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At the Eurobike 08 exhibition, that took place last September in Friedrichshafen, Germany, the bicycle part manufacturer Asia Seiko introduced its latest development – the Fight Weapon lightweight carbon fibre frame. The frame uses TeXtreme spread tow carbon fibre fabric and TeXero spread tow UD tape from the Swedish company Oxeon.
(Published on January-February 2009 – JEC Magazine #46)
Together with Oxeon AB, Asia Seiko has developed a unique frame design that features technically-advanced fabrics for enhanced performance and aesthetics. The new frame is remarkably lightweight and durable thanks to TeXtreme® spread tow carbon fibre fabric and TeXero® spread tow UD.
Lightweight fabric and UD
Both materials are available in extremely low areal weights, thus making the new frame lighter than traditional carbon fibre frames.
“We like the material because of its lightweight and exclusive look”, explained Soar Tseng, CEO for Asia Seiko. “The 80 gsm TeXtreme material allowed us to save weight while increasing stiffness. This, in turn, gave us the possibility of producing a truly one-piece bicycle frame with extension seat post. The frame also looks great and gives the bike a completely new dimension”.
The bike frame exemplifies the benefits of TeXtreme® spread tow fabric and TeXero® spread tow UD. According to Henrik Olofsson, CEO at Oxeon AB, “By combining Asia Seiko’s great bike manufacturing expertise with our spread tow fabric, we were able to produce a frame that really stands out from its competitors.”
Using 80 g/m² TeXtreme reduces the weight of each frame by at least 100 grams. The dry UD was laid up in the inner frame construction to meet the strength requirements. The 2007 Fight Weapon frame was 880 g. Using TeXtreme and TeXero, the 2008 frame weighs 770 grams while offering better performance.
More about the materials
TeXtreme® carbon fabric is available in a wide variety of different areal weights (starting from 80 g/m²), fabric widths (300-1,500 mm) and tape widths (20-50 mm) to fully meet specific customer needs. Through cooperation with impregnating companies, the fabric can be delivered as a thermoset prepreg. It is even available in low areal weights, as it is produced from the more easily available 12k, 24k or 48k tows.
TeXtreme fabric is based on Oxeon's tape weaving technology that uses tape instead of yarn. In any given area, more fibres can be packed in tape form than in a yarn. A woven material comprising interlacing fibrous tapes – instead of yarns – displays a substantially reduced number of interstices/openings. This means that a tape woven structure shows less matrix accumulation at the interstices and hence increased fibre volume fraction.
TeXero® dry UD tape has a very consistent width, good structural stability, and uniform and straight fibre orientation. The tapes are produced in widths from 20 to 300 mm and different areal weights depending on the degree of spreading and the type of carbon fibre chosen. TeXero produced from high-strength carbon fibre is available from 40 g/m².
The dry UD tapes are produced with a novel spreading technology. By spreading the tow, they can be produced down to an areal weight of 40 g/m² from 12k tows and 100 g/m² from 48k tows.