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by Mark Zalewski
February 23, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Sunderland wins Tour de Langkawi opener; Geniez wins second stage at Tour de la Provence, Dennis in lead; Nocentini wins Volta ao Alentejo, stage 1; UK Sport accuses British Cycling of lack of transparency; Armstrong responds to lawsuit setback; ORICA-Scott reveal Grand Tour strategy; Nationale Sluitingsprijs race gets new life; CyclingTips Podcast, Episode 27: What lurks beneath carbon fiber’s mysterious surface?; Look recalls some Aerostem clamps; Witnesses allege drunk driver who killed cyclist lied to get lighter sentence; Female cyclist gets revenge on harassing driver; Highlights from Cali Track World Cup; Video: Lotto-Soudal pit stop; Video: Dog vs. peloton; Yowamushi Pedals movie.
Of all the materials used in bicycle frames and components, carbon fiber is perhaps the most commonly misunderstood. While it has a reputation for automated manufacturing devoid of human contact or soul, it’s actually far more labor-intensive material than metals. Modern modular monocoque frames, for example, comprise hundreds of individual pieces of carbon fabric, almost all of which are laid by hand before eventually curing in a mold under intense heat and pressure.
For this week’s CyclingTips podcast, U.S. technical editor James Huang invited two guest panelists to lend some considerable expertise: Chris Meertens, senior composites engineer for new U.S. bike manufacturer HIA Velo; and Raoul Leuscher of Leuscher Teknik, a carbon fiber inspection and repair guru based in Melbourne, Australia, with a long background in the aerospace industry.
Leuscher outlines some of the manufacturing issues he’s found in carbon fiber bicycle products over the years, and Meertens discusses some of the innovative processes HIA Velo has instituted to improve the quality of its frames. In short: things are definitely getting much better industry-wide, but they’re still not as perfect as many would like to believe.