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Carbon fork lifespan

Old 11-03-16, 07:16 AM
  #26  
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The carbon fork on my Time is still going strong. The bike is a 2007 vintage; I put on between 8-10K miles a year on her consistently. No problems yet. Sorry to disappoint all of you CF naysayers.

The only failure I've ever had was due to a new alloy Cinelli quill stem that I had put on this old Bianchi that I used to ride before I got my cheap, plasticky, carbon fiber Time. It could not have happened at a worse time, just as I was about to leave my house and take this screaming 2-mile, 14% descent. Fortunately, I noticed the problem (the stem had simply cracked right in front of me!) and was able to stop the bike before I had really gained steam or I'm sure I would not be writing this this morning.

There are so many ways to kill yourself on a bike. Just let's not blame all of them on CF!

Last edited by Scarbo; 11-03-16 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 11-03-16, 07:25 AM
  #27  
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Just a reminder friends, keep it calm, it's not like this is our first CF debate.

Funny how volatile the CF topic always becomes.
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Old 11-03-16, 07:26 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Scarbo View Post
The carbon fork on my Time is still going strong.

The problem with that claim is that a carbon fork is a silent, invisible timebomb. There is no ticking, and you cannot detect the problem with the naked eye. One day it will simply asplode without warning. Consider yourself warned.
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Old 11-03-16, 07:26 AM
  #29  
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They Ouzo Pro fork on my Waterford is now 8 years old.

I have no intention of replacing it unless I crash and break it.
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Old 11-03-16, 07:33 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
Just a reminder friends, keep it calm, it's not like this is our first CF debate.

Funny how volatile the CF topic always becomes.
Yes sir!! I promise not to again indulge in the following: Anyway, I'm now off to go ride my suicide machine.
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Old 11-03-16, 10:37 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
My bad, looks like the CFS thread got closed. I did find this technical article:

Technical FAQ with Lennard Zinn: Carbon Forks | VeloNews.com
It was going to happen eventually
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Old 11-03-16, 10:53 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Bikeracer123 View Post
It was going to happen eventually
The "Training Value Of Climbing Steep Hills" thread has potential.

As for this thread, the article I linked previously has some good info. The experts questioned said the CF should last indefinitely. When questioned about rider weights though, they were somewhat iffy. One of them talked about if the fork failed, what would happen and what to look for.
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Old 11-03-16, 11:00 AM
  #33  
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I just love a good carbon-argument thread. It's like watching a room full of fat wiener dogs fight to the death.
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Old 11-03-16, 11:47 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
“Composites do not behave like metals,” explained Chuck Texiera. “In fact, they don’t actually fatigue like metals in the same classic sense of the word. The fatigue life of the fibre itself is just about infinite.”
My riding buddy's 15-year old Trek 5200 OCLV frame just developed a crack in the chainstay. He did not crash it.

My other riding buddy's 3-year old Felt frame is developing separation between the aluminum seatpost sleave and the carbon frame.

Yes, my two anecdotes don't matter in a statistical sense. You have to realize that most of a "carbon fiber" bike is not actually carbon fibers, but a lot of resin. An MIT study demonstrated that resin breaks down in UV light with age. I assume bike manufacturers have figured this out and coat with UV inhibitors.

Personally I would not hesitate to buy a new CF bike and ride it for a decade. I would hesitate to buy a 15-20 year old CF bike.

Last edited by ppg677; 11-03-16 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 11-03-16, 12:24 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
They Ouzo Pro fork on my Waterford is now 8 years old.

I have no intention of replacing it unless I crash and break it.
I had a Ouzo comp with alloy steerer for 14 yrs with no problem. I am not heavy, and doesn't ride in very rough terrain. I think that helped.
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Old 11-03-16, 12:34 PM
  #36  
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The forces a CF fork is capable of withstanding on a testing jig would permanently deform a steel fork. Except for maybe... a scandium bicycle frame-- I think that under normal use you can safely rely on the integrity of bicycle frames and forks for a lifetime of problem-free service.
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Old 01-11-17, 07:13 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
They Ouzo Pro fork on my Waterford is now 8 years old.

I have no intention of replacing it unless I crash and break it.
My Ouzo Pro is going on 14 yrs.. when do I start considering swapping it out for safety reasons? Honestly, never had an issue with it so far though. Reynolds doesn't make these or equivalent any more, right?
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Old 01-12-17, 08:28 AM
  #38  
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If you are afraid of your bike, replace it. There is no evidence supporting your fear, so why try to deal with it rationally?

Any part on any bike might fail at any time. If you are afraid--seriously afraid--of imminent failure, the only escape is to replace whatever scares you.

Coming to a site like this and posting a question like that is like posting an opinion poll about which team will win the Super Bowl. All anyone can give you is totally unsupported opinion, none of which in any way affects the actual outcome.

You might be like the guy with the Trek with a 30-year-old fork, or you might crash tomorrow when your fork reaches up and grabs the bars from your hands on a high-speed descent. Roll the dice ...


Or do what most reasonable people do and refuse to play a silly game---even with yourself.

If you feel safe, ride it. If it really bothers you replace it. If you can gain peace of mind by telling yourself not to worry ... there you are. Otherwise, spend $300 and buy peace of mind.

Of course, the new fork could be defective and fail catastrophically on the first ride.
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Old 01-12-17, 09:10 AM
  #39  
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12 years and around 50K miles on my carbon bike and fork. Honestly a part of me wishes the lifespan on carbon bikes was significantly less than it is so the gear acquisition devil on my right shoulder could get a new bike. However the guy on the other shoulder can't justify buying a new bike when the current one is still in such good shape.
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Old 01-12-17, 09:28 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
The problem with every part of the human body is that they are all silent, invisible timebombs. There is no ticking, and you cannot detect the problem with the naked eye. One day you will simply asplode without warning. Consider yourself warned.
So ... replace everything always over and over ... or simple don't live ... and if you Must live, live in fear, supported by the strongest ignorance you can muster.

I wish I could type more here, but I have to get on with my job of factually-unsupported fear-mongering. I only post here as a kind of public service.
Originally Posted by Scarbo View Post
.... Anyway, I'm now off to go ride my suicide machine.
Ah, the origin of that Bruce Springsteen lyric finally revealed.

If The Boss rides crabon, so will I. It doesn't get much more real.
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Old 01-12-17, 09:41 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
So ... replace everything always over and over ... or simple don't live ... and if you Must live, live in fear, supported by the strongest ignorance you can muster.

I wish I could type more here, but I have to get on with my job of factually-unsupported fear-mongering. I only post here as a kind of public service. Ah, the origin of that Bruce Springsteen lyric finally revealed.





And, BTW, intentionally misquoting me is inappropriate.

Last edited by indyfabz; 01-12-17 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 01-12-17, 09:45 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
post here as a kind of public service. Ah, the origin of that Bruce Springsteen lyric finally revealed.

If The Boss rides crabon, so will I. It doesn't get much more real.

Oh, that quote is so November, 2016! I'm totally into old steel vintage bikes now. You gotta keep up with me!

Steel is real.

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Old 01-12-17, 10:09 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Scarbo View Post
Oh, that quote is so November, 2016! I'm totally into old steel vintage bikes now. You gotta keep up with me!

Steel is real.

Yeah. In my case, he quoted an obviously sarcastic post from early November. Actually, he intentionally changed what I had written.
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Old 01-12-17, 11:04 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Any part on any bike might fail at any time.
Sure, anything could fail, but the chances of one specific part failing over another simply can't be equal. People worry about their CF parts for good reason... They simply fail more often, and in more catastrophic fashion than steel does. Doesn't mean it's a huge risk, but a higher risk nonetheless. Yes, take your chances.
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Old 01-12-17, 11:16 AM
  #45  
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Testing to see if it's still okay will be really difficult. No fork is made to withstand side loads. However, apply a load to the dropouts and a steel fork will withstand 400 lbs. of bending force (up to 800 lbs. for a beefy mountain bike fork), which is well within the CPSC's 200 lb. requirement. But, you'll have to apply 1,000 lbs. to a CF fork to verify that it's still up to spec.
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Old 01-12-17, 11:44 AM
  #46  
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Do not read the following to be anti-CF in any way, but just something to donsider in your own decision making.

There's a fundamental difference between metal and carbon forks, which affects quality control and lifespan.

Metal frames and forks are made by assembling tubing. The tubing itself is highly reliable, and produced by companies that know their ****. Moreover the production process is hard on the material, and will weed out any flaws as it progresses to finished product. The same can be said of then lugs or crowns, though to a lesser extent. So the weak link is in the assembly (no pun), which depends on the skill and diligence of whoever is doing the brazing. But that process is relatively simple, the protocols known, and the design is somewhat forgiving anyway. In the end, the reliability the fork, regardless of who built it is mostly dependent on folks like Reynolds, Tange, etc. who, as I said, know their ****>

Now look at carbon fiber. It starts with the sheets which like tubesets, come from large, diligent companies that know their ****. But that's where the the similarity ends. The fork is totally dependent on how those sheets are layed up, and the large company who made them no longer has any control. From design, choice of material to assembly, you're at the mercy of unknown entities, and the entire process depends on the skill and diligence of the guy laying it up. Moreover, the process isn't that easy and there's plenty of potential for errors, which could cause premature failure.

So, when comparing CF to steel, keep in mind that the band of variance fork to fork is wide, and possibility of critical defects is much greater. This can be managed somewhat by overbuilding, so even a fork on the low end of the spectrum will be good enough, but do we want to count on that in an industry that markets based on weight?

Again, it's very possible to build quality, reliable, and durable carbon forks, and most are better than adequate. But the very process ensures that a decent number will fail sooner than one might expect.
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Old 01-12-17, 02:03 PM
  #47  
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All of this is BS until someone shows some actual statistics about fork failure. As far as I know CF forks have been around for three decades, and until full CF frames became widely accepted commercially, no one much questioned CF forks. Then the whole "asplosion" myth started, and suddenly anything that's been with in 30 feet of a carbon fiber is a potentially lethal instrument with a will to kill.

Which is all fine with me. I am not afraid of my bicycle.
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Old 01-12-17, 02:09 PM
  #48  
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Life span of Carbon is shortened by running into the back of the team support car or camera Motorcycle.
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Old 01-12-17, 02:15 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Scarbo View Post
The carbon fork on my Time is still going strong.
It's just a matter of Time until it fails, though.
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Old 01-12-17, 02:22 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
It's just a matter of Time until it fails, though.
Alas, so true. Of course, it is just a matter of Time before I, myself, fail.
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