Carbon – the material that has allowed bikes to achieve ultralight records. Handling the material, however, is highly complex and extremely demanding: difficult processing, high material and production costs, as well as unpredictable fracture behavior require years of expertise in order to develop a safe and successful product.
Right from the start, we always wanted to develop the lightest, strongest and most durable products. We can say, with pride, that numerous lightness and STW records speak for our outstanding material expertise.
Denk Engineering was the world’s first company to develop carbon frames that not only offered considerably better performance that aluminum frames, but also passed all the difficult standard tests and were suitable for serial production.
Our revolutionary technologies, such as direct surface bonding, tube-to-tube technology or the Internal Molding Process have become state-of-the-art and triggered the bike industry’s enormous interest in carbon.
Denk Engineering achieved another milestone in carbon bonding technology in 2004 with its Internal Molding Process (IMP).
IMP technology is a process for molding several frame tubes in a single step, whilst optimizing the carbon-fiber layers. This achieves maximum efficiency: the use of less material leads to a lower frame weight.
The molding, which is critical for the load-bearing strength of the frame joints, is decisive in the IMP process. As is material optimization through pre-stressing of the tube material , which is carried out manually.
The frame structure is optimized by the integrated molding process: the carbon layers are compressed and thus hardened simultaneously. The result is lighter, stiffer and safer bikes.
Denk Engineering triggered a revolution in the production of carbon frames in 2002: the tube-to-tube process enormously simplified the hitherto almost impossible development and production of carbon frames.
We developed CR-1 using a completely new production technique. It was the result of long and wide-ranging research. Besides using extremely high-quality carbon fibers and very smart detailed work, this method is the reason for the magic light weight and characteristics of CR-1 frames.
Each CR-1 frame is carefully handcrafted piece-by-piece. It takes between 17 and 26 hours to produce a CR-1 frame, depending on the design. This is many times longer than required for producing an alloy frame.
Pre-produced and precisely CNC-cut carbon tubes are connected with a special mixture of glue and carbon chop fibers. Those connection points are then wrapped with additional carbon layers while a special production technique allows the application of pressure to these areas.
After the final molding, the metal inserts are glued onto the frame. Here, too, our engineers have developed special methods and techniques. Some of them are new and unique; some of them come from aerospace technology.
Monoque frames have the advantage of smooth and strong tube joints, e.g. between the down tube and head tube. Lug frames have the advantage that the single tubes can be manufactured with greater precision and to a stiffness and strength that is higher than on monoque frames. CR-1 technology combines the advantages of these two technologies.
First we manufacture each individual tube as for a lug frame. Because the process is much simpler for a single tube than for a full monoque frame, the layup is more precise and has fewer wrinkles, improving the stiffness and strength of the tubes.
After that we connect these pre-produced tubes with our unique CR-1 process. This creates joints that are similar to those of a monoque frame but the internal structure is even stronger. By combining the advantages of both worlds, and by refining the layup structure with our Biocad simulation software, we are able to create frames which are lighter and stronger than current frames.
Denk Engineering developed the completely new Direct Surface Bonding (DSB) technology, which optimally joins carbon and metal, in 2000. The high stability and consistent product quality achieved with this technology is impressive. It has become an industrial standard that has been taken over by many rivals.
Image: detail of a carbon / metal connection
Denk Engineering supports you right from the start. Our carbon experts work out a concept together with you in order to develop the lightest and most stable bikes. We know exactly how the complex material of carbon must be used in order to achieve optimum performance for production and for the end-result. We do not rest on the laurels of our expertise – we work unswervingly on new, innovative production techniques in order to improve product development and construct stiffer, safer, and lighter bikes.
Denk Engineering only works with the best and most experienced experts in the Far East, ensuring consistent and dependable high material and processing quality. We select our suppliers and producers with maximum care – only the A-team is good enough for us.
The production of a carbon frame is manual work. More than 200 parts in the most varied of sizes must be processed individually. Perfect quality is only possible when each individual part has been processed and implemented faultlessly. Thus consistent precision in each individual work step is our highest priority, guaranteed through constant production monitoring.
We do not simply subject the finished end-product to comprehensive quality inspections, but every preceding production step. We invest in responsible employees who carry out regular breaking tests during production. We document and monitor all work steps with maximum precision, and record the frame number, production date and all the personnel involved during production. We are proud that this enables us to guarantee that our products are of the highest quality.
Externally implemented final inspections confirm our successful work and independently prove that the carbon frames and components that we develop truly deliver what they promise: low weight, stiffness and strength coupled with optimum ride characteristics and aesthetic design. Whereby we are absolutely uncompromising: all frames must withstand the extreme loads in our material fatigue tests. This permits us to stake our name and reputation on the durability and robustness of our products.