Frameworks x Cotic Collab
Although through extensive use of gussets they seem to have got on top of the durability issues on the aluminium frames, Neko was still keen to run steel and see if the ride feel or any other attributes would be an improvement for the race bikes.
On the long drive back from Les Gets, I asked Neko to send me the tube specs for the aluminium frame. I set about doing some stiffness and strength comparisons in my notebook using some simple beam theory equations, to get a feel for where we were. Stress = My/I for all you equation fans out there.
The really exciting thing from my point of view was that on that first look, our stock RocketMAX Gen4 down tube was a good deal stronger and stiffer than aluminium down tube on the first Frameworks frames. I started working through all the tubes on the frame and it became clear that we wouldn't need to do anything completely new or crazy thickness to get much improved global strength and stiffness out of the front end. Neko is also using a ZS56 standard head tube, but I already had that covered in my design toolbox. I used the same size for the RocketMAX Gen4 development so I could use reach adjust headsets.
As I got further into the design and engineering, Neko's good friend Dan - the Chief Designer and Engineer at RAAW bikes - got involved to design review my work. It was great to work with Dan, having only known him to say hello to at races before. It's fun to bounce ideas around, and having someone as diligent as him checking things is a really great part of the process. Dan's helped Neko out with the carbon design on the rear ends, so it was nice to be able to tie both ends of the frame together in this way.
Ultimately, the Frameworks x Cotic front end uses the exact same down tube as the RocketMAX Gen4, then the same size and spec tube for the seat tube. The top tube isn't Ovalform as it would be on a Cotic. We kept it round because I was a little concerned about dual crown fork stanchions hitting the thin edge of the ovalised tube. It's also two wall thicknesses up on the RocketMAX, because downhill.
After that, it was about getting into the details of the tube junctions and trying to reinforce the frame, whilst nicely managing the stiffness out of the reinforced areas. There's a lot of gussets!