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A quick overview of how we build our carbon fiber road bikes

by Dragon Bicycles

Carbon fiber road bicycles are made using a process called carbon fiber composite manufacturing. Here are the basic steps involved:

  1. Design: The bicycle frame's design is created using computer-aided design (CAD) software. The design takes into account factors like geometry, strength, weight, and aerodynamics.

  2. Mold Preparation: A mold, typically made of metal or carbon fiber, is created based on the design. The mold is the negative shape of the final bicycle frame.

  3. Carbon Fiber Layup: Carbon fiber sheets or pre-impregnated carbon fiber fabric (prepreg) are cut into specific shapes and laid up in the mold. The carbon fiber sheets are typically made of layers of carbon fiber cloth or fabric, impregnated with epoxy resin. The number and orientation of the layers depend on the desired strength and stiffness of the frame.

  4. Resin Infusion: Once the carbon fiber sheets are positioned in the mold, a vacuum bag is placed over the mold. The vacuum bag helps to compress the layers together and remove any trapped air. Resin is then infused into the carbon fiber layers using either a vacuum infusion or resin transfer molding (RTM) process. The resin fills the gaps between the carbon fibers and binds them together.

  5. Curing: After the resin is infused, the mold is placed in an oven or autoclave to cure the epoxy resin. Curing involves applying heat and pressure to promote a chemical reaction that hardens the resin and creates a solid, rigid structure. The curing temperature and time depend on the specific resin system used.

  6. Demolding and Finishing: Once the curing is complete, the mold is opened, and the carbon fiber frame is carefully removed. Any excess material is trimmed off, and the frame is inspected for quality control. The frame may undergo additional finishing processes, such as sanding, painting, or applying a clear coat, to enhance its appearance and protect the carbon fiber surface.

  7. Assembly: The carbon fiber frame is then ready for assembly with other components, such as the fork, handlebars, wheels, drivetrain, and brakes, to complete the road bicycle.

It's important to note that the actual manufacturing process can vary depending on the specific techniques and materials used by different bicycle manufacturers. However, the general steps mentioned above provide an overview of how carbon fiber road bicycles are typically made.