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Highest Quality Carbon Frames?

FrameJunky

Chimp
Mar 15, 2019
50
5
Which carbon frames won't explode on me? I'm 200lbs and a jumper. Snap City?

Also, what is Crabon? I see it here all the time. Is that a new type of carbon made from crab shells and plastic?
 

FrameJunky

Chimp
Mar 15, 2019
50
5
Im genuinely curious about your thoughts on the difference between Santa Cruz Carbon vs Carbon C.

Is it worth the extra $?
 

jstuhlman

We noticed.
Dec 3, 2009
10,271
5,012
Cackalacka du Nord
963C03FB-2472-4266-AB6E-61EB7BB6BD8B.jpeg
Im genuinely curious about your thoughts on the difference between Santa Cruz Carbon vs Carbon C.

Is it worth the extra $?
here’s silly story. i got a lightly used nomad with a c front end and a cc rear end. how it happened i don’t know and didn’t ask. i couldn’t tell the difference. anyway. i have a buddy who is THE WORST on his bikes who couldn’t break a carbon nomad 3. i just mastic taped all the sensitive parts of mine and i abuse the crap out of it whenever i can. just look at it in all of its plastic beaten down middle-of-nowhere (seriously, google gragg, nc) glory!!!!
 

joeg

I have some obvious biases
Jul 20, 2011
190
67
Santa Cruz CA
I have some obvious biases here, but I will chime in w/ this:

1. Santa Cruz is the only MTB company I know of that has invested in their own composite manufacturing facility in Asia. We founded this composites company with partners, but since Day 1(~2012) its been our place - was completely designed to make a majority of VPP carbon bicycles frames, nobody else unless they are friends can make shit there. Other companies say they have a "company", but what they mean is an exclusive line, or building of a place that makes many others. We named it "skybox" because it sounded exclusive at the time. Later I found out thats what the Brits call a cable box.

2. You can make good bikes at the same factory that makes shitty bikes for others. Its not easy - but it is possible. Stability of that quality is the risk if you can achieve it. There are reputable manufacturers in Asia that make carbon frames for well over 75 brands. Hard to believe much daylight gets through the cracks when you're in that. Truth is: there are few reputable carbon factories to make MTB.

3. C v. CC carbon. For awhile, we just had one set of standards for weight, stiffness and strength. As it seemed like we were pricing ourselves out of many rider's ability to ride carbon, we figured that weight could be sacrificed for cost (in material, but also in manufacturing). C costs less to make, which lets us decrease the cost to riders. We try to keep equivalent strength and stiffness metrics between both material grades. They use the same steel curing molds, and are made at the same factory by the same people (there are other tooling and process differences).

Monkeys love to slam SC as a dentist brand - but few realize how deep we invest in our supply chain to realize quality on behalf of our riders. We make our own composite frames and rims, we build all our bikes, build all our own wheels for every single bike we sell. All in-house.

That shit costs.
 

HardtailHack

used an iron once
Jan 20, 2009
2,402
286
Well there you go, nice to get some factual info on RM for once.

So who else does their own frames? Antidote, GG, Unno and I think MSC have their own factory in Taiwan but there would have to be more.
I'm happy with my $500 custom frame from Peru, it's 0.3% carbon. When we start recycling carbon in Australia I might get one but it seems pretty shit to throw it in to a hole in the ground when you are done with it, all my other bike bits get separated and sent to the recyclers*.

*I had a fork with carbon lowers in maybe 2004 and have had three carbon bars, none exploded but two cracked due to poor manufacture.
 

ianjenn

Turbo Monkey
Sep 12, 2006
2,576
340
SLO
Well there you go, nice to get some factual info on RM for once.

So who else does their own frames? Antidote, GG, Unno and I think MSC have their own factory in Taiwan but there would have to be more.
I'm happy with my $500 custom frame from Peru, it's 0.3% carbon. When we start recycling carbon in Australia I might get one but it seems pretty shit to throw it in to a hole in the ground when you are done with it, all my other bike bits get separated and sent to the recyclers*.

*I had a fork with carbon lowers in maybe 2004 and have had three carbon bars, none exploded but two cracked due to poor manufacture.
Giant pretty much does EVERYONE's frames over there and I mean even the big dogs. Does Trek still do Carbon in house?
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
59,430
7,075
media blackout
I have some obvious biases here, but I will chime in w/ this:

1. Santa Cruz is the only MTB company I know of that has invested in their own composite manufacturing facility in Asia. We founded this composites company with partners, but since Day 1(~2012) its been our place - was completely designed to make a majority of VPP carbon bicycles frames, nobody else unless they are friends can make shit there. Other companies say they have a "company", but what they mean is an exclusive line, or building of a place that makes many others. We named it "skybox" because it sounded exclusive at the time. Later I found out thats what the Brits call a cable box.

2. You can make good bikes at the same factory that makes shitty bikes for others. Its not easy - but it is possible. Stability of that quality is the risk if you can achieve it. There are reputable manufacturers in Asia that make carbon frames for well over 75 brands. Hard to believe much daylight gets through the cracks when you're in that. Truth is: there are few reputable carbon factories to make MTB.

3. C v. CC carbon. For awhile, we just had one set of standards for weight, stiffness and strength. As it seemed like we were pricing ourselves out of many rider's ability to ride carbon, we figured that weight could be sacrificed for cost (in material, but also in manufacturing). C costs less to make, which lets us decrease the cost to riders. We try to keep equivalent strength and stiffness metrics between both material grades. They use the same steel curing molds, and are made at the same factory by the same people (there are other tooling and process differences).

Monkeys love to slam SC as a dentist brand - but few realize how deep we invest in our supply chain to realize quality on behalf of our riders. We make our own composite frames and rims, we build all our bikes, build all our own wheels for every single bike we sell. All in-house.

That shit costs.
1 - was not aware. with what GG is doing, are you feeling any pressure to on-shore your production?

2 - this is true of manufacturing in ASPAC, regardless of the industry.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
10,023
2,305
AK
I really don't care who makes it, I care about the control they have over the process. Just because they have Giant or whomever make it doesn't inherently mean it sucks, I care about the designers, the specs, the features, etc. Just like the wonky santa cruz's with the crazy leverage rates that are now slowly being fixed across the line. Good on SC for addressing that finally, but it just goes to show that just because you own the process doesn't make the frame/bike a unicorn. SC has become a "major" brand IMO after starting boutique, that's great and I'm sure it kicked out a bunch of half-ass companies fighting for market share, I'd rather SC have it than Specialized, but again, it comes down to the specific bike and frame, the pivots, the shock linkages and pins, geometry, etc.
 

joeg

I have some obvious biases
Jul 20, 2011
190
67
Santa Cruz CA
I really don't care who makes it, I care about the control they have over the process.
I really don't care who makes it, I care about the end result being consistently high quality and robust. Control, while potentially a good thing, doesn't provide any guarantee of quality.

I'm for on-shore manufacturing if it lends itself to high quality bikes for riders within a competitive price range. Some of the listed manufacturers in this thread will have to prove their supply chain and manufacturing decisions as sustainable, if not scaleable, to meet the requirement for suspension bikes. These new business models often go consumer direct without the IBD in the value chain, which can provide a reduction in the retail price but also creates an unknown for future product support for the rider. As someone who bought an Alta Redshift from an electric motorcycle company that is now out of business - I've recently been reminded that a product warranty is only as good as the company issuing it is able to honor it.

To the OP's question - few people on this thread know what manufacturer's test protocols, QA procedures, or manufacturing stability are. So the decision criteria would narrow to known sources of reliability (without empirical data, using peer-peer recommendations can be effective), and then looking at the after-sales support and warranty offered provides another data point to base decision upon.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
59,430
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I really don't care who makes it, I care about the end result being consistently high quality and robust. Control, while potentially a good thing, doesn't provide any guarantee of quality.
this^^^. while it IS a critical element into providing high quality, it's by no means the *ONLY* element.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
59,430
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Some of the listed manufacturers in this thread will have to prove their supply chain and manufacturing decisions as sustainable, if not scaleable, to meet the requirement for suspension bikes. These new business models often go consumer direct without the IBD in the value chain, which can provide a reduction in the retail price but also creates an unknown for future product support for the rider.
i think part of this is that is also has a certain appeal to a segment of mountain bikers who still primarily do their own work, and aren't intimidated by building up a frame from parts. so in that regards, there's not a huge value loss to the end consumer by cutting out the IBD. i'd definitely agree that this segment is shrinking (for a number of reasons) but it's still large enough the consumer direct is a viable business model.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,497
1,273
01776
Orange makes its carbon frame in house. BMC in Switzerland.

I wonder where Forbidden bikes makes their new model?


They are not making the session in house any longer from an article on Pinkbike
I thought BMC's carbon was made in switzerland. That's why it's so damned expensive. Then again I have a TF01 and I'm pretty sure there's a made in china sticker on it, not that it means much. Oh also, these frames have a rep for cracking so I'm not sure the swish manufacturing matters all that much, as joge says.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
10,023
2,305
AK
Probably in a town that starts with an "X". Thanks for being forthcoming though, it's the opposite business model that Ellsworth uses. ;)
 

Happymtb.fr

Monkey
Feb 9, 2016
893
265
SWE
I thought BMC's carbon was made in switzerland. That's why it's so damned expensive. Then again I have a TF01 and I'm pretty sure there's a made in china sticker on it, not that it means much. Oh also, these frames have a rep for cracking so I'm not sure the swish manufacturing matters all that much, as joge says.
I was wrong, bmc had their production in Switzerland until 2014, then they moved to Taiwan.
 

FrameJunky

Chimp
Mar 15, 2019
50
5
carbon frame and rim fabrication & paint: china
frame assembly: santa cruz, ca
bike assembly: santa cruz, ca
wheel assembly: santa cruz, ca

Can the 5010 frame handle getting thrashed downhill, day after day, by a 230lb ape(me)?

Or should I go Bronson?