Repair carbon bike frame - finding solutions
How much does it cost to repair a carbon bike frame?
Smaller cracks (1/3 of tube diameter or smaller) are 0. Medium cracks (fractures greater than 1/3 of the tube diameter) are 0. 0 will fix major damage (missing carbon, damage greater than 6 inches along the tube. The VeloNews.com frame would likely fall into the 0 range.
Breaking or breaking your carbon bike frame is any cyclist's worst nightmare. In fact, some even lose sleep over it, to learn more about carbon bike repair, I came across Carbon Bike Repair in Leatherhead. I want to find out what can be fixed, how to fix it, how much it costs, and how safe is it when it's fixed? So many questions.
So let's go in and find out more. Though I just found out they also have a franchise in Johannesburg. Well why didn't we go to that? (laughs) (catchy music) I'm here with Rob Granvile, who founded Carbon Bike Repair.
So Rob, I want to find out what - how did you get started building it? What was your background - Well, I'm an industrial designer in the 90s I'm just trying to understand a little more about carbon fiber and was it a space age material, was it hard to repair, was it repairable? And so I fixed my own bike and then the news got out and local bike shops said that there is a man on site in Dorking who can fix your bikes and then it was kind of a hobby. So it turned out that my workshop was Carbon Bike Repair, which was full of bicycles, I didn't know there were so many people out there having problems - Right. - with their bikes.- So it's a passion that has now become a bike repair business.- Yes.- So I want to find out what happens when someone brings their bike here, how they discover it is broken, whatever, one way and another, going through the whole thing and having it fixed if it can be fixed - Sure. - And the rest, so - Yeah - Shall we go and see? - Let's do it - see how it works. - Yes / Yes. - Okay. (catchy music) - For the most part, because carbon is pretty sturdy, we can find out that there is only one scratch and they may want to restore it, so this is a very useful part of the process.
As I say again, if your bike is definitely broken, we're only going to confirm it here as other areas of the bike can be damaged too, depending on the type of impact that bike has experienced. Before your bike is assessed and possibly repaired, it needs to be a completely clean and stripped down frame like the one we have here. But you can either send in your frame pre-cleaned and already dismantled, or you can send in your complete bike and they will dismantle it.
You can also return it as a complete bike. The first step is to actually determine the damage and make an assessment, because sometimes the damage is quite obvious if your carbon frame has large cracks and holes. But at other times it's less obvious.
It could just be a tiny crack in the paint and the guys have to check if it's just the paint or if it's actually in the carbon fiber itself. They have a fancy kit for that and they have thermographic x-ray here. How cool is that Paul will show us in action here in this context. - So what we have here is a relatively obvious break from the outside, but it just makes it easier to see on camera.
Whether it is actually damaged or not. Because sometimes when they are a little more complicated it takes a while to actually see if there is damage or not - I can see it on the screen, how about this? - So you can see it on the screen Screen here, but if you put a little heat on it, as the heat spreads through the fabric, the heat will be a little more emphasized so you can see it turn white here. A little white line.
So white is cool, black is hot. So since it cools faster than the surrounding carbon, it is whiter, and therefore you know that you have the fracture - yes. - That's cool? - So that's pretty obvious damage to the chainstay, there is also pretty obvious part on the seatstay.
But there is only a very, very slight hairline crack in the paint. Is that a bit of the damage too? - So, yeah, so this is one of the most controversial topics that we probably need to move to microscopic imaging rather than thermographic imaging - now it's really hard for you to see on camera but believe me it's there. Well, this is the type of damage that it's hard to tell if it's just a scratch in the paint, in which case it's pretty easy to fix, or if it's something more serious and actually shows up as a crack in the carbon So the guys are going to show us how to actually determine the state of this damage.- Well, there is a distinct difference between breaking carbon fiber which results in a really jagged tooth-like edge, while the breaks you can see it is almost like a fountain n pen mark, when you apply the scratch everything that scratches it starts thin and then gets thicker in that area.
And then it kind of narrows the way it started. It is generally a case of very infrequent breakages in just being so straight. So if you're on the lookout for breaks, you really want to look for a jagged edge, a very jagged edge that could also peel the paint while this is a depression, not a notch - it's all sliver.
In other words, if it is a break, generally if you break it and then try to glue it back together the break will pop out and pop out like a piece of wood, and it will sit proudly where the break is. This is clearly a depression. You can see the shadow line there - Yes - Shows that something went on and dented, and that doesn't mean it couldn't have broken there, but in general you could analyze it by doing a stress test to it .
Whether there is any movement in this area. - We have just seen what a scratch looks like when it is analyzed, but here you have to show us what an actual break looks like and a stress test was also carried out on it. - So, similar to the first shot we just saw, there is always a thin, jagged line, like Rob said, that usually indicates a break.
But just to confirm, isn't that the color? We test it then is on the drive side - seat stay so you can get a bit of the stress going. And when you muster the strength, it opens up. - That's awe - well, it's not great, it's terrifying for the bike that it is - That's really cool to see - Yeah, right, so now we've found that this bike needs to be fixed - Yes.- I think we have to move on to the next stage and show what happens next. (catchy music) At Now, we identified some damage that needs to be repaired and the person who owns the bike or the insurer has decided that they want to do the repair.
We're going to the workshop, I think the theater.- Right, the theater.- Yes, you see everything that happens. - Okay. - We treat this room dust free, the room is very well lit, carbon fiber is an electronics nightmare so we have to dust everything.
The rooms are usually pretty clean. I mean, we're talking about a difference between - it's as close to a theater - operating room - as you can get, or a dentist's chair with all the Dremels and so and so. So come in, come in. - Okay, Rob, what's the first step that happens? - The wheels are labeled so the repairman knows what to do.
The bike is then placed on the carrier according to priority. And put on the stand for repair wrong with it. - So what's the repair process that happens here with this chainstay, Rob? - The first thing is to remove the damaged carbon.
To respond to this, to see how much the damage is, can delaminate through a break. This means that the parts, the layers, have actually been separated, which in this case has been elongated beyond the break. The second thing is to know what brand of bike they are working on so they can replicate and recreate the carbon needed for that area.
In particular, if you throw carbon on the problem and wrap carbon fiber around it, which anyone can do, you can create an imbalance in certain areas of the frame causing a problem.- That was my next question.- Yes. - So we don't just wrap some kind of carbon fiber bandage on the affected area in the hope that this will fix it? - Yes No.
Well, we most certainly won't. I don't think it makes sense to repair a bike if you can't return it in the condition it was in before really friendly material too, we weld, you can do that right. And it's not that difficult if you can do that.
But in the end you have a bike with the same wall thickness, tensile strength, flexibility and carbon modulus that was originally in this frame - what about the resins and such? Are the resins as replicated as they were before and things like that? - Well, resins are, I mean, there are different types of resins and people I'm going to argue with myself on this point, but once the resin has cured it's an innate material. Its only job is to tie the carbon fibers together, but keep them closed, right? As far as resins are concerned, it's not a big deal. But that again depends on what area of the bike you are working on - one big question I have, and I'm sure a lot of other people have, the result when you do such a repair is stronger or weaker than what was there before? - No, it's exactly as it should be.
The original design is - the thicknesses, wall thicknesses, for a reason. You may want the bike to flex in a certain area, which will take some pressure off other parts of the frame. If you reinforced this area because you feared it might crack again, you are actually doing it a disservice a) the quality of the ride, but also potentially endangering other areas of the bike.
For example, if you reinforce this strut more than this side, that strut is sure to be under a lot more pressure. Yes, they will be exactly the same as before. - I just rub my fingers over it and it's amazing how smooth it is and how it is seamless in - impressive, impressive work.
It is good. So this frame has now been hardened - and profiled. - And profiled so the next step is to paint it so it looks like it did before I think? - Correct.
It goes through Q. C. Process of stress testing it to make sure the repair is successful.
There's no point in painting something if it's not - if it's not right - right - that
I mean, you can't feel that at home. But take it from me, that's impressive. (catchy music) So on this wall we have all the frames you currently have that have been prepared and repaired and are now ready to be repainted.
And make it look new again. So what do we have? to do to prepare them for painting? - We go to the preparation area, where after the repair - if the profile passes the QC passes -The sprayer should have no problems applying the first basecoats. But what do you have to do first, cover areas on the frame so you can see here - So when you repaint the bikes, is there such a thing as something else? Shadows or there is a stain of color you can look at it under a certain light or how, is that - Derek is the genius - Do you have to repaint it in a different color if you do not have the color in stock that it originally was was? , or? - Well, all of our sprayers are well trained in color matching.
Basically 99% of the bikes come in any color, regardless of the color - we have a frame that has been repaired on the seat stays, and it is a particularly demanding repair in terms of the surface finish that has to be in the last work. So the reason for this is not just the shape, but the fact that there is a sticker on the side as you can see there. Now one of those sides has been fixed and the other is original but I mean I urge you to tell the difference absolutely incredible.
I can not. If my life depended on it, I couldn't tell you which is the original and which is the repair. So is it this side or is it this side? No idea.
So the guys actually make replacement stickers for certain areas of the bike depending on where they're needed and what the repair is about. So you can see that this was on the bike I just showed you. It's pretty impressive.
Fixing the carbon fiber layer is one thing, but people often want a bike that looks the way it was when it was new. So tell us about the type of spraying process - the idea is to have no dust, especially when it comes to matte surfaces, because you cannot polish to remove imperfections in the surface. To get these bikes through the system you need a dust free area.
Unfortunately, you can't compromise, you have to get proper spray rooms, but luckily in the cycling world, there is no such thing as bike spray rooms per se, or at least not at the moment. So we have to modify our spray rooms. And I'll show you a typical spray job in the process. - Nice, let's take a look. (Catchy music) I'm here with Santana in the spray room.
Now it looks like a pretty complicated spray job, on which you work Because it's - I mean, I don't know about spray paint, but in my eyes this kind of gradient fill in here and so where the color goes from yellow to red and things like that. How do you do that? - Well, this restoration is a bit difficult because the frame is basically matte and glossy too. So, it was like a big crack in this line that is shiny, so we have to match the mat as well.
The matte section. So we're going to fade out that kind of red with the yellow as seen on the other side of that and try to get the same colors and the same kind of fade out. So- So this is the side you are fixing.- Yes.- And that's the original side on the other side.- And that's the original.- That's great.
We all have frames that have been successfully repaired and new were painted. And they are ready to go back to customers. And Rob challenged me to a really, really, pretty unfair game.
That's the repair in a room with these frames and said you can't go out until you find out where the repair was, I think I would die in that room because that is absolutely impossible a frame here and I have to go after Looking for the repair and couldn't find it. Rob told me the repair is actually here on this chainstay, but I mean to be honest.
I just don't think you can. Seriously impressive work. Words really fail me.
The question I'm sure many people who watch this ask themselves is how much does it cost to get your bike repaired? So how much does it cost? - Well the first thing you need to do is make sure that it is economically viable. Normally we would support this anyway with an email inquiry you know if it's worth sending in. Or we advise you otherwise.
A typical chainstay breakage is currently around 150 plus, if that. So it's much cheaper than To have to replace your bike. And that would usually be, depending on the part on the bike we repaired, we usually have a lifetime guarantee on this repair. - This is an incredibly good option instead of replacing the entire frame.
But are there any instances where you would still fix a frame, even if that type of repairs didn't make it almost economical? ? - Well, it depends on two factors whether it is a sentimental or a classic bike from a certain era. We'll do our best to do that - What can and can't be fixed? with carbon fiber frame? - There are different manufacturing methods and they pose different challenges to us. Injection molded parts are probably the tricky bricks because you can't recreate them with a layer of carbon the way you see a broken pipe repair it.
No drop outs and stuff like that? - drop outs, yeah, any areas where there is a high voltage interface - But you guys are here too - We do replication - Injection molding replication - without that you really shouldn't go for the cost of a layer repair on a dropout because they're just too flexible - Fascinating, right? Thanks Rob. Thank you for that. Very interesting.
The fact is, accidents can happen. And unfortunately, carbon bike frames can break, but it's great to see they can be fixed, and often at a cost that is much lower than the cost of a brand new bike or frame. Also, if you have insurance, your insurer can cover the repair costs as this is great because it helps keep your premium low ig to hold.
But I'm sure you have a lot of questions about carbon bike repair. I have a lot. I feel like we've just scratched the surface, I think this should be an excellent topic for an Ask GCN Anything, so if you have any questions let us know in the comment section below, then paste them in Ask GCN Anything on the feature.
And if you're looking for another article to watch, check out this article where Cywent looks to see how graphine could be the new wonder material of bike frames in the future.
Is it worth repairing a carbon bike frame?
Repairing a carbon composite frame is definitely possible but it's a complicated process one best performed by people with experience, knowledge and the correct tools. Original manufacturers and specialist composite bicycle repair companies are best suited to repair composite frames.
Are carbon fiber frames repairable?
It's a myth that carbon can't be repaired. In fact, carbon fiber is one of the most repairable materials and each Appleman repair is covered by a 10 year warranty. Repairs are stronger than the pre-damaged frame, add no measurable weight, and don't alter the ride of the bike.
What is the lifespan of a carbon bike frame?
Unless they are damaged or poorly built, carbon bike frames can last indefinitely. Most manufacturers still recommend that you replace the frame after 6-7 years, however, carbon frames are so strong that they often outlast their riders.
first steel, then aluminum, then titanium and then carbon fiber, it's pretty much the material of choice for building bikes these days. In fact, it takes almost 20 years to go back almost 20 years to find a carbon-free bike on the top step of the podium on the Tour de France, but the fact is that this material is very misunderstood so we thought we should tackle the subject and try some to end the hurtful myths. We spoke to many carbon composite engineers including Sebastian, the designer at Canyon who looks exactly like John Degenkolbhas.
Has anyone ever told you that you actually look exactly like John Degenkolb? No, actually you never look like John Degenkolb I almost blushed to find out the truth about carbonCarbon is not suitable for heavy ridersWORK The suitability of a component in general does not depend on the material. Each part should be designed with a specific load case Admittedly exists With carbon, fiber, as with any frame material, there is a risk that you can exceed your limits, for example to achieve a super-light goal, but problems only arise if it is not constructed correctly, so the goal of lightweight is prioritized more than strength and Durability If you are a heavy rider you should always check that a component you buy has no weight limit, no matter what material you buy, but these days if you only use carbon, bicycles come in from only 5 All carbon fiber frames and bicycle components are made by Fa Manufactured by only 5 manufacturers, yes, that is now admittedly true. Tube manufacturers produce different qualities of carbon fibers, so it is not the case that every bicycle frame is of the same quality.
Also, you have to include many other ingredients in the mix, not least the technology and also the manufacturing processes that ultimately determine the outcome of your bike - higher module module carbon means higher quality bikes Wrong 'module' refers to the stiffness of the fibers that are woven into carbon fiber panels. So if you switch from a standard modulus fiber to an ultra-high modulus fiber, the fibers get stiffer, lighter, and more expensive to manufacture, hence the marketing guys who want to sell you bikes want to advertise that their frames are made of ultra-high modulus carbon, but the truth is, no matter how expensive your bike is, you always need a mix of these fibers, so if you want to make a bike entirely from high-modulus carbonite will be very light, it will be uncomfortably stiff and it would be extremely brittle, so the art form of designing carbon fiber r bikes is to get the right mix of fibers in the right places and in the right directions to get a bike that is light, stiff, comfortable and strong against a cooler WRONG to build a carbon fiber bike it has to be boiled. So if you happen to leave your bike on a radiator, it will melt, right? NO, luckily that's wrong - the resins used to glue carbon fibers together can withstand temperatures far higher than the humble cooler can produce.
Think of your carbon wheels, for example. The braking surface has to withstand temperatures well in excess of 100C, which is the temperature your cooler will hopefully never have to exceed if you left your bike carelessly in an oven, which could be cause for concern, so try that at all costs avoid and actually put it next to an external electric heater that 'glows' bright red 'that could cause you problems too So be a bit careful with where you leave it Sunlight weakens carbon FALSE Well, actually you could almost agree,' Not that we're in here Britain would ever find out - the fact is the resins used to glue carbon fibers together can sometimes be vulnerable to UV light which means your frame or parts could 'theoretically' degrade over time, but the fact is It is believed that carbon manufacturers evolved to take this into account, so UV are now going -resistant resins are used and also UV protective lacquers are used on the carbon means that you can use your frame or parts indefinitely and if you are still skeptical, I recommend that you take a close look at the aircraft next time. Well, Steel frames, can they be repaired, right? Re-welded but carbon? !! If that gets damaged it just goes in the bin, doesn't it? Well, no, wrong, it turns out you can fix carbon fiber parts.
In fact, people do some absolutely amazing things to revive carbon, they can something lose the lightness or stiffness you enjoyed before it was damaged, but you might still be able to ride your beloved bikeCarbon is less safe than aluminumThat is.
FALSEScience Glasses In theory, almost any material can be made safe if you consider its properties and with that taking into account its capabilities and then it's just a matter of stiffness and weight and therefore performance, so carbon is neither less safe nor safer than aluminum, it's just different, but one thing I learned a few weeks ago, that I thought it was very interesting because carbon is laid at a 90-degree or 45-degree angle to a possible crack Es f leads to gradual or crack-by-crack failure, while aluminum, if damaged, is pretty much GAME OVER because that's an isotropic material, whatever the ****** is that now is, yes carbon will fail catastrophically, but so will aluminum if the load exceeds its capabilities is just pure physics, but what will carbon do? 'As we just said' gives possible warnings, you just have to pay attention to the signs, i.e. any kind of cracking noises, crackling noises or visible signs.
By looking at this, I've shattered some enduring carbon fiber myths, and in fact, even if I did, I hope there will be a healthy debate in the comments section below, so make sure you get into it now , before I leave. I just want to take up the last point for safety, this is not such an endorsement for buying old carbon fiber parts as a material, it is absolutely brilliant for making bike parts, but as with any material, it is only as good as the engineering and manufacturing process behind it . So always be careful when buying y bike stuff and especially if you buy used with the latter in mind when you click up there, then I have a article that shows you how to get your bike over after a crash, which is important as we now know about both metallic bike parts and carbon bike parts or if you click down there then one of the founders of CERVELO 'Phil white' has a really interesting and in-depth discussion of what exactly is carbon fiber so otherwise check that out, To subscribe to GCN just click on the globeCC from @ASKCYC on Twitter
Do carbon bikes break easily?
When made well, carbon fiber can be tougher than steel and quite safe. But when made incorrectly, carbon-fiber components can easily break. Unlike with other materials, if you overtighten carbon-fiber parts, they're likely to shatter down the road.24.07.2018
Do carbon bike frames break?
Carbon, however, is not like steel or aluminium in the way it reacts to stresses because it is not a metal. It is a composite material. Carbon frames can break certainly, and we've seen more than a few torn, crushed or punctured tubes come through our office, but the method of failure is different.09.06.2016
How do I know if my carbon frame is damaged?
Look closely for scratches, especially anything deep or through the paint. With a dollar coin, tap on any suspect area and listen for a change in sound. A normal tap sound will become a dull thud when the carbon is broken. Gently push on the suspect area to feel if it's softer than the surrounding area.26.08.2015
Do carbon frames crack?
Carbon does not develop small cracks which could fail later like a steel or alloy frame might, by nature of it being a composite material.9 . 2016 .
Can cracked carbon fiber be fixed?
Carbon fiber does not contain any metal elements. Most collision shops will be making structural repairs to cosmetic carbon fiber panels. For replacement procedures, a mechanically fastened or bonded carbon fiber component can be replaced in the shop.
Do carbon bike frames wear out?
Myth: A carbon frame won't last as long as a metal one. Reality: As long as you don't crash hard or take a hammer to the frame, a carbon bike can theoretically last forever. In fact, steel and aluminum last only so long before the metal fatigues and can no longer be used safely, but carbon remains stable indefinitely.
Where can I repair a cracked carbon bike?
A cracked carbon frame or a damaged wheelset does not have to keep you off the road for long. Our carbon repairs are performed in the worlds most advanced carbon bike hospital. There are 2 parts to the repair process: the repair of the carbon fibre and the retouching of the paintwork. We actually don’t like the word ‘repair’ at CBR.
What to use to repair a carbon fiber bike frame?
A white fibery powderous substance that is probably hell on a lung. Make sure you're wearing a dust mask. It's here to give the epoxy some body so that it can be stuffed into the hole and stay there. The other option would have been microspheres.
Can a carbon bike seat post be repaired?
Carbon dropouts are made with specific carbon fibre. The repair undertaken requires the correct tensile carbon otherwise it will not hold the rigours or gear shifting or derailleur removal. We can not weld alloy dropouts in carbon frames. Can you repair seat posts? It depends where the issue is. Always ask regarding your specific issue.