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I'm Neutral about Carbon

Old 05-17-17, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by willibrord
Steel has a high carbon footprint, as high CO2 coking coal is burned in the steel making process .Al uses a lot of electrical energy to refine, it was very expensive to make Alu until electrical power became plentiful. Carbon fiber sequesters carbon in the bike frame, it isn't emitted into the atmosphere as GHG gases.
maybe.....but what about the total lifecycle? are you considering the service life
of each material? alu frame will last how long....ten years maybe? steel frame
will last......well....mostly forever. how long does a typical crabon frame last?

and when they finally die, both steel and inferior aluminium are easily recycled,
whereas crabon lives forever in landfills, leaching toxic chemicals.

so to be fair, you need to compare the crabon footprint of 1 steel frame to
3 aluminium frames to 6 crabon frames.
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Old 05-17-17, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
maybe.....but what about the total lifecycle? are you considering the service life
of each material? alu frame will last how long....ten years maybe? steel frame
will last......well....mostly forever. how long does a typical crabon frame last?

and when they finally die, both steel and inferior aluminium are easily recycled,
whereas crabon lives forever in landfills, leaching toxic chemicals.

so to be fair, you need to compare the crabon footprint of 1 steel frame to
3 aluminium frames to 6 crabon frames.
Cheap frames, whether aluminum or steel, will last practically forever. High-end steel and aluminum racing frame might not, although I've seem far more broken high-end steel frames than aluminum frames over the 30 years since aluminum frames became a presence in the market.

It's been a while since anyone has referred to the German Tour magazine-sponsored test of high-end frames:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/...tigue_test.htm

The takeaway from that report is that, under the test conditions, which were intended to show the expected fatigue life of 12 high-end frames built with steel, aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber, a couple of the aluminum and carbon frames fared best; all of the steel frames failed.

Make of that what you will.
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Old 05-17-17, 07:21 AM
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Bicycle frames of any kind last so long, does carbon foot print really matter much? Compared to all the other types of trash we generate?
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Old 05-17-17, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by willibrord
Steel has a high carbon footprint, as high CO2 coking coal is burned in the steel making process .Al uses a lot of electrical energy to refine, it was very expensive to make Alu until electrical power became plentiful. Carbon fiber sequesters carbon in the bike frame, it isn't emitted into the atmosphere as GHG gases.
Come on now, please address my post with specific questions pertaining to each material's 'dirty factor'.
- Do you include water use when determining which is a worse material for the environment? And if not, why not?
- Do you include recyclability when determining which is a worse material for the environment? And if not, why not?
- Do you include typical length of product life when determining which is a worse material for the environment? And if not, why not?
- Do you include overall energy use when determining which is a worse material for the environment? And if not, why not?
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Old 05-17-17, 08:52 AM
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What about reuse? Have you ever reused a bicycle frame or parts for something else than bicycle related?
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Old 05-17-17, 09:39 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox
What about reuse? Have you ever reused a bicycle frame or parts for something else than bicycle related?
Recycling is a form of reuse. Material from recycled aluminum is significantly less expensive and poses less of a negative environmental impact compared to getting that aluminum as new material.

If you mean reuse as in some sort of upcycle, bicycle parts are constantly used to make jewelry, picture frames, sculptures, etc.
...but a broken CF frame probably doesnt have much value in reuse. CF frames certainly cant be recycled into other CF products.
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Old 05-17-17, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
maybe.....but what about the total lifecycle? are you considering the service life
of each material? alu frame will last how long....ten years maybe? steel frame
will last......well....mostly forever. how long does a typical crabon frame last?

and when they finally die, both steel and inferior aluminium are easily recycled,
whereas crabon lives forever in landfills, leaching toxic chemicals.

so to be fair, you need to compare the crabon footprint of 1 steel frame to
3 aluminium frames to 6 crabon frames.
Your making the assumption that Carbon frames don't last as long as the others. Based on the science behind carbon frames, it should last LONGER. Science does not = real world, necessarily.

Carbon can be repaired easily.

Just picked up a Calfee carbon frame, used. It had a 25 year frame warranty, transferable to new owner, me. It was built in 2007, so I have another 15 years under warranty. Calfee was one of the first, arguably still one of the best and believes in the material that much.

I know of no other bike frame manuf, steel, ti or alum that offer that. Doesn't necessarily PROVE anything besides confidence of one manufacturer, Calfee, but it does go to show that it is believed to be a long lasting durable material by an industry expert.
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Old 05-17-17, 01:50 PM
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My Fuji Touring bike has a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser (me). Does that show "it is believed to be a long lasting durable material by an industry expert"?
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Old 05-17-17, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Come on now, please address my post with specific questions pertaining to each material's 'dirty factor'.
- Do you include water use when determining which is a worse material for the environment? And if not, why not?
- Do you include recyclability when determining which is a worse material for the environment? And if not, why not?
- Do you include typical length of product life when determining which is a worse material for the environment? And if not, why not?
- Do you include overall energy use when determining which is a worse material for the environment? And if not, why not?
Those are all worthy questions, but I do not have the answers to them at this time.

What is becoming obvious from the varios threads about Ca touring bicycles, is that it is a material, whose age is dawning. Carbon fiber bikes are getting better every year, and their environmental properties make them the top choice for those who care about the planet. Except maybe for bamboo.

It is good practise to recycle components and frames, but given the environmental costs of mining and smelting and brazing and welding, we should look to carbon and its derivatives for the future of the bicycle.
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Old 05-17-17, 02:19 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by willibrord
Those are all worthy questions, but I do not have the answers to them at this time.

What is becoming obvious from the varios threads about Ca touring bicycles, is that it is a material, whose age is dawning. Carbon fiber bikes are getting better every year, and their environmental properties make them the top choice for those who care about the planet. Except maybe for bamboo.

It is good practise to recycle components and frames, but given the environmental costs of mining and smelting and brazing and welding, we should look to carbon and its derivatives for the future of the bicycle.
I appreciate you acknowledging you dont know the answers to what are, in my view, extremely important questions which should factor into the environmental impact for each material.
While I appreciate your willingness to state you have no idea, that really completely negates most of what you have claimed in this thread. You have no details, no support, and only idealistic words to support your view. There is simply no reason for your comments to have any merit at all.

If this is the dawning of a new age in environmentally responsible material(dramatic much?), then let it come. Everything I have read from you on this board has been with an environmental tilt. Its all very interesting to me, but people who make claims without an ability(or attempt) to back them up with knowledge dont really lend much credence to their cause.

You claim carbon is the top choice for those who care about the planet...well then back that up with actual information showing why. I really appreciate knowledgeable discussion on sustainable environmental practices, and combining it with cycling and equipment makes me geek out. But this isnt a knowledgable discussion- its just you making wild unsubstantiated claims without supporting information.



Also- and this isnt just me picking nits- Ca is NOT Carbon Fiber. Ca is an actual element on that big chart o elements. Ca is Calcium. This has been discussed with you before and you acknowledged it. CF is short for Carbon Fiber.
This would be like you abbreviating Bamboo as 'Ba'. That is actually the element Barium. Just want to make sure you dont suddenly decide to try and abbv(<---see what i did? im funny!) Bamboo.
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Old 05-17-17, 02:22 PM
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There is a Large carbon footprint in all the plastic packing , used to get a bike from the factory to your shop floor, looking so good..
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Old 05-17-17, 03:09 PM
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Bikes: carbon bamboo composite is the best

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Originally Posted by mstateglfr





Also- and this isnt just me picking nits- Ca is NOT Carbon Fiber. Ca is an actual element on that big chart o elements. Ca is Calcium. This has been discussed with you before and you acknowledged it. CF is short for Carbon Fiber.
This would be like you abbreviating Bamboo as 'Ba'. That is actually the element Barium. Just want to make sure you dont suddenly decide to try and abbv(<---see what i did? im funny!) Bamboo.
Sorry. Old habits die hard. I sometimes use abbvs without thinking too deeply about alternative interpretations.
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Old 05-17-17, 04:30 PM
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Bikes: carbon bamboo composite is the best

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The consensus is that metal bike frames are the worst of the lot.

“Bamboo bikes have almost a negative carbon footprint,” said Craig Calfee, President of Calfee Design, which makes bamboo and carbon fiber frames and bikes. “The living bamboo plant may have consumed more carbon dioxide than was used in manufacturing and transporting the frame.
Any other material pales in comparison. Metals are especially bad.

The qualities that make titanium a great material for a bicycle frame – hardness and durability – also make it energy intensive to refine, with 70 percent wasted in the machining process. Steel is not only energy intensive to create but also directly emits CO2 as a byproduct of the production process. Aluminum production consumes five percent of the electricity produced in the US each year and accounts for almost two percent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, though bicycle production accounts for only a small fraction of that total. Evans cites green energy guru Amory Lovins as stating that aluminum is congealed electricity
It should be noted that if electricity is sourced by renewable means, then Alu is not so bad. That brings us back to bamboo and carbon fiber.

Overall, is bamboo the answer to creating the ideal low-impact bicycle? “Bamboo is the most ecological, saving even on transport because you could potentially obtain your bamboo out the back door of your factory – since it grows easily anywhere,” Calfee said.
In addition to being renewable, bamboo has a lot going for it. It’s both light and durable. “Bamboo and carbon fiber do seem to have an infinite fatigue life because they are composite materials,” said Calfee, who also makes carbon fiber bikes. He still owns his first bamboo bike, built in 1995. “I know there are some 100-yearold bamboo tea houses in Japan that have survived all kinds of calamities over the past century,” he said.
There is also a spiritual quality to riding bamboo that doesnt happen with other materials.

Calfee gets a bit mystical about the power of bamboo bikes to inspire joy. “I have a lot of different bikes here that I ride. When I hop on a bamboo bike, I notice that I’m in a better mood,” he said, adding that his customers have reported this as well. “I think there’s a universal human trait that we want to live in harmony with nature.”
There is more to saving the the planet than choice of frame materials.

Don't over lubricate (grease and oil) your bicycle. Any excess is was wasting resources, and some will likely drip onto the road and eventually add to the pollution of the land and water. The import location for chain lube is between the plates and pins. One drop of lubricant along each pin is sufficient. Spraying the outside of the chain gets relatively lubricant where it needs to be, wastes a huge amount lubricant and leaves a lot dripping off.
Use a biodegradable, non-petroleum degreaser and "non-butyl" or "butyl-free" cleaners.
Minimize the use of hazardous (petroleum, caustic and volatile) materials. Properly manage and properly recycle and dispose of any hazardous lubricants and solvents that you must use.
It would be good to use non petroleum sources to lube and maintain your bicycle.

Green Bicycling: Pushing the Green Envelope
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Old 05-17-17, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox
What about reuse? Have you ever reused a bicycle frame or parts for something else than bicycle related?


Not mine.
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Old 05-17-17, 06:37 PM
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Actually, there is a negative component to chasing after the latest and greatest in bicycles.

It creates excellarated consumerism with some people changing out bicycles that should last 50 years every 2-5 years instead. No matter what the material, that leaves a large footprint.

Recycling a used quality frame or sticking with what one currently has is the best environmental option IMO. For me that happens to be chromoly steel. My frame is 26 years old currently.
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Old 05-17-17, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet
Actually, there is a negative component to chasing after the latest and greatest in bicycles.

It creates excellarated consumerism with some people changing out bicycles that should last 50 years every 2-5 years instead. No matter what the material, that leaves a large footprint....
Wrong, used bikes are passed down to other users. There's always someone waiting for a 1991 steel MTB with stem shifts so they can prove old junk is good junk....
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Old 05-18-17, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura


Not mine.
Uhhh why don't I have that right now!!!! That is freakin' ingenious.
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Old 05-18-17, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH
Wrong, used bikes are passed down to other users. There's always someone waiting for a 1991 steel MTB with stem shifts so they can prove old junk is good junk....
I'm not really interested in the eco fight that much, just pointing out that recycling a bike creates less of a footprint than buying new carbon - if that actually matters to anyone IRL. But your reply doesn't tell us why that's wrong. It's a one word answer followed by a tangent about the quality of the bike which isn't being debated.

Yet that does bring up the uncomfortable fact that 26 years from now the 2017 carbon bike will be considered old junk so there's no use thinking this old junk is any better than that old junk. Perhaps I have less trouble understanding that because I have access to time travel technology though.



Ps. 1991 mtbs did not come with stem shifters. If you're going for the slam at least get the story straight

Pss. 26 years from now IGH's are remembered as a quaint but misguided idea, like handlebar tassles. Magnets are the new thing.. but not yet.

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Old 05-18-17, 04:19 AM
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personally, i'm not too worried about saving the earth.
i'm old enough to know it'll still be here when i'm gone,
so might as well enjoy my toys while i still can.

regardless, i figger with the carbon footprint i've minimized
over the past decades of several hundred thousand miles
of bicycle touring, i've earned the right to drip a little
chain oil or even wear fur-lined knickers without being
petroleum shamed.

and when the pissin' and moanin' of the ecofreaks gets
too much, i'll just say screw this. i'll buy myself a 40' rv
with a tow-behind dune-buggy and other assorted
men's toys.......and look for roadsides near hiker-
biker sites where i can overnight and run the generator
and AC all day and night. even when off hiking.
just for fun.
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Old 05-18-17, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
personally, i'm not too worried about saving the earth.
i'm old enough to know it'll still be here when i'm gone,
so might as well enjoy my toys while i still can.
But, but, but, but ...
Aren't you worried about burning in hell for eternity?
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Old 05-18-17, 06:53 AM
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You know, compared to any miles you can ride instead of driving, arguing over the eco-friendliness of various frame materials really is marginal gains, IMO. Coming from a guy who burns a wood stove and also has an 8kW solar array on his roof. Aside from that, I follow some people on Strava that have close to 100,000 miles on their carbon race bikes.

I'm going to go ahead and say I bet that the various aluminum bearing surfaces molded into the headtube or BB may even wear faster than you would have to start worrying about fatiguing the frame, on a quality carbon frame. The cheaper, no name lay ups, maybe, I'd be more wary of.
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Old 05-18-17, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Uhhh why don't I have that right now!!!! That is freakin' ingenious.
Until you get a flat tire.
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Old 05-18-17, 07:37 AM
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I'm totally in favor of carbon. Without it, there'd be no steel, and we'd have to make bike frames out of iron.
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Old 05-18-17, 03:52 PM
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How many millions of metal frames have been produced and are still in existence in garages and sheds and basements? More than enough for every rider who is interested to find a metal frame and refurbish it.

Going forward, for the future of the planet, new bikes should be sustainable. Either Ca fiber or preferably bamboo.
There is no reason that anyone needs to buy a new steel or aluminum frame. No reason to degrade the atmosphere further and pollute its waters. No reason at all.
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Old 05-18-17, 04:15 PM
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And, by what you have conceded, no need to buy a carbon frame either.

Like another recent theme, you can't just cherry pick an environmentally friendly practice while ignoring the greater, more logical and applicable options.
Well, you can, but it lessens your argument.

Reusing or recycling already existing products is always more eco freindly than creating a need for continued production (no matter if it is less polluting than others) by purchasing new. Almost anyone really serious about environmental issues accepts the over arching concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle. By refurbishing an existing frame you reduce production related impacts.

Will people continue to buy new bikes? Of course. We still continue to fight after the "War to end all Wars" but if you really want to adopt the high moral ground of environmental concern you ought to try to lead by making smart choices.

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