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  1. #1
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    What is he maximum life span of Carbon frame?

    I intend to keep my Nomad carbon for life. Any idea how long carbon frame can last without losing it's frame integrity? I keep hearing 3 years for carbon and 5 years for aluminum. It is a myth or fact?

  2. #2
    AZ
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    A lot depends upon how it is used and taken care of, there are many carbon frames around that are far older than 3 years old.

  3. #3
    Jungle rider
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    It can last forever as long as it won't receive a direct impact strong enough as to crack the carbon fibers. So the answer is: It depends on the use.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    A lot depends upon how it is used and taken care of, there are many carbon frames around that are far older than 3 years old.
    And how it was made.

    There is no one answer.
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  5. #5
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    I was told that carbon doesn't fatigue like alu does. The down tube of my Heckler cracked nearly all the way round after two years of hard trail riding and was told that would not have happened if it had been carbon. Now on a Mojo for the past two years.............and seen on the Ibis forum that there are guys riding Mojos 5 years old

  6. #6
    newless cluebie
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    My girlfriend's father still rides his OCLV Trek road bike.. from 1993. Carbon tubes, aluminum lugs.
    My Trifecta: Rocky Mountain Flatline Pro, Rocky Mountain Slayer SXC70, eBay Carbon Hardtail

  7. #7
    Kiwi that Flew
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    And how it was made.
    .
    I have had 2 Trek Fuel main triangles break, both in their first and second year respectively, but have had a Turner Flux since Jan 2006 which is still going strong.

    The Flux has had a far more active life than the Treks ever had and has even done a week in the Alps doing La PassPorte Du Soleil. (Both the Trek and the Turner frames are the same weight around 5.4 lbs).

    So +1 for how it was made...
    +1 who made it...
    +1 for how you ride it...

    I have a 18 year old aluminium hardtail that I did downhill races on back in the day. Still going strong (though the Manitou 3 forks have seised, so it is now fully rigid).

  8. #8
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    I see, not all carbon frames are made equal. I think Santa Cruz Nomad carbon is one of the better build in the market.

    I am not a hardcore rider, only ride once a week on trails - doing small jumps and riding on rock gardens (short section), climbing hills and clearing technical obstacles along the way. Intend to keep it as my life long partner. hopefully it could last as long as I wanted.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris9888 View Post
    Intend to keep it as my life long partner.
    That's quite a commitment, do you know what mtb's were like 10 years ago? That will likely be old school or tired before it breaks, barring any accidents. Don't be that guy riding a Trek Y bike in 2011.

  10. #10
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    We discuss these things to see whay bikes are most durable and why. A first generation Heckler my buddy owned he just sold for $1100 Cdn. He did drops hardass trails etc. It was a great bike. What I'm aiming at is - arent there any custom frame builders around that are willing to make a STEEL AM frame that is like a more current 6 - 7 inch travel that we know wont break. That we know that once we trick it out we can just go ride instead of weight weenieing?

  11. #11
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    And how it was made.

    There is no one answer.
    An article on the differences in carbon frames:

    Are All Carbon Bikes Created Equal? | Cycling Tips
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  12. #12
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    I been riding my Trek 8700 composite since new in 1995 and no frame issues whatsoever. Original rear derailleur shifter broke, and flats from goatheads too numerous to count. That is is it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dumbaSS View Post
    Don't be that guy riding a Trek Y bike in 2011.
    A nice bike ten years ago is still a nice bike today, don't believe the marketing.

    Speaking of which, I've got a pre-1990 Raleigh sitting in my basement, most reliable bike I've owned. All this high performance stuff is a lot of work, sometimes it's nice to just go out and ride a bike.

    Wouldn't want to try a drop on it though...

  14. #14
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    I still ride my '92 Cadex.
    On the trails until '08, on the streets after that.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 74hc View Post
    I been riding my Trek 8700 composite since new in 1995 and no frame issues whatsoever. Original rear derailleur shifter broke, and flats from goatheads too numerous to count. That is is it.
    Same story here;
    Fisher OCLV since 1995, been through many drive trains, wore out a few Sid's, and several wheelsets (canti brakes)... still going strong. Of note, I was an extreamly strong and aggressive rider when I first got the bike... still aggressive... not near as strong.
    My bike, Slayer 70

  16. #16
    livin' large
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    Quote Originally Posted by marsupilami View Post
    I still ride my '92 Cadex.
    On the trails until '08, on the streets after that.
    me too! except it got off the trail (for the most part in 03). Love that frame even better as a single speed frankenbike
    it tied the room together man!

  17. #17
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    Stlll riding a 1995 OCLV Trek 9800. It spent majority of hard riding years in the Sierra Mtns. till '05 where it is now relegated to commute and skinny tire dirt crits. Only caveat was "glue" for bonding lugs, but this was not a problem for me, only it holding the aluminum BB shell; warrantied quick.




    .

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by canadian-clydesdale View Post
    Love that frame even better as a single speed frankenbike
    Next step, as soon as I stop pulling the kids on the trailer.

  19. #19
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    The lifespan of the Carbon fibers is probably 1,000 years.
    The lifespan of the epoxy holding the fibers together is probably 100+ years.
    If you drive over it with a car..... well....... it's done.
    Materials Science Engineer

  20. #20
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  21. #21
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    With no crash damage, assuming its well built, it should last indefinitely. There is no carbon frame fatigue. There is the issue of resin deterioration, if the manufacturer used resin that does not stand up to sun or use. I have seen carbon and fiberglass fishing rods over 20 years old that are used in extremely high load situations. Works fine. I've also seens rods that got a little nick, and under light use just exploded into little pieces.

    Consider this, there are now airplane wings in commercial service that are a composite of carbon, metal and adhesives. No problem, most of the time. And those things go under millions of service hours. I just rode a 1993 Fisher Procaliber OCLV a few weeks ago. No problem. But none of that means you'll never have a problem. It's a risk you have to decided if youre willing to accept.

    Personally, I would inspect a carbon frame regularly if I owned one. A couple times a year, just for my own peace of mind.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bing! View Post
    Personally, I would inspect a carbon frame regularly if I owned one. A couple times a year, just for my own peace of mind.


    Personally, I inspect ALL my frames a few times a year - no matter what material we are talking about

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    Personally, I inspect ALL my frames a few times a year - no matter what material we are talking about
    Same here, but by just going off the posts that I seen and read on this forum. I see way more Alloy frames cracking than CF. I honestly check the welds on my alloy bike more than my CF.

    Just my humble observation.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    Personally, I inspect ALL my frames a few times a year - no matter what material we are talking about
    you sound like a compulsive bike washer

    yeah, me too. I do an inspection every time the bike goes on the stand.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bing! View Post
    you sound like a compulsive bike washer

    yeah, me too. I do an inspection every time the bike goes on the stand.
    There is NOTHING wrong with cleanliness. I even throw my drivetrain (cassette, crankset) in the dishwasher several times a year to get it all sparkly and brand new looking.

  26. #26
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    I want/expect my frame to last [under normal use] until the suspension wears out beyond the point of servicing it. Aftermarket suspension is expensive enough that I think after 5-8yrs of use I'd prefer to get a new bike with the latest suspension design/parts as well as a fresh drivetrain, wheels and brakes.

    I'm on year 4 with a Nomad AL it gets ridden year round in BC and it's going strong. I would guess I could get another 2 to 4 yrs before the fork and shock are worn out. That seems reasonable to me. The frame might still be good, but I can't see dumping $1500 of new suspension bits onto a 6-8yr old bike that will probably need new brakes and a new drivetrain as well.

    That bike could also die in a crash much sooner. No way to know. I just gotta ride it and see what happens.
    Safe riding,

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by 74hc View Post
    I been riding my Trek 8700 composite since new in 1995 and no frame issues whatsoever. Original rear derailleur shifter broke, and flats from goatheads too numerous to count. That is is it.
    One of my riding buddies has the same frame of about the same vintage that he still takes on trails that I ride my Nomad on.

    So, not only is that long lasting, but todays carbon tech is much better than it was back then.

  28. #28
    GAME ON!
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    the question is how long do you want it to last? do you want to be riding a 6 year old bike, or do you want to buy a new one? bike life for me personally is almost irrelevant. i'm on my 4th different frame since 2007.
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  29. #29
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    I expect to keep my bikes for 3 to 6 years, depending on current bike tech at the time. I collect old bikes. From what I have seen, suspension, geo and componentry was stable inside the following ranges, and advanced significantly between these ranges. 1983-1990, 1991-1996, 1996-2002ish, 2003-2007, 2008 to present.

    looking at examples of bikes in these ranges, you will notice marked differences.

    Just a rough guesstimate.

  30. #30
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    I have a 2008 carbon frame I'm riding. I don't
    plan on getting rid of it, so if and when I do I'll
    report it. I plan on riding it forever.

  31. #31
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    My understanding is that the suns UV rays break down carbon more than any other normal wear and tear.

    That said I'm riding an 06 Mojo and weigh around 2 bills plus gear.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJDude View Post
    My understanding is that the suns UV rays break down carbon more than any other normal wear and tear.

    That said I'm riding an 06 Mojo and weigh around 2 bills plus gear.
    Its the resin that is affected if it does not incorporate UV protection. Naked carbon is more susceptible to this vs. painted.

  33. #33
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    Personally, I inspect ALL my frames a few times a year - no matter what material we are talking about
    This. I'm very regular with throwing the bikes in the stand, tweaking things, etc.

    On my first crabone fibre frame now, and really digging it. (Blur TRc) Granted, it's also a different suspension design than I've ridden before. Very stiff, very controlled feeling.

    After the first ride, no worries. No qualms about throwing it into the same lines as my old frames, and in fact, it feels even better - hitting things fast and hard with it is sweet!
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  34. #34
    r00
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    I had a carbon Mongoose IBOC Team SX from 1996. Snapped the seat tube near the BB in 2000 (my own fault, that frame was not built to do North Shore riding), and bought a carbon GT XCR STS 1000 after, that thing lasted from like 2001 to last year! Of course it never did any huge jumps or anything extreme, it was purely an XC machine, and a heavy one at that. All the new bikes with the new carbon prepreg are way better! Man, tech has changed so much.

  35. #35
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    I think it will last a very long time! have you seen the santa cruz video from pink bike... where they drop all sorts of weights on the frame...? I dont think you will have any worries after seeing it.
    search for :
    Pinkbike Visits The Santa Cruz Test Lab Video - YouTube

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