I read a recent article in ‘Cycling’ recently about the safety of carbon frames made in China. The article was entitled something emotive like, ‘Carbon fibre frames made in China, are they worth the risk?’
So, that got me thinking and doing the ‘due diligence’ bit by looking at Chinese manufacturers, their ‘fail rate’ as a result of mechanical testing and analysis of the data. I used the data from a umber of manufacturers, asked about their manufacturing processes and the tests carried out on their frames and forks.
Simply, the fail rate was low ( circa 4.5% of randomly tested frames at the end of the production stage) which is why the corporate Chinese manufacturer offers a two year guarantee on their carbon frames if the fault is the result of the manufacturing process.
Which got me thinking even more……………………….. who else manufacturers carbon frames, say, in Europe?
I was fortunate recently to have a conversation with the technical guy from the Aston Martin frames before the national road races in Northumberland. Glistening grey carbon frames with the AM logo, they looked stunning. But here’s the rub. Asked where they were made, China! Asked where they were designed, Germany. A famous German frame designer (work it out, it’s part quiz) suggested he would prefer the manufacturing to be done in Germany since he had collated all the technical aspects for the frame design, but it was not realistic, financially.
What am I getting at?
Well, carbon fibre frames made in China have a range of prices but the issue is in their particular manufacturing process, rather than price.
We have commissioned a road frame design from China – this is a lightweight carbon frame and fork set and includes seat pillar.
We have called it the TECHTO A2 and the plans and geometry are with UCI technical department where we are seeking approval so that it can be used in competitions and recognised by national cycling and triathlon bodies.
We make it in RED, Black – gloss or matt
So, carbon fibre frames, made in China, are they worth the risk?