Santa Cruz Carbon Tech Manufacturing - Explained by Santa Cruz

It’s perhaps a little known fact that every one of our bicycles to date has been through our very own factory and assembly facility in Santa Cruz, California. Each model starts life as a test “mule”, an aluminum prototype which is designed, machined and welded together here in Santa Cruz, then covertly test ridden on trails all over the place. At the same time, in the same building, our carbon test lab is refining the lay-up process we’ll be using on the finished carbon product.

Santa Cruz Exclusive Manufacturing Facility

Once we’re happy with how the mule rides, we release the designs for a carbon mold to be made at our exclusive manufacturing facility. We use our own facility because it’s the only way to ensure advancements made in our test lab remain proprietary. Every single frame produced is quality checked by a dedicated Santa Cruz employee before being shipped.

C or CC Carbon

We pride ourselves on some pretty fancy carbon fiber engineering. In 2015 we made it a priority to trickle-down our carbon radness to within reach of more riders by introducing the new C level option. The catch? A minimal weight gain of approximately 250-280 grams (0.6 lbs) for the C frame over the CC due to the different grade of carbon used.

Whether you’re riding a carbon CC or C frame, you get exactly the same legendary strength and stiffness because we use exactly the same manufacturing facility and techniques:

One-piece lay-up and curing

Laying up and curing the front triangle all at the same time decreases the amount of material used by eliminating overlapping joints that have to be bonded or wrapped with carbon. Less material means fewer grams. This method is more intensive and meticulous because each frame requires its own dedicated tooling and nothing is shared between sizes.

Seamless integration of junctions and mounts

One-piece lay-up allows us to wrap carbon fiber seamlessly between tubes, allowing the frame to distribute loads and absorb impact energy more effectively. Shock mounts, pivot mounts, dropouts and disc brake tabs are all fully integrated using uni-directional carbon plies, making our carbon frames stronger than any others we’ve tested.

Optimal fiber compaction

Our lay-up process allows us to precisely control the pressure exerted from inside the frame outwards against the mold. This is absolutely essential for achieving maximum compaction of the carbon fiber layers during the lay-up and curing process. Eliminating gaps between layers prevents resin from migrating away from where it’s needed, thus minimizing the risk of delamination. The net result is a frame we’re as proud of on the inside as we are on the out. 

Full carbon tubes for internal routing

We use full-length carbon tubes for our internal routing that are integrated during the lay-up process.  It’s a complicated feat, but keeps things tidier than anything else we know of and means hassle-free routing of your cables every time.