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Any terrible reason not to pick a carbon fiber bike for offroad touring in NA?

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Any terrible reason not to pick a carbon fiber bike for offroad touring in NA?

Old 07-26-10, 02:04 PM
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Any terrible reason not to pick a carbon fiber bike for offroad touring in NA?

My spouse has picked out a carbon fiber bike and he is in love with the bike packing no panniers concept, any reason this is a bad idea? Just curious, I love the bike but I don't carbon fiber is all that common in touring. Since we arent going overseas or to south america at the moment anyways it seems like a good choice?
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Old 07-26-10, 02:28 PM
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Which bike?
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Old 07-26-10, 03:53 PM
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I was reading recently on Sheldon Brown's site that carbon fiber frames aren't a good choice for touring because the place where the carbon fiber joins the metals parts can be a weak point under the continued stress of loaded touring. I can't find the link, but you might hunt around his website for a better description.
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Old 07-26-10, 04:18 PM
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Generally, carbon fiber is fantastic for racing bikes, recreational road bikes, things like that...where you pay a lot of attention to the bike, get on it, ride, then get off it and set it aside.
Touring is generally a different story. The bike is just your transportation, it gets a lot more abuse than a road bike does, it falls off stuff you lean it agaisnt, you leave it out in the weather overnight, etc. The everyday wear and tear and treatments a touring bike gets would be considered abuse to a carbon frame.
Carbon is fantastic to ride, but it just doesn't hold up well to other stuff.
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Old 07-26-10, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by benajah
Generally, carbon fiber is fantastic for racing bikes, recreational road bikes, things like that...where you pay a lot of attention to the bike, get on it, ride, then get off it and set it aside.
Touring is generally a different story. The bike is just your transportation, it gets a lot more abuse than a road bike does, it falls off stuff you lean it agaisnt, you leave it out in the weather overnight, etc. The everyday wear and tear and treatments a touring bike gets would be considered abuse to a carbon frame.
Carbon is fantastic to ride, but it just doesn't hold up well to other stuff.
A caveat though...some people really baby their bikes. If he is one of those, then it might hold up fine, especially if all the bike packing stuff is strap on rather than clamp on.
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Old 07-26-10, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Aquakitty
he is in love with the bike packing no panniers concept, any reason this is a bad idea?
It's a great idea if you are hiking. Cycling with a backpack is silly unless you are doing one day short distance sight seeing trips. Carbon is fine if you choose the right bike. There are plenty of carbon mtn bike frames that are raced everyday. Weight is not a concern do to the backpack.
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Old 07-26-10, 04:49 PM
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I'd think it depends on which bike, how intensely offroad your route is, and how long you're touring.

For example, there are a few carbon-fiber mountain bikes, mostly for racing. It'll almost certainly be able to handle a short offroad tour with minimal gear in a backpack.

But if he's looking at a carbon fiber road bike, for example, that will be problematic. Not so much because it's carbon, but because road bikes are not good for offroad.
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Old 07-26-10, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelgrabber
It's a great idea if you are hiking. Cycling with a backpack is silly unless you are doing one day short distance sight seeing trips.
If you're on the road yes. If you're offroad, IMO a backpack makes more sense since you may prefer the handling.

There are also some cycling-specific backpacks which put the weight on your hips instead of upper back, which will work better.
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Old 07-26-10, 05:10 PM
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Well when I say bikepacking I meant frame bags like those that can be custom made https://www.revelatedesigns.com/index...g&CategoryID=1

We/he would only use a small light backpack.

Thanks to those on another thread for pointing this out to me.
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Old 07-26-10, 05:22 PM
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If he is prone to crashing through the brush, doing endos off trail and otherwise going gonzo on mescaline trips then carbon would definately not be a good idea. But more importantly why are you posing the question?
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Old 07-26-10, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG
If he is prone to crashing through the brush, doing endos off trail and otherwise going gonzo on mescaline trips then carbon would definately not be a good idea. But more importantly why are you posing the question?
just seeing if there was anything we hadn't thought of .... a bad reason to choose carbon....never see it mentioned here, and being a beginner I appreciate any advice. The real question is, why are you asking me why i am asking a question?
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Old 07-26-10, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Aquakitty
just seeing if there was anything we hadn't thought of .... a bad reason to choose carbon....never see it mentioned here, and being a beginner I appreciate any advice. The real question is, why are you asking me why i am asking a question?
I would guess if he was concerned he'd ask it. Basically carbon, or any racing bike whether it's made of thin steel or thin aluminum, is meant for surviving the race with rider in control and wheels on the ground. If the rider crashes and the top tube hits a rock shattering the carbon fibers in 1/4 of the diameter or dinging the thin tubing that's life and his support crew hands him another bike or he's out of the race. It's only meant to be ridden as opposed to all the things that can happen in a crash. So when people go touring things might happen to the bike 24/7 that involve more risk than getting on the bike out of the garage, riding it for a few hours and putting it back in the garage. Now I haven't had a carbon bike and I see lots of carbon mtn. bikes in use but if I was a light fit person wanting to go ultralight off road touring I'd use the bike I had, which may be a carbon framed mtn. bike, but I'd sure would be careful to not go crashing through the brush, do endos off trail, go gonzo on mescaline trips. In other words I'd be careful with it because a deformation caused by impact in the tubing on a carbon bike compromises the whole tubing more than it does in a steel tubing bike.
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Old 07-26-10, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG
I would guess if he was concerned he'd ask it. Basically carbon, or any racing bike whether it's made of thin steel or thin aluminum, is meant for surviving the race with rider in control and wheels on the ground. If the rider crashes and the top tube hits a rock shattering the carbon fibers in 1/4 of the diameter or dinging the thin tubing that's life and his support crew hands him another bike or he's out of the race. It's only meant to be ridden as opposed to all the things that can happen in a crash. So when people go touring things might happen to the bike 24/7 that involve more risk than getting on the bike out of the garage, riding it for a few hours and putting it back in the garage. Now I haven't had a carbon bike and I see lots of carbon mtn. bikes in use but if I was a light fit person wanting to go ultralight off road touring I'd use the bike I had, which may be a carbon framed mtn. bike, but I'd sure would be careful to not go crashing through the brush, do endos off trail, go gonzo on mescaline trips. In other words I'd be careful with it because a deformation caused by impact in the tubing on a carbon bike compromises the whole tubing more than it does in a steel tubing bike.

Ok gotcha, thanks.. well see I am the cycling fanatic, he is new to cycling in general, and generally doesn't know an endo from a bottom bracket. He loves the sport though but we have been figuring out what kind of riding he really likes to do. I used to race in '90s but now I just prefer good ole touring and trekking with a bit of a fetish for old '90s MTB. Never had a carbon fiber bike or found it appealing but he saw one and loves the look. It is kind of funny how men don't get asked that question when asking about bikes for their girlfriends, but you question why I am asking for him

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Old 07-26-10, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Aquakitty
....never see it mentioned here, and being a beginner I appreciate any advice.
Originally Posted by Aquakitty
well see I am the cycling fanatic, he is new to cycling in general,
Confused... You're a beginner, but he's new to cycling?

Sorry, but if you're truly new to cycling then you really should be listening to people who are question the choice of a CF bike for off-road touring. Is it impossible? Of course not. But unless you're very experienced and know exactly what you're doing and why you want to specifically use a CF bike for this purpose, it is probably a pretty bad choice.

Perhaps he really wants a CF Mt. bike for his daily life of tearing up the singletrack trails around your hometown, and the touring is an afterthought -- then yeah, get the bike that best suits your main need and just make do for your occasional tours. Remember: Any bike can be used to do any kind of riding, period. It might break, it might be horrifically uncomfortable, etc, but it can be used for lots of stuff it was never designed for.

That said, if you are starting from scratch and want to buy a bike for touring, there are probably some much better choices that could be made. I think this is what people are getting at. No need to get all "persecuted feminist" on them.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:14 PM
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NoGa, read her post. She's an experienced cyclist, so I presume she means she's new to Bike Forums.

Anyway.... if your guy is mostly interested in the look, maybe you can talk him into an aluminum frame if you want to help him save a few bucks -- I'm sure you can find one that looks just as good as the carbon one.

That said, I still don't see a big issue with him using a CF MTB, especially for a shorter off-road tour. It may be overkill but I really don't see why it would be a problem. Keep in mind that many bike tourers are retro-grouches who adore steel and don't realize how far along carbon has come, especially in the last few years.

Since this particular crew may not be up on CF MTB's, you may want to search and/or ask about CF reliability in the Mountain subforum.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
Since this particular crew may not be up on CF MTB's, you may want to search and/or ask about CF reliability in the Mountain subforum.

that's a fact, I just got indexed gearing two years ago.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Aquakitty
It is kind of funny how men don't get asked that question when asking about bikes for their girlfriends, but you question why I am asking for him
I'm just looking out for his delicate ego! Actually when guys do shop for their girlfriends I'll ask what it is that SHE wants and that the issues he's raising may not matter to her. My decade of touring and racing was one and two decades before yours so there's a lot I don't know about the durability of carbon bikes these days. I'm pretty sure that making a very light bike out of carbon means it'll be less forgiving to being tossed over rocks than a steel frame that weighs a few lbs more but I could be wrong.
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Old 07-26-10, 08:08 PM
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I would not use carbon. I once saw a guy crack a carbon fork just trying to seat it into a roof top car rack. It cracked under very little pressure. I think the issue with it is that it can be made to be strong in a single direction, but any kind of side stress like bending, weight, or impact easily ruins it. When it brakes, it just kind of crackles in strands into lots of pieces. No fix like a weld to steel.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by benajah
Touring is generally a different story. The bike is just your transportation, it gets a lot more abuse than a road bike does, it falls off stuff you lean it agaisnt, you leave it out in the weather overnight, etc. The everyday wear and tear and treatments a touring bike gets would be considered abuse to a carbon frame.
Carbon is fantastic to ride, but it just doesn't hold up well to other stuff.
BS! If carbon fiber is good enough for Brian Lopes to race in downhill mountain bike events, I think it'll hold up to hauling a few extra pounds of stuff on the typical off-road tour...
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Old 07-26-10, 09:26 PM
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Exactly. Today's carbon mountain bike frames are nothing like carbon road frame. Don't rely on info from road touring cyclists on this forum. Go ask this question at bikepacking.net of the people who are doing the kind of riding that you guys are planning. Have fun!
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Old 07-26-10, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BWF
I would not use carbon. I once saw a guy crack a carbon fork just trying to seat it into a roof top car rack....
Yeah, this is the mentality I'm talking about.

This kind of anecdotal evidence is statistically irrelevant, and your conclusions are an overreaction. For example, on one tour a fellow rider suffered from a broken dropout on his aluminum frame. On this basis should I conclude that aluminum is unfit for bicycles and/or touring?

Sure, with CF you need to be careful with a few things, such as not over-torquing a seatpost. However it's not like CF bikes will snap instantly because you twist it a tiny amount -- especially a mountain bike frame, which is designed to handle all kinds of impacts, stresses and torsion. Millions upon millions of bikes use carbon forks without any more issues than metal. And really, any type of frame can crack or break under the wrong circumstances.

I think by now, you can toss the "carbon fiber is fragile" into the Cycling Myth Bin.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by benajah
The bike is just your transportation, it gets a lot more abuse than a road bike does, it falls off stuff you lean it agaisnt, you leave it out in the weather overnight, etc.
True, but I wouldn't let my bike fall over. And I wouldn't leave it out in the rain.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by benajah
Generally, carbon fiber is fantastic for racing bikes, recreational road bikes, things like that...where you pay a lot of attention to the bike, get on it, ride, then get off it and set it aside.
Touring is generally a different story. The bike is just your transportation, it gets a lot more abuse than a road bike does, it falls off stuff you lean it agaisnt, you leave it out in the weather overnight, etc. The everyday wear and tear and treatments a touring bike gets would be considered abuse to a carbon frame.
Carbon is fantastic to ride, but it just doesn't hold up well to other stuff.
I mean no offense, but non-racers seem to have this impression that racing bikes are delicate and sheltered from abuse. The reality is that racing beats the hell out of the equipment. And yes, racing bikes fall over (contrary to accepted wisdom, they generally survive the experience) and even get ridden hard in appalling weather. If it isn't reasonably durable, it's not a great racing bike. The same goes for any road bike - carbon fiber is not marzipan.

That said, there are some compromises to be made, and the abuse of racing can certainly shorten the life of the admittedly more lightly-built carbon racing bike. But don't make the mistake of thinking that a steel bike is built to withstand crashes or is happy being abused and neglected. It all breaks. Most of the reason for touring bikes being made out of steel is actually that it's cheaper to make a high-quality bike out of steel (for mass production builders) and that most custom or high-end touring bike shops work in steel, for a variety of reasons. We're not talking about a gigantic market, here; there's not much incentive to do the R&D and tooling for a CF touring bike. A custom or other high-end touring frame, even built out of steel, doesn't need to be particularly heavy, and they aren't. The major reason, IMO, to overbuild a touring bike is not durability per se but stiffness, which is valuable for a bike that's going to be heavily loaded. Come to think of it, a well-designed CF touring bike would probably be pretty awesome - but pricey.

Frankly, if it's a CF bike that was built for offroad riding, I wouldn't hesitate for a second, and don't listen to the nay-sayers. People race these things down gnarly mountains in California, for crying out loud. It can handle being tooled around on with a few bags.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:08 PM
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If one season of use is OK, then the next year you get a new one again, maybe .. don't get attached to it ..

the Pro teams start out every year with new stuff ,
and no cameras are present when the team mechanics get a new frame
from the bike sponsor and build it up overnight for the next days start time.

it's a consumable commodity.

Now OTOH, This is an Off road touring bike :

https://www.tout-terrain.de/2/product...ana/index.html

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-27-10 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
If one season of use is OK, then the next year you get a new one again, maybe .. don't get attached to it ..

it's a consumable commodity.
Complete, utter, absolute nonsense.
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