Sun damage to unfinished Chinese carbon fiber fork?
4 years ago I ordered from Hongfu* a carbon fiber frame and fork (painted) and an additional fork (unfinished) that I intended to put on a different bike.
(*as an aside, let me say that I am very pleased with the stuff from Hongfu.)
The specs of the unfinished fork are as follows:
Alloy+Carbon Road Racing Fork (HF-FK022)
Alloy+Carbon Road Racing Fork.
Blade: Toray Carbon.
Finish: To order, W/3K.
I am calling the fork "unfinished" because I did not specify and pay extra for a specific finish. Perhaps it is clearcoated, perhaps not. How does one determine this?
Anyway, all was well until I happened to read recently that sun (UV rays) damage carbon fiber unless it is at least clearcoated.
Since I don't know whether or not it is clearcoated, I am concerned about this possible "sun damage". Is this a legitimate concern? I emailed Jenny at Hongfu to inquire about this; but she hasn't yet replied and may not.
Can anybody give me some straight scoop on this? Would this alleged "sun damage" be just cosmetic, or would it effect structural integrity?
Thanks for your help.
Last edited by ClarkinHawaii; 02-27-14 at 08:39 AM.
Well. that depends on the life of the fork. Assuming no accidents, maybe 15 years?? (I really have no idea what is a reasonable life-expectancy for a carbon fork on a non-abused road bike with a 150-lb rider) It's on a Ti frame which should last forever.
Generally speaking, I might ride that bike 180 hours per year; and those hours are usually before 10am.
However, I am in the tropics, and the sun here is industrial-strength.
So guesstimate 2700 hours of midsummer-strength sun.
1990 Romic Reynolds 531 custom build, Merlin Works CR Ti custom build, super light Workswell 066 custom build
I would think that the resin formulation is internally stabilized and clear coat is not required. But that is just a supposition. I don't think the manufacturer would sell goods that are not suitable for use.
'''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
Unless you can feel the weave of the carbon's outer layer, the fork has a clearcoat of some sort and these almost all have a UV absorber in them. Even at that, the damage from sun exposure is going to be minimal unless you let it sit out all year round all day.
Thanks, Guys, you've put my mind at ease. Actually the finish looks and feels just like the finish on a very pricey Winwood carbon fiber fork that I have on another bike--I'm going to assume that it's clearcoated and just forget about it.