Technology for us is not an end in itself, it is something that has a concrete objective: to build the safest frames in the world.
La technologie, chez Colnago, c’est une belle histoire. Un fil rouge qui marque notre parcours depuis 60 ans, autour d’une recherche incessante d’innovation et d’une attention absolue pour le détail. L’excellence est associée, dans nos vélos, à une glorieuse tradition, riche de succès et de partenariats de prestige.
Cela fait partie depuis toujours de notre ADN et nous en sommes fiers, mais les améliorations que nous ne cessons pas d’apporter à nos cadres ne sont pas purement esthétiques.
Les tolérances entre les pattes et les tubes doivent être au maximum de 0.15 mm, pour permettre une parfaite adhérence capable de résister à la flexion et à la torsion sans risque de décollement.
En utilisant des pattes, nous devons savoir utiliser des tubes de la longueur souhaitée, en d’autres termes de construire un cadre vraiment sur mesure, pour le client. Bien entendu, en fonction de exigences, des moules de précision, avec des angles différents sont nécessaires, car le carbone n’est pas malléable comme certains métaux et les tolérances entre les tubes et les pattes doivent être au maximum de 0.15 mm, pour permettre une parfaite adhérence, capable de résister à la flexion et à la torsion sans risque de décollement.
Une curiosité: avant de passer à la fabrication définitive des moules en carbone, des impressions en 3D de toutes les pièces du cadre sont réalisées, puis assemblées, pour former un vélo “virtuel” et évaluer l’aspect esthétique.
The tubes are glued into the lugs with a two-component aerospace derivative adhesive, capable of exceeding 1 ton and 200 kg traction.
The adhesive used to glue the tubes in the lugs is a two-component aerospace derivative glue, adopted based on tests carried out in collaboration with the aerospace section of the Milan Polytechnic University in the most varied conditions: from extreme heat and cold, up to salt spray . We do not know in what places the bicycle will be used, but we must in any case always demand and guarantee the maximum possible safety from each of our frames.
The tightness tests to which the tubes are bonded are of the utmost severity: in practice a 31.7 mm diameter tube, glued for 2.5 cm, must overcome traction – the hardest test ever for the gluing – of 1 ton and 200 kg.
It should be noted that these results are possible also thanks to the extreme care that we put into the specific preparation phase of tubes and lugs.
First we proceed by sandblasting with special material, to eliminate any minimal surface impurities of carbon; then a chemical pickling is made to remove any imperceptible dust residues, and finally the whole must be glued within 30 minutes, to avoid eventual deposits of atmospheric dust.
The frame is then placed on a template, leaving the adhesive to cure at room temperature for about 90 minutes; then it is placed in a thermo-ventilated oven where the polymerization ends, going from 20 to 85 degrees for another 90 minutes, and finally left to cool again to room temperature, always without removing it from the oven to avoid drafts that could alter the final result.
A 3-year field study carried out with the aerospace section of the Milan Polytechnic allowed us to develop exclusive "crash" and "fatigue" computerized crash test machines, with which we are able to perform resistance tests. extremely rigorous and reliable.
There are many different types of carbon fiber, naturally of different quality and characteristics.
When a new project is realized, to obtain the desired strength of the frame it is essential to determine the differentiation of the thickness and type of fiber to be used in the various parts of the frame, because some areas must withstand greater stresses and stresses than others.
The indications to proceed with the utmost accuracy came from a 3-year study carried out always with the aerospace section of the Milan Polytechnic.
In practice, with a bicycle equipped with 40 sensors applied at key points, a professional cyclist has traveled about 3,500 km on all types of terrain: from asphalt to paving, to dirt, to the cobblestones, facing every kind of stress.
During the test, the athlete was constantly followed by a computerized van, which recorded the angle and incidence of every effort suffered by the bicycle in the different areas of the frame.
This precious collaboration has allowed us then to create our exclusive crash test machines, both « impact » and « hard », with which we have developed the carbon fibers necessary to support the specific efforts of each area of the frame.
We can affirm without fear of denial that our frames are the safest in the world, as we have adopted internal parameters that must exceed at least 5 times the limits set by the UNI-ISO worldwide standards on resistance.
The most « punitive » test for carbon, however, is the impact test.
Usually in practice the frame is positioned vertically and bound in the back; a weight (according to 22.5 kg regulation) is then dropped onto the front fork, along the front hub axle – rear hub, from a distance of 212 mm. If the frame does not undergo a permanent deformation of 8 mm, it is considered to be compliant.
Starting from the data obtained from our field tests, we do not however consider these limits sufficiently rigorous, so we have gone much further.
Our test therefore consists in assembling the frame as described, using a weight of 24.5 kg, dropped first by 212 mm, then in succession by 350 mm, by 450, by 600, by 750, by 900 and finally by the maximum supported by the machine, that is from 1.040 mm.
The C64 chassis brilliantly overcomes this terrible test, but the most important thing is that even if the computer signals a small failure, thanks to the structure of our carbon safety would still be guaranteed and the complete breaking of the frame would never occur.