SOC13: Carbon Solutions Offer Carbon Repair and Paint
Yes, that is a Cervelo R5ca frame getting whacked with another tube repeatedly. This interesting demonstration was to illustrate Carbon Solutions’ proprietary clear coat additive that can be mixed in with any color paint to form a super hard, protective layer. The paint is said to prevent chipping in almost any circumstance – which includes beating the frame repeatedly for all passers by. In addition to the clear coat, Joe’s Bicycle Painting is evolving to create their own carbon repair and painting company called Carbon Solutions. With years of experience painting and repairing carbon frames for Calfee, Kestrel, and more, you might not have heard of Carbon Solutions, but if you’ve seen repaired carbon frames, you’ve probably seen their work.
Carbon gets a bad wrap for being “fragile” or prone to breaking. Truth is, it’s actually amazingly strong, and better yet – it’s repairable. The number of carbon repair companies springing up is proof that if you break your fancy frame, you don’t have to throw it away. Carbon Solutions is one of a handful of companies now accepting broken carbon bikes for repair.
The Orbea above was in a crash that broke both the chain and seat stay, and Carbon Solutions just finished up the repair. The next step is for Joe to work his magic matching the paint and decals almost perfectly, so you’d never know it was broken. To date, Joe’s has managed repairs for over 8,000 carbon frames and painted over 20,000. That’s over 24 years of experience both repairing and painting composite frames. They mention they can repair carbon rims as well, as long as the damage isn’t along the braking surface.
The repair process usually involves sanding or cutting away the damaged carbon including 1-2 inches surrounding the break. From there new 3k carbon weave is laid down in an attempt to match the orientation of the original carbon layup. Lugs or joints usually require some sort of custom mold to be able to apply enough pressure, with the addition of an insert on the inside of the frame to repair catastrophic failures. The final product is built back up to match the oritinal contours as best as possible, and then finished to match the frame. Testing of repaired frames has shown that Carbon Solution’s repairs meet or exceed the original stiffness of the tubing.
No, those aren’t the original decals. Carbon Solutions can match any decal, but it doesn’t come cheap. Expect $125-200 just for the decals. As far as carbon frame repairs, small blemishes start at $100 ranging up to $350 for catastrophic crash damage such as separated or missing carbon, major holes, or seat mast reattachment. Paint touch up for carbon repairs starts at $50 for a clear coat over the area, $75 for a single opaque touch up, or $125 for two color touch ups. Complete paint jobs will cost you $400 for a single color, with options for more all the way up to full custom.