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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-17-10, 02:12 AM   #1
dooodstevenn
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clydes and carbon fiber?

was wondering how well a carbon fiber frame would hold up with my weight (220) some people say i should be fine, but i keep seeing frames snapping, and im sure more weight isnt going to help. any clydes out there riding a full carbon frame?
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Old 06-17-10, 02:19 AM   #2
GeorgePaul
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... but i keep seeing frames snapping...
Really? Where do you see all of these snapping frames?
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Old 06-17-10, 05:31 AM   #3
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I ride one. 6' 3", 260lbs. Bought Sep, 2006. Well above 30,000 miles on it. Still going strong. I race, ride centuries, ride fast group rides (very fast), climb 8,000-foot mountain passes, you name it. 700x23 wheels, too. And I even ride it in the hot summer sun. Never once has my bike or any components exploded.

"Clydes can't ride carbon" is F.U.D. -- fear, uncertainty, doubt. It's a myth ignorant and scared people try to perpetuate.
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Old 06-17-10, 05:33 AM   #4
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I'm 220 ish and my carbon Synapse is great. I wouldn't worry unless you were over 275 and then I'd have the same concern with any frame.
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Old 06-17-10, 06:53 AM   #5
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I ride a full carbon frame. I've had it for a few years but only have a couple thousand miles on it. No problems yet.

Take some picture of the next few that you see a carbon frame snapping, very curious, a photo of the rider would be good too. I would have thought that most problems would be due to crashes or the aftereffects of a crash. Most of the time I have heard but never seen a seat post that sheared off but mostly these are due to misuse, like over tightening the seatpost clamp.
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Old 06-17-10, 06:57 AM   #6
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I've been reading too much of http://www.bustedcarbon.com/
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Old 06-17-10, 08:20 AM   #7
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I'm over 275 (not for long though!) and my specialized roubaix is swimming right along
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Old 06-17-10, 08:44 AM   #8
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I would have thought that most problems would be due to crashes or the aftereffects of a crash.
Yes. I've been riding carbon frames since the early '90s and never had (or even seen) a problem.

Crashing and then continuing to use carbon parts without a thorough inspection seems to be a common source of problems. Using racing parts (e.g. sub-900g frames) and not servicing/replacing them as often as a sponsored race team would seems to be another. Finally, carbon fiber manufacturing techniques have some a long way in the last 20 years. It wouldn't surprise me if older parts have a much higher failure rate than more modern stuff.
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Old 06-17-10, 09:02 AM   #9
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Any thoughts on cheap carbon fiber versus expensive carbon fiber? sub $2,000 bikes versus $3,500+ bikes?
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Old 06-17-10, 09:04 AM   #10
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I have a full carbon '09 or '10(who knows...) Roubaix Elite Triple. Bought it at 220-ish. Weighed in at 198 this morning. I bunnyhop it off and onto curbs and do other dumb crap with it, and have yet to have any issues.
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Old 06-17-10, 09:28 AM   #11
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I am 6'0" 240lbs(now) riding a full carbon 2004 Kestrel Talon SL for a couple of weeks. So far, I like it a lot. I don't notice any negative differences in the carbon frame than in any of my aluminum or composite frames.

Last edited by Pfishingruven; 06-17-10 at 09:30 AM. Reason: added info
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Old 06-17-10, 09:37 AM   #12
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I've been reading too much of http://www.bustedcarbon.com/
9 out of 10 of those are due to crashes. I've ridden my friends Cannondale R600 and I weigh 270 and it was fine. He weighs almost as much as me and he hasn't broken anything yet, although he doesn't really rack up the miles.
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Old 06-17-10, 10:32 AM   #13
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It all breaks.

I ride carbon and steel. I broke a high end steel frame some 20 years ago whilst racing and crashed hard (failed at the shifter bosses accelerating out of a corner). I weighed waifish 170#'s (i'm 6'4") then.

I ride Taiwanese "cheap" carbon now (Scattante and Jamis). They work fine. I started close to 250# and am now around 205#.

Last edited by Herbie53; 06-17-10 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 06-17-10, 11:43 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by dooodstevenn View Post
was wondering how well a carbon fiber frame would hold up with my weight (220) some people say i should be fine, but i keep seeing frames snapping, and im sure more weight isnt going to help. any clydes out there riding a full carbon frame?
I'm guessing you mean you see stuff on the net, and not that you see people in your neighborhoods crashing due to carbon failures...?

Most of this is probably from earlier crashes. Carbon seems to be great stuff, but it's Achilles heal is that you can damage it pretty seriously, and not know it. Major structural time bombs are often invisible, but come from hard knocks. This is why even though I'm seeing lots of good prices on used CF bike parts that are somewhat appealing, I'm not buying any of them ... somebody has drop bars for $85, but I don't know their history. They're probably fine, but if they've been hit ( or pinched with aero-bars ) they might be ready to snap. I just can't tell. If I had the money for a new pair I wouldn't think twice. ( In my case, though, it would be better to put the money into a bike fitting. )
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Old 06-17-10, 06:42 PM   #15
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Carbon seems to be great stuff, but it's Achilles heal is that you can damage it pretty seriously, and not know it. Major structural time bombs are often invisible, but come from hard knocks.
I think this is (sort of) a myth. In many cases you can spot problems with carbon fiber if you know what to look for. The problem is: most people don't bother to look, or don't know what they're doing when they do look. I worry more about spontaneous fatigue failure of aluminum parts than I about catastrophic failure of carbon parts... but I've been around the CF block quite a few times by now.
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Old 06-17-10, 07:01 PM   #16
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I think this is (sort of) a myth. In many cases you can spot problems with carbon fiber if you know what to look for. The problem is: most people don't bother to look, or don't know what they're doing when they do look. I worry more about spontaneous fatigue failure of aluminum parts than I about catastrophic failure of carbon parts... but I've been around the CF block quite a few times by now.
I have been watching this argument for a while, it's not only here, it's a lot of places. Maybe you can tell if CF is damaged or not, I can't, so if I am spending over $1,000 on a bicycle, I would rather have a new steel framed one, then a used CF framed one.
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Old 06-17-10, 08:17 PM   #17
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I have been watching this argument for a while, it's not only here, it's a lot of places. Maybe you can tell if CF is damaged or not, I can't, so if I am spending over $1,000 on a bicycle, I would rather have a new steel framed one, then a used CF framed one.
I don't think detecting a crack or delamination in composite is any more difficult than seeing a fatigue getting critical in aluminum or steel.

It all breaks.
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Old 06-18-10, 06:24 AM   #18
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I think what I've been worrying about with carbon is not so much if it can handle my weight...I believe that it can...and if it doesn't, I believe most manufacturers have warranties regarding failures and such. I guess what I would worry about is a crash or something. No one plans to crash...and that's why it's called an accident. But a manufacturer won't cover that. Let's say I'm out for a ride and I have a minor accident: would carbon take a hit without as much damage as an aluminum frame? What about minor accidents at home? My bike has been knocked over a couple of times just at the house because the dogs have bumped into it. Again...it happens. What are the differences between carbon and aluminum in those situations?
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Old 06-18-10, 06:38 AM   #19
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Every situation is different. I crashed in a race 2 weeks ago on my CF frame. Only thing that broke was the aluminum piece that holds together the seat & chainstays and serves as the derailleur hanger. The rest of the frame--the carbon fiber--was/is fine.
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Old 06-18-10, 06:58 AM   #20
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Every situation is different. I crashed in a race 2 weeks ago on my CF frame. Only thing that broke was the aluminum piece that holds together the seat & chainstays and serves as the derailleur hanger. The rest of the frame--the carbon fiber--was/is fine.
FWIW - I have a similar story. Crashed about 6 weeks ago on carbon - broken collar bone, large hematoma on my hip, sprained right hand and a cracked helmet. Bike damage was a scuffed seat, scuffed peddle, scratched brifter and some bar tape.

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Old 06-18-10, 07:05 AM   #21
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I've rode a CF/Al composite frame. I cracked it. And guess where the crack was? In the aluminum. In the end CF is strong as ****, but once crashed it should be thoroughly inspected. There is a reason why most manufacturers offer a steep discount for replacement CF parts if you crash them. But at the same time a good crash will take out aluminum as well. CF does provide a smoother ride. Get it take care of it and you will have no problems with it.
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Old 06-18-10, 07:49 AM   #22
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http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/...r-tubes_121389

edit: forgot to add that im still kind of paranoid. back in the late 80's, early 90's, there was so much carbon crap breaking on the mnt bike scene, that i developed an irrational fear of carbonfiber.

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Old 06-18-10, 08:35 AM   #23
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What are the differences between carbon and aluminum in those situations?
In most cases, I'd expect there to be no difference. I bought my first carbon frame in '93 or '94 and finally sold it... earlier this year. During the time I owned it, I crashed it a couple of times (low speed, wet pavement slips) and dropped it or knocked it over numerous times. It had quite a few scratches and nicks in the clearcoat but was otherwise as solid as the day I bought it. The only caveat is that all of the parts likely to be damaged in a crash (fork, bars, seatpost) were made of aluminum. Still, the frame I now own (Cervelo RS) is so much better engineered and manufactured that I don't worry that it's going to experience structural failure if it falls over in the garage... which it has.
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Old 06-18-10, 08:54 AM   #24
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I have been watching this argument for a while, it's not only here, it's a lot of places. Maybe you can tell if CF is damaged or not, I can't, so if I am spending over $1,000 on a bicycle, I would rather have a new steel framed one, then a used CF framed one.
I think anyone would rather have a new bike than a used bike. And all materials have their strengths and weaknesses.

Are you sure that the minimum-wage mechanic who assembles your steel wonder-bike will properly coat the inside of the frame tubes with FrameSaver or another rust inhibitor? Will the manufacturer drill a drain hole in the BB shell so that moisture can dran? A brand-new steel frame that's rusting from the inside out may not be any more reliable than a used CF frame...
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Old 06-18-10, 09:02 AM   #25
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I think anyone would rather have a new bike than a used bike. And all materials have their strengths and weaknesses.

Are you sure that the minimum-wage mechanic who assembles your steel wonder-bike will properly coat the inside of the frame tubes with FrameSaver or another rust inhibitor? Will the manufacturer drill a drain hole in the BB shell so that moisture can dran? A brand-new steel frame that's rusting from the inside out may not be any more reliable than a used CF frame...
Considering that there are steel frames from the early 1900's that are still as solid as the day they were made, and predate the packaging of framesaver by a long period. I think I would rather trust a steel frame where damage is fairly obvious then a CF frame where damage could be fairly well hidden, cracks can appear on the inside as easily as the outside. The problem with used CF is that it can have been crashed, internal damage determined through Xray, the seller sells it to you for a good price without disclosing the damage, and you get seriously hurt when it fails.
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