A quick guide to repairing your carbon bicycle frame in India. We talk to a CF repair expert in India. Who to get it repaired from and what the community says from their experience…
Header Images: Divyanshu Singh
Weighing the Pros and Cons: Repairing a Carbon Bicycle Frame
Carbon fiber bicycle frames have gained popularity among cyclists due to their lightweight, stiffness, and aerodynamic properties. However, accidents or wear and tear can lead to damage, leaving cyclists with a critical decision: repair or replace the carbon frame?
In this article, we delve into the pros and cons of repairing a carbon bicycle frame in India to help riders make an informed choice about their beloved two-wheeled companion.
Pros of Repairing a Carbon Bicycle Frame in India
Repairing a carbon frame is generally more affordable than purchasing a brand-new one. Depending on the extent of the damage, a reputable carbon repair specialist can fix cracks, dents, or fractures at a fraction of the cost of a replacement frame.
Repairing your carbon frame promotes sustainability by reducing waste. Rather than discarding a damaged frame and contributing to the cycle of consumerism, opting for repairs extends the lifespan of your bicycle and reduces the carbon footprint associated with manufacturing a new frame.
Retain Sentimental Value
A bicycle can hold sentimental value for riders, especially if it has been a trusted companion during significant rides or races. Repairing the carbon frame allows you to preserve that sentimental connection and continue creating memories with that beloved bike.
Expertise of Repair Specialist
Carbon frame repair has come a long way, and there are highly skilled professionals who specialize in fixing carbon fiber structures. These experts possess the knowledge and experience to identify and repair various types of damage, ensuring that the repaired frame retains its structural integrity.
Quicker Turnaround Time
Compared to ordering a new frame, repairing a damaged carbon frame often results in a quicker turnaround time. While waiting for a replacement frame, riders are left without a bike. Opting for repairs allows you to get back on the road sooner and resume cycling.
Cons of Repairing a Carbon Bicycle Frame
Repairing a carbon frame requires precision and expertise. If the repair is not performed correctly, it may compromise the frame’s structural integrity, leading to potential safety hazards. It is crucial to choose a reputable repair specialist with a track record of successful repairs to mitigate these risks.
Superficial damage may not reveal the full extent of underlying structural issues. A seemingly minor crack or dent could be an indicator of more significant damage. Repairing the visible damage without addressing the underlying issues can lead to further complications down the line.
Repairs performed by unauthorized technicians may void the manufacturer’s warranty, leaving riders responsible for any future issues with the frame. If the bike is still under warranty, it is essential to consult the manufacturer or authorized dealers before opting for repairs.
Uncertainty in Long-Term Durability
Carbon fiber is a complex material, and repairs might not always provide the same long-term durability as a new frame. Factors such as the location and severity of the damage, as well as the repair technique employed, can impact the overall strength and reliability of the frame after repairs.
Repaired frames generally have lower resale value compared to their original, undamaged counterparts. Some potential buyers may be hesitant to purchase a bike with a repaired carbon frame, reducing the market demand and potential resale value.
In Conversation with Marc Billimoria, Carbon Fibre Specialist
We chat with Mumbai based Marc, who has been repairing all things carbon fibre for a decade now. He repairs carbon fibre parts for bicycles, automobiles, boats and even the aeronautical industry! Marc is also an airbrush artist, creating some incredible paintjobs for bicycles.
This is what he has to say about Carbon Fibre repair:
How does an owner inspect their frame to know whether it requires repairs or not?
90% of the time, people contact me when they are involved in an accident. In most cases the owners don’t know if the carbon has cracked. I have to ascertain the extent of the damage. Whether it is a paint chip or is it a carbon delamination or it is fully cracked.
In doing that there are a couple of tests. If you are involved in an accident, the damage is quite obvious. Sometimes there is no crack, but a delamination.
I repaired a Look frame recently, in which the top tube had got cracked from a different place and it got delaminated.
You could see the paint crack. When you remove the paint, you will be able to see the carbon. When you can see the carbon, then there are certain tests which I perform.
There are tools available to check, like an endoscope and die test or even x-ray the joint.
But the simplest test to do is a phonetic tap test. If the carbon is cracked, the sound will change.
I ask the owner to show me the frame. If the owner is from a different city, I ask for a video or do a video call to see the frame.
90% of the time it is a crash and the damage is visible. The remaining 10% of the time I will tell the owner to take a coin and tap, and from the sound itself I can tell the extent of the damage.
What is the procedure of getting a frame repaired?
It depends on each break. If a part needs to be made specifically for your frame in terms of a 3D insert or not.
Because there can be cracks or times when the tube has been totally severed. If it is the latter, then it has to be rebuilt. To rebuild it, you need some form of a mould. Its not like a band aid which you can put on the broken part.
When I sand down the damaged section, I need to see what kind of carbon it is. Nowadays companies are using a lot of UD (uni-directional CF), we have to align it as per the original fabric. If it is broken then we have to remove that piece.
Generally, it is either rebuilding what is there or removing that section and rebuilding it entirely.
Recently I did a Specialized MTB, in which the whole tube was damaged. This is a dual suspension MTB. I had to build a special insert to join the two parts of the tube, which had to be 3D printed. I then filed the insert to make it perfect and then I could start the rebuild.
For minor cracks, the minimum time will take about 1-2 weeks. The most amount of time I have worked on a frame was 3 months. That was an MTB which was totally banged up.
What is the cost of getting a bike repaired?
A superficial crack would cost around 10-15000 INR for a repair at the bare minimum. And if there are sections missing, then the cost can go up to a lakh as well.
Is it worth getting a carbon frame repaired?
Obviously! Just to give you an example.
Let’s say you have a bike like a Pinarello F8, the frame itself costs 3-4 lakhs. If you are spending a lakh for repair, it is significantly cheaper.
Even if a brand in India is willing to replace your frame at 50% cost, even then it works out reasonable. A 3 lakh carbon frame itself will cost 1.5 lakhs for a replacement. For 50-60k if you are getting the frame isn’t it better.
It is absolutely a case-to-case basis, to see which works out better. There are people who have got replacement frames at cheap rates, and for them repairing doesn’t make sense.
How do you decide whether a frame can or cannot be repaired?
Any repair which is done to the frame, makes the frame stronger. When a company manufactures a frame, they put in as less of carbon as required. Because it is to be used in a particular manner. Wherein, I would overengineer my repairs, so that the person does not have a problem in that area.
Do you repair components as well?
Everything carbon fibre I can repair. But there are different ways and reasons to do it. I prefer not to repair very stressed parts.
People come to me with CF wheels. These have centrifugal forces attached to them, when they are being used.
For example, a seat post, this component sees compression activity. And it is going to be hollow from inside. I don’t tend to suggest a repair in that case, when you can get that part for cheaper. Just because it can be repaired, doesn’t mean it is meant to be repaired.
For a fork, you can get a new fork spending 25-30k, which makes more sense than paying 15-20k for repairing it.
As a principle I don’t repair wheels. Even though I have repaired it in the past.
Is the raw material imported?
It has to be imported. CF is not manufactured in India and whatever is manufactured here, is for the construction industry. But they don’t make different variety of carbon which we use.
The fabric used by the bicycle manufacturer may or may not be available for sale in the retail industry. As long as the material technical specifications match the frame, it can be used successfully.
Does the weight of the frame increase after repairs, since you are overengineering it on the side of safety?
The weight increase is marginal. For a repair the increase would be like 50 grams. If that is such a big difference for you, then you should buy a new frame.
User Experience: Divyanshu
Divyanshu Singh, Chhattisgarh Under-23 Champion, writes about his experience of getting his carbon bicycle frame repaired:
I recently had my carbon frame road bike repaired by Praveen Prabhakaran, the owner of Psynyde, a custom carbon frame manufacturer located in Pune. I am thrilled with the exceptional service I received and wanted to share my positive experience.
Unfortunately, my frame had sustained significant damage from an accident, resulting in a deep crack along the downtube. I was concerned about the future of my beloved bike, as carbon frame repairs can often be expensive and time-consuming. However, Praveen quickly put my worries to rest.
Praveen’s expertise and professionalism were evident from the moment I reached out to him. He thoroughly examined the damage and explained the repair process to me in detail. I appreciated his transparency and his willingness to address any concerns or questions I had.
The repair itself was not only affordable but also completed in a remarkably efficient manner. Praveen worked diligently to restore my carbon frame, ensuring it was structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. I was impressed with the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into the repair.
Upon receiving my bike back, I inspected the repaired area closely. While there is a very slight bump in the area of the damage, it is barely noticeable. Given the severity of the crack, I am extremely pleased with the outcome. Praveen’s skillful repair work has breathed new life into my road bike, allowing me to enjoy my rides once again.
Not only did Praveen deliver outstanding service, but he also exhibited a genuine passion for his craft. His dedication to his customers’ satisfaction is evident in every aspect of his work. Furthermore, his affordable pricing structure sets him apart from many other repair services in the industry.
I highly recommend Praveen Prabhakaran and Psynyde for anyone in need of carbon frame repairs. Whether you have experienced a minor mishap or a major accident, Praveen’s expertise and commitment to quality will undoubtedly exceed your expectations. Trusting him with my bike was one of the best decisions I made, and I am confident he will continue to provide exceptional service to all who seek his assistance.
Repairing a Carbon Bicycle Frame in India: Who to Contact?
Below are the list of carbon bicycle frame repairers in India. These names have been recommended by the CyclingMonks community, who have used such services in the past.
A Mumbai based carbon fibre specialist. Read the interview above to know more.
You can get in touch with Marc on his Instagram page.
Pune based Praveen also repairs carbon frames. He is the founder of Psynyde bikes, a custom bicycle builder. You can read Divyanshu’s experience of getting his bike repaired above.
Get in touch with Praveen on his Instagram Page.
Crankmeister Bicycle Works
A Bengaluru based bicycle store. They also undertake carbon fibre repairs.
You can get in touch with them on the Crankmeister Instagram Page.
Velodoctor, a bicycle store in Chennai is another recommendation we got for repairing carbon frames. But when we reached out to them, we did not get any confirmation of the same.
You can contact them on their Instagram page.
When it comes to repairing a carbon bicycle frame, riders must carefully weigh the pros and cons. While repairs can offer cost savings, environmental benefits, and sentimental value retention. Also consider, safety, hidden damage, and potential warranty issues.
Consulting with reputable repair specialists and assessing the extent of damage are crucial steps in making an informed decision.
If you found this article on repairing carbon bicycle frame in India useful, then also check out our Guide to Buying A Used Bike In India and James’ Journey from Goa to Nepal on his Carbon Fibre Bicycle!