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FACT, short for Functional Advanced Composite Technology, embodies our approach to carbon composites. It's a comprehensive engineering process that guides the development of frames and components, all the way from initial sketches to finished products.
FACT represents our holistic approach to working with carbon composites. Like any of our projects, FACT frames and equipment are based on the needs of riders like you. First, we assess why something should be made, then we figure out how best to make it. Simple enough, right? In theory, yes, but in application, it takes a mastery in a host of critical disciplines: design & engineering, material selection, the fabrication process, and testing. We'd say that the results are worth it, and if you've ever ridden any of our FACT carbon fiber, you probably agree.
We could replace the aforementioned two other related words, like innovation and optimization. This part of the process is where we dream up new technologies to make each bike the best of its breed. Take the one-piece bottom bracket/chainstay design that's become commonplace on our bikes. We saw a need, we experimented with the solution, and the resulting design now resists deflection under pedal loads for improved power transfer. This part takes years, and there isn't a straightforward means of explaining how it works, so consider it a bit of carbon sorcery.
Before manufacturing begins, we select the specific fibers, resins, and weaves for each bike. Just as important as the carbon we select is the fiber orientation, or "layup schedule development," which is how the carbon is wrapped or placed on the frame. A good example is our S-Works Roubaix, where the down tube, bottom bracket, and top tube utilize a higher mixture of E390 high modulus carbon fiber, which is stiffer, in order to prevent bending flex for better power transfer. This area uses mostly zero-degree-angle fibers to make it extremely stiff, yet this layup wouldn't work on just any bike we make. Every layup is unique to that bike, and when you factor in our Rider-First Engineered™ approach to design, it can even be unique to that size frame.
The most advanced materials in the world are nothing without the proper construction and execution. By creating frames from multiple monocoque structures for the head tube, top tube, down tube, seat tube, seatstays, and one piece bottom bracket chainstay, the carbon fibers are able to run continuously from tube to tube, offering advantages in weight, stiffness, and strength.When we think we're done, it's time for testing. It's a crucial part of the FACT carbon development cycle, and to be sure that our bikes live up to all of our expectations, every one of our bikes undergoes extensive testing in the lab, as well as on the road or trail. We test every frame prototype at all of the load points, test ride them with our pros, and then make multiple iterations, repeating the process from scratch, if necessary, until we’re satisfied.