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Dominique’s C14 custom titanium frame by XACD

Olivier’s tip-offs never end, this time he pointed me towards a Picasa album that documented Dominique Charbonnel’s individual frame designs from napkin sketch to reality. I’ve tried to get in touch with the man himself but with no luck yet, so this is more of a slide show than a normal gallery item!

From the first draft we can see that 'DC's after making something a bit different. It's a real struggle to come up with something that no-one's tried before, especially when the standard 'double diamond' frame is such an efficient design.

Dominique has some CAD skills too. It looks like he's examining how the frame is going to deform under extreme loads to make sure his design is going to be strong enough.

The final drawing from XACD, notice the curvy seatstays, the 0.6mm center butts and the cable guide placements - we're getting something a bit different here.

The finished article - nice lines and that brushed finish is looking good too 🙂

Old School under the bottom bracket cable runs keep the top of the frame looking sleek - I like the way they're mounted on the head tube to prevent cable rub. This shot also shows off the tube shaping and manipulation very nicely.

Close up showing the details of he seatstay fixing. OK, the only bit I'm not sure about; we're putting quite a load into the end of the top tube there. When GT made the 'triple triangle' frame they put the seat stay bridge across the back of the seat tube to help spread the load. This could... hmm, pull the top tube off the seat tube maybe? Or just crack the top tube? I hope not as it's really good to see someone doing something a bit different!

It’s always interesting to see something original being put together and Dominique’s certainly put some serious work into his design. I’m guessing he was going for a bit of a ‘suspension’ feel with the curvy stays to get  a more forgiving ride – or for purely esthetic grounds, either way it’s good to see. I’d be interested to know how much it weighs as with all that butting it should be close to the magic 3.5lbs.

Some things you might want to be aware of if you’re after a simliar frame; you could save a few quid by not bothering with the gussets around the head tube as the design should be plenty strong enough without them if you’re running 100-120mm forks. Also, I’d check the lengths of the butts on the top tube just to make sure it’s long enough to cope with where the seat stays have been fixed. Speaking of which, I’d belt and braces that junction by putting the seat stay bridge at the back of the seat tube and weld it on to spread the load better. He’s also gone for a generous seat tube extension above the top tube which is a known problem area – I’d go as short as possible on this, maybe 35-40mm.

All in though a fantastic job, I’d love to know how it rides – Dominique, if you’re reading this then please get in touch and let me know, thanks! Until he does you can see more of the story over on DC’s Picasa pages: http://picasaweb.google.com/dcharbonnel/ProjetVTTC14# enjoy!

Have you had a frame made by XACD? If so I’d love to hear about it and maybe feature it in the Gallery so drop me a line via the contacts page.