NAHBS 2013: Kirklee Lightens Road Bike by Molding More Tubes 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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.