Carbon fiber has been used to produce frames since the late 80s and recently it has evolved significantly over the years. Producing carbon fiber frames results in a very labor-intense process.
It is usually used for one of the following:
- Make lightweight frames with a high strength of weight ratio compared to aluminum
- Form complex light and neat shapes
- Tune the ride attribute of the ride so that the bike can be stiffer
Here you are the 7 things you might not know about carbon
1) What is carbon fiber?
Carbon fiber is a long stand of material made from carbon atoms and it is if a fraction of a human hair size. These atoms are spun together to form a yarn and those yarn are used in the prepreg sheets along with resin. The use of carbon in manufacturing is divided into 2 forms: prefabricated tubes or preprinted sheets.
2) What is the lay up?
The lay up is defined as the manufacturing process of making the frame. Sheets are laid into a mold and once they are fully wrapped around, the mold is sealed, the bladder is pressurized and the whole lot s cured into an oven.
3) Where is it made from?
Most major carbon fiber bikes all hail from the far East and come from some state-of-the-art factories. Carbon fiber manufacturing is about engineering and lay up
4) The sheet and the layup
The sheets themselves have unidirectional weave and this weave helps in creating the ide characteristics of the frame. For enduring a proper carbon fiber manufacturing the frame must be stiff, light and dampen shock. Stiff is essential for control and ultimately it also transmits vibrations. Producing carbon frame is expensive and it is because the lay up is entirely done by hand. MTB frames are particularly long to be produced due to their complexity
5) How strong is carbon?
Carbon is very strong. Something that is beneficial with carbon is that can be repaired and repairing a carbon frame is a lot easier than repairing an alloy one.
6) “Fake” carbon
Carbon fiber is expensive, and it is not rare to see counterfeit carbon fiber in the market. Counterfeit carbon frames are made using a replica mold and certainly with inferior manufacturing techniques.