Feb 12, 2007

We are excited to introduce the totally redesigned 2007 Raleigh A.C.E. Evolution/Direct Connect carbon road frames. By using the most advance technologies available in carbon design, our product development group and engineers have created a frame that is feather light. Weighing in at 1 kilo (960g for a 57cm) – our 2007 road frame holds a unique stiffness: weight ratio making this frame the lightest and most durable frame Raleigh as ever made. So, here is a bit of information to familiarize you with our new carbon technology.

Why does the carbon on my A.C.E. Evolution/Direct Connect frame seems to have inconsistencies?

A: Carbon fiber material is made up of exactly that – fibers. These carbon fibers come in a variety of thicknesses and individually have unique characteristics. When these individual fibers are combined to create a larger strand – undulations, ripples, bends, etc. occur (Fig. 1). This is one reason why the fibers on our A.C.E. Evolution carbon frames appear to have “rough or inconsistent spots.” The other reason is we have decided to eliminate what is called the cosmetic/aesthetic weave finish which reduces the weight of our carbon without sacrificing the strength or stiffness (Fig.2).

Q: It looks like there is a seam on the top tube/rear stays; does this compromise the structure of the frame?

Our ACE Evolution carbon frames are made up of Uni-Directional sheets that are oriented in the same direction. Various uni-directional sheets are then stacked together (layed-up) at different angles until the desired mix of layers and fibers is achieved for the appropriate area of the frame. The sheets are then cut to a specific dimension, wrapped around a deflated air bladder, inserted into a two-sided mold where the carbon and bladder are heated. When heated the bladder expands pushing the carbon material against the mold interior to shape the tube and insure optimal fiber compaction. So, what appears to be a “seam” is actually an indention from the mold and will not compromise the strength, performance or integrity of your ACE Evolution carbon frame.

Q: The carbon tubes seem to flex when I squeeze the tubes in my hand, why is this?

A: Through our A.C.E. Evolution/Direct Connect technology we are able to create thinner tubes without sacrificing the strength or stiffness. Naturally a thinner carbon tube will flex more than a thicker tube - but we have also tactically placed stronger/thicker carbon fiber material in areas on the frame that are load bearing hot spots to make the frame stiffer, stronger, and more responsive where appropriate (Fig 3).

Example on the left is our Cadent Carbon fork raw. The fork on the right is the same fork finished with a clear coat that is applied to all of our A.C.E. Evolution/Direct Connect carbon frames. Note the clear coat glorifies and accentuates the naturally sophisticated pattern of the carbon fibers and lay-up process.

Our Direct Connect has gone through more intensive testing than any other frame we have ever produced. Using both factory testing as well as independent testing – we were able to test every size of both the Team and Cadent frames. In both cases these frames exceeded all international standards– and proved themselves to have more integrity than any road frame we currently produce. In many cases even after 250000 cycles we were unable to compromise the frame. We are extremely proud of these results.

Check out Bicycling magazines rave review of our 2007 Prestige - this bicycle is our top of the line ACE Evolution/Direct Connect complete carbon bike.

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