High performance cycling

How epm: technology turned a potentially irreparable cycling break into a perfectly-patched machine.

Opportunity

Increasingly, carbon bike frames are being purchased by keen amateur cyclists.

One such cyclist/triathlon competitor was hit by a car whilst training and on first inspection the frame seemed fine. However once it went in for a service after a further month of training, the bike’s frame was identified as broken. The competitor contacted epm: technology to see if we could help.

Challenges

On a purely visual basis, there was little damage to the bike. The competitor was hit on the front of the bike, which also caused a serious crack on the rear frame. The questions that arose, were how could we identify the length of the crack and the depth in which it had affected the laminate? And, was the breakage repairable?.

Could we identify the length of the crack and the depth in which it had affected the laminate? And, was the breakage repairable?- Project Manager, epm: technology

Solution

epm: technology used NDT (non-destructive testing) equipment and ultra-scanned the affected component. We tracked the breakage to ensure we had captured the whole area which had been weakened.

Using F1 rapid tooling know-how, we enlarged the area and tooled directly from the bike frame. We then manufactured an autoclave cured structural repair patch.

EPM then prepared the surfaces for a complex bonding operation. With the patch secured into position using structural adhesives, the frame and repair were placed in an oven to post-cure them to full strength. The frame was then re-tested using the NDT equipment once more as part of our final checking procedures.

Outcomes

The frame was not written off, in fact it was not even relegated to a training bike and remains a competition companion to the owner.

We applied our F1 know-how and techniques to understand the challenges and extent of the damage. This prevented any second guessing. Through these procedures we were able to optimise the actions needed to repair the bike safely.

The customer is still competing.