We do some fancy carbon fiber manufacturing, but we’ve declined to give it any acronyms – it seems like that field is pretty well covered by others. In many cases, those acronyms are not indicative of anything special, but are simply a way to stuff some marketing down your throats.
We're well aware that bikes have been increasing in price over the last few years. So we made it a priority to get the radness of our carbon technology to “trickle-down" to within reach of more riders. In 2015, we managed to dramatically reduce the price on the carbon V10, Bronson, 5010, and Tallboy models, and increase our build options to create the kind of industry-crushing performance that now comes standard from Santa Cruz.
Working with our exclusive manufacturing partner, we used the proprietary processes you’ll see here to create lower-cost carbon frames that retain the same legendary strength and stiffness we're known for. We achieved this by using a different grade of carbon material that results in a minimal weight gain of approximately 250-280 grams (0.6 lbs) per frame. Our existing, high-grade carbon frames are known as “CC,” and you’ll find them with XT/X01-level builds and higher, or as frames.
One-Piece Lay-Up And Curing
By laying up and curing the front triangle all at the same time, rather than assembling pieces, we're able to decrease the amount of material used by eliminating overlapping joints that have to be bonded or wrapped with carbon. Less material means fewer grams. This method is extremely expensive, since each size has to have a lot of dedicated tooling, and nothing is shared between each size.
Continuing Fibers Around Tube Junctions
The one-piece lay-up of the front triangle allows fibers to be used that continuously wrap between tubes, allowing the structure to distribute loads and absorb impact energy more effectively. We also are able to truly integrate the shock mounts, pivot mounts, dropouts and disc brake tabs into the structure, using all uni-directional carbon plies. The shock mount isn't merely riveted or bonded on after curing, but an integrated part of the fiber lay-up. This makes our carbon frames incredibly strong and able to absorb impact better than any other frames we've tested.
Net Shape Lay-Up and Fiber Compaction
Our lay-up process allows us to control the outside and inside shapes, and to compact the fiber layers during the lay-up. This eliminates gaps between layers, and keeps resin from migrating to the inside of the tubes, or allowing delamination during the molding process. You can't see this without getting inside the frame, but we're more proud of how the inside of these frames look than the outside. No gaps, no filler or mystery material. No resin pools or glued together sections. It's a frame you wouldn't be embarrassed to bring home to mom. No skeletons in the closet, and no rider weight limit, either.
Full Carbon Tubes for Internal Routing
Models with internal routing (i.e. the Nomad) use full-length carbon tubes that are integrated during the lay-up process. It's a complicated feat for us, but keeps things tidier than anything else we know of and means hassle-free routing of your cables every time.
*If you want to dig a little deeper on what things like "stiffness" actually mean, then head on over to Joe's Corner for some heavy engineering insights...