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Carbon Fiber bikes on trainers...Good or bad?

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Carbon Fiber bikes on trainers...Good or bad?

Old 02-24-06, 05:15 PM
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Brahman Bull
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Carbon Fiber bikes on trainers...Good or bad?

If I use my CF bike on a trainer, is there any chance of ruining the structural integrity or any other characteristic of the bike? Let me know and thanks!
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Old 02-24-06, 05:28 PM
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I started a thread on this about a year ago, and every month or so someone else does as well. It seems that everyone has their own opinion, but I've yet to see anyone support their position with any evidence, only anecdotes. Until I see a reliable study on this, I will continue to use my beater bike on the trainer.
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Old 02-24-06, 05:32 PM
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Old 02-24-06, 05:34 PM
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I would imagine that any forces exerted on the frame would be less than hitting a pothole for example. Also, even though the frame is fixed in the trainer, I set mine up so there is some give (and I can actually see my frame shift slightly from side to side while riding) and I also use it on carpet too.
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Old 02-24-06, 05:49 PM
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It'll detonate with sufficient force to blow a hole in the space-time continuum and kill us all. So, make certain you have good beer in the bottle cages.
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Old 02-24-06, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by CastIron
It'll detonate with sufficient force to blow a hole in the space-time continuum and kill us all. So, make certain you have good beer in the bottle cages.


I have actually wondered about this myself, but then I realized something . . . I'm an Engineer and I should be able to figure this out.

If you make a free-body-diagram of the forces at play....consider the Young's Modulus of the material in question...... blah blah blah.

The bike is designed to take the loading in the vertical plane - it is the same force that the wheel exerts on the bike on the road. The road allows relief of most of the lateral loading, but not all. The main difference in a trainer is that laterally you are contrained and not free to rotate.

The bike is designed to take a fair chunk of lateral loading. Take into account that the safety factor of most consumer products is usually between 4 and 8 I would say that everything hould be fine.

You're more apt to tip the darn thing over than crack the frame.
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Old 02-24-06, 06:10 PM
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My Trek 2100 is 13 years old and carbon/aluminum (main tubes are carbon), and I haven't had any issues since I started using it on my CycleOps Fluid 2 about 1,000 miles ago.
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Old 02-24-06, 06:30 PM
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That and most frames have a waranty.
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Old 02-24-06, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001
The bike is designed to take the loading in the vertical plane - it is the same force that the wheel exerts on the bike on the road. The road allows relief of most of the lateral loading, but not all. The main difference in a trainer is that laterally you are contrained and not free to rotate.

The bike is designed to take a fair chunk of lateral loading. Take into account that the safety factor of most consumer products is usually between 4 and 8 I would say that everything hould be fine.
Does the built in safety factor apply to stresses that occur hundreds of thousands of times as would be the case with the lateral forces of the bike on a trainer? And if a rider were somewhat heavy and was in the habit of standing up on his pedals a lot, would they risk exceeding the built-in safety factor?

I'm just curious because I'm 170 lbs. and regularly do some strenuous interval sessions on my trainer.
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Old 02-24-06, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
Does the built in safety factor apply to stresses that occur hundreds of thousands of times as would be the case with the lateral forces of the bike on a trainer? And if a rider were somewhat heavy and was in the habit of standing up on his pedals a lot, would they risk exceeding the built-in safety factor?

I'm just curious because I'm 170 lbs. and regularly do some strenuous interval sessions on my trainer.

Yes. Realiability calculations (eg. Realiability Engineers) usually help figure that stuff out. There are predictive failure tests that most FEA (Finite Element Analysis) packages are capable of carrying out. I would be more concerned with Aluminum. Bad fatigue life . . . remember Hawian plane ripping open due to fatigue caused by cycling the cabin pressure?

How about the engine falling off of a Boeing just down the road from where I sit near O'Hare because the Pylon mounting plate - Aluminum - fatigued and failed.

New Airbus body has large sections of Carbon Fiber....coincidence?

If these bikes failed on trainers regularly then there would be warnings on the outside of trainer boxes warning of possible frame failure in order to keep them from getting sued. You can take that one to the bank.

Who knows...maybe there is...

Just think of it this way. If it breaks you'll have a great post for later, and a good story to tell.

As for the 170....I'm rode my for a year while over 200. I am still riding it at 195 and no issues. Maybe I just have weak intervals...
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Old 02-24-06, 07:26 PM
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If it'll damage a carbon frame, it'll damage an aluminum frame, or steel frame, etc etc...

Just keep the leaning from side to side minimum. A bike frame isn't designed to withstand that kind of twisting motion. But yeah, you are more likely to tip the thing over before you do any kind of damage.

In other words: don't worry about it.
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Old 02-24-06, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
I started a thread on this about a year ago, and every month or so someone else does as well. It seems that everyone has their own opinion, but I've yet to see anyone support their position with any evidence, only anecdotes. Until I see a reliable study on this, I will continue to use my beater bike on the trainer.

Here's my anecdote - about as close to empirical data as I can get..
.
My 1995 Specialized Epic with Carbon Fibre Tubes works very well on my stationary Trainer. This ten year old frameset gets clamped to my stationary trainer 2-4 times a week where I'll do indoor training for 1-2 hours at a time. Then it goes out on weekends for some real world mileage.

According to my journal, I logged 4300 miles on this bike with no structural problems in 2005 alone. And this frameset has a reputation as being fragile and poorly made.

I can claim with objectivity, that clamping my Carbon Tubed frame to a stationary trainer has not shortened the life of my Carbon Fibre road bike.
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