Northwich-based Target Composites

Restore and reuse – 5 minutes with carbon repair specialist Target Composites

With a focus on improving sustainability in the carbon bike market, Target Composites helps retailers and bike owners to repair damaged frames. Director Philip Leah explains the services on offer 

This piece first appeared in the April edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

Can you give us a little background on Target Composites?

Target Composites is a composites repair business specialising in the inspection, repair and restoration of carbon fibre bike frames and components.

Our foundation within the composites industry was 10 years in the making, so our knowledge in this area is extensive. Target Composites was founded in 2015, which is when we took the decision to specialise in carbon frame repair. Bikes were always our passion, and it made sense to do something we love, and put our industry experience to worthwhile use.

We carry out NDT (non-destructive testing) using specialised tools and methods, such as ultrasound, on carbon bike frames, forks, and components to identify structural damage. A repair can then be tailored to the specific damage, location, and lay up of the frame. Finally, we restore the paintwork locally to the repaired area, matching paints, and graphics, so that it blends seamlessly back into the original finish. Our repairs are also covered by a limited lifetime guarantee.

What area of the market do you target?

Our work is split into four areas: the public, bike shops, bike brands, and insurance companies. Each has their own requirements, and so we do our best to tailor our work to fit in with what they need.

Bike owners can contact us directly, and either ship their frame to us, or arrange to drop off if preferred. There is a lot of satisfaction when working directly with the owner of the bike. They often phone up distraught, unsure whether their frame can be repaired or not, and it is nice to be able to help, restoring their pride and joy back to them.

Phil Leah from Target

For bike shops, brands, and insurers alike, we offer a complete workflow package to make the entire process easy. 

How can retailers utilise your services and expertise?

We have an excellent relationship with bike shops nationwide, independents and larger chains. The nature of our work means that, ordinarily, we require the bike to be fully stripped of components before any carbon repair or paintwork can take place. 

Our mechanics can take care of this in-house, but it is beneficial for all parties if the owner’s usual bike shop or mechanic takes on the mechanical work, and then ships the frame to us. The bike shops get the related mechanical work, the customer benefits with the reduced shipping rates of sending just a frame instead of a full bike, and our workload is streamlined. 

Another added benefit is that the bike shops we work with can offer carbon inspection and repair as a service to their customers. Also, we are always more than happy to offer advice over the phone, which they can then pass on to their customers.

Warranty Services – An added service we offer to larger chains and brands is warranty support. We restore damaged paintwork for frames under warranty, as well as restoration to damaged stock. We can also help on warranty claims that are unsuccessful and offer our services.

Insurance Companies – We have developed a streamlined package especially for insurance companies. Once referred to us for inspection or repair, we arrange the transport of the bike to our workshop where we carry out a thorough inspection. A comprehensive report is then sent to the claim’s handler, and once authorised, the repairs are carried out and any parts ordered, ready for the rebuild. Once built and tested, the bike is returned to the owner.

Industry consultancy – Over 15 years’ experience in the composites industry, and many years devoted solely to the inspection and repair of carbon bike frames, has given us a unique understanding of the subject, and an excellent position to assess both the design and manufacturing quality of the latest product.

By dissecting sample frames and conducting detailed post-production quality reports, we can highlight areas of concern, and recommend alternative approaches for a stronger product. Our customers range from brand leaders, race teams and start-up brands investing in their first open mould frames.

How important is carbon repair and recycling from a sustainability perspective? 

One of our main driving forces has always been the importance of repair and reuse, rather than adding to landfill. At the beginning it was much more difficult to reassure people that carbon can be safely repaired, the knowledge just wasn’t out there, but thankfully that trend has changed dramatically in recent years. 

Before (left) and after (right) Target Composites has done its thing

Looking at numbers alone, if you can repair a carbon frame for £350 that would cost £3000 to replace, it makes sense.

Another important thing about repair is that we can help keep collectors’ bikes in top condition. Refurbishing classics like a Lotus 110 or Colnago C35 is extremely satisfying.

What are your plans for 2023 and beyond?

We are working with Manchester University School of Engineering on an exciting diagnostic project that will support our inspection process. Afraid we can’t say more right now, it’s still early days.

We are also rolling out our first micro-seminar in the form of a virtual workshop, which is free to any bike shops interested.

Can you tell us more about your seminars and events? 

Largely, carbon is still a bit of an unknown quantity in the cycling community. To combat this, we have designed a micro-seminar to help fill in some of the gaps and improve knowledge. In turn we’re hoping this will provide sales teams and mechanics with a better footing to advise and aid customers.

Aimed primarily at bike shops and mechanics, the virtual workshop will cover effective use of carbon in bike design and manufacturing, carbon components, and the most common causes and types of carbon damage that we see. There will also be a Q&A opportunity with one of our senior carbon repair technicians, enabling participants to ask questions specific to them and their customers. 

Read more: Solving those workshop pain points: 5 mins with Bike Matrix

The workshop is online to make it as accessible as possible, it’s absolutely free, and takes about 30 minutes (plus Q&A). Give us a call, or email, if you are interested in booking a session.

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