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Dassi Road - the brand new frame made in the UK

Josh Cunningham
19 Feb 2016

Hampshire-based Dassi is joining the 'Made in Britain' club. But with added interest and expertise from the world of F1.

The migration of bicycle manufacturing from Europe to the Far East has come to be taken as an industry standard. But over recent years there has been a counter shift as brands try and bring production back to more familiar soil. So with a handful of British players now operating within that exclusive club, what is Dassi, the four-year-old Hampshire-based operation, doing differently with its Road bike? The answer, according to Stuart Abbott, Dassi founder and former Rolls Royce aerospace engineer, lies in the way the frames are actually constructed. 

 

Taking inspiration from manufacturing processes developed in the world of Formula 1, Dassi is employing a carbon-on-carbon mold technique whereby the mold into which the carbon is laid is also made from carbon (rather than the more regular alloy). 'Carbon and alloy expand at different rates,' says Abbott, in relation to the heating phase of the molding process. When the mold is alloy, the resulting imperfections apparently create 'a relatively messy molding process, which leaves a lot of post-production work to humans.'

'Post-production' is the later beautifying of the raw frame before it's painted and the initial messiness, that Dassi claims alloy-to-carbon techniques are guilty of, is largely negated by the new technology. 'The carbon-to-carbon molding is only used by high end industries like F1 and aerospace because of the need for such high accuracies,' says Abbott. 'The carbon lay up in the molds is done by machine to avoid variance through human intervention.

'The automated lay up creates a sheet of ply with the correct orientations, so you'd only need to lay up one piece of carbon rather than three,' Abbott continues. 'This saves time and cost [and conceivably weight]. Whereas a human could place the ply at degrees of 89, 47 and 1, for example, the machine can do 90, 0, 45 [a common combination] exactly.'

But while this is good news for costing and efficiency, does it translate into differences in how the bike eventually rides? 'This [degrees of layering] has an effect on the handling on the bike,' says Abbott. 'Formula 1 requires these exacting standards every time, and this is what we now utilise at Dassi too.' 

Hopefully we can get a Road to test and see for ourselves in due course, but for now Dassi is aiming for the first available Road models to be available from mid to late April, with the frame - including a custom paint job - retailing at £3,995.

Dassi.com

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