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Old 07-02-09, 10:38 AM   #1
somervillian
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Carbon Fiber concerns

I've been recently considering purchasing a vintage (10-20 years old depending on model) carbon fiber road bike. More than likely any bike would not be full carbon at that age but would have bonded aluminum lugs or something like that. My general question--being more of a steel man--is there anything I should know about/be concerned with regards to older carbon fiber road bikes? Should I run back to steel before I drop a few hundred dollars on something that could easily turn out to be wall art? Thanks for the tips.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:47 AM   #2
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I've been recently considering purchasing a vintage (10-20 years old depending on model) carbon fiber road bike. More than likely any bike would not be full carbon at that age but would have bonded aluminum lugs or something like that. My general question--being more of a steel man--is there anything I should know about/be concerned with regards to older carbon fiber road bikes? Should I run back to steel before I drop a few hundred dollars on something that could easily turn out to be wall art? Thanks for the tips.
Those bikes had a problem of coming unglued from the lugs. It's easy to spot just from pulling on the tubes at tghe lug joints. If they are loose, it's an easy fix by just re-gluing. You can do it yourself or have a LBS or someone else do it.
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Old 07-02-09, 11:01 AM   #3
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Those bikes had a problem of coming unglued from the lugs. It's easy to spot just from pulling on the tubes at tghe lug joints. If they are loose, it's an easy fix by just re-gluing. You can do it yourself or have a LBS or someone else do it.

' sounds scary.
Crazy Glue would do?
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Old 07-02-09, 11:03 AM   #4
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I had an older Trek bonded frame. It rode good. I sold it because of paranoia. I kind of wished I had kept it. Just look for deep scratches and chips. Anything heavily scraped is a no go.
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Old 07-02-09, 11:15 AM   #5
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Those bikes had a problem of coming unglued from the lugs. It's easy to spot just from pulling on the tubes at tghe lug joints. If they are loose, it's an easy fix by just re-gluing. You can do it yourself or have a LBS or someone else do it.
Does this apply to the lugged carbon Specialized Allez/Epics, by any chance?

-Kurt
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Old 07-02-09, 11:18 AM   #6
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I would only purchase a carbon frame or fork NEW.

You don't know the history, it only has to crash ONCE. The damage can be hidden. There are ways to evaluate the structure. They are not easy nor cost effective for a used bike frame. For sailboat masts. booms, hulls and appendages yes.

As far as regluing carbon, in theory yes- if hybrid construction, but a number of joints might have to come apart to fix one, consider how you would assemble it. Superglue is not a viable adhesive. JB Weld would be a marginally better way, but I would reference some industrial stuff. as used in aerospace and race cars.

Even "new" all carbon can be repaired, Calfee does it I think, when it comes to carbon repair or any FRP (fibre reinforced plastic) repair, knowing what you are doing and applying a safety factor is the solution, aesthetics come later if at all.
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Old 07-02-09, 11:21 AM   #7
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Does this apply to the lugged carbon Specialized Allez/Epics, by any chance?

-Kurt
Yes. Those were the most common with the problem at first.
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Old 07-02-09, 04:07 PM   #8
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Bill Davidson (the custom frame builder since the 70s) advised me to use Araldite 2014 on carbon to carbon rebonding.

Also, imo bonded alu-CF fails about as often as bonded alu-alu. The worst thing you can do is buy a frame that has been crashed or previously damaged, but realistically you need'nt avoid Carbon Fiber bikes like the plague. Just do some research and try your best to find the supreme example of the bike you are looking for, don't settle for an abused CF bike, but you shouldnt settle on any abused bike if you are thinking of pushing it hard and not planning on repairing it.

It has proved itself a viable material by being available to the market for 25+ years.
i know this is a vintage specific forum but how long should a new technology be available before you can trust it?
After all there are still 20 year old full Carbon frames riding around without a problem today.

/rant
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Old 07-06-09, 09:33 AM   #9
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Cheers!

Thanks for all the great advice, riders! Still on the lookout . . .
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Old 07-06-09, 11:30 AM   #10
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I have two 1988 carbon fiber frames, tubes glued into alloy lugs. I have no problems and anticipate none. I weigh 165 lbs, and the two bikes are significanly larger than my "correct" size, so I'm not pouring a bunch of leverage into undersize frames like a more modern setup. They are smooth rides.

As much as I like them, I'd not sell them or loan them to a 200-lb rider. I have no statistical, anecdotal, or supporting documentation to support that, just instinct. Other, more knowledgeable folks have convinced me of this, and I've had a seller refuse to sell me a Trek OCLV carbon frame for the same reason-apprehension. That's enough for me.

With steel, I don't have to worry about it, just ride it.
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Old 07-06-09, 02:06 PM   #11
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I got a used Carbon Fiber bike once, and when I unwrapped the cellophane the damn thing turned into coal dust in my hands.

Never again!
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Old 07-06-09, 02:34 PM   #12
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My 1991 Koga Miyata Carbolite has a bonded carbon fork. In their communication they presented it is as the 1st carbon fork for Europe. It is very light. 1991 was also the 1st or 2nd year for dual pivot brakes. The carbon blades carry an aluminum insert in them, like with many carbon tubing back in the day. So we got a bond, thin al and carbon, powerfull brakes ...and the wisdom a failure can be catastrophic at that place. I do ride the bike on occasion, but I modulate brake power carefully and I avoid severe roadsurfaces.
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Old 07-06-09, 02:49 PM   #13
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I walked by a CF bike once, and it turned me into a newt.


I got better.
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Old 07-06-09, 06:54 PM   #14
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I'd still love to have a Cadex or a Specialiez Epic carboloney with the lugs.
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