Building a Carbon Fibre Frame

How a FiftyOne is built

Once the customer signs off on the frame drawing and geometry the bike build commences. The carbon tubes are cut and mitered to length. The tubes are mitered using a diamond tipped hole saw. They are then inserted into the jig to test their fit. The tighter the fit the stronger the joint. With every frame build there is great attention to detail. We will take the time to file and sand the joints by hand to ensure the tightest fit possible so your frame is the strongest it can be. How you treat the small details determines how you treat the big details.

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The tubes are then taken out of the jig. The ends are covered in masking tape and the builder then sands down any rough sections and prepares the surface to ensure a good bond. A high strength adhesive is used to bond the tubes together and then its left to cure. The frame is then removed from the jig once it has reached solid state. Before the joints are wrapped with prepreg, a fillet is built up around the joints. This ensures a smooth transition from one tube to the adjoining tube avoiding any acute angles in the fibres and minimising potential weak spots.

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We can vary the lay-up and use different weights of carbon fibre depending on the riders size and riding style. This lets us fine tune the ride characteristics of the frame.

Images by www.deanella.com

Once the joints are wrapped, the whole frame is vacuum bagged. It is then cured in the oven. Jason Schiers of ENVE Composites was involved in developing our lay-up schedule including the duration of our oven curing cycle.

Images by www.deanella.com

When the frame has cooled and the bagging material has been removed there is a thorough inspection of fibre compaction. Any leftover resin is then removed from the frame with some light sanding. The frame is then ready to be handed over to the painter.

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