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New Type of Carbon Fiber Bike Frame Promises to Be More Impact-Resistant and Affordable

British bicycle manufacturer Starling Cycles is working on its first carbon fiber eMTB frame. And it’s not your traditionally-made carbon fiber either, but one that is obtained using a new method, which the manufacturer claims to bring several advantages over the old one.
Starling Cycles Carbon Fiber Bike Prototype 6 photos
Starling Cycles Carbon Fiber Bike prototypeStarling Cycles Carbon Fiber Bike prototypeStarling Cycles Carbon Fiber Bike prototypeStarling Cycles Carbon Fiber Bike prototypeStarling Cycles Carbon Fiber Bike prototype
Starling Cycles is based in Bristol, U.K., and so far, it’s only made steel wheelers. But that’s about to change according to Joe McEwan, the company’s founder and CEO, who recently teamed up with the National Composite Centre for what sounds like a promising project.

As McEwan stated several times throughout his bike manufacturing career, there’s a reason why he’s not big on regular carbon fiber bikes, and his background has something to do with that. The guy used to work in the aerospace industry, where he had the chance to see this material being manufactured at its highest level. Compared to that, McEwan says, the current technology used to make carbon fiber bikes leaves a lot of room for improvement.

But with the new project, Starling’s CEO plans to ditch the traditional epoxy-based carbon fiber and use thermoplastic instead, which comes with multiple benefits. One of them is the fact that the latter is tougher on impact, due to the high plasticity of the material. It is also more repairable as supposed to epoxy, and it is easier to be repurposed.
Energy efficiency is another advantage thermoplastic has over epoxy, with the latter requiring less energy to be manufactured. This means lower production costs and it also makes the material less harmful to the environment.

All in all, we are talking about a more affordable, better quality, and sustainable type of bike carbon frame, and Starling Cycles already has a prototype to show us. It is an attractive carbon fiber mock-up e-bike that also has a 3D printed stainless steel shock mount. It is far from being complete or rideable, but it does give us a taste of what’s coming.

However, there’s no word yet on when we could see this type of carbon fiber bike on the market and ready to shred, with McEwan specifying there are still studies to be made in order to refine the technology.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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