Carbon Frame Longevity

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by beckirk, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. beckirk

    beckirk New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am shopping around for a new bike and really like the carbon frames, but I plan to keep the bike for a long time. I was wondering what kind of lifespan today's carbon frames have.

    TIA

    Kirk
     
    Tags:


  2. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    5,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    As long as anythig else if not crashed or abused. A 'long time' is a bit vague.
     
  3. beckirk

    beckirk New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I should have been more specific. I plan on keeping the bike for something like 7-10 years unless I win the lottery of course! Is crashing an issue with the carbon? I guess the right crash can destroy any frame but is the carbon more susceptible to damage?
     
  4. turbo6bar

    turbo6bar New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kirk, I was riding my Trek 2100 when a car pulled a left turn across my path. I collided with his rear quarter panel. The Trek 2100 has aluminum main tubes with aluminum lugs. My fork was bent, front wheel bent, along with other damage to components. However, the frame itself looked fine. Upon consulting with others, including several bike shops, many expressed concern about the integrity of the carbon fiber tubes in such an accident. Well, I'm getting a new bike. On the other hand, one doesn't know if a frame built from another material would have done much better.

    The Trek frame was going on 7 years old, with unknown mileage. I would not hestitate to say carbon fiber is definitely a durable frame material. From what I've read, carbon fiber is not going to be very good against direct impacts. Despite the accident, I am still considering a carbon frame bike from Giant or Kestrel. Still shopping and recovering from the accident.

    Regards,
    Jurgen
     
  5. dhk

    dhk New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Messages:
    2,259
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, since CF doesn't dent or bend like metal, it's hard to inspect visually for internal cracks or delamination . I think ultrasonic or X-ray equipment could be used by an experienced NDT guy.
    Without this inspection, can understand why the LBS would not want to tell you it's ok.

    A simple "tap test" with a coin is often used to detect gross failures in composite panels, but you have to know what a bad section sounds like. Don't know if this technique would work on tubes or not. Maybe others have experience here.

    Concerning fatigue life, the only testing I've seen is the German "Otto" test, which relates frame life to a number of cycles at a certain load. The idea is to simulate standing climbing or sprinting, which is really the only time you're stressing the frame.

    The frames that pass 100K or 200K cycles at an increasing load are awarded a certification for a certain level of use, ie, touring, road sport or full-on race use. You can check it out at:

    http://damonrinard.com/EFBe/frame_fatigue_test.htm

    Dan
     
  6. SLS

    SLS New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a Trek 2100 that to my recollection is right around 12 years old. Any car crashes - all bets are off. The occasional fall, etc... you shouldn't have any problems. Next bike I get will be carbon, unless something else better come along. Hope this helps.
     
  7. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    5,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    CF main tubes.
     
  8. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    5,133
    Likes Received:
    0
  9. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    5,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm the second owner of a 1998 Trek 5500 CF that is still as sound as the day it left the factory. There ae plenty of much older ones around. CF is probably more susciptible to impact damage than some other materials.
     
  10. byron27

    byron27 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Messages:
    919
    Likes Received:
    1
    The best frame i ever had was a giant CFR1. I rode it day in, day out for 9 hours a day for 5 years as a messenger and it was the only frame to never crack. I still have it after 9 years (it is in the shed now, i cant bear to part with it). Based upon that i dont think you can fault CF.
     
  11. dhk

    dhk New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Messages:
    2,259
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, so much for science. I know the trial and error system has worked well over the last 100 years of frame evolution. But, as the mass-market 2.5 lb frames are now here, my guess is all the major mfg's are doing some tests like this....probably a lot more extensive.

    Dan
     
  12. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    5,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Some makers may test theirs. Others just put them out for 'market test'. Failures tend to be in defects in material or fabrication rather than failure from type of material. Materials engineering is not exctly new science,and everything use to be overbuilt. If one wants a superlight frame of any material,they should not also be ragging on durability.
     
  13. DesertRider

    DesertRider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Got that right!
     
  14. CannondaleRider

    CannondaleRider New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    -----
    That was a very interesting read, I'd love to see how the CAAD7 fairs...Got a feeling it would bomb out though...

    C'Rider
     
  15. dhk

    dhk New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Messages:
    2,259
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you check the link to the latest test results, CAAD 7 is listed as having passed the highest standard. Pretty impressive.

    Note, it's stated that only manufacturers who give permission to show their results are listed.

    Dan
     
  16. CannondaleRider

    CannondaleRider New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
Loading...
Loading...