Braided carbon fiber tubes aren’t completely new, BMC’s doing it with their Impec, but they’re still rare. Rarer still is seeing it done to maximum effect using silicone mandrels to shape the finished tubes like design student Jacob Haim’s RaceBRAID road bike shown here.
Developed as a graduate project with the help of Munich Composites, the bike’s main tubes are woven around silicone mandrels to provide shape. The benefit to such construction methods is that it minimizes wasted materials and man hours spent on layup. The material layup and density in each section of each tube can be precisely controlled, then resin is injected and it’s cured. The inside of the tube looks as good as the outside, and minimal finishing work is necessary.
For his thesis project, Haim used a lugged construction, which allowed him to use the same tubes for all frame sizes from 50 to 60 cm while still allowing it to be customized to the riders. That’s part of the reason the seatstays meet the seat tube so low on this bike.
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Haim originally envisioned the bike with titanium lugs, but costs for such things are a bit much for a student project. He told BicycleDesign they’re a “secret” layup that’ll get refined should the bike make it into production.
Want to see the braiding in action? Check the video on Munich Composite’s website.