Carbon fibre, a once exotic material only found wrapped in secrecy in the military, is now a common, almost everyday, material used for the construction of road bicycles, and many of the components that adorn the frames too.
While the process of manufacturing carbon fibre frames is reasonably well known, it’s perhaps fair to say there’s still an air of mystery around its exact details. Manufacturers are keen to keep the exact details under wraps for fear of it being copied by others.
US manufacturer Scott Bicycles, who it is reasonable to say has been one of the few leading developers of carbon fibre, borne out by the fact their frames are some of the lightest currently available, decided to remove a little of this air of mystery, and produced a short film that looks into the engineering of their carbon fibre process.
Anyway, have a watch of the video. It’s a little bit ‘Hollywood’ and the voice over is a overly dramatic, but see past that and there’s an interesting insight into their engineering and manufacturing process.
The process they use is essentially the same as most other manufacturers, and is the most common method of producing carbon frames. Layers of carbon fibre, up to 200 per frame, are laid over a removable core, which is then placed inside a mould. Heat during the compression cures the carbon. Sections of the frame are then bonded together to complete the finished frame.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.