Manufacturing Defects in Carbon Fiber Bicycles
Written By: Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Ruffo & Giuffra LLP
Manufacturing defects are one of the biggest disadvantages of a carbon fiber bicycle. During the manufacturing process the carbon fiber must be crimped and layered properly in order for the carbon fiber to be as strong as possible. If the process varies, this is an indication that the manufacturing operation is not under control. Most carbon fiber components are manufactured in Asia, particularly China and Taiwan.
Our expert engineers perform various tests in order to determine whether or not the process of layering the carbon fiber sheets together was done uniformly. Specimens are usually cut, molded and polished. Under a microscope, individual layers of fiber can be identified and measured.
Carbon fiber is a difficult and precise process that must be subject to quality control. The layering must be performed precisely in order to obtain the greatest strength. In addition, the fibers must be layered at precise angles to achieve the strongest result. If these techniques are not observed, the carbon fiber can fail.
To locate potential manufacturing defects in carbon fiber bicycles, the rider must carefully examine his/her bicycle before each ride. Look for small cracks or chips. If a crack exists, return the bicycle to a dealer for a full inspection. If a bike owner doesn't do this, it can result in a catastrophic failure of the bicycle frame. Unforunately riders are often going high speeds and these failures can result in significant injuries and even death.