I meant to start a build thread for this awhile back but that clearly didn’t happen in time! So instead of documenting the progress of the bike, I thought it’d be interesting to share the finished bike and work backwards though the process.
The front triangle is titanium and the rear is roll wrapped carbon fiber tubing bonded to machined aluminum lugs. The suspension design uses a split pivot that’s common on Trek and Salsa frames. This greatly simplified part design and kinematics. I wasn’t really looking to challenge the status quo with geometry, instead I tried to focus on having a reliable and predictable platform. I originally designed around the UDH and the T-type was released right when I was piecing together components so I couldn’t help myself. I’ve been putting laps on the bike for about a month now and have been really happy with it so far. When I get a chance I’ll follow this post up with a couple more where I can dive into the details.
HTA: 64.5 degrees
Effective Seat Tube angle: 77 degrees
Wow! This is amazing! So many different construction methods are represented here.
I am curious about the split pivot design. Do you have a cutaway view of the pivot? Do the bearings rotate directly onto the rear axle? How the transmission rotates (or does not rotate) is breaking my brain.
Way to make an entry!
Bike looks fantastic.
Would love some more details on the roll wrapped carbon fibre square tubing.
Thanks! It was a lot of fun to design and build.
Basically, the seatstays, inner bearing races, axle, and UDH/Transmission are fixed to each other. The only things that rotate independently are the chainstays which have the pivot bearings pressed into them. The bearings have a 20mm ID so they work with the transmission bushing or UDH. On the non-drive side there’s a two-piece threaded dropout that also acts as a reducer for the 12mm axle. I just bought this from Trek rather than making my own.
The Sram spec isn’t very forgiving on the drive side for packaging. I would have liked to have more material in places and been able to increase the running clearance between the chainstay and seatstay. There also isn’t much space to mechanically retain the bearing so you’re relying on a good press fit. These are the cross sections for the drive side (with the UDH) and non-drive side.
The carbon tubing is an off the shelf profile from Rockwest (0.76” x 1.34” outside dimensions). They have a whole catalog of bike specific tubing and can make custom tubes, but this is just one of their stock non-bike shapes. As such, I don’t think the layup schedule is really optimized for what I’m using it for, but the relatively large cross section seems to make up for that. I used a carbon hacksaw blade and the park tool saw guide to cut them to length. The mating surfaces get sanded with 120 grit, cleaned, and bonded to the aluminum lugs with 2-part Hysol epoxy. There are glass beads mixed in to control the bond gap. I’m a little worried about galvanic corrosion since it’s raw aluminum and carbon but hopefully the epoxy provides enough of a barrier for now.
I really liked this construction method for the rear triangle. The straight carbon fiber tubing is comparatively inexpensive when looking at the molds required for more complex geometry. It can be easily cut to length for different frame sizes or suspension designs. Plus, you save a little unsprung weight and there’s no need to worry about distortion due to welding so the alignment is as good as the jig you use.
Here’s some pictures of the front triangle fabrication. Seat tube was probably the trickiest part. I machined a fixture to keep the BB and suspension pivots aligned and then used some 123 blocks and a template to fixture the upper portion semi accurately. The lower tube was basically swiss cheese by the time I was done. In addition to the visible cutouts, there’s a large one that aligns with the seat post for additional dropper clearance. I did the fusion pass on everything then located that in the frame jig. I left some stock on the pivots so I could come back and bore/face them after finish welding the frame. Kind of a nerve-wracking operation but I snuck up on the dimensions and luckily averted catastrophe.
Nice! With all the fixtures and design time you put into it, do you plan to make more (if you have not already)? Or is this a one-and-done deal?
I don’t have any immediate plans to make more. I’ll probably enjoy this one for a while, see how it holds up, and make changes if issues arise. It’s also a pretty modular design so if I wanted to tweak the geometry or kinematics I think I could swap components fairly easily.
This is incredible work, thank you for posting! How has the rear triangle held up to abuse? What insertion do the machines aluminum parts have into the carbon tubes?
Insertion is an inch for both the chainstays and seatstays. I did some napkin math to make sure I was in the ballpark based on the shear strength of the epoxy, but it’s still a bit of a swag. Everything has held up great so far though. I’ve been happy with how stiff the rear triangle is too. I was half expecting some deflection or tracking issues with hard cornering.
Nice, thanks! That’s a nice setup you have with the rotary axis. I was just brainstorming how I was going to get some of these angles and that would be a great way to do it:)
Do you mind me asking what size gap you left between the aluminum and the carbon for the adhesive?
Gap was .010” and I used 9.8mil beads. After scuffing, everything assembled really well.
Thanks! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.