If you are looking for a new bike, you might be wondering: should I shell out extra money to get a carbon fiber bike? Can carbon fiber bikes break, or are they really indestructible as many people suggest? Let’s answer this question once and for all.
Carbon fiber has become the strongest and most capable material worthy of replacing steel from many places and manufacturing companies in recent years. Sometimes it is also called graphite fiber. It is stronger and lighter than most metals like aluminum and steel.
Experts believe that carbon fiber doesn’t fatigue like metals because they have infinite fatigue life. As with advanced technology, many airspaces and research facilities use carbon fiber material to create futuristic vehicles and ships with high durability and strength.
The bike industry has similarly accepted carbon fiber and used it to replace traditional material for manufacturing new bikes.
If you see a carbon bike, you may feel quite light and wonder how it can not break or bear high impact.
All About Carbon Fiber Bikes
What is a carbon fiber bike?
Most bike manufacturers make strong, stiff, lightweight bikes for their customers using carbon fiber as their mainframe material. The material requires an expensive manufacturing process, but it provides a light, vibration-absorbing solid carbon fiber.
Carbon fiber bike producers made them from layers of carbon fiber placed by hard epoxy resins.
The aluminum frames are light too, but they do not reduce vibration as much as carbon fiber does. Another great advantage of a carbon fiber frame is that its soft body makes it easier to ride without sweat.
Carbon fiber frame bikes are the lightest frame that will help you in many ways, such as winning a race, doing everyday work, or hiking and travel.
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What Are The Main Factors That Cause a Broken Carbon Fiber Bike?
Carbon fibers are strong; they don’t usually break apart or get damaged easily. However, some factors may affect its durability and life. When you decide to purchase a new carbon fiber bike, get through its full details and research its manufacturer first.
The biggest reason that your carbon fiber bike gets damaged can be build quality. A flawed and defective build quality only leads to catastrophic failure. A defect may occur during the production of this bike.
Here, build quality does not refer to the material but to work by hand and other substances like glue, wiring, and brake components used during manufacturing.
Carbon Fiber Quality at production
There are four grades of carbon fiber used in manufacturing bikes and head tubes;
- Traditional Grade
- Intermediate Grade
- High Grade
- Ultra-high Grade
These four grades are used differently and have contrast properties on each other. Higher quality doesn’t always mean more strength. It also depends on its durability. A less durable carbon frame will easily break from typical collusion.
The ultra-high Grade has better stiffness but loses the substantial material qualification of the Intermediate Grade. Get a more durable and strong frame to avoid broken carbon.
Carbon fiber itself is not very strong, and it needs a little help from resin to create a strong frame for bikes. An epoxy resin bonds together every piece of carbon fiber; if it is not strong enough to hold together the details, it can affect the life of the carbon frame. The carbon tubes are light and easier to place on a bike. The quality of the resin is equally essential to the quality of carbon fiber.
A lower grade resin may also cause carbon fiber frame failures.
While riding a bike, an impact is the most ordinary type of damage that can occur to a bike’s frame. An effect can come due to a crash, generally behind or in front of a motorcycle; it can also happen if you knock something against the bike frame.
Luckily, Carbon fiber frames are built tough and may not bend even when hit by large forces.
But if you become careless and constantly let your bike bear a tremendous force, it will break eventually as its life can be affected by impacts.
Pressure on bike
Excessive pressure can affect the frame life. If it is a bike, device, or even human, pressure on anything usually leads to failure or decreases its productivity. You should better know the right pressure according to the situation because carbon fiber does not bend.
It would be best to be more careful when applying pressure on the bike or carbon frame, or your stand will crack. According to manufacturers, different carbon fibers have separate levels of stiffness and brittleness.
When riding a carbon frame bike, do not load more load than the bike is rated for.
Your bike should have tightening bolts and clamping. Improper care will affect your carbon frame bike’s life and cause broken carbon frames.
People who do not provide proper maintenance to their bikes have faced the damage of carbon frames earlier than the average estimating life. You are required to give adequate care by providing a complete inspection every week or monthly.
It would help repair any crack or defect you may find by going to a carbon fiber repairing shop.
How Can You Avoid Carbon Fiber Frames Cracking?
Below are some tips on how to prevent carbon fiber frames from cracking and extending their life. First, you should read the owner’s manual that generally comes with the bike. It can provide you with many ways to increase the life of a carbon fiber frame.
As we mentioned earlier, proper care is most important to give your bike a longer life. You should inspect the weak areas of your bike and get it repaired as fast as you can. Try taking help from a bike repair shop to spot any defect because the defect to a carbon frame may not become visible, or it can happen to the internal area of the carbon frame. You should replace broken carbon parts or other components if you find them.
Check for a cracks
Cracks may appear on carbon frames when a person applies too much pressure to them. Carbon frames don’t usually bend but can cause damages to open. Don’t overlook the small crack; even a tiny break becomes big and can put you in danger. Use a flashlight to spot the crash on the bike frame. If you are confused between the color and damage, use your finger and push it to feel whether it is softer or not.
Check for chips
Chips are also a kind of damage that can happen to your bike frame. You can also look for chips in the same way you look for cracks in your bike. Riders advise rubbing a piece of clothes against the frame to look for a snag.
Most people often fail to extend the life of a carbon frame as they can easily do it just by properly storing their bikes in a safe place. When reserving a bike, you should make sure that the carbon frame is free from external pressure.
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Answers To Some More Questions About Carbon Bikes
Are our carbon fiber bikes fragile?
Carbon fiber bikes are not fragile; they may feel lightweight, but they are built to handle normal riding shocks, impact, and bump. Bike manufacturers made head tubes for bikes from carbon fiber to give them strength and make them almost impossible to break.
How difficult is it to break a carbon frame bike?
Carbon bikes do not easily break as they can absorb normal impact and shock, but they can break if you are caught in a severe crash or fall from height. And we can say that a carbon bike is harder to break than a standard metal bike.
Does carbon fiber break easily?
According to bike industry and aerospace industry experts, they do not expect carbon fiber to break easily, though low weight. Its lower weight helps aerospace to create a ship that will use less fuel and provide higher efficiency.
How long do carbon fiber bike frames last?
An excellent manufactured carbon fiber bike can last for 5 to 7 years; you can also regularly extend its life to 10 years by giving it proper maintenance. It doesn’t have a shelf life, and it has a long-lasting life. But it is better to replace the carbon frame if you find it defective or crack on it.
When should you replace a carbon fiber frame?
According to cyclists, they experienced that they found their carbon fiber frame broken after 6 to 7 years. It would help replace your carbon fiber frame depending on the bike durability life period suggested by the manufacturer. Read the specification details of the bike when you buy a carbon fiber frame.
Carbon Fiber Bikes Are Strong Enough To Last A Lifetime!
Overall carbon fiber bikes are stronger than ordinary bikes made with steel and aluminum. If you are looking for a bike that does not weigh much, a carbon fiber bike would be the best choice for you.
The bike industry uses carbon fiber and hard epoxy resin to create a solid light frame, making it difficult to break. Carbon fiber bikes are more comfortable to ride than traditional bikes due to the ability of this compound to resist vibrations while riding.
Carbon fiber is more efficient to ride on because it does not let you use your energy on friction and noise.All these factors make it a great decision to buy a carbon fiber frame bike.