一時、話題に上った Carbon Frames の話が SkateLog Forum で交わされています。当時から、TNT Corea、TUSA と Hopiframes 3社のフレームデザインが似ていると思っていたら、そのフレームをデザインした人物からインサイダーな書き込みがありました。カーボンフレーム製品の良し悪しは別として､それほど軽くもなく、試すには価格が高いので、いくらレース成績の結果が良くても二の足を踏みます。残念ながら、既に TNT Corea と TUSA は撤退し、残るのは Hopiframes のホームページのみ。過去の販売数が500-600セットではビジネス的には苦しかもしれませんが、まだ製造販売しているそうです。
Carbon frames - the real storyby ultrask8 (Feb. 15, 2010)Hi everyone
I used to manufacturer carbon frames, I still skate on carbon frames, (same pair since 2006), I designed both the TUSA and HOPI frames, and also did some designing for TNT Corea.
Benefits: Carbon frames give a smoother ride, because a well designed frame made from quality CF (Carbon-Fiber) absorbs vibration (proven in many other sports like cycling, tennis, skiing, golf, etc).
Along these lines, CF frames can be "tuned" - meaning different stiffness and flex qualities for different parts of the frames. The frames I designed (especially the generation 3 and 4 designs) were for example stiffer in the "nose" of the frame, for the final push phase .
CF could also be made lighter weight - our generation 4 4x110 for example weighed 168 grams. Unfortunately we never went into full production with this one...
CF frames (at least the TUSA and HOPI) never got bent, either from use or crashing. Early designs we did have some mounting block issues but we added some meat and this solved the prob.
Our frames were not molded like EO, but were made from two seperate pieces joined together by aluminum parts. The mounting blocks were atteched in the first 3 generations by four ss mounting screws per block, and by two titanium screws per block in generation four. This really shaved weight down (but raised the cost).
Our frames were made from USA made CF, 9 layers per sheet, very tough stuff and possibly the best CF of it's type anywhere. We shipped this to China to get cut up and machined (much cheaper there than in USA!), and to have the aluminum parts made and pressed in.
Then the frames were sent back to USA , partially assembled, to be put together. Some production runs we didn't have any of the aluminum parts installed in China, we did everything in the USA - PAIN IN THE A$$!
Initially our frames had a LOT of little parts - due to the sandwich style (two flat pieces of CF), about 34 parts (including axles) per frame. As you might imagine, machining all this stuff really jacked up the cost.
A lot of the weight came from the aluminum stuff.
Generation four we found ways to diminish the number of parts needed, it came down to about16 or so parts per frame. The titanium screws also saved 2/3 the weight of the ss screws.
So a 4x110 frame generation 3 weighed about 210 grams, and a generation four about 168gr. Compared to the weight of current alum frames, 4x110, thats all pretty light.
We also made a few 3 point proto frames for the BONT boots, under agreement with Bont. The two test models we produced were generation 3 design and weigh 170 grams. The generation 4 would have weighed about 30 grams less. We never got into production for the 3 point
Now the EO frames are very different - they are molded, meaning that there is a CNC mold made and (I think) the CF is lain up on that. Origionally EO used some foam inside the CF (for cost and weight?) and they had some breakage issues. I hear they corrected that in the current models.
I got a close up on a pair of EO with a stripped out axle insert thread I repaired for Triston Loy during Lemans 2007 (I was on support crew for Team Lavallois and he was skating on the team for this event).
About CF frames being used in the real world by elite skaters: My CF frames made it to the podium of some very elite competitions and on some very elite skaters feet, for example used by Team Lavallois winning Lemans 24 hours in 2007 (and used by them all year including winning the NYC 100km), on the feet of Yan Guyander for a win in the French Inline Cup (before he was signed by Powerslide), made it to the podium of the European Championships senior division several times, podium of the Trois Pistes (3 tracks) competition , 12th place in the 42km marathon at FIRS senior worlds, podium of the national championships of several European countries, etc, not to mention the races and podiums in S America and USA and Asia.
I think we sold total of about 500-600 pairs of frames (TUSA and HOPI) - production issues did us in. The margin (profit) wasn't very high with limited quantities, it costs a more to make CF frames of any configuration than aluminum. So much marketing , pr, and getting skaters to test the ride, is required to gain a share of the market - getting skaters educated with a 10 minute "test ride" is easy, we put one CF frame on one foot and let them feel the difference between the Cf frame and the aluminum frame on the other foot.
We (TUSA) we only doing production runs of 120 - 150 pairs per run . We needed to do like 500 to 1000 pairs at a time to get the prices down on our cost, taking into account the retail cost we could sell the frames at (at that time, don't know what the current retail price is now of high end alum frames)
But like CF bikes etc, there is a different "feel" to the ride. Certainly on rougher roads , CF frames outshine metal by leaps and bounds, and on regular surfaces (I believe) the benefits also give a CF frame superior qualities. (fine tuning, lighter weight, less fatigue to the skater)
Anybody wants to contact me regarding CF frames in private (secret projects, limited production runs, etc) hit me with an email. email@example.com (Jonathan Seutter) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Patrick of Hopi Frames)
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EO Skates: http://www.eoskates.com/
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A&D Composites: http://www.andc.co.kr/