rear mech. Why? This is exposed to a corner impact and can damage to carbon dropout. The hanger itself does the damage.

3 – Cut lagging (shown in grey) to your frame tube size and ducktape the surface leaving the slit open. Label each one for easy re- fitting.

4 – Fit a dropout protector where required (shown in red). We repair 90% of chain/ seat stays as a result of not having a protector in place.

5 – Unscrew the stem cap and gently roll the bars around the fork until they fit nicely around the headtube and fork blade. Keep trying and eventually you will see how easily they can fit in this position. Don’t over bend the cables. The bars also act a a protection for the fork.

6 – Wrap the rear mech in foam and place the chainring on a sturdy foam base as you lock the frame in. Bottom impacts often bend the teeth. The base must withstand this. Replace after impact has damaged this base.

7 – Once you have stuffed as much of your kit/ helmet etc into spaces, it is time to fit the outer frame (shown in blue). I use ducktape covered polystyrene sections squeezed into the front/ back and top covering from the seat post hole to the stem. If your wheels fit either side of the frame then you do not need to pad the sides.

8 – Lastly DO NOT deflate the tyres completely. If you do the rims get a pounding from impacts. Semi deflated the tyres can also help absorb impacts and act as further padding.

It takes about 20 min to pack and 5 min + to unpack.


Soft or hard boxes? The debate rolls on. I always thought hard boxes were the safest until a cyclist friend, who actually worked as a bag packer at Gatwick, suggested that soft bags/ cardboard were generally treated more carefully while the hard cases often were found at the very bottom of a pile of holiday cases due to their size and handled with a little less care then the softer more vulnerable bags. Don’t test my theory until you read part 2.
Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof for example printed an image of a TV on the box which reduced bike damage by 70-80% so there must be something in it. Unfortunately for some soft bag design there are glowing design errors which I will attempt to help mitigate in part 2.

Mountain bike paint


How have the manufacturers responded to the elements that can affect paint on a typical carbon mountain bike?

You have 2 options it seems:
1 – Powder coat the frame if it is alloy. The limitations are in the colour choice and the designs limitations but it is as hard as nails.
2 – The other option is to apply many more layers of paint and lacquer to absorb the shock of chips. Usually a typical road bike will receive about 2-3 layers of lacquer. In this example, this Trek MTB has about 8 layers which is clearly an indication that they want to protect the exposed surfaces from abrasion and chip damage as much as possible. There are other brands which apply std 2 pak bike spray in this many layers. Others opt for weight saving but it depends on what the bikes primary use will be.

That said there is no particular right or wrong way to paint a MTB other than the point that std bike paint can take a hammering on loose terrain compared with road bikes and therefore the manufacturers apply different solutions to MTB spray jobs.
The best overall solution, if you want to keep your bike is good aesthetic condition, is to apply Invisiframe which is a thin clear adhesive tape cut to your bikes profile. Works a treat.