Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Comedian » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:30 pm

human909 wrote:Carbon fibre aside I'm still confused about the expected lifespan people have of bikes.

The two bikes that I ride are from the 90s and still going strong. One bike I've owned new from 1999. Still has many original components including rear brake cables and housings. Just replaced the front brake cable and housing yesterday. Its on its second cassette and chain wheel, probably about its 6th chain. Its spent plenty of time in rain and muck.

Why own bikes from the 90s? Cause they are still working like a dream. The Sakae Litage frame is a beauty, my Giant is just a reliable workhorse. Sure I could by $3000 or $6000 bike but the simple question how would it make me happier or my life easier? If that can't be easily answered then why would I do that vs spending the money on a something that would.

Bravo.. that's the answer!

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby outnabike » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:50 pm

I keep reading about recalls, fork problems, BB problems, over-tightening mistakes, seats sliding down and busting down tubes, and so it goes. I reckon for the enthusiasts, these light bikes are pretty much very desirable. But then heavy weight enthusiasts might get more problems. :)

But to me, and the amount of riding I do, a steel "putter arounder" is as good as it gets. I had a look at the speeds I do, the load I ride, and on a 30 klm trip I would get no benefit speed wise. Twenty kph average is as fast as I can hope for, and raising that to twenty two would probably not add a lot of enjoyment level to my ride.

I suppose if I ditch the saddle bags it might be beneficial but they seem to be indispensable to me now. :)
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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Calvin27 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:46 am

Duck! wrote:
Calvin27 wrote:I rekon the carbon frame would come out on top - theoretically it has infinite fatigue life unlike steel or alu. However the former cannot be easily repaired.

Contrary to popular misconception, carbon is one of the most readily repairable materials of the lot.


Well I guess it depends on what is being repaired. You can weld steel anywhere, alu is harder but doable, carbon is easy to repair by basically wrapping lots more of it on the outside, but if you have stuff like the BB area it's a nightmare
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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby RonK » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:19 am

Calvin27 wrote:You can weld steel anywhere...

I've always been amused by this assertion that steel bike frames can be welded "anywhere".

The image of the village blacksmith in Upper Volta or Outer Mongolia trying to weld a bike frame made of tubing with less than one millimetre wall thickness with a blow torch or a couple of car batteries and electrode immediately comes to mind.

Bicycle frame repair, be it made of steel, aluminium, titanium or carbon fibre is a specialist job and requires specialist tools and skills.

You can only weld steel bicycle frames "anywhere" if you have the right equipment and necessary skills.
Last edited by RonK on Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby duncanm » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:24 am

RonK wrote:
Calvin27 wrote:You can weld steel anywhere...

I've always been amused by this assertion that steel bike frames can be welded "anywhere".

The image of the village blacksmith in Upper Volta or Outer Mongolia trying to weld a bike frame made of tubing with less than one millimetre wall thickness with a blow torch or a couple of car batteries and electrode immediately comes to mind.

Bicycle frame repair, be it made of steel, aluminium, titanium or carbon fibre is a specialist job and requires specialist tools and skills.


Hardly.
As mentioned above, CF is incredibly easy to repair. No specialist tools or skills required.

Steel frames - even if thin walled at the break, can be welded by a skilled tradesman or patched with thicker stuff if required. How thick do you think car panels are?

None of these would look pretty, but they'll be functional.

This stuff is not rocket surgery.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby RonK » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:37 am

duncanm wrote:
RonK wrote:
Calvin27 wrote:You can weld steel anywhere...

I've always been amused by this assertion that steel bike frames can be welded "anywhere".

The image of the village blacksmith in Upper Volta or Outer Mongolia trying to weld a bike frame made of tubing with less than one millimetre wall thickness with a blow torch or a couple of car batteries and electrode immediately comes to mind.

Bicycle frame repair, be it made of steel, aluminium, titanium or carbon fibre is a specialist job and requires specialist tools and skills.


Hardly.
As mentioned above, CF is incredibly easy to repair. No specialist tools or skills required.

Steel frames - even if thin walled at the break, can be welded by a skilled tradesman or patched with thicker stuff if required. How thick do you think car panels are?

This stuff is not rocket surgery.

Skilled tradesman eh? Is that not a specialist skill? These may be common skills, but they are certainly not available "anywhere".

Really? No specialist tools or skills required? So you could perform repairs like this in your garage

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Calvin27 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:03 pm

RonK wrote:
Calvin27 wrote:You can weld steel anywhere...

I've always been amused by this assertion that steel bike frames can be welded "anywhere".

The image of the village blacksmith in Upper Volta or Outer Mongolia trying to weld a bike frame made of tubing with less than one millimetre wall thickness with a blow torch or a couple of car batteries and electrode immediately comes to mind.

Bicycle frame repair, be it made of steel, aluminium, titanium or carbon fibre is a specialist job and requires specialist tools and skills.

You can only weld steel bicycle frames "anywhere" if you have the right equipment and necessary skills.


Firstly I was referring to 'anywhere' on the bike probably pretty loose term but you get what I mean. Not the outskirts of Mongolia. The example I used was being able to weld a BB area which would be a nightmare for carbon.

As for accessibility to skilled personnel, yeah I'd say much easier to find a welder than a carbon repair place. It might be tough trying to find a decent welder in outer Mongolia, but good luck to you trying to find a carbon repair shop!
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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby fat and old » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:54 pm

RonK wrote:
The image of the village blacksmith in Upper Volta or Outer Mongolia trying to weld a bike frame made of tubing with less than one millimetre wall thickness with a blow torch or a couple of car batteries and electrode immediately comes to mind.



Are the bike frames used by those tourers that go for those sort of tours really less than a millimeter thick? I would have thought they'd be tougher?

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby duncanm » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:08 pm

RonK wrote:
duncanm wrote:
RonK wrote:I've always been amused by this assertion that steel bike frames can be welded "anywhere".

The image of the village blacksmith in Upper Volta or Outer Mongolia trying to weld a bike frame made of tubing with less than one millimetre wall thickness with a blow torch or a couple of car batteries and electrode immediately comes to mind.

Bicycle frame repair, be it made of steel, aluminium, titanium or carbon fibre is a specialist job and requires specialist tools and skills.


Hardly.
As mentioned above, CF is incredibly easy to repair. No specialist tools or skills required.

Steel frames - even if thin walled at the break, can be welded by a skilled tradesman or patched with thicker stuff if required. How thick do you think car panels are?

This stuff is not rocket surgery.

Skilled tradesman eh? Is that not a specialist skill? These may be common skills, but they are certainly not available "anywhere".

Really? No specialist tools or skills required? So you could perform repairs like this in your garage

Image


yes - and so could you.

The hardest part would be frame alignment, not the tube repair.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby duncanm » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:17 pm

Calvin27 wrote:
Firstly I was referring to 'anywhere' on the bike probably pretty loose term but you get what I mean. Not the outskirts of Mongolia. The example I used was being able to weld a BB area which would be a nightmare for carbon.


Why?

Presumably you're talking about a crack in the frame around the BB or similar,

If the BB is still located in the correct position in the frame,a repair consists of grinding back material on either side to provide a good tapered mating surface, laying cloth over and epoxying. The amount of material and adjacent surfaces depends on how stressed the point of failure is.

Sure - it won't look pretty or be light if you don't vac bag with professional materials, paint it after, etc etc.. but it'll work just fine with some readily available substitutes - nylon for peel ply, waste rags and sticky tape for bleeder and compression.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Comedian » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:33 pm

duncanm wrote:
Calvin27 wrote:
Firstly I was referring to 'anywhere' on the bike probably pretty loose term but you get what I mean. Not the outskirts of Mongolia. The example I used was being able to weld a BB area which would be a nightmare for carbon.


Why?

Presumably you're talking about a crack in the frame around the BB or similar,

If the BB is still located in the correct position in the frame,a repair consists of grinding back material on either side to provide a good tapered mating surface, laying cloth over and epoxying. The amount of material and adjacent surfaces depends on how stressed the point of failure is.

Sure - it won't look pretty or be light if you don't vac bag with professional materials, paint it after, etc etc.. but it'll work just fine with some readily available substitutes - nylon for peel ply, waste rags and sticky tape for bleeder and compression.


I'm considering an outback adventure with a fatbike next year. It's remote so we will only have what we have on us (although there will be support vehicles). I had the choice of frame materials. I considered carbon. I've got a bit of composites experience in my background, and I had no doubt that I could have effectively (but not prettily) repaired a carbon frame with just some rovings and resin. However I was concerned about whether I could adequately repair high stress areas like HT/BB. I was also concerned about resin curing in the cold.

So, I went for Ti because the price was similar and I thought the bike should be substantially tougher. :mrgreen: If need be we can weld with the welding rods we carry for the cars but I really doubt it will be necessary.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Calvin27 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:42 pm

duncanm wrote:If the BB is still located in the correct position in the frame,a repair consists of grinding back material on either side to provide a good tapered mating surface, laying cloth over and epoxying. The amount of material and adjacent surfaces depends on how stressed the point of failure is.

Sure - it won't look pretty or be light if you don't vac bag with professional materials, paint it after, etc etc.. but it'll work just fine with some readily available substitutes - nylon for peel ply, waste rags and sticky tape for bleeder and compression.


Have you ever repaired anything with carbon? A tube is peanuts, most people could do that and he professionalism is in the finish and getting it to look flush. But any monkey can just sand back and essentially wrap a tube around a tube and get it strong enough.

The BB area is a whole new ball game. You can't do the typical wrap over approach with a BB and in most cases even most pros wouldn't even bother with a BB crack repair on CF. Generally you need sufficient overlap to maintain the strength in carbon - this is easy to do for tubes and even junctions to some extent, but complicated geometry like BB areas are really hard. Think of all the places carbon usually breaks. A lot of it is around junction areas. All the carbon repair sites show you lots of pictures of tubes cracked apart and fancy repair jobs, how many of them can do a junction repair, because even a monkey welder can spot weld even if it's ugly as a TDF rider's upper body :P
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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby duncanm » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:04 pm

Calvin27 wrote:
duncanm wrote:If the BB is still located in the correct position in the frame,a repair consists of grinding back material on either side to provide a good tapered mating surface, laying cloth over and epoxying. The amount of material and adjacent surfaces depends on how stressed the point of failure is.

Sure - it won't look pretty or be light if you don't vac bag with professional materials, paint it after, etc etc.. but it'll work just fine with some readily available substitutes - nylon for peel ply, waste rags and sticky tape for bleeder and compression.


Have you ever repaired anything with carbon? A tube is peanuts, most people could do that and he professionalism is in the finish and getting it to look flush. But any monkey can just sand back and essentially wrap a tube around a tube and get it strong enough.

The BB area is a whole new ball game. You can't do the typical wrap over approach with a BB and in most cases even most pros wouldn't even bother with a BB crack repair on CF. Generally you need sufficient overlap to maintain the strength in carbon - this is easy to do for tubes and even junctions to some extent, but complicated geometry like BB areas are really hard. Think of all the places carbon usually breaks. A lot of it is around junction areas. All the carbon repair sites show you lots of pictures of tubes cracked apart and fancy repair jobs, how many of them can do a junction repair, because even a monkey welder can spot weld even if it's ugly as a TDF rider's upper body :P


yes - and built stuff in it, too.

I agree -- BB would be tricky and depends alot on the nature of the failure - but there's nothing stopping you from winding a bunch of UD up and around the BB, tubes, etc. Lots of surface to play with for bonding.

As I keep saying - it won't look pretty, but it'll work fine.

Or - cut the whole thing out and bond a new tube in there.

Often pro's won't touch it because they can't make the repair look nice.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby RonK » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:51 pm

fat and old wrote:
RonK wrote:
The image of the village blacksmith in Upper Volta or Outer Mongolia trying to weld a bike frame made of tubing with less than one millimetre wall thickness with a blow torch or a couple of car batteries and electrode immediately comes to mind.



Are the bike frames used by those tourers that go for those sort of tours really less than a millimeter thick? I would have thought they'd be tougher?

Yes - in fact it's difficult to find tube sets with a wall thickness greater than 0.9mm at the butts. Most touring bikes are made from butted 4130 chromoly tubes with a wall thickness of .9/.6/.9
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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby P!N20 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:09 pm

Image

No specialist literacy skills required either.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby uart » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:27 pm

P!N20 wrote:No specialist literacy skills required either.

All your base are belong to us. LOL :mrgreen:

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Duck! » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:05 pm

duncanm wrote:
Calvin27 wrote:
duncanm wrote:If the BB is still located in the correct position in the frame,a repair consists of grinding back material on either side to provide a good tapered mating surface, laying cloth over and epoxying. The amount of material and adjacent surfaces depends on how stressed the point of failure is.

Sure - it won't look pretty or be light if you don't vac bag with professional materials, paint it after, etc etc.. but it'll work just fine with some readily available substitutes - nylon for peel ply, waste rags and sticky tape for bleeder and compression.


Have you ever repaired anything with carbon? A tube is peanuts, most people could do that and he professionalism is in the finish and getting it to look flush. But any monkey can just sand back and essentially wrap a tube around a tube and get it strong enough.

The BB area is a whole new ball game. You can't do the typical wrap over approach with a BB and in most cases even most pros wouldn't even bother with a BB crack repair on CF. Generally you need sufficient overlap to maintain the strength in carbon - this is easy to do for tubes and even junctions to some extent, but complicated geometry like BB areas are really hard. Think of all the places carbon usually breaks. A lot of it is around junction areas. All the carbon repair sites show you lots of pictures of tubes cracked apart and fancy repair jobs, how many of them can do a junction repair, because even a monkey welder can spot weld even if it's ugly as a TDF rider's upper body :P


yes - and built stuff in it, too.

I agree -- BB would be tricky and depends alot on the nature of the failure - but there's nothing stopping you from winding a bunch of UD up and around the BB, tubes, etc. Lots of surface to play with for bonding.

As I keep saying - it won't look pretty, but it'll work fine.

Or - cut the whole thing out and bond a new tube in there.

Often pro's won't touch it because they can't make the repair look nice.

BB areas are risky business and therefore not as easy to repair on metal-framed bikes too. You have the risk of tube and/or thread distortion from the heat of the welding. The main issue with the BB area on a carbon frame is that it's simply a bloody difficult area to get into to work on; power tools to make the prep & finishing work faster simply won't fit, meaning it virtually all has to be done by hand, which equals more time, and resulting high labour cost.

Then there's frame alignment. One of the tricks up carbon's sleeve is that it has no "plastic" deformation phase, in which if subject to a stress beyond its elastic limit (ability to spring back to original shape) the material stays bent; carbon is elastic right up to the point it breaks. So within reason, depending on the nature and extent of damage, it is self-aligning. Metals have a plastic phase; if the stress has fractured, for example, a chainstay-to-bottom bracket weld, it's probable that the the stay has bent before breaking, and the opposite side has also bent, therefore must be jigged to ensure the frame is straight for repair.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby human909 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:20 pm

Duck! wrote:Then there's frame alignment. One of the tricks up carbon's sleeve is that it has no "plastic" deformation phase, in which if subject to a stress beyond its elastic limit (ability to spring back to original shape) the material stays bent; carbon is elastic right up to the point it breaks. So within reason, depending on the nature and extent of damage, it is self-aligning.


Wow! :mrgreen: You are pretty much correct in everything there.

But I'm amazed how impressively you managed to spin the benefits of being brittle as opposed to tough. :lol:

Next time I drop my glass cup on the floor I'll marvel about its ability to have limited plastic deformation as it shatters into thousands of pieces. Unlike a metal or plastic cup.

From a repairing point of view, you might have a point. Like glass it largely either broken/chipped or not. There is little room for "bent out of shape". But from a safety and usability point of view brittleness is rarely a desirable quality in structural elements. In fact it is often something deliberately avoided even to the point of sacrificing strength.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Lukeyboy » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:48 pm

Ah all the people here moaning about repairing carbon or steel. Give me a break hahahaha. Go outside and ride your bike rather than wasting your time here.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Duck! » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:54 pm

Comparing a glass cup, which is a homogenous material, with a carbon composite is hardly valid. While the carbon has no plastic phase, it is considerably more elastic than the glass, therefore is better able to absorb the impact of being dropped on the floor, and will bounce rather than shatter. Drop a heavy weight onto it and the results may be more similar between the two substances..... The resin component of a composite imparts certain properties of its own, particularly a certain degree of compressive compliance, which aids vibration damping.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Calvin27 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:32 am

Duck! wrote:Then there's frame alignment. One of the tricks up carbon's sleeve is that it has no "plastic" deformation phase, in which if subject to a stress beyond its elastic limit (ability to spring back to original shape) the material stays bent; carbon is elastic right up to the point it breaks. So within reason, depending on the nature and extent of damage, it is self-aligning. Metals have a plastic phase; if the stress has fractured, for example, a chainstay-to-bottom bracket weld, it's probable that the the stay has bent before breaking, and the opposite side has also bent, therefore must be jigged to ensure the frame is straight for repair.


I also mentioned a few pages back that it has no theoretical fatigue limit. That is you can keep stressing it over and over and it shouldn't ever develop cracks provided the specimen doesn't have flaws to begin with. Steels do have a fatigue limit and aluminium is even lower than steel (i.e. lss cycles before it develops cracks). For bicycles with high cyclical loading this is a pretty important property.
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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby g-boaf » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:50 am

Lukeyboy wrote:Ah all the people here moaning about repairing carbon or steel. Give me a break hahahaha. Go outside and ride your bike rather than wasting your time here.



Amen to that. I did do 36km yesterday in a hour while it wasn't raining. Hope for more today.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby silentC » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:54 am

Ride done and dusted for the day. Now I just have to sit here and moan about stuff all day whilst earning a living. If only I was good enough to get paid to ride a bike!
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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Comedian » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:58 pm

Calvin27 wrote:
Duck! wrote:Then there's frame alignment. One of the tricks up carbon's sleeve is that it has no "plastic" deformation phase, in which if subject to a stress beyond its elastic limit (ability to spring back to original shape) the material stays bent; carbon is elastic right up to the point it breaks. So within reason, depending on the nature and extent of damage, it is self-aligning. Metals have a plastic phase; if the stress has fractured, for example, a chainstay-to-bottom bracket weld, it's probable that the the stay has bent before breaking, and the opposite side has also bent, therefore must be jigged to ensure the frame is straight for repair.


I also mentioned a few pages back that it has no theoretical fatigue limit. That is you can keep stressing it over and over and it shouldn't ever develop cracks provided the specimen doesn't have flaws to begin with. Steels do have a fatigue limit and aluminium is even lower than steel (i.e. lss cycles before it develops cracks). For bicycles with high cyclical loading this is a pretty important property.


Sorry. That's incorrect. Steel and titanium do not have fatigue limits, as long as they are bent less than youngs modulus. Good frame builders will ensure that steel and titanium frames do not bend in normal use beyond this point - giving them indefinite life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young's_modulus

Aluminium on the other hand doesn't have this property. Each time it bends is one less time it can bend before it breaks. Good frame designers ensure that high stress aluminium parts don't bend so as to get around this.

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Re: Carbon bikes - environmental disaster?

Postby Comedian » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:59 pm

Lukeyboy wrote:Ah all the people here moaning about repairing carbon or steel. Give me a break hahahaha. Go outside and ride your bike rather than wasting your time here.

Killjoy! :mrgreen:

This mornings ride there was just the three of us. One alloy, one carbon, and one titanium. Not even one of them broke!

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