Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 28
  1. #1
    Junkmaster
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Arcadia, California
    My Bikes
    Lemond "Alpe d'Huez," several X-marts, and two Trek hybrids
    Posts
    133
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Why are there no fiberglass bicycles?

    I've always wondered why fiberglass bicycle frames were not made. I'm cautious with saying "never," as there might be the occasional rare one out there. Yet I am close to using the word "never" with regards to seeing a fiberglass bicycle because I have never seen one marketed or in real life.

    Fiberglass is a lot cheaper to make than carbon fiber, and it has good strength to weight ratio. Furthermore, it is more shock-resistant than carbon fiber because of its lack of stiffness, which I think may also act as a drawback. Is adequate stiffness really that important?

  2. #2
    Elmira>Taiwan>Elmira flatlander_48's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Elmira, NY
    My Bikes
    2005 Ritchey BreakAway (full Chorus 11), 2001 Gary Fisher Tassajara mountain bike (sold), 2004 Giant TRC 2 road bike (sold)
    Posts
    1,388
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by facial View Post
    I've always wondered why fiberglass bicycle frames were not made. I'm cautious with saying "never," as there might be the occasional rare one out there. Yet I am close to using the word "never" with regards to seeing a fiberglass bicycle because I have never seen one marketed or in real life.

    Fiberglass is a lot cheaper to make than carbon fiber, and it has good strength to weight ratio. Furthermore, it is more shock-resistant than carbon fiber because of its lack of stiffness, which I think may also act as a drawback. Is adequate stiffness really that important?
    Good but not good enough. Strength to weight and stiffness to weight is far superior for carbon fiber. I'm not sure if fiberglass would be that much cheaper to make. The raw materials would be cheaper, but I think the manufacturing costs would be fairly similar.

    Stiffness is important because the bike would tend to act like a big spring. You want your energy to go into moving the bike and not to be absorbed in the frame. Stiffness also makes the handling more predictable.
    2005 Ritchey BreakAway (steel)
    Full Campagnolo double compact drivetrain - Chorus 11sp
    (50, 34 & 12-29)
    Proton wheels
    Cateye CC-TR300TW V3
    Ritchey fork, stem, headset, bars and seatpost
    Fizik Gobi saddle and bar tape
    BeBop Pedals

  3. #3
    Senior Member rokudan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Titusville, FL
    My Bikes
    LOOK KG361 / Ultegra SL
    Posts
    71
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I used to work for Ski Nautique, building boats.. And hence worked with fiberglass a bit... My guess... Falls in line with what you assume, as well one other thing... First, fiberglass cloth, pound for pound, does not have the strength near that of carbon fiber... And two, the cost difference between high weight, quality fiberglass, and a stronger/stiffer carbon fiber counterpart of the same weight/quality, is very little...

    So, from a manufacturing standpoint, they spend 10% more to use CF, and get 30% more strength... (Note: my numbers are completely arbitrary guesses, but probably close)
    Greg's Weblog
    Orlando Forums

    "Conserve Air, Breathe Less."

  4. #4
    on your left.
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    My Bikes
    Scott SUB 30, Backtrax MTB
    Posts
    1,802
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    aren't most good surf boards now epoxy and not fiberglass? Isn't this because fiberglass is more fragile?

    I might not know my stuff about that, I only surf occasionally when i get somewhere w/ some good waves.
    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    I learned this the hard way. They say that experience is the best teacher, but I would have been preferred to just read about it on the internet.

  5. #5
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Dallas area, Texas
    Posts
    10,733
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itera_plastic_bicycle

    I'm not sure if this was fiberglass, but of interest none-the-less.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    IL-USA
    Posts
    1,611
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The reason there's no fiberglass bicycle frames now is because most of the expense of building a composite frame is the labor, which is the same no matter what fiber you use.

    For a fairly-small increase in price (-and the same amount of labor-) you can use carbon instead of glass fiber and get a much-better product in the end.
    ~

  7. #7
    Gear Hub fan
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV
    My Bikes
    Civia Hyland Rohloff, Swobo Dixon, Colnago, Univega
    Posts
    2,830
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nahh View Post
    aren't most good surf boards now epoxy and not fiberglass? Isn't this because fiberglass is more fragile?

    I might not know my stuff about that, I only surf occasionally when i get somewhere w/ some good waves.
    Current surfboards use Epoxy or Polyester resin over a foam core I believe. Cheaper & a bit lighter than a foam core + fiberglass and resin outer shell but not as strong IMO as the older construction method.

    Remember that fiberglass and CF are very similar technologies. Both use a resin impregnated into the cloth material to turn it into something other than a limp cloth. CF is a lot lighter and requires less material for a given rigidity and strength so for equal strength and rigidity characteristics a fiberglass frame would be a lot heavier from what I have read.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

    Visit and join the Yahoo Geared Hub Bikes group for support and links.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Geared_hub_bikes/

  8. #8
    Junkmaster
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Arcadia, California
    My Bikes
    Lemond "Alpe d'Huez," several X-marts, and two Trek hybrids
    Posts
    133
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The stiffness to weight can be around the ballpark of magnesium alloys, but with much greater strength.

    So if magnesium frames exist (in minority), why don't fiberglass frames exist?

    There is a large disparity between the prices of the two types of fibers. Epoxy is cheap, so that's discounted in the price difference. In the manufacture of carbon, you have to spend a lot of energy in the carbonization/graphitization processes, whereas in glass you have just a one-step melt spinning at roughly carbonization temperatures. The graphitization temperature is much higher, but those are never needed for glass.

  9. #9
    Junkmaster
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Arcadia, California
    My Bikes
    Lemond "Alpe d'Huez," several X-marts, and two Trek hybrids
    Posts
    133
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There is some good discussion here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omni.Potent View Post
    I thought they did...

    http://nbhaa.com/indexBowden.html
    This might be the first one I have ever read of. Not bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by flatlander_48 View Post
    Good but not good enough. Strength to weight and stiffness to weight is far superior for carbon fiber.
    If you use E-glass, it (the glass) is somewhat inferior. If you use S-glass, it is slightly inferior, but that also hinges on the cost of the S-glass, I suppose. Now quartz fiber would be more interesting, with strengths in excess of 10 GPa.

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itera_plastic_bicycle

    I'm not sure if this was fiberglass, but of interest none-the-less.
    Ah yes, I forgot to bring this up. If people tried plastic bicycles, which have relatively low stiffness-to-weight ratios, then of course fiberglass should've been tried from this era as well. I imagine sometime around the 1980's, but I haven't seen anything other than the 1960's example above.

  10. #10
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    other Vancouver
    Posts
    6,961
    Mentioned
    22 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    From far-left field comes part of an answer: several velomobiles are built from fiberglass with bonded-in subframes to locate the drivetrain. A velomobile is a fully-enclosed human-powered machine, designed for aerodynamic efficiency and weather protection. In some designs the shell is a monocoque, with mounting points for the front wheels. One such design is the Quest:

    http://www.bluevelo.com/quest_velomobile.html


    I led a ride here in Portland for the Left Coast Velomobile Gathering last weekend. Tremendous fun:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wmbates...7618744819975/
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  11. #11
    . bbattle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Rocket City, No'ala
    My Bikes
    2014 Trek Domane 5.2, 1985 Pinarello Trevisio, 1991 Colnago Master, '06 Bianchi San Jose, 1987 Moulton Fuso, 1990 Gardin Shred, '82 John Howard(Dave Tesch)
    Posts
    12,067
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Port Townsend, WA
    My Bikes
    xtracycle, electric recumbent, downtube folder and more
    Posts
    982
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Have you ever picked up a fiberglas ladder and then an aluminum ladder? Fiberglas would be better for shells and such but as a structural agent, way too heavy.

  13. #13
    50000 Guatts of power 127.0.0.1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,001
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by crackerdog View Post
    Have you ever picked up a fiberglas ladder and then an aluminum ladder? Fiberglas would be better for shells and such but as a structural agent, way too heavy.
    this.

    fiberglas for strength means extremely heavy. your bike would weigh like a concrete huffy
    I like fat bikes
    and I cannot lie.

  14. #14
    Junkmaster
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Arcadia, California
    My Bikes
    Lemond "Alpe d'Huez," several X-marts, and two Trek hybrids
    Posts
    133
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by crackerdog View Post
    Have you ever picked up a fiberglas ladder and then an aluminum ladder? Fiberglas would be better for shells and such but as a structural agent, way too heavy.
    I have - keep in mind that this type of fiberglass contains calcium carbonate and pultruded w/ volume fraction of fiber at around 50%. Shells seem to be the preferred application of fiberglass.

    60-70% volume fraction is seen in experimental aerospace applications, alongside carbon. I know this because my university department does this stuff all the time.

  15. #15
    Junkmaster
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Arcadia, California
    My Bikes
    Lemond "Alpe d'Huez," several X-marts, and two Trek hybrids
    Posts
    133
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    this.

    fiberglas for strength means extremely heavy. your bike would weigh like a concrete huffy
    It would be more accurate to say stiffness. The strength of fiberglass is adequate, just there's too much flex so inevitably the wall thicknesses are larger.

    I would also add that the stiffness of a frame should be pretty small compared to the rubber stiffness on a tire, even when the latter is inflated to high psi. The flex in the frame can damp out unwanted rigid motions.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Gaseous Cloud around Uranus
    Posts
    3,483
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Too heavy,after getting the strenght needed.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  17. #17
    Industry guy
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Minnesota
    My Bikes
    To many to name - I ride a custom built steel frame.
    Posts
    56
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Check out the Bowden Spacelander.
    I believe it was a fiberglass or composite.

    I own an Itera - plastic bicycle. All bearings and bearing surfaces are metal.
    Plastic with an engineered structure.

  18. #18
    Junkmaster
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Arcadia, California
    My Bikes
    Lemond "Alpe d'Huez," several X-marts, and two Trek hybrids
    Posts
    133
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    I would totally get one of these. edit: too bad they're only made in Canada.
    Last edited by facial; 06-04-09 at 09:32 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    On the road-USA
    My Bikes
    Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG
    Posts
    16,326
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by facial View Post
    I would totally get one of these. edit: too bad they're only made in Canada.
    And NL among other places (I so want one of these!) I think we may be seeing more of them in the future. Here is a link to a blog from NL showing them in action.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  20. #20
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    other Vancouver
    Posts
    6,961
    Mentioned
    22 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by facial View Post
    I would totally get one of these. edit: too bad they're only made in Canada.
    It's still a very limited market, but if you're really interested in looking one over Dana Leiberman at Bent Up Cycles in Van Nuys has a couple.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  21. #21
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Long Island, New York
    My Bikes
    a lowrider BMX, a mountain bike, a faired recumbent, and a loaded touring bike
    Posts
    2,588
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
    Here's an interesting How-To article;
    http://www.nordicskiracer.com/news.asp?NewsID=2940

    You know, I didn't see this thread when it first appeared, in 2009. Now, looking back, I realize that June '09 was when I got my new DVD Burner, and software to convert DVD's to MP4's, and I was very busy, uploading over 700 videos to YouTube. I want to thank bbattle for posting the photo of the NFA Vehicles Type 9 , otherwise known as the Fiberglass Ladies Bicycle by Mellisa Manning.

    I'm thinking of a Do-Over, wherein I build another bike like this , but 50% Fiberglass, and 10% Carbon Fiber. That only adds up to 60%, you think? Wrong, that is the Weight Savings of 40%. The Fiberglass will remain where there is compression, and the Carbon will take up the slack where there is tension.

    Anyway, this bike is a mule, part velomobile and part cargo/utility bike. There is no other, that I know of.

    Another link , to an article about plastic bikes:

    http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/why-...practical.html
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  22. #22
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Long Island, New York
    My Bikes
    a lowrider BMX, a mountain bike, a faired recumbent, and a loaded touring bike
    Posts
    2,588
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by facial View Post
    I've always wondered why fiberglass bicycle frames were not made. I'm cautious with saying "never," as there might be the occasional rare one out there. Yet I am close to using the word "never" with regards to seeing a fiberglass bicycle because I have never seen one marketed or in real life.

    Fiberglass is a lot cheaper to make than carbon fiber, and it has good strength to weight ratio. Furthermore, it is more shock-resistant than carbon fiber because of its lack of stiffness, which I think may also act as a drawback. Is adequate stiffness really that important?
    Never say Never...
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockland County, NY
    My Bikes
    Giant TCR SL3 and Trek 1.5
    Posts
    1,021
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
    Never say Never...
    On this, you can pretty much say never. Fiberglass has been around for ages, but it's application has been relatively limited. There's no reason to reinvent the wheel to make another bike frame material when carbon and aluminum provide all that the vast majority of people need, for the most part. Aluminum is making a resurgence as it's getting easier to work with and shape, much like carbon fiber. The most recent Bicycling magazine has a good article on this issue.

  24. #24
    Elmira>Taiwan>Elmira flatlander_48's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Elmira, NY
    My Bikes
    2005 Ritchey BreakAway (full Chorus 11), 2001 Gary Fisher Tassajara mountain bike (sold), 2004 Giant TRC 2 road bike (sold)
    Posts
    1,388
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If the Green Lantern was looking for a bike...

    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
    2005 Ritchey BreakAway (steel)
    Full Campagnolo double compact drivetrain - Chorus 11sp
    (50, 34 & 12-29)
    Proton wheels
    Cateye CC-TR300TW V3
    Ritchey fork, stem, headset, bars and seatpost
    Fizik Gobi saddle and bar tape
    BeBop Pedals

  25. #25
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Alpharetta, GA
    My Bikes
    Nashbar Road
    Posts
    6,584
    Mentioned
    24 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
    Here's an interesting How-To article;
    http://www.nordicskiracer.com/news.asp?NewsID=2940

    You know, I didn't see this thread when it first appeared, in 2009. Now, looking back, I realize that June '09 was when I got my new DVD Burner, and software to convert DVD's to MP4's, and I was very busy, uploading over 700 videos to YouTube. I want to thank bbattle for posting the photo of the NFA Vehicles Type 9 , otherwise known as the Fiberglass Ladies Bicycle by Mellisa Manning.

    I'm thinking of a Do-Over, wherein I build another bike like this , but 50% Fiberglass, and 10% Carbon Fiber. That only adds up to 60%, you think? Wrong, that is the Weight Savings of 40%. The Fiberglass will remain where there is compression, and the Carbon will take up the slack where there is tension.


    Anyway, this bike is a mule, part velomobile and part cargo/utility bike. There is no other, that I know of.

    Another link , to an article about plastic bikes:

    http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/why-...practical.html
    How does that handle at around 20-24 mph? I experimented with a fiberglass front this year more highly concave and pointed at the front, but for me it was highly sensitive to wind shifts so I reverted back to my older more rounded front (corrugated HDPE). I was wondering if your design had similar characteristics.

    (ps, I have a new appreciation for your craft skills since it took me months to make one piece that still wasn't right. It's harderer than it looks)
    Last edited by wphamilton; 04-06-13 at 12:28 PM.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •