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Carbon Frame Strong Enough?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Carbon Frame Strong Enough?

Old 07-29-12, 08:27 PM
  #1  
Hank244
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Carbon Frame Strong Enough?

At age fifty, I'm ready to get off the aluminum frame. I think (don't really know) that the road noise is wearing me out. The catch is that I weigh 245lbs.

Originally, I had a 2009 Felt F75 (63cm) with the carbon seat stays. My frame broke at that point. When I replaced it with the newer (all-aluminum, except for the fork) 2011 F75, the largest size was 61cm. Eff. top tube measurement is the same, and the bike has felt pretty solid.

Was my particular (2009 F75) bike just a "bad apple?" Or, since I require a larger frame, should I avoid carbon altogether?

(I know that steel is a good option. However, my climbing is slow enough. I'm not excited about getting a heavier frame.)
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Old 07-29-12, 08:49 PM
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Wow, breaking a frame at 245#? You'd think you would be breaking spokes before that. Something seems a bit off with the story so far...

What kind of riding conditions lead to your breaking your frame? Do you un-weight the bike if you are going to hit something?

Carbon should be fine at your weight, but based on what you've said I'd be suspicious about any frame material.
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Old 07-29-12, 08:58 PM
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My philosophy is this - if you weigh 200+ pounds and you gotta lug that up a hill, how much real difference is a few ounces or even a couple pounds make? I mean really. It's all in your (our) head.

5 lbs, yes . . . 1 or 2 lbs, please!
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Old 07-29-12, 08:58 PM
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I bought a felt f35 (carbon stays) that the PO snapped at the bolt hole for the RD hanger. He's about 180#. It had great parts and wheels which live on on my mountain cycle.

I'm with BillyD on this one- two 24oz water bottles are nearly 3#. The weight difference is more for bragging rights, placebo, and motivation to get off the couch than anything else.
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Old 07-29-12, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
My philosophy is this - if you weigh 200+ pounds and you gotta lug that up a hill, how much real difference is a few ounces or even a couple pounds make? I mean really. It's all in your (our) head.

5 lbs, yes . . . 1 or 2 lbs, please!
I don't think he wants the carbon bike for weight savings, he wants carbon for it's road vibration and dampening benefits.
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Old 07-29-12, 10:04 PM
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My dads 250 lbs, rides carbon, no problem. Spokes are a different story.
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Old 07-30-12, 06:04 AM
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My neighbor is close to 350 and rides a Madone 6.2 with open pro/ultegra wheels. Two years and still going.
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Old 07-30-12, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by c_bake View Post
I don't think he wants the carbon bike for weight savings, he wants carbon for it's road vibration and dampening benefits.
Getting slightly larger tires and running a few psi lower will have a much greater effect.
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Old 07-30-12, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by LtSPD2000 View Post
My neighbor is close to 350 and rides a Madone 6.2 with open pro/ultegra wheels. Two years and still going.

Maybe the real problem here is the 245 lbs (or 350 lbs). A high quality carbon frame shouldn't be a problem though.
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Old 07-30-12, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Hank244 View Post
At age fifty, I'm ready to get off the aluminum frame. I think (don't really know) that the road noise is wearing me out. The catch is that I weigh 245lbs.

Originally, I had a 2009 Felt F75 (63cm) with the carbon seat stays. My frame broke at that point. When I replaced it with the newer (all-aluminum, except for the fork) 2011 F75, the largest size was 61cm. Eff. top tube measurement is the same, and the bike has felt pretty solid.

Was my particular (2009 F75) bike just a "bad apple?" Or, since I require a larger frame, should I avoid carbon altogether?

(I know that steel is a good option. However, my climbing is slow enough. I'm not excited about getting a heavier frame.)
Al is potentially going to be the most likely break, it has the lowest fatigue life of any. They have to beef if up to take that into effect, but when you have an industry driven by weight... well...

What kind of myth are you reading that says steel would be heavy??? A steel bike built up with good components would weigh less than your Felt F75. Mainstream examples... Jamis Eclipse or Raleigh International.

Get a beefed up chromoly or Ti touring bike if you don't want to worry about a broken frame. They are still smooth and efficient.
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Old 07-30-12, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by jrobe View Post
Maybe the real problem here is the 245 lbs (or 350 lbs). A high quality carbon frame shouldn't be a problem though.
I think that the real problem came from bonding two different materials at a critical point. I've heard of carbon stays breaking on aluminum frame bikes even for lighter riders.
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Old 07-30-12, 07:42 AM
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Did the old frame break at the insertion point between AL and CF? That would be the likely cause.

An all-carbon frame is going to be as durable as any other frame out there. I raced steel until just a couple years ago, and now I'm on CF. The only trouble I had was a BB insert breaking loose inside the CF on my Trek Madone (used, so no warranty -- frame to trash). My Fuji has been flawless. I'm only 183 lbs, but I have a mean sprint and 1' power, and this bike feels more solid than any material I've ever ridden.

Note also that CF won't dent, and it's cheaper to repair than AL or Steel.
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Old 07-30-12, 08:07 AM
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Rear cable stop on my Giant just popped off. Nothing to do with my weight I don't think, but the frame is done. Hoping for warranty replacement but we'll see. Modern carbon frames are very durable and even if you do break one they can be repaired fairly easy in most cases.
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Old 07-30-12, 08:53 AM
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My 2007 Lemond Buenos Aires made by Trek carried my then 279 lb burt for 4 years then the drop out broke and Trek replaced the frame with a 2012 Madone 5.9. So basically I got a $2500 frame for my $1800 5 year old bicycle. My weight is now down to 245lb and I'm trying to get down to 205 and my new bike is awsome! There is no risk if you get a good guarantee
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