Material Engineering and Production Process
We have explained the importance of selecting high-quality carbon fiber to manufacture superior frames. A common misperception is that frames and parts built of the same carbon material will all have similar ride qualities. This is false. Critical in the production of superb cycling products is the carbon fiber manufacturing processes, specifically:
1. The amount of layers of carbon fiber; and,
2. The process of laying up the multiple layers of carbon fiber
These two factors determine the actual ride characteristics of the bike. A totally rigid frame will not absorb road vibrations and will provide a harsh and fatiguing ride. An excessively flexible frame will deform when pedal force is applied, resulting in inefficient power transfer. In addition, some sections of the ideal frame need to be more rigid than others because of their various roles in stress and power transfer.
The challenge to developing the process to produce the best triathlon bike frame has been figuring out the optimal quantity of layers and the best layup pattern to obtain the best possible frame dynamics. For this purpose, CEEPO works with Dr. Jason Liou from the School of Mechanical Engineering at Feng Chia University in Taiwan.
Utilizing “Finite Element Analysis” (FEA) which is a three dimensional mathematical model to predict mechanical stresses in complex parts, Dr. Liou utilizes intricate computer algorithms to calculate precisely the amount of carbon fiber layers and their layup directions for each of the sections of CEEPO’s frames. This process requires many hours of computation, but the results are super-light weight frames that are incredibly stiff for efficient power transfer, and at the same time offer the rider a fast, stable, and comfortable ride.
The figure below illustrates how carbon fiber layup determines composite physical behavior:
The analysis above shows deflection in a carbon fiber plate undergoing bending and pulling. When the carbon fibers are aligned only in the 0 and 90 degree directions, the deflections in off-axis bending and pulling are up to 50% higher compared with the 45–90 degrees carbon lay up carbon fiber plate.
Once the bike has been designed, the material selected, and the carbon fiber layup defined, the bike needs to be manufactured. Layer by layer, experienced, motivated, and proud technicians manually layup the carbon in the monocoque molds.
Once out of the mold, the frame goes through its final assembly, a thorough quality inspection, and manual sand finish.
The last step is painting. We believe that the looks of our products reflect their quality, so this process also receives special attention. We do not take short cuts. We do not make compromises. One look at our final product and you will immediately notice that this is racing equipment of the highest quality.