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School Me on Carbon Parts

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School Me on Carbon Parts

Old 10-10-19, 04:14 PM
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2cam16
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School Me on Carbon Parts

Just acquired my first full cf bike. Any tips on the maintenance part? What carbon grease to use? Cleaning? What to do and NOT to do? Wheels and hubs are also cf so what grease do I use for the bearings? I'm assuming take torque specs more serious than on steel and aluminum bikes?
Thanks and appreciate any help!
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Old 10-10-19, 05:16 PM
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Refer to your owner's manual "care" & "maintenance" section of the manual.
For the most part, keep it out of direct UV exposure when possible.
Other than the "paste" used for the seat post, generally, the grease for the wheel bearings isn't much if any different than what is used for other type of frames.
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Old 10-10-19, 05:16 PM
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Assembly paste/carbon paste is an grease like carrier with some sort of grit suspended in it to better fill the gap between clamped parts and increase the friction of the clamped part. It can serve as both a corrosion inhibitor (and, yes, carbon does galvanically react with AL, steel and Ti) as well as to reduce the torque needed to tighten clamps to. Remember that torque values stated for parts are the max and not the only level to attain. A torque wrench which has the needed levels in it's mid range is strongly suggested. Store the torque wrench at it's zero level and only wind it up to the needed level during it's use. Periodically examine the frame/fork's surfaces for any changes/ nicks, cracks indicating bad things are going on. Not that one should expect any, but ignorance is not a defense to the laws of physics. It's be said by, perhaps the most experienced carbon guy in the bike world, that any product you can get at your local; hardware store won't harm a frame. Just the same common sense suggests avoiding nasty chemicals. Applying a cleaner/protectant (I like Finish Line Bike Wash, the pink stuff) is a nice thing to do.

As to the other components- their bearings are treated just like any other bearinged part. That they are on a CF frame isn't important. Andy
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Old 10-10-19, 11:42 PM
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Carbon assembly paste like Park's SAC-2 helps grip without excessive torque. I couldn't keep a titanium seat post in a carbon Trek 5900 from slipping until I used a little SAC-2.

There are a couplafew recent and older threads on torque wrenches. Lots of good models suitable for the typical 2-10 nm torque needed for carbon fiber bike cockpits. I got the tiny Venzo beam pointer type 1/4" torque wrench that included several bits, but there are several models with click indicators, both single torque and adjustable to cover a range -- probably more efficient for a shop or assembly line. They'll cost around $25-$50.

Hambini's website offers some tips and cautions on maintenance of bearings and carbon fiber bikes.

The complex varieties of bottom brackets in particular can make DIY maintenance challenging. There are many tutorials but it's a chore to wade through. Plan on spending a lot of time studying.
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Old 10-11-19, 07:55 AM
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Thanks all for the good info!
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Old 10-16-19, 08:45 AM
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Ok, headtube question: carbon paste or grease on the surface where the sealed bearings and headtube meet?
Thanks.
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Old 10-16-19, 08:48 AM
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Grease where bearings seat. Carbon paste is to increase the grip of a clamped item. Bearings are not clamped. Andy
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Old 10-16-19, 09:23 AM
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Yes, let's emphasize this: assembly paste has GRIT. You don't want grit anywhere near bearings. The two places you might use grit to increase the effectiveness of the clamping force are the seat post and (possibly, depending on your equipment) a carbon stem. I don't use it on the stem myself, but I guess I could.

Put another way, I'd use assembly paste right off the bat on seat posts. I'd only use it elsewhere where all apply: 1)clamping assembly, 2) current clamping force is not adequate, and 3) there are no bearings. The default is application at one and only one spot: the seat post.

Other places, like the bearing seats for a BB90 bottom bracket, get grease (or grease analog like PTFE paste, for the BB90).

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Old 10-16-19, 10:56 AM
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Pretty much be more careful about any kind of pinch bolt clamping over carbon--so assembly paste between stem and steerer, stem and handlebar, and on the seat collar~5nm (check the part) torque on those bolts. I use finish line fiber grip, which is probably the most likely thing to find sold at retail. If the bike has a pressfit bottom bracket shell make sure it's installed and removed with professional quality tools. Also on the BB, make sure you never run the bearings super rough or with any play as you can damage the carbon BB shell. Never clamp the bike by one of its frame tubes.

Aside from that it's like any other bike. Be wary about sharp impacts directly to the frame, but don't worry too much about riding rough conditions through the wheels. When in doubt, have someone check out any apparent damage.

You can generally clean a carbon bike with whatever you'd otherwise clean a bike. As with any bike, for a full cleaning sudsy water and a brush are good and fine so long as you're reasonably careful about directing high pressure near bearings. For wipe downs, very dilute household cleanser is fine like simple green, or to keep things looking spiffy consider a silicone polishing cleaner like Bike Lust.
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