Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

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samsbike
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Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby samsbike » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:07 am

I really, really fancy one and if I can get a good deal in the classified would love a roubaix.

However, I am uncertain about their lifespan, so what is the oldest one till running as a everyday bike?

Also do they need special care (this is because of a thread posted where someone damaged their bike tying it to a roof rack)

thanks

Simon Masterson
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby Simon Masterson » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:47 am

There are still carbon fibre bikes from the '80s around, and not just Bernard Hinault's Tour bikes that have been sitting in storage!

Carbon fibre frames and handlebars (etc) are very strong if they are flexed in the direction that they are designed to be flexed; hence they can be crushed by overtightened stems, workstands and so on, and dropping heavy tools on them can have disastrous consequences.

Nothing lasts forever (though steel frames really do last for decades and are economically reparable), but a test by a frame maker (someone post the link?) demonstrated that aluminium buckled long before carbon fibre snapped.

From where I'm standing (as a devotee to vintage steel), the main drawbacks of carbon fibre are that it can fatigue very suddenly and without warning, and that it isn't very repairable, so to be honest, I'd suggest you buy the bike you want; if you treat it properly its service life will hopefully befit its quality. Not all bikes are made equal. There are plenty of very good reasons to make a bike from carbon fibre.

displacedaussie
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby displacedaussie » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:52 am

Simon Masterson wrote:Nothing lasts forever (though steel frames really do last for decades and are economically reparable), but a test by a frame maker (someone post the link?) demonstrated that aluminium buckled long before carbon fibre snapped.


http://www.pinkbike.com/news/santa-cruz-bicycles-test-lab.html

racingcondor
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby racingcondor » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:38 pm

If it's not crashed carbon will last ages (my 2008 Condor is still going strong).

Crashed... It's blind luck really, dented Alu can't be repaired easily, cracked carbon and dinged steel both can. Personally I avoid carbon for parts that might take the impact, frame is fine, handlebars I stick to metal.

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CiB
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby CiB » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:40 pm

As long as you look after it and take care of it, it'll last long enough for you to outgrow it and want another bike eventually.

How long do you want it to last? 12 months? 5 years? 10? Look after it, don't crash it and it'll last long enough.

Take care of it by cleaning it when it needs cleaning, not crashing it into solid objects and not crushing it in the workstand. Other than that there's no real difference in maintaining carbon.

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ugo.santalucia
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby ugo.santalucia » Mon Nov 19, 2012 13:22 pm

There is nothing in the carbon fibre composite to prevent it from lasting for decades. Like always, it is a case of how well the frame is designed, manufactured and ultimately treated by the end user.
One problem of the industry is that some of these frames are underengineered by design (800-900 grams frame are common now) and have poor quality control. A well designed frame with excellent tolerance and no manufacturing flaws can easily outlast any other material, including titanium alloys.
All metal alloys suffer fatigue to an extent, while carbon fibre has a much higher resistance

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unixnerd
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby unixnerd » Mon Nov 19, 2012 14:25 pm

would love a roubaix.


Wonderful bike, best thing I've ever bought! Just floats over bad surfaces and really light.

Most of the problems you read about in relation to carbon frames are caused by impact damage. Some companies will repair that sort of thing, not something you can do with an aluminium frame cost effectively. You can repair steel but in practice how many folk just buy a new frame? So in that regard carbon is perhaps more fixable than other materials if it suffers impact damage.

The important thing is to thoroughly check a used carbon frame and fork before purchase.
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geebee2
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby geebee2 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 14:34 pm

samsbike wrote:I really, really fancy one and if I can get a good deal in the classified would love a roubaix.

However, I am uncertain about their lifespan, so what is the oldest one till running as a everyday bike?

Also do they need special care (this is because of a thread posted where someone damaged their bike tying it to a roof rack)

thanks


Lifespan is practically unlimited, I have a ~20 year Trek 2100 with carbon tubes (alloy lugs), I would expect the tubes to be fine well after I am dead - if there is trouble, it will be the alloy lugs, which are showing some signs of corrosion. I have had many crashes on this bike, it has fallen over many times, never any frame damage.

Special care : just don't impact the material with a non-design load - e.g. smash the tube with a hammer, or crash into something solid that impacts a tube the wrong way. Even then, the material is tougher than most people think.

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thegreatdivide
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby thegreatdivide » Mon Nov 19, 2012 15:10 pm

ugo.santalucia wrote:There is nothing in the carbon fibre composite to prevent it from lasting for decades. Like always, it is a case of how well the frame is designed, manufactured and ultimately treated by the end user.
One problem of the industry is that some of these frames are underengineered by design (800-900 grams frame are common now) and have poor quality control. A well designed frame with excellent tolerance and no manufacturing flaws can easily outlast any other material, including titanium alloys.
All metal alloys suffer fatigue to an extent, while carbon fibre has a much higher resistance


How is an 800 or 900g frame under engineered by design? I’m not sure you could call a sub 700g Cannondale Super Six Evo HM or an R5ca under engineered when the former can take the raw power of an uphill sprinting Sagan.
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mallorcajeff
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby mallorcajeff » Mon Nov 19, 2012 16:00 pm

my neighbour has a trek from 10 years ago and he is 58 years old and I have never seen him even show it a sponge. He is out day in day out on his and he races it very comptetivly, hes very quick esp for his age but then these wily old spanish are. His has done over 80'000 miles and I have seen the evidence. Hes on his 4th groupset on it and will not change the frame as he does not know what he would replace it with. Thats good enough for me. Ive put 10k miles on mine this year and its a good as new but im fanatical about upkeep. carbon is no different to anything else, just like anything else you look after it.

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smidsy
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby smidsy » Mon Nov 19, 2012 16:02 pm

thegreatdivide wrote:
ugo.santalucia wrote:There is nothing in the carbon fibre composite to prevent it from lasting for decades. Like always, it is a case of how well the frame is designed, manufactured and ultimately treated by the end user.
One problem of the industry is that some of these frames are underengineered by design (800-900 grams frame are common now) and have poor quality control. A well designed frame with excellent tolerance and no manufacturing flaws can easily outlast any other material, including titanium alloys.
All metal alloys suffer fatigue to an extent, while carbon fibre has a much higher resistance


How is an 800 or 900g frame under engineered by design? I’m not sure you could call a sub 700g Cannondale Super Six Evo HM or an R5ca under engineered when the former can take the raw power of an uphill sprinting Sagan.


I took it to be a rather more general comment and also has to be read in context (ugo did also say poor quality control).

The two frames you chose to use as an illustration do not fall into that category for me.

Also the pro's probably only use that frame for a very limited time and are not looking for longevity of products - they just need them to last the stage. And before things go Nuclear I am not for one muniute suggesting they do fall apart just making the point that what the pros do/use is not always helpful to the real world rider.
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MattC59
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Re: Carbon bikes - lifespan and care of?

Postby MattC59 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 20:21 pm

Just don't get it wet, apparently they melt :wink:
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