Our Mix of Raw Materials
If you’re shopping for a new bike, there’s no doubt that you’ve been inundated with confusing branding terms by companies trying to explain how their material is superior. What most companies will tout is their use of extremely stiff, or high modulus carbon. The fact of the matter is that the best bikes use a blend of carbon grades to give the most beneficial properties based on the need in that area.
High modulus is great because it’s really stiff, but it’s also quite brittle and doesn’t work well when asked to curve around a surface. In fact, if you made an entire bike out of high mod, it would be a mess. The proof is in the final product: a bike that rides well, is durable and lightweight. All the other stuff is just window dressing. At ALLIED, we use no less than five different materials in each of our bikes -- each optimally selected, integrated and oriented to achieve what we feel is the best-balanced ride on the market.
Only the Best Pre-Preg
Like all things though, not all carbon fiber is created equal. There are varying grades based on application and varying degrees of quality based on the producer. Often overlooked but of equal importance is the quality of the resin that holds it all together. Carbon fiber bikes are a composite and the other part of that composite is the resin.
Huge strides have been made on this front and in fact most of the energy in composites development centers around the resins and how to more effectively combine the layers. At ALLIED we only use the best-quality, sourced-in-America pre-preg carbon fiber.
Why do we point out the importance of U.S.-made pre-preg? The answer is rooted in the fact that the world’s major consumers of carbon fiber are the U.S. aerospace and defense industries. They write the biggest checks, apply the greatest intellectual horsepower, and have the toughest standards when it comes to the development of new material. From a materials science point of view, composites are still relatively nascent, and large strides are still being made. Those strides are being made here in the U.S.
An interesting fact surrounding the development of new materials by the aerospace and defense industries is that they don’t appear interested (and possibly are not permitted) to share these technologies with overseas factories.
This means we get calls on a monthly basis from companies developing new material technologies that want to see their product used on cool consumer goods. We are constantly evaluating these new materials to find performance gains. For example, this is how our relationship with Innegra formed. Innegra produces high modulus polypropylene fibers and when embedded into our tubes provide significantly enhanced impact resistance and eliminates brittle failure if a frame tube is badly damaged in a crash.
When shopping for your next bike, keep in mind the fact that the carbon that goes into your ALLIED is the very same raw material used by these aerospace and defense companies. Their exacting quality standards come through in the construction of every one of our frames.