Carbon fibre bicycles have a huge advantage in the weight category, but they are also more expensive and less durable than their metal counterparts. Often, damaging a carbon fibre frame is enough to put it out of commission; however, you can repair certain minor damage to a carbon fibre bicycle without specialised skills or knowledge.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Fine grit sandpaper (80-grit)
- Filler putty
- Plexiglas patches
- Epoxy resin
- Vinyl patch
Clean the damaged area by removing shards of fibreglass exposed by the break, torn decals or anything else that will later prevent a fibreglass patch from laying flush over the damaged spot.
Use an appropriate filler putty to fill in any hole or depressed area created by the damage. Allow the putty to dry according to the manufacturer's guidelines before proceeding.
Sand the hardened putty and the area immediately surrounding the damage to create a level, porous surface the size of your fibreglass patch. The putty should not protrude above the surrounding intact carbon fibre surface.
Cut out several fibreglass patches to the dimensions required to cover the damage and overlap onto the undamaged area. The worse the damage, the more patch layers you should use. Generally speaking, too many patches will only make the repair less aesthetically pleasing, whereas too few will render it useless. It's better to err on the side of caution.
Use properly prepared epoxy resin to adhere the patches individually to the frame. For best results, apply pressure to the patched area while it is drying, using a breathable, vinyl compress, such as a perforated section of an old rubber glove held in place by tape or zip ties.
When the epoxy has set fully according to the manufacturer's specifications, remove the compress and sand the area until it is flush with the surrounding carbon fibre.
Tips and warnings
- For the best looking results, polish and/or paint the repaired area.
- Damage to a carbon fibre bicycle can seriously compromise the strength of the damaged component. Failure of the compromised component could lead to severe injuries. Consult an expert if you're unsure whether the damage to your bicycle can be repaired safely.
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