What goes into a great bike?

What Goes Into Designing a Great Bike?

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How do you make a great bike? It takes a lot of time and a methodical process to make sure every detail is nailed. At Fezzari, we want everyone to have the best experience possible on a bike. The quality of our bikes is one of the pillars that Fezzari is built on. From the very beginning of Fezzari we have said, “We will not fail on quality.” Below you will find our process of how we make bikes for riders like you. This story is about the development of the Signal Peak mountain bike, but the principles are the same for any bike we develop.

Designing a Great Bike

Concept

Our design process starts with you. We think about how and where a rider will take a bike. Then we write down all of the things that the rider will need in a bike. Things like how much travel will it need, what kind of geometry will it have, and all the little finishes to make the bike great to ride.

It might end up as sketch like this.

It might end up as sketch like this.

Geometry

The next step in the process is to dial in the exact geometry of the frame. The geometry will determine how the frame will fit and handle. This involves things like the head tube angle, seat tube angle, chain stay length, top tube length, etc. All of these things affect how a bike will feel and handle.

Kinematics

If a bike has rear suspension, the next step is designing the kinematics of the suspension system. Kinematics are how the suspension moves. A rear suspension is made up of different links, and moving these links by a few millimeters can drastically change the performance of the suspension system. With the Signal Peak, we wanted a bike that would be as efficient as possible for pedaling while still having great sensitivity on small bumps and bottom-out support for rough terrain. The way we did this was to make the suspension progressive in nature. A progressive suspension will be easier to move in the beginning of the travel and get progressively harder as the bike moves through its travel. To make it pedal great we make sure that it has high anti-squat values to get rid of any pedal-bob.

When designing a suspension system we optimize curves like this one to dial in the suspension feel. Moving links by a few millimeters can have a big effect.

Aluminum Prototype

All the computer models in the world are no substitute for real-world testing. For the Signal Peak we prototyped the suspension design and geometry with an aluminum frame to test our computer models.

Signal Peak aluminum prototype.

Signal Peak aluminum prototype.

An aluminum prototype allows us to be more flexible in making changes to the design before we invest in a carbon mold. We rode this prototype on a variety of trails to see how it performed. The design team took rider feedback to make small refinements on the frame design to improve the ride quality.

3D Printed Frame

Signal Peak 3D-printed frame

Signal Peak 3D-printed frame

The next step in the design process is to prototype the carbon frame as a full-scale 3D-printed model. This allows us to measure exact clearances for cranks, brake mounts, cable guides, cranks, water bottles, tires, and to be sure the tube shapes look exactly how we want. All this painstaking work helps us to make final adjustments to ensure the final version of the bike works perfectly.

Carbon Fiber Design

Signal Peak carbon mold

Signal Peak carbon mold

After all this, it is finally time to cut the molds and work with a carbon frame. With carbon fiber you can tune the frame to be stiff where you want it for power transfer, and compliant in other areas for comfort. We go through iteration after iteration on our layup design to get you an incredibly light-weight frame, while maintaining stiffness for great power transfer and cornering performance. 

Fezzari Intensive Strength Testing – FIST

Testing of the Signal Peak

Testing the Signal Peak

Before a carbon frame is ready to ride it has to meet our rigorous testing standards. At Fezzari we test at 130% of the industry standard and do four additional tests that are not required to ensure that your bike will be of the highest quality possible. This is why we are confident in offering a lifetime warranty on all of our frames.

Full Carbon Prototype

Signal Peak carbon prototype

Signal Peak carbon prototype

Once a frame has passed our intensive testing, it’s time for more real-world ride testing. We take it everywhere and anywhere to put it through every situation you might encounter on the trail. From rider feedback, we make more small refinements to the bike to make sure that every detail is perfect so you have the best riding bike possible.

Production Ready Bike

The finished product.

The finished product.

After all this, the bike is almost ready for you. To finish out the process we custom build the bike for your measurements through our 23-Point Custom Setup. Plus we back it up with our lifetime warranty.

We know a bike that fits better will ride better, and without a good fit even the best bike in the world will feel terrible. Our philosophy is to make the best bikes and make them fit you right out of the box.

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