Frequently Asked Questions
What is the minimum thickness that we can scan?
This largely depends on the transducer frequency and diameter. The full recommended CI kit includes a 5MHz probe which is
capable of resolution less than 1mm. Transducers used for inspections make use of a delay line wedge, resulting in excellent near surface resolution.
What is the minimum radius that we can scan (i.e. minimum damage sizes / tube sizes / other limitations)?
This is mostly dependant on the skill and competence of the operator, however there are ways to improve small radius contact and improve scanning reliability of small diameter components with wedges matched to the surface contour to be tested.
How long does it take to perform a scan?
This is somewhat dependent upon the practitioner but generally we suggest to allow 2-3 hours for a complete bicycle scan or 20 minutes for spot checks. Typically much of the time can be absorbed within a bicycle service as components such as the forks will already be removed.
What are ‘reference pieces’, and why do I need them?
Also known as ‘confidence pieces’, this refers to a set of carbon fibre tubes custom designed and developed by Cycle Inspect with a range of introduced/manufactured defects of various sizes and placed at different depths. These provide a critical ‘reference’ for trainee technicians when learning to accurately identify and size defects, and ensure hardware is operating correctly. Included within Cycle Inspect’s suite of reference material is a ‘step wedge’ (or ‘reference standard’) which can be described as a flat, levelled block set at two thicknesses, used for UT device calibration, as well as an optimum contact option with manufactured flaws for verification.
How does the system work in areas of carbon bonded to aluminium?
Theoretically, if the bond is adequate there will be what is referred to as an ‘interface echo’ as opposed to a ‘reflection echo’. If the carbon fibre is not (or is not intended to be) bonded with the aluminium, and is just wrapped or overlaid, then an ultrasonic signal will not transfer into the aluminium material. Where the CF is adequately bonded, there are ways to inspect however this requires a greater degree of understanding of ultrasonic principles and competency which would come with experience and support.
Does a noisy environment affect the system too much e.g. doing it trackside?
The environment will not affect the device but may affect the practitioner’s concentration.
Why ultrasonic testing and not other forms of NDT?
Cycle Inspect has chosen Ultrasonics as our research with Deakin University highlighted that it was the best balance of cost, accuracy, portability, safety and being able to be learned relatively quickly by novice trainees. Many discussions with industry experts has also supported this position. Other methods may be appropriate depending on the environment, training, product, and expertise of the individual user.
Why did you choose the 45mg?
Cycle Inspect conducted research with Deakin University and we have spoken to many industry NDT experts. All of our advisors suggest that this device offers an intuitive, robust and reliable platform for novice NDT trainees that we are very confident in while being available at a reasonable price point for local bike shops and mechanics.
I already have a UT device, can I use this?
Cycle Inspect has developed a specific training package and inspection procedure according to the 45MG device. These are necessary to get novice trainees up and running in a relatively short period of time. As such we do not currently provide a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) option except for NDT experts who have already obtained relevant qualifications from an authorised training body. Please contact us for further information.
What ongoing support do you offer?
Cycle Inspect’s standard training package includes several one-on-one practical training sessions with a NDT expert to clarify any theoretical aspects and to guide the training of practical skills. Our inspection software platform will provide ongoing assistance to guide trainees towards areas of increased concern/risk during every inspection. Further support can be requested as needed and regular workshops are currently in development to help all of our trainees further improve their skills beyond the initial training.
How many partners do you have? I’m worried about competition in my area.
Cycle Inspect takes client confidentiality seriously and this information would not be disclosed. At Cycle Inspect, we are of the ultimate goal is to unite industry, by working together and providing a high level of integrity of component quality, with the end result of providing the highest probability to keep all cyclists safe.
How long does training take?
This is largely dependent upon the amount of time you have available to put in. The theoretical content can be completed in 1-2 weeks (if spending an hour or two per evening) or quicker if you have the time. However, we suggest all trainees spend at least a couple of weeks to fully digest the content. Following this, the practical training sessions are booked with one of our NDT experts which are also dependent upon the availability of both parties but we suggest 1-2 weeks.
I want to train more than one mechanic in my shop. How much will this cost?
We typically charge a one-off fee of $1500 per trainee which covers training and first year accreditation. For our leasing option, it is an additional $100 per month for each additional trainee. If more than 2 trainees are expected, you can contact us for a personalised quote.
What are the pricing options?
Cycle Inspect currently offers two packages:
Up-front option - AUD $10,000 includes first trainee’s training and first year accreditation + all required hardware, shipping and examinations. Each additional trainee can be added for AUD $1500. There is an ongoing cost of $100 per month for access to our data platform.
Leasing option - AUD $599 per month for 24 months. Includes training and first year accreditation for one trainee + all required hardware, shipping and examinations, as well as access to our data platform. Each additional trainee can be added for AUD $100 per month.
What does 'lease to own' mean?
Lease to own means that after the initial 24 month contract is completed, you will fully own all of the inspection hardware.
Can we book additional one-on-one training with Cycle Inspect trainers?
Yes additional training sessions are available and can be booked in with our NDT experts. We will also be offering online/video-based group workshops to all of our partners to help continually develop your skills.
Are there any limitations of the inspection process? Is my safety guaranteed?
Whilst we stand behind our training and quality control processes, Cycle Inspect recognise that no NDT method is ‘fool-proof’ and that there is no substitute for technician experience.
Cycle Inspect’s standardised inspection process has been developed and refined by qualified NDT technicians with approximately 50 years of experience across the aerospace, petrol-chemical and defence sectors.
To ensure consistent and reliable results, Cycle Inspect’s data platform acts as a critical companion to technicians by ensuring adherence to Cycle Inspect’s procedure, capturing the processes that were implemented and flagging potential issues.
Importantly, Cycle Inspect focuses on detecting in-service damage i.e. not manufacturing defects and design flaws.
How do you approach quality control for each of your partners?
Cycle Inspect’s training scheme has been inspired by certification schemes across a range of industrial sectors (see how it works).
Examinations of theoretical knowledge and practical skills form a critically important part of Cycle Inspect’s broader training experience. To ensure trainee integrity and to prevent ‘malpractice’ during theoretical examinations, AI-based proctoring is used which addresses three core areas: detecting cases of impersonation, behaviour analysis, and flagging plagiarism.
Practical training is undertaken by our experience NDT staff and occur over several sessions with a range of exercises and tasks to be undertaken before an assessment is undertaken.
Successful completion of both theory and practical, requiring the effective recall and implementation of Cycle Inspect’s procedure and inspection techniques; are a prerequisite to receiving provisional qualification.
Trainees must demonstrate ongoing practice (monitored via Cycle Inspect’s assessment tool, and direct on-site visits where possible) for the duration of their provisional and full qualification.
What can I expect from a CI-certified inspection?
Whilst each of our partners may approach their workshop operations in different ways, Cycle Inspect’s industry-first standardised inspection procedure ensures ‘CI-accredited’ technicians carry out structural safety inspections in a consistent, reliable, and scientific manner. This is important so that cyclists have greater oversight over what is done and how; and to ensure they are better equipped to monitor risk over time.
What you can expect from the inspection process is a detailed report from your LBS, including any of the following: details relating to identified damage (such as size, type, location) and recommendations/next steps. Over time, the value provided through Cycle Inspect’s reporting will undergo enhancements to incorporate advanced insights that add further context and evidence to support decisions (to repair, retire or buy/sell).
A ‘spot’ (or localised) inspection covers a specific area of concern identified by the cyclist or mechanic, whereas a ‘full inspection’ covers a complete frame and/or carbon fibre componentry.
How often do I need an inspection?
This depends on a few factors such as the age of the bike, the frequency of use, the terrain ridden (road, gravel etc.), the material (some absorb shock/stress better than others) and the profile of the rider.
As a general rule, Cycle Inspect suggests that structural inspections should form part of regular bicycle servicing. This includes visual inspection at every bicycle service or engagement with your qualified mechanic (followed by application of ultrasonic testing as required), and inspection after any crash or other impact, or pre-purchase or sale of a used bicycle.
I get my bike serviced regularly, isn’t that enough?
Unfortunately, not. A mechanical service and a ‘structural safety inspection’ (such as those provided by a ‘CI accredited’ technician) address very different things. Whilst a mechanical service may involve a basic visual inspection to determine what may need to be repaired, adjusted, cleaned, replaced, it does not account for structural integrity through the assessment of damage (visible or underlying) in any way. Mechanical services may present a useful opportunity to help identify points of concern, but to have a clearer picture of structural (failure) risk and, ultimately, what is deemed ‘roadworthy’, an NDT inspection involving standardised procedures by trained technicians is critical.
Do you do repairs also?
We don’t currently offer repairer training or equipment. Cycle Inspect’s primary goal is to increase accessibility for cyclists to premium inspection skills, knowledge and tools through their trusted local bike shops, enabling them to make an initial decision on continuing to ride vs repair/replacement without unnecessary shipping costs and delays. To confidently determine the possibility, and quality, of repair it is vital to first understand the presence of damage.
Is a visual inspection good enough? What about a ‘tap test’?
A visual inspection is extremely limited given that much of the damage created by an impact to a carbon fibre bicycle is what is called barely visible impact damage (BVID) or may in fact be completely invisible. Further, manufacturing defects such as voids (though not the primary focus of a Cycle Inspect inspection) may be completely hidden beneath the top layers of carbon fibre. Hence, methods of non-destructive testing are essential.
Most cyclists are familiar with the tap test (or coin test), in which a specialised tap hammer or coin are gently tapped against their frame or component while the user listens for audible changes in sound, signifying the presence or lack thereof of underlying damage or defects.
This method is logical and stems from the non-destructive testing (NDT) industry. However, there are many aspects and limitations which are often overlooked. Read our blog post about tap testing and its limitations to learn more.
Is a Cycle Inspect qualification enough to guarantee an accurate inspection?
Cycle Inspect consider a full qualification as the ‘entry point’ for technicians to begin offering ultrasonic inspections to paying customers. Cycle Inspect do not certify every mechanic that expresses interest in utilising our methods and technology, nor do we offer full qualifications when unsure of the capability of trainees. Resources, including ongoing professional development webinars, are provided to all technicians to ensure skills and knowledge are maintained, and procedures are followed correctly.
Bicycle inspections are a manual process performed by individual technicians and subject to their individual expertise, interpretations and recommendations, although Cycle Inspect’s data platform may assist them to flag potential issues.
Can I access prior inspection reports for a bike I plan to buy?
Watch this space! Soon, Cycle Inspect will offer a customer portal, where a frame or component can be searched for (using serial numbers and other unique identifiers) prior to taking the plunge!
When do I need an inspection?
Cycle Inspect describe the use cases for inspection as follows:
- Service inspections (integrated with your usual mechanical service routine)
- Post-impact inspections (after a crash, bump, or scrape)
- Pre-purchase and pre-sale inspections, so that you know what you are buying or more easily justify a fair price
- Insurance and warranty inspections, to help determine risk and repairability or potential origin of damage (i.e. ‘in-service’ damage, or manufacturing flaw)
To learn more, please visit our blog
How frequent are equipment failures?
Despite many stories relating to injury and deaths due to what is known in the industry as ‘catastrophic failure’, and product recalls related to manufacturing defects or design flaws, there is surprisingly little/no data that adequately addresses this question. Typically, the points of data capture for ‘single vehicle incidents’ related to bicycles are hospital or police records – but neither present an accurate picture as not all failures result in serious injury nor do they involve a separate ‘at-fault’ party that would constitute police involvement. Further to this, the term ‘single vehicle incidents’ is a broad term that encompasses accidents that occur as a result of a range of factors including ‘mechanical issues’.
Cycle Inspect, with the help of industry partners and the university sector, aim to address this gap in knowledge by leading research that first accurately determines the prevalence of damage or defects that present a risk to cyclist safety.
Ultrasound, x-Ray, tap hammer, thermography…what is most accurate?
Damage and defects to carbon fibre bicycle components can be invisible to the human eye due to being on the interior of the component or within the carbon structure itself.
Therefore, non-destructive testing methods are essential components to:
- Identify if damage is present
- Classify the type and size of damage
- Assess the risk of a catastrophic failure or damage escalation
- Suggest whether a repair is possible and an appropriate method
Cycle Inspect’s research with Deakin University put several different methods of carbon fibre inspection to the test. A component of this research involved exposing carbon tubes to damage and examining the ability and limitations of various technologies to detect that damage. From this research, we determined Ultrasonic Testing (UT) as Cycle Inspect’s primary testing method (in combination with visual inspection) based on factors such as accuracy, portability, cost, and ease of interpretation.
How effective is Ultrasonic Testing (UT)?
In conjunction with our research partners and expert advisors, we provide a high-quality Ultrasonic Testing (UT) device and transducer combination that are very effective in assisting a technician to determine the presence, location, and size of damage specifically within carbon fibre bicycle components. Although it should be noted that the application of the UT and the interpretation of the data is subject to the individual technician’s expertise.
What information of mine does Cycle Inspect keep?
CI keep records of each bicycle inspection, including key information such as the serial number of the bicycle and the name of the technician and their business. This is so that data can be referenced in future for longitudinal assessment of your equipment.
See our privacy page for more.
Can’t my local bike shop help me determine structural integrity?
To our knowledge, we are the only business currently training cycling businesses to perform ultrasonic structural safety inspections. If you would like this service provided locally, enquire with your local bike shop today!