Shawn Small of Ruckus Composites
Ruckus Composites repairs carbon fiber to the highest standards. Forget high standards, did you even know you could carbon fiber could be repaired? Many people don’t, but Ruckus, based in Portland, is on a mission to change that.
The company dubs itself “one part mad scientists, one part bike racers” so we sat down with their lead mad scientist, innovator Shawn Small, to find out more about the scientific world of carbon fiber repair. Shawn is one of the leading experts in the field of repairing carbon fiber bikes.
Spoiler: this science-y stuff is complex so leave it to the experts to make the magic happen.
How did you get started in this industry?
Well it’s pretty simple, really. I started building high altitude rockets 14 years ago… give or take. Also, college stuff helped get me into it. My senior thesis was on inexpensive home wind energy systems. I was essentially trying to build a $1,000 kit that would nearly offset a home’s power demand.
People say carbon fiber can’t be repaired, but Ruckus begs to differ. Can you tell me how you do what you do?
Well, we can’t give away all our secrets! But, basically we’re the bike shop of the future, today. Think Willy Wonka but with epoxy. We repair and remake broken carbon fiber bicycle frames according to the latest aerospace and material science standards.
What type of damage is most common?
Seat stays and top tubes are definitely our most common repairs. Regardless of material, they are the thinnest tubes on any bike. People roof rack their bikes all the time. People knock bikes over. People turn their handle bars too quickly. These parts on bikes are thin and pretty exposed, and they get damaged a lot.
Why do you love carbon fiber?
It’s what we do and it’s the material of the future! Rockets are made out of it. The future is made out of it. It’s also incredibly strong, reliable and repairable. Carbon fiber advancement is a priority for the Space X mission to Mars, so that suggests we’re in the infancy of the movement still. It’s incredibly exciting to to keep discovering new potential for this material.
Okay, you’re the expert here. What else should we know?
We’re carbon based life forms and if we ever want to achieve Star trek status, we’re gonna need advanced materials.
We’ll leave it to you to close things out here, Spock.
Ruckus is an agile and innovative composite facility with extensive materials experience and opportunities. We constantly refine and rework the repairs of today in order to anticipate the needs for the bike shops of tomorrow.
The Ruckus Team