There has been a lot going on in the Flying Machine studio, all of which has now come together into the first of our new range of full custom geometry, positive moulded monocoque bio-carbon frames.
We are super excited to present to you the BTR (Big Tyre Road)
The BTR is produced using a new technique we have developed for carbon frame manufacture. We take the riders exact fitting dimensions and produce a three dimensional computer model from which we then CNC mill out a positive frame mould from high density polystyrene. The mould is then wrapped in a combination of uni directional and Harness-Satin weave pre-preg carbon fibre to meet the particular requirements of the rider. It is then compressed and heated to form the near net shape of the frame, all as a single piece. Once cured the frame is sanded and cleaned up and then painted in house.
The pre-preg carbon fibre we use we produce ourselves, as it is not available to be purchased from elsewhere in the exact specifications we require. The Bio-epoxy resin is Supersap CLR from Entropy Resins which is completely free from hydrocarbons and made from the waste material from paper pulp production. (See the process here). As well as having massive green credentials, Supersap is also extremely nice to work with as it has no strong smell nor harmful vapours. In-house production of pre-preg is also a significant cost saving on materials.
Using the positive polystyrene mould allows us to produce full custom geometry carbon frames in a single piece (monocoque) which we believe we are the only people in the world now doing. (All big brand off the shelf carbon frames are monocoque but these are limited by only coming in standard sizes). Custom geometry carbon fibre frames are also available from other boutique manufacturers but these are all produced using the tube-to-tube technique where pre-manufactured tubing of varying sizes is combined with carbon wrapped or lugged joins. This still makes very nice frames, but does not have the design flexibility of our positive moulding process, nor the benefits of the frame being all one piece.
The polystyrene mould, as well as allowing us great creative freedom, also has a very nice additional and initially unintended benefit. It does an amazing job of absorbing any vibrations that come through the frame, making it an extremely comfortable and quiet ride. (The mould could be melted out once the carbon is cured, but weighing only 60 grams, its benefits definitely outweigh the saving on the scales).
One of the key benefits with custom carbon fibre production is the stiffness and compliance for each frame. The frame is completely tuneable to requirements due to the way the carbon fibre is laid up on to the mould. This complicated process, in simple terms, just means more or less layers of carbon in certain locations depending on the ride characteristics required.
The specs for the prototype BTR are also very forward thinking. It utilises a wide range 1 x 11 speed Shimano Di2 drivetrain which combines an Ultegra rear derailleur with Alfine shifter levers. The Alfine shifter levers are the only Di2 levers that have controls only on one side, which is all that is needed for the Praxis Works 42 tooth narrow/wide single front chain ring and 11 to 32 rear cassette. The BTR uses TRP Spyre SLC dual piston mechanical disc brakes. The forks are Lynskey CX Pro and the bars and stems are made by FSA. This machine also has White Industries CLD thru-axle hubs front and rear, FM carbon rims, 32mm Schwalbe Durano tyres and Chris King headset and bottom bracket.
The Big Tyre Road has a few Cyclocross type components primarily in the forks and the drivetrain. But as the name suggests, it is essentially a road bike that can take big tyres. Big tyres add to the high level of comfort this bike gives and its performance as an all-city crusher. Of course with a swap to some knobbly rubber, this bike could absolutely hit the dirt, but its geometry is more intended for fast and hard surfaces.
Now that the BTR is out, we are rapidly working on completing the rest of the new range which will include a more traditional road bike set up; an off road drop bar gravel grinder, a low pro style aggressive single speed/fixed gear and a flat bar urban 29er.