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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Downsides to carbon frame?

    I'm considering a carbon frame such as Cannondale Rush 3. How would you quantify or qualify the difference in ruggedness between carbon & alumimum? One dealer said carbon is for racers (implied only) because of its delicate nature. In the event of a crash how much WORSE (if at all) is the risk of carbon frame replacement vs. aluminum? How much does this matter to me considering I've not crashed in 2-1/2 seasons of enjoying the hobby & I don't race? Does any minor crash destroy a carbon frame?

    Questions posted/recommended by moderator Clyde in quotes followed by my reply:

    What type of riding do you intend to do?
    My favorite trail has fast steep long rutted rocky hills. After 2-1/2 seasons into the hobby only one minor incident at stop, R ankle bruise; nothing at speed. But...the longer I ride the faster & braver I get.

    Do you have a preference over a hardtail or full suspension?
    FS only; see riding conditions above.

    Age, weight and height; in many instances very important for a variety of reasons.
    Born '54, that's 19, NOT 18! Making me a tender 54, 230 lbs, 6-3, in good shape. I like dowhill speed but w/ a healthy safety margin.

    What sources will you consider buying from?
    Ebay &/or forums; an XL carbon won't turn up nearby. I may pay for a pre-purchase inspection at a shop local to the seller.

    Do you want people to offer you alternative suggestions?
    I'm completely sold on 650B wheels. I will either retrofit 650Bs to a used Cannondale or get the coming '10 Jamis FS 650B due (hopefully, are you reading this Jamis?) soon.
    Last edited by ro7939; 05-31-2009 at 01:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Former Bike Wrench
    Reputation: mtnbiker72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Early carbon had some issues and that reputation seems to have followed it even 10-15 years later. Super lightweight frames...aluminium or carbon are going to be fragile. But I've been using carbon components since 2000 and did once own a carbon frame (a 3.7lbs one, not a sub 3lbs one) and they all have survived numerous impacts over the years.

    I would not hesitate to ride a reasonably built (ie not racer boy unobtanium weight frame) carbon frame myself.
    Last edited by mtnbiker72; 05-31-2009 at 08:09 PM.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Thank you. I can't believe how rare are used XL mtn bikes/frames. I found a Rush XL frame only.

    The following are major components on my current ride:
    Shock: Fox Triad
    Fork: Fox 32 Float
    Crank: SRAM Stylo
    Shifters: SRAM X-7
    Derailleur R: SRAM X-9
    Brakelevers: Avid Juicy 5
    Handlebars: Tapered aluminum
    Derailleur F: Shimano Deora LX
    Brake calipers, rotors: Avid Juicy 5, F 203mm/R 185mm

    For a custom build: What is estimated highest price for parts equal to or better than above + all necessary unlisted parts including 650B wheel-tire set?

    Estimated highest cost for special tools for the build?

    Readers may notice I'm seeking a pessimistic/high estimate rather than the opposite.


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