NAHBS 2013: Kirklee Lightens Road Bike by Molding More Tubes In-House

Kirklee updates road bike with new seatstays and chainstays made in house

Kirklee has developed new tooling and molds to create their own seatstays, chainstays and dropouts, giving them more control over the layup for custom builds and more modern look. The side benefit is that it sheds a few grams, too.

They’ve been making their own top and downtubes for three years. The headtube is Dedacciai, but they’re looking to make that soon, too. They started making the bladder molded stays for their 29er in January 2012, which served as proof of concept that gave them the confidence to make their own for the road bike. The result is a bike that’s even more individual than other handbuilt carbon bikes.

Check that out, plus updates to the 29er and their usual display of beautiful custom paint jobs, below…

Kirklee updates road bike with new seatstays and chainstays made in house

The dropouts, which include three pieces counting the derailleur hanger, are machined in house and are drilled out for internal Di2 wiring and machined on the inside to save weight. They went with a metal dropout because its easier to repair and replace, and you can slam the wheel in without fear of damaging it. The design will have clearance for a 28c tire, and they’re reworking the design of the chainstays to fit the Zipp 303 Firecrest. The profile will mimic the curve of those rims, which should mean it’ll fit just about any wheel out there.

Kirklee updates road bike with new seatstays and chainstays made in house

New seatstay and chainstay design on the right, compared to the original monostay on the left.

The change in stays from the ENVE mono stay they used previously saved about 20g, with much of that savings coming from the reduced amount of bonding agent required because the pieces are designed to fit together as a unit rather than taking miscellaneous parts and making them work together.

Each seatstay is about 36g and the chainstay is 90g, both for the heavier duty layup builder Brad Cason offers. They could go lighter for smaller riders.

Kirklee updates road bike with new seatstays and chainstays made in house

The carbon wrap at the joints have been changed up to use less wrap. They’re shorter, not extending as far into each tube, and they no longer put material at 0° and 90° since they weren’t really providing any benefit compared to the angled plies. Essentially, he removed any redundant plies. This chopped about 30g off the front triangle, yielding a frame that’s overall about 50g lighter than before.

Cason says he’s just finishing up a 50cm frame that’s coming in at 780g before paint. Typically, his frames come in around 880g for a 56 with minimal paint. Frameset (w/ fork and Cane Creek 110 headset) is $5,200 full custom.

Kirklee updates road bike with new seatstays and chainstays made in house

Kirklee carbon fiber custom 29er mountain bike

Their mountain bike has a layer of carbon on the outside of the edges of the seatstays at 90° to offer more protection against trail debris, but the sides facing the wheel are left alone to save weight.

Kirklee carbon fiber custom 29er mountain bike

The dropouts are bigger, and they angle the carbon tube rather than have an additional piece that bolts on to adjust the angle (like on the road bikes). These will likely form the basis for their disc brake cyclocross frames soon.

Kirklee custom painted road bikes

Kirklee custom painted road bikes

Comments

KirkLee - 03/07/13 - 10:22am

Thanks for stopping by the booth, Tyler!

isaac - 03/07/13 - 11:02am

For more than 5k and a frame that is so much “lighter” that fully built bike is a pig. My cervelo R5 is sub 14# with pedals, training wheels and old red/force. Kirklee should start making carbon fatbikes, they have the weight spot on.

g - 03/07/13 - 11:38am

@isaac – dramatic much?

Brian - 03/07/13 - 12:20pm

@isacc- My 2012 51cm r5 with training wheels (open pro ultegra hub) is 16.5
What are your “training wheels”? Lightweights? 202′s?

isaac - 03/07/13 - 2:00pm

My shop recently built a 2013 R5 with new red, we only swapped the stock wheels for a hand built set of Chris kings laced to Hed belgium rims with 32spokes front and rear. The King wheels are more robust than the fulcrums they replaced, the bike is a size 61cm and weighed exactly 14.0 pounds before pedals and cages. I like the kirklee mountain bike but, I don’t think I way off base not being impressed by a 14.24 pound bike with race wheels and no pedals.

greg - 03/07/13 - 2:10pm

the ROL wheels are not exactly feathers. and it mentions that these are the preferred, more robust tubes. lighter is possible, but somewhat beside the point of this type of bike anyway.

guy thats paid to ride - 03/07/13 - 3:06pm

@issac, does you r5 come with the rear end misalignment thats standard on most asian made cervelos? The kirklee can build you bike any size you want, will cervelo do that for you? i believe their r5ca frame is 100g lighter and $1000 more, without being custom. if your that bent about weight, put down the cheeseburger. This kirklee is an amazing piece of american craftsmanship, and i commend them on building their capabilities slowly toward their goal of a completely in-house built bike.
on the bright side, when your big butt cracks your craptastic china bike, give kriklee a call, they can repair it for you too.

g - 03/07/13 - 5:04pm

@isaac- Nevermind, you’re right. An extra quarter to half pound is surely going to ruin the ride. Shouldn’t you get back to scraping somebody’s plaque and daydreaming about what your Cervelo registers on a scale.

Rob - 03/07/13 - 5:29pm

@isaac, I have an issue with your claim of a 61cm R5 with King/HED belgium wheels coming in at 14.24 pounds. The shop that I wrench at is a Cervelo dealer and I have built plenty of R5′s with new Red and even after substituting wheels with lighter hoops than the combination your talking about, anything over a 54 comes in above your stated weight, in my experience. I am not saying that the R5 is a heavy bike or that your opinion is invalid, (i happen to disagree with it though) I am simply stating that perhaps you should calibrate your scale.

isaac - 03/07/13 - 7:42pm

I will admit i don’t know when the last time our park scale was calibrated so, maybe my numbers are little off. I find it hilarious how butt-hurt people are getting about how unimpressed I am about a$5,200 frame that dropped 20 GRAMS from the seat stays. Even the title of this post centers around Kirklee putting their road bike on a diet, then I scroll down and see that the weight dropped by less than a skewer upgrade. Nahbs has tons of amazing bikes, most of which are heavier than this bike or mine, what makes these bikes amazing is innovation not squeezing a few more grams out of carbon.
If my R5 cracks because of too many veggie burgers, I will just warranty it, they handle warranty claims fantastically.
I certainly hope all you haters OWN one of these frames and aren’t just talking out your (deleted).

Ape Escape - 03/07/13 - 11:40pm

@isaac way to back those garbage cervelos…. I bet this bike rides leaps and bounds better than that crap bike. I love how when I was at a Campy USA tech seminar the only brand they chastised was cervelo for such terrible chainstay length and hanger design resulting in terrible shifting. Cervelo = Garbage

jrcolnago - 03/09/13 - 12:08am

Brad Cason equals commitment, companion and beautiful bikes. Enough said.

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