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  1. #1
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
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    Carbon Fiber weave and Bike Frames

    I posted this in the Road forum but it seems to make more sense here. Sorry for the double post.

    I have been searching for some info on 3k, 12k etc. carbon fiber weaves as it relates to bike frames. There is a lot of discussions, but they often seem to either get too technical or emotional. I found the following on a bike website.

    "Many people ask "What's the difference between 1K, 3K, and 12K carbon fiber?". So let's start off by explaining how carbon weaves are measured and make our way to the difference in the fibers and their characteristics in relation to Storck Bicycles.

    Carbon fiber is measured by the width of the weave. For instance, a 1K weave will be approximatley 1mm in width while a 12K weave will be much larger at approximatley 12mm and so forth.

    The outer layer of any carbon frame serves several purposes. The first purpose is to provide a cosmetic layer of carbon giving the frame it's final look. Secondly, it provides a final touch to the ride of the bicycle. Some weaves are more rigid than others and some weaves flex more providing more supple ride characteristics.

    So, what are the characteristics of each weave that Storck uses in relation to our bicycles?

    1K - 1K is a very rare fiber used in the cycling industry. It is lighter than other fibers and provides a more supple ride than a larger weave. These smaller carbon fibers also display the incredible amount of craftsmanship needed to complete one of our bikes. The Fascenario 0.7 is the only model in the Storck line that features this coveted carbon.

    2K - 2K is the rarest carbon fiber available on the market. It is produced by no more than 2 carbon manufacturers in the world. The Fascenario 0.7IS is the only bicycle in the world featuring this carbon. 2K carbon provides the optimum ride characteristics to pair with our VVC frames. This gives the bike perfect stiffness, low weight, and great vertical compliance (comfort).

    3K - 3K is the most common carbon fiber that you will find on a bicycle. It provides a comfortable ride while still allowing the bike to be stiff and strong enough to handle a powerful rider in the midst of his/her best sprint.

    12K - 12K is the largest weave and the stiffest. This outer layer featured on the Fascenario 0.8 makes for the stiffest "feeling" ride of all three. It is slightly heavier and much less expensive to use in production, hence the price difference in the Fascenario 0.7 and the Fascenario 0.8.

    Uni-Directional - Uni-Directional (UD) carbon is another type of carbon fiber that can be used to create a carbon bicycle. UD carbon has fibers that run the same way rather than being woven together. This carbon is used on the Fenomalist and Aero UD in the Storck line-up and is only used as the outer layer."

    http://storckbicycle.com/usa/index.p...&s=carbonfiber


    It seems to make sense, and be fairly clear, and the photos make identifying various weaves easy. Then again, it is a marketing piece, and likely slanted to their benefit, so I'm a little wary of their explainations of the benefits. What do you think?
    BT
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  2. #2
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    I do carbon in boats mostly, and a few other things. The problem with explanations of the type above is that they do not really deal with enough of the parameters, moreso than that they are hype, correct, etc...

    Let's say I was describing roads, and I mentioned that some roads are wider than others. Generally wider roads allow a freer flow of traffic at higher speed, and therefore you should consider roads like the interstates for your bike trips rather than bike paths or narrow bike lanes. It is true interstates are faster, but they would, not be safe for bikes, unless of course we are talking about transporting bikes on a car or truck. Then again rail is narrower still and quite efficient, but we better be clear whether we are talking about a bike trip on a rail trail, or by train.

    So when talking about fabrics, we need to deal with whether they are in use because they unify underlying linears, fit into molds, provide an aesthetic covering, what weight in total is in use, alignment of the fibers with the loads, quality of resins, efficiency of layup, post curing, and doubtless many other things. You are better off to simply forget it and buy on the basis of reputation, and what appeals to you in use.

  3. #3
    Trail Destroyer
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    I agree that testing is the best way to determine which weave to use, but is there a clear cut answer to the question? Something like "The most commonly used weave on bicycles is 3k due to its high availability and good mix of flex and stiffness." I have no way of knowing if this is a true statement, just an answer like this would be very informative.

  4. #4
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Contact West Systems.
    They may very well be able to come up with some numbers on carbon strength for a given application.
    I know they helped a college build a velomobile.

  5. #5
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    Very nice. Will do so... Thanks for the info.

  6. #6
    Senior Member hopsing08's Avatar
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    thank you for posting this. i was curious about the difference. im not sure what conclusion i can come to about the 12k. it sounds as if its cheaper but stiffer? sounds like thats a plus, idk

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