Even bicycle enthusiasts and industry insiders are surprised to learn that Tetra was invented back in 1987 and only four years later was being ridden by Greg LeMond and his Team Z teammates in the world’s most important cycling event, the Tour de France. Today, nearly 30 years later, Tetra tubing and bicycle frames have been continually optimized; sharpened by improvements in raw materials, manufacturing processes and advantageous frame options.
With the Tetra frames, we saturate carbon fabric with epoxy, then laminate it at 210 p.s.i. and fuse it to pre-mitered carbon tubes using metal dies. Molded in one layup, the resulting joints have long tapered transitions from one tube to the next, following the stresses evenly. This manufacturing process seamlessly marries our roll-wrapped carbon tubing resulting in a frame without molded lugs. Fatigue life for these fiber reinforced joints is appreciably longer than that of adhesive bonds and, coupled with the tubing itself, is grounds for the Tetra’s 25 year warranty.
Tetra The Tetra tubes were designed to have the optimum stiffness to weight ratio and also have a thick enough wall to be impact tolerant. The 42 and 55 msi modulus fiber is strong and very stiff but not too brittle. Given this durability, we’re happy to offer our Tetra tubing in off-road and travel frame configurations. This video shows a Tetra with our “Adventure” frame options (35mm tire clearance, 57mm reach brake calipers) perfectly at home on the gravel roads of Central Texas. Jan Heine, Editor of Bicycle Quarterly, published a review of our Tetra Adventure in the Autumn 2011 issue. He hated to give it back. Here is a link to the complete review. Years later, Jan revisited our Tetra Adventure platform (Bicycle Quarterly, Vol.12 No.1, Autumn 2013), riding this very bicycle featuring 650x42mm tires, dual hydraulic disc brakes, and a generator hub. His test ride; the Volcano High Pass 600 Super Randonnee. His take-away, “…nearly perfect”.
The precise orientation of the Tetra’s 51 million fibers delivers the best combination of stiffness and comfort for everyday riding. While these frames are unbelievably stiff through the drive train and are very light (2.4 pounds for a 54cm single and 6.8 pounds for a Medium/Small tandem), they are especially easy on the saddle and handlebars. These qualities conspire to make Tetra the choice of traveling tandem teams, privateer racers, endurance road riders and gravel-road randonees.
Of the 6000 or so frames we’ve delivered to bicycle riders these last two decades, over 3450 have been Tetra. More than any other Calfee innovation or product, Tetra is responsible for Calfee’s unassailable strength and position in today’s crowded carbon market.