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1990s Carbon Question - Araya Ex Worx Excella

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1990s Carbon Question - Araya Ex Worx Excella

Old 07-11-22, 09:45 AM
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1990s Carbon Question - Araya Ex Worx Excella

I'm looking into the history of the Araya Ex Worx Excella carbon bicycle. It appeared for the first time in their 1994 catalog, and is one of the earliest carbon monocoque frames. I'm curious about whether Araya made this frame in-house, or whether it was contract-made by an OEM. If it was an OEM, I'm also curious whether it was being manufactured in Asia, or in the USA or Europe. I got interested in this bike because both 3Rensho and Zunow sold re-branded versions of it under their own marque in the mid-1990s.

Araya 1994 catalog here (in Japanese) - https://araya-rinkai.jp/wp/wp-content...ve_1994-11.pdf

Some photos:



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Old 07-11-22, 09:47 AM
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Three Zunows that look to be re-branded Excellas:



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Old 07-11-22, 09:50 AM
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From a mid-90s-era 3Rensho catalog:

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Old 07-11-22, 09:53 AM
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Sweet frames.
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Old 07-11-22, 10:24 AM
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I don't know anything about the origins of the frame but my understanding is that WORX was a customization program, similar to Panasonic's PICS program.

It's seems strange to think that this could be considered a very early carbon monocoque frame when the Kestrel 4000 was commercially available 7 years earlier. It only goes to show how slowly the concept was being accepted within the industry.
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Old 07-11-22, 10:35 AM
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T-Mar, you're correct about the Worx program. The Araya catalog shows all the Worx custom options. The exact model name of this frame was the EXW-CMC. With regard to timing, I agree that monocoque frames were not a new concept in the mid-90s; perhaps it's my fault for classifying it as such. To be honest I don't have a clear idea of how widespread consumer adoption of carbon frames (tubed or monocoque) was in the late 80s / early 90s.

From my research, 3Rensho was offering rebranded Aegis / Graphite Technologies Inc / BIK frames made in the USA, prior to shifting over to the Araya. Below is a scan from the 8th 3Rensho catalog:

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Old 07-11-22, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Catnap View Post
...With regard to timing, I agree that monocoque frames were not a new concept in the mid-90s; perhaps it's my fault for classifying it as such. To be honest I don't have a clear idea of how widespread consumer adoption of carbon frames (tubed or monocoque) was in the late 80s / early 90s...

Carbon fibre frames were quite common in the very late 1980s to very early 1990s. However, they were primarily tubes bonded together via lugs, Brands that offered lugged carbon fibre iduring this era included Alan, Look, Vitus, Giant, Miyata, Specialized, Trek, Centurion, Peugeot. Lemond, Tommaso, Nishiki , Univega, Bianchi and Mongoose, to name only those that immediately come to mind. Of course, many of these were simply rebrands. However, the market appeal of lugged carbon fibre during this period can be summed up succinctly by noting that even mail order brands like Nashbar and Performance offered them. On the other hand, monocoque or OPCF (One Piece Carbon Fibre) were much more rare, to the point where one could argue that the Araya was still an early monocoque. I won't fault you on that point.
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Old 07-11-22, 09:11 PM
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Reminds me of Kestrel.
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Old 07-11-22, 10:31 PM
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@Catnap - here is an image from the internet listed solely as an Aegis 700 in 58cm. Not sure the date, or the years Aegis produced (was it in New England, USA?).

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Old 07-12-22, 10:18 AM
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Thanks for all the info, guys! To be clear, what I'm trying to figure out is whether the Araya monocoque was manufactured by them, or a third-party.

SR / Sakae Ringyo's Litage frames used bonded carbon tubes and were sold under multiple brand names in both the USA and Japan. There was also a similar one from Zunow that used a monostay, and which was allegedly designed by Zunow boss Teruo Kageyama. Not sure who manufactured it for Zunow, but it was also sold under the Centurion brand in the USA.

However, I haven't yet been able to find an example of an early monocoque carbon frame designed and manufactured by a Japanese company. The earliest I know of would be the Bridgestone line of ARCP/ FAPCP/FAPCPT/FPCPT bikes, but those appeared at the end of the 1990s. That's why I'm so interested in the Araya, especially since it seemed to reappear under other brand names.
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