So exactly how is a carbon bike frame made? The stock answer is something along the lines of, it comes out of a massive factory in Asia and is then shipped to the U.S. on a container ship. And for the most part that’s true. But not everyone has accepted that norm. Indeed, the small team at Allied Cycle Works in Little Rock, Arkansas, takes a different approach.
“We dreamt that we could be successful designing, building and selling bikes that we loved without sacrificing our values: We are a premium American bicycle brand that actually engineers and manufactures our own products, right here in the USA, because it matters,” they say. “Our goal is not only to make our bicycles here, it is to make them better and to prove to the world that composite bicycles can be produced in the USA.”
To hammer home that point they made this informative video that walks you through the entire process. Whether you care about where your bike is made or not, it’s fascinating to see all the steps it takes to turn raw carbon into a two-wheeled adventure machine.
The process starts in the cutting room where sheets of pre-preg carbon (produced in California) are cut into plies. The shape and number of plies is dictated by a ply manual, which outlines what pieces will go where and when.
Once cutting is done, these kits are taken to the lay-up department, where the longest phase of the build process takes place. Once all layup is done (again following a specific manual of instructions), air is removed and then the various frame parts are put into a press for final curing.
Once the frame is cured, it’s time for paint prep. This process includes sanding, as well as drilling holes for bottle cage bolts, front derailleur attachment, and the appropriate cable management system. Finally, paint is applied. Here the possibilities are nearly limitless, as Allied has access to 64 separate toners, which nets a near infinite number of colors
To learn more about Allied Cycle Works and their build process, spin over to www.alliedcycleworks.com.