Here is the new instalment of our Friday’s #askmeanything series, where we select the best question(s) from Instagram and Facebook to get a straight and honest answer from Cesar Rojo himself, the heart and brain behind UNNO.
redderz83 (from Instagram) What’s the difference between your carbon frames and any of the main brands (Trek, Yeti etc.)?
Cesar’s answer: Here are the main differences between our frame and one from the main brands:
– First of all, and one of the main reasons for us to make to make our frames locally is that we control the process 100% from start to finish, pretty much no other big company can say this, and just a handful of small ones.
– We employ local people, so we support our community giving jobs here. I know the name of each person that makes our bikes, we chat pretty much every day and every time there is an issue I/we can be there to solve it hands on.
– The environmental part is very important. I was recently in Asia with a bicycle customer of Cero and I asked what they do with their carbon scraps, their answer was: “The government takes them and puts them in the bottom of the ocean”. He said like it was the most normal thing, I am still shaking my head… This adds to many other things there is no care of on the environmental side. Here in Europe not only the laws are much more strict, but we are also looking into ways to improve things (i.e. using clean energy from renewable sources, etc.)
– Regarding the frames we use higher property fibers than what is available in Asia and is currently used to make the frames, this means stronger frames (see answer to Cyril Lefevre below for a more detailed explanation).
– A more refined process, brands manufacturing in Asia use a mass production process (and it makes sense), but here we prefer to be slower, but making a much higher quality product as we cannot compete with price of the bigger brands.
– The finish of the frames. In Asia it’s nearly impossible to make a frame with the same surface finish that we have, due to the nature of the grinding process. Our finishing process enables us to really show the carbon weave and to have a stronger, more durable finish, you can see the difference in a big way if you shine a light against one of our frames next to a “big brand” frame.
As you see there is not one single factor, but rather a series of aspects in every process that make not only our bikes, but our brand as a whole, completely different from the others.
Will Lewis (from Facebook): What do you guys do with the carbon scraps that don’t go into an actual frame? Seems like a relevant question given the noise that some manufacturers are making about carbon waste.
Cesar’s answer: All our scraps are recycled by this company: Reciclalia Composite. Every 6 months we get all the fiber scraps picked from our workshop (we keep it in the fridge so the resin is not cured) and it is chopped in small pieces that are used for cosmetic lightweight parts. One example of usage is in the back side of airplane seats. The great thing of recycled carbon compared to aluminum scraps is that the energy used to recycle is almost irrelevant as it just need to be chopped, with no heating involved. We are also looking at how we can re-use our carbon scraps for other bicycle products (for example fenders and frame guards).
Cyril Lefèvre (from Facebook): The theory says that the more you use a high modulus carbon fiber, the more stiff but less strong it is, how are you able to produce, with the very high modulus fibres you use, such lightweight frames that remain strong and whose stiffness is really modulated depending on the part of the frame?
Cesar’s answer: We use a high strength, high modulus fiber that has higher properties that the common fiber widely used in mountain bike manufacturing in Asia. Here you can see the differences between the T700 (most commonly used on high end bikes) and the MR70 which is the one we use, that is the strongest fiber available, higher than T1100. As you will see the MR70 surpasses T700 in all aspects.
T700 first value / MR70 second value
Modulus: 230GPa vs 325GPa (+41%)
Strength: 4.900MPa vs 7.000MPa (+43%)
Elongation: 2.1% vs 2.2% (+5%)