Old Carbon Fibre bikes?


New Member
Feb 23, 2005
Good day Gents (and Ladies)

I am coming back into road biking after many years' lay-off (raising kids, resettling from South Africa to Canada etc etc).

I have bought an old CF road bike - a Specialized Allez Elite - dating back to the early nineties. Judging from the condition of the bike, I'd say it was either very well looked after or hardly ever used.

I have put about 160 kilometers (100 miles) on the bike, and it feels absolutely fine, no weird noises or any obvious sign that the CF or lug joints are about to fail. It feels solid and far more responsive than my old steel Peugeout used to feel years ago.

(Mostly original components, but new wheels and tyres).

What is your opinion on the safety factor of old CF frames? I keep on hearing horrible stories of "Spontaneous break-up" and resulting bodily harm :eek: etc etc.

All opinions welcome - thanks in advance!

-- Jan in BC, Canada
Mate, i wouldn't be worried about the CF if it all looks clean and tidy. The problem will be the lug joints and galvanic corrosion. Aluminium and CF don't mix well together. They need to be "seperated" by a layer of something inert, generally fibreglass. Plenty of nineties frames failed due to this. A bloke in our club is still riding his '97 Merida which is CF with alloy lugs, i think it is hit and miss. You either got a good one or you didn't. I hope others will chime in with their views and perhaps point out anything else you may need to know or look for.:)
Sorry gents, my short-term memory is failing (a bad sign!)

The bike I am referring to is a Specialized Allez Epic, not Elite as stated previously.

Thanks for your opinion, Lee!
I still have an Epic in my stable of bikes. I have updated it to STI shifting and have never had an issue with frame integrity.
There were some issues with the very first CF framesets, in the early 90's. I believe the problem was with CF tubes bonded to traditional steel lugs, and the CF was coming loose or delaminating. Haven't heard of any problems with CF framesets after about 1995 or 1996.

I still ride a 1998 vintage Trek Y-Foil. Got the frameset back in 2002 for $500, not bad for a new, never built frame. A pity the UCI banned beam frames, this one is a great combination of stiff and smooth.

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