Well, when you make a new design in China, they make 3 prototypes. One for you, one for your competitor and one for themselves.
I agree the exponential rather than linear increase of the eTT length is kind of unusual, but it'll just be an issue of tweaking the stem length. Keeping head tube angle constant across all sizes is not particularly uncommon either, and I don't find 72* too offensive, especially when paired with a fork with a 45mm offset to lower the trail - what would be your preference?
Would appreciate any further feedback you (or anyone else) may have - please feel free to pm me directly!
There's a reason why a $400 Chinarello, despite looking like it, is not the same frame as the Dogma, but the Ritte Bosberg is a Pedalforce QS3 with a prettier paint job (and man is it a stunning one).
While it's true that the technology to make carbon frames has become more mature and accessible, there is still a difference in quality between a $350 eBay BIN free shipping special and even a lower end big brand frame. Like with other frame materials, it's easy to make a bike frame, but it's hard to make a good one.
The thing with carbon frames is that what you see is only a small part of what you get. The exterior of a carbon frame is the easiest thing to get right. It's even easier if there's a frame you're trying to copy (say, a squiggly Pinarello) - then it's just a matter of making a negative mold that will spit out a similar shape. It's unlikely that the OEM for Pinarello is going to breach their contract by selling the same frames (from a "closed mold") out the back door - it's not a business model that will ever be as profitable as fulfilling large orders for restablished, prestigious brands. It's been suggested that they're made by workers who sneak back into the factory at midnight, but that's really underestimating the amount of time, machinery, and diverse skillsets needed for the assembly, curing, bonding, alignment, and finishing steps to produce a carbon frame. It's far more likely that a small carbon factory without a legitimate business model had to resort to making counterfeits to survive.
The challenge of a carbon frame is in its design and how that design is executed. The layup schedule is carefully planned to maximize stiffness where it matters (the bottom bracket, for example), and minimize weight where it doesn't, such the mid sections of tubes. There are design decisions to be made on the grade, orientation, and shape of each carbon fiber layer, and the manufacturing process has to result in an optimum resin to fiber ratio - too much resin and the frame is too heavy, too little and you end up with a weak frame (carbon fiber is stiff, and only in one direction - not strong). Often, a brand would design the exterior shape and aesthetics, and outsource the calculation of the layup schedule to the manufacturers.
Figuring all this out is the hard part; this is stuff the lower tier frame manufacturers are unable to do well, but it's all stuff you can't see. Sure, you can weigh the frame, but how do you tell a light and strong frame from a light and weak one, short of expensive destructive testing or cutting it open? Without any sort of presence outside of China, there really isn't any pressure (i.e. legal liability) for the frames to be free from design or manufacturing defects.
The top tier frame OEMs are not the ones selling direct to consumers - some manufactures like Ten Tech (Cervelo, Scott) don't even bother exhibiting at trade shows. The more accessible ones will have open mold frames that require sizeable minimum orders, and that's where most smaller brands without the expertise and capital for composite material R&D will source their frames. If your order is large enough, then you can negotiate exclusivity for that particular frame design.With an even larger budget, you can have a frame designed exclusively for you. If you can't commit to a large minimum order quantity, then you're looking at dealing with lower tier manufacturers or wholesalers.
So a lot of the times people buy frames from direct to consumer manufacturers thinking that they're buying from the same factory that makes the name brands, but it's almost never true (and of course, those manufacturers have no reason to dispel the notion). You get what you pay for, but like with every other product, diminishing returns apply to carbon frames too - I'm just not sure it quite kicks in yet at the $300 mark, although I'd say it ramps up quite rapidly after about $2000.
Thanks for the welcome, and glad I could shed some light on the topic! I've actually already been lurking a bit - followed a link from somewhere to friday night lights, and couldn't believe how much original content there is (somewhat rare for a bike oriented forum, wouldn't you say?).
As for what's after the Scout, we're playing it by ear. It might not necessarily even be carbon :V No plans for mountain bikes right now though.
Someone asked through the website live chat what the BB drop was - I wasn't around so I wasn't able to answer, sorry! Hope you see this - the BB drop is 72mm for size 46-50 frames, 71 for size 52, and 70 for 54-61.
Hi Ryan or other frame builders,
Just a question about chainstay length.
Why make them shorter than component manufacturer spec? It only makes the shifting less than perfect. As the person in the shop working with customers wondering why their drivetrains are noisy, shifting no so ideal and having to explain to them their Cervelo has a chainstay that is shorter than spec. Manufacturers put those dimensions out there to make things work smoothly for the techs and customers.
When bikes were small diameter steel I understood frame builders couldn't get the materials any stiffer so they made stays shorter to give the bike a quicker acceleration. With modern materials and what an be done I don't see why anyone would not be able to make chainstays stiff enough in a 405 length or longer for a more stable better handling bike. The short chainstay seems outdated at this point.
Just looking for some frame builders reasoning about this whole idea.
I appreciate the posts above. I would like to add, I bought my frames from gotobike, and an ebay seller. I have 2 sets of carbon wheels purchased from ebay. I have not had any failures, an I am a clyde. I rode the carbon wheels in Whistler in the bike park on a 5.5" trail bike. I have my suspicions about the source of the direct sale frames. I wouldn't doubt some are low quality, but that hasn't been my experience. I don't doubt the factories that only sell to manufacturers (if that actually is the case) have high quality. My experience is even the direct sell frames are high quality (at least the 5 I own from three different suppliers.) I suspect there is a need to keep people suspicious about the non branded products. How else does a retailer justify his higher price over a direct sale?
I'm just curious why you do it and to what benefit? To what benefit do your bikes have by not having optimal shift performance.
It is also Shimano's minimum recommendation and Campy's minimum is 407. These are the minimum recommended number! Not even a recommended number but a minimum chainstay length.
I'm not trying to break balls but I am curious why companies disregard these tolerances that the component manufacturers provide to have the best shifting performance.
There is this notion that short chainstays will give a faster bike.... Some geometries also have ths same short chainstays from XXS to XXL. These same geometries also have a 43mm raked fork from XXS to XXL. None of it makes any sense but it saves the number of molds you have to build.