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Repair Broken Carbon Bike Frames
According to Heather Ross, the former framerepair service manager at Calfee Bicycles, in La Selva Beach, California, most damage can be fixed. Calfee has mended more than 6,000 frames since 2003. Shawn Small, of Portland, Oregonbased Ruckus Components, who has fixed more than 200 bikes, agrees.
Pretty much anything can be repaired, he says, noting that the process of layering carbon, compressing the frame, and curing the new material is similar to the way new are made.
This type of work is not limited to minor damage; the pros can fix tubes snapped through and frames snapped into multiple pieces. Bottombracket shells can be replaced; cable stops and frontderailleur brazeons can be mended.
Repairs can be done on more than frames, too. Some companies will fix wheels as long as the brake track is not damaged. Liability concerns, however, seem to dissuade most companies from working on forks and handlebars.
Beyond repairing damage, the same techniques can be used to add carbon to a frame example, to lengthen an integrated seatmast, if you want to sell your frame to a taller friend.
There are some limits, though, especially when carbon dropouts are involved. Calfee doesnt touch carbon dropouts, but its crew can sometimes graft on new ones, along with stays from a compatible donor frame. Perhaps USA Cycling should include a donor option line on racing licenses, in case of crash damage.
Technologically, theres nothing about carbon that takes special skill to repair, says Cerv engineer Damon Rinard. The procedure starts with removal of the damaged carbon. Next, the area surrounding the damage is sanded, tapering toward the missing fibers. New layers of carbon fabric are used to rebuild the affected area, then cured. Finally, the repair is sanded to match the original frame shape.
The greater challenge is restoring the original finish, and quality work can set better jobs apart. Typically, painted frames can be made to look close to what they did when new, for a sometimes high price. In other cases the repair is left unpainted, for a battleworn look.
Hi, I ride a specialized tarmac pro, I had a really bad crash in a training ride, and cracked my top tube. They did an amazing job on the repair. They did a great job matching the paint, I couldnt even tell where the damage had happened. My frame after it was built rode stiffer too,good thing for crits. Prices are very reasonable too. They are in norcal. just wanted to share because they made me a believer.