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Papa Wheelie 07-16-13 11:04 AM

Carbon Fiber rim/wheel failure?
What are the real risks associated with carbon fiber wheel failure? From what I have read, when carbon fails, it is quick, and catastrophic.

I have a set of carbon wheels that I have been riding on now for about 4 months, and I love everything about them. Light, stiff, keeping true, clean up easy, and look good.

I am starting to see small "blemishes" in the surface from going through rock gardens. I don't see anything that is alarmingly deep, but from what I have read, any mar in the surface is all carbon needs to fail.

Has anybody SEEN a catastrophic carbon wheel failure? With as much "Go Pro-ing" that is going on, coupled with the increasing number of carbon wheels out there, if they were failing, wouldn't there be some video documentation?

I've done some brief YouTube searches, but not coming up with much. Any insight to this would be great!

Daspydyr 07-16-13 11:57 AM

I have a similar concern about blemishes in my frame. So far so good. The chatter on the internet is non existent as far as I can see. Hopefully someone chimes in.

ColinL 07-16-13 12:02 PM

You need to stop moisture from getting into the carbon layup. To do that, you can do something as low-tech as covering it with black touch-up paint or even nail polish. There are more sophisticated ways if you prefer-- search the web.

You need to do this even if you only ride dry trails-- atmospheric humidity is a concern as well, although lower, if you chip through the clearcoat / top layer of carbon fiber.

dminor 07-16-13 12:15 PM

I honestly think you are more likely to encounter a failures like this:

i.e. - nipples pulling through spoke beds, clincher flange separating from the rim, etc, rather than full-on explosive, catasrophic failure. Think of how fiberglass fails: resin breaks apart and delaminates but the fibers (or mat) still loosely hold things together and the item generally holds its shape, just in weakened form.

Papa Wheelie 07-16-13 01:49 PM

Thank you all! I have heard about covering the blemishes with clear fingernail polish, so I believe I will start there. D, thanks for the picture. I will keep an eye on that, and HOPE that if I do get any kind of failure, that is it. I assume you might get a roll or two to figure out what is going on with that, over a wheel explosion. That, I ain't got time for!

Dilberto 07-19-13 08:46 PM

I seriously considered carbon MTB wheels too, but the elements they are subject to and the thrashing from nature(rocks, twigs, roots, ruts)....I'd rather go with lighter Stans ArchEX or Easton Havens - just for a degree of "security."

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