Felt TeXtreme Carbon
Felt TeXtreme Carbon
Just as in Formula 1, the real cutting edge of cycle technology is directly related to the development of carbon fibre. The carbon that makes up that relatively simple thing – the diamond shaped bike frame – is continually being refined in the search of stiffer, stronger, and seemingly at odds with those factors but essential for an endurance sport, ever lighter and more comfortable frames.
The Felt-sponsored Argos-Shimano team began racing on new TeXtreme carbon fibre F-Series bikes in 2013 and have enjoyed success with German powerhouse sprinter, Marcel Kittel, who recently took Mark Cavendish’s scalp recently at the Scheldeprijs semi-classic in Belgium.
Appropriately TeXtreme carbon has been used in Formula 1 for several years to reduce the weight and improve the performance of key parts. TeXtreme a registered trademark of Swedish Company, Oxeon AB, and has been adopted by Felt who first ‘tested’ it on a new 29er mountain bike.
TeXtreme spread-tow fabric consists of flat tapes instead of yarns of fiber so more fibres are packed into a given area, meaning more fibre and less resin for a lighter and stiffer lay-up. When this tape is woven into fabric, less crimping or damage occurs allowing higher modulus carbon to be used in a fabric.
Felt have found that they can produce 20%-30% lighter components than with their current carbon fibres but get ‘improved mechanical properties and superior surface smoothness’ by using TeXtreme’s thin tapes to weave the fabric, with straighter fibres and less crimping making frames stronger and lighter.
Argos-Shimano’s Felt F-series frames have ‘UHC Nano TeXtreme carbon fibre’ where several plies of the super thin TeXtreme carbon can be used to get the same thickness or even less than with the heavier uni-directional carbon but produces frames that are still as stiff and even have improved impact durability.
“The material is so advanced you can, in the simplest terms, use less than what we previously had before” says Felt Engineer Anton Petrov. “It delivers all of the characteristics everyone wants in a bicycle frame; lower weight with greater strength and stiffness.”
To boot, TeXtreme carbon has an attractive, unique ‘checkerboard’ pattern that whilst not being anything new, does make the frames look pretty special.
Though not a TeXtreme frame, here’s Jim Felt talking about Felt bikes alongside the F1 Argos Shimano team bike: