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  1. #1
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    Is my Carbon frame cracked alredy?

    So I got a 2013 Camber Comp Carbon 4 days ago. Have taken it up riding 3 times. Short rides (5-6 mi) since it is getting dark so early. I was checking it over and noticed two lines I had never seen before (it is possible I just never noticed them). If you run your finger across it, it is totally smooth. Either my frame is cracked or this is some lamination overlap that just showed up as an imperfection. I weigh 185, well below the limit Specialized recomends. No big drops or anything (although it SHOULD be able to take big drops). I would normally be freaking out but I do have a lifetime warranty. Any carbon experts wanna weigh in?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is my Carbon frame cracked alredy?-100_6357.jpg  

    Is my Carbon frame cracked alredy?-100_6359.jpg  

    Is my Carbon frame cracked alredy?-100_6358.jpg  


  2. #2
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    When you run your finger over it, you said it's smooth? Hmm, I'd bring it back to the lbs and have them take a look for sure. Is your lbs a Specialized dealer? If it still feel smooth it should not be something that you've caused. Anyone at the shop said it's ok, I'd take the phone camera and ask them to say it again on the record. You can also ask Specialized directly.

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    Something isn't right there.. Either they patched the frame or its a crack..

  4. #4
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    It doesn't look any different from my frame, and I've been riding mine for over 1 yr. Your looking at unidirectional carbon layers.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbogrover View Post
    It doesn't look any different from my frame, and I've been riding mine for over 1 yr. Your looking at unidirectional carbon layers.
    Unidirectional carbon layers? I will have to Google that. So far I have mixed votes on what it is.I will keep an eye on it and see if it gets bigger. Does yours have other "cracks" like this?

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    It looks like depth to me in the picture and not a unidirectional difference in greyness of color..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by distro View Post
    It looks like depth to me in the picture and not a unidirectional difference in greyness of color..
    Depth? I am gonna take it out tomorrow for a light trrail ride and see if it grows or changes.

  8. #8
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    It's the outer layer of carbon so it could have been sloppy work and not effecting the frame integrity since it finishes smoothly.

    If that's the case it's just poor workmanship and not defect. Which from what I read your op that may be the case. Because if you crack it from the top it would not be smooth and if the inner core crack it would feel even worse.


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    Last edited by mimi1885; 11-03-2012 at 10:35 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    It's the outer layer of carbon so I could have been sloppy work and not effecting the frame integrity since it finish smoothly.

    If that's the case it's just poor workmanship and not defect. Which from what I read your op that may be the case. Because if you crack it from the top it would not be smooth and if the inner core crack it would feel even worse.


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    I appreciate the in sight. No sense in worrying too much but it still kinda erks me. I will take in to my lbs if it grows.

  10. #10
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    There is nothing wrong with your frame.
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  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=NoahColorado;9841053]There is nothing wrong with your frame.[/QU

    I hope so. Maybe I am just being a paranoid turd.

  12. #12
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    Took it out and pounded it pretty good and it hasn't changed.

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    Still, you should take it to the shop so that they are at least aware of your concern. It's not likely to be on any file, so to speak, but still.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehigh View Post
    Still, you should take it to the shop so that they are at least aware of your concern. It's not likely to be on any file, so to speak, but still.
    You are probably right. I will bring it in just so they at least know about it. Thanks

  15. #15
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    why are soo many people paranoid over carbon. there is nothing wrong with your frame, that is just how the fibers were laid.
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  16. #16
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    I did take it in. Appears to be nothing. So far the bike has been great.

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    Could you confirm which part of the frame we're looking at here? Agonizing over carbon layup seems pretty important. This frame seems to violate several known composite layup techniques. There shouldn't be what appear to be butt joints of layers and "shingled" layers with abrupt run out.
    Contrary to what people on here seem to be saying, the outer layer is very important. The inside of a carbon bike seems to be where it's a rough and sloppy mess. Often the inner layers are basically dry of resin.
    Assuming that a bike has poor inner layup and questionable outer is reason for concern.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaboo View Post
    Could you confirm which part of the frame we're looking at here? Agonizing over carbon layup seems pretty important. This frame seems to violate several known composite layup techniques. There shouldn't be what appear to be butt joints of layers and "shingled" layers with abrupt run out.
    Contrary to what people on here seem to be saying, the outer layer is very important. The inside of a carbon bike seems to be where it's a rough and sloppy mess. Often the inner layers are basically dry of resin.
    Assuming that a bike has poor inner layup and questionable outer is reason for concern.
    This is looking down on the top tube as if you were riding it. You can see the from shocks below it. As I mentioned it is smooth to the touch. I have taken it out and ridden it pretty hard maybe 5 times since I noticed this and it has not changed.
    I took it in and talked to the shop owner and he said it was nothing to worry about. He does have it on record that I went in and spoke to him about it in case it gives me troubles down the line. Also, the lifetime warranty keeps me sleeping soundly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    This is looking down on the top tube as if you were riding it. You can see the from shocks below it. As I mentioned it is smooth to the touch. I have taken it out and ridden it pretty hard maybe 5 times since I noticed this and it has not changed.
    I took it in and talked to the shop owner and he said it was nothing to worry about. He does have it on record that I went in and spoke to him about it in case it gives me troubles down the line. Also, the lifetime warranty keeps me sleeping soundly.
    I'd love to know what their explanation is for it. The frame looks more like it's filament wound
    rather than unidirectional.
    The defect actually looks remarkably like buffalo horn after two bulls have collided head on.
    I hope you're not playing your own lifetime warranty against the lifetime warranty of the frame.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaboo View Post
    I'd love to know what their explanation is for it. The frame looks more like it's filament wound
    rather than unidirectional.
    The defect actually looks remarkably like buffalo horn after two bulls have collided head on.
    I hope you're not playing your own lifetime warranty against the lifetime warranty of the frame.
    You really think it's that bad? I am taking it in today get my tubeless tires. I will bring it up again with them. It is smooth to the touch also.

  21. #21
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    Well, it isn't very pretty but if it is smooth my call is that it is okay. I'll bet it was there when you got it; who stares at their downtube?
    I don't rattle.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    Well, it isn't very pretty but if it is smooth my call is that it is okay. I'll bet it was there when you got it; who stares at their downtube?
    Who stares at their downtube? The guy who spent $3000+ on a china carbon frame with expensive decals?

    I don't know what a 2013 Spesh carbon bike goes for but I would be pissed if I paid retail for a bike and the frame looked like that. Just sayin...

  23. #23
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    I am pretty sure it's the finish. Whatever they use to make it look glossy and "shimmery" . My LBS basically told me that. However, it is on record I went in there and this forum is evidence too if down the line it does turn into something and Specialized wants to toy with me.

  24. #24
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    Assuming this flaw is not at or close to the joint of you seat or head tube, I donít think you need to worry about the frame failing. With that said, considering what you paid for the bike, if it was me I would request a replacement frame. At best this flaw is poor workmanship and bad quality control.

  25. #25
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    Dang, there is whole lot of carbon manufacturing ignorance in this thread.
    It's like reading all the goofy opinions in the 29er and 650b threads.

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    Carbon frames are constructed from many thousands of
    strips of carbon of various sizes. On raw frames this is visually
    apparent but is not a cause for concern

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    Quote Originally Posted by 410sprint View Post
    Assuming this flaw is not at or close to the joint of you seat or head tube, I donít think you need to worry about the frame failing. With that said, considering what you paid for the bike, if it was me I would request a replacement frame. At best this flaw is poor workmanship and bad quality control.
    Really?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by 410sprint View Post
    Assuming this flaw is not at or close to the joint of you seat or head tube, I donít think you need to worry about the frame failing. With that said, considering what you paid for the bike, if it was me I would request a replacement frame. At best this flaw is poor workmanship and bad quality control.
    Quote Originally Posted by smellurfingers View Post
    Carbon frames are constructed from many thousands of strips of carbon of various sizes. On raw frames this is visually apparent but is not a cause for concern
    Quote Originally Posted by smellurfingers View Post
    Really?
    I own my fair share of carbon Mtb frames and components of course they are different in designs and how they were made, I'd conceded that the pic is just one spot and not necessary explain the whole pic but it does not look very pleasing. Sure it's would function the same but come on, after "thousands of strips of carbon of various sizes" what's a few more on the outer layer to make it look good huh?

    At the end of the day that pic alone, it sure looks like Spech dropped the ball. I don't think I've seen Spech carbon frame like that before.

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    Maybe the "carbon experts" should chime in...
    Carbon frames may be manufactured from thousands of "strands" and certainly individual fibres but not "strips".
    I'm not sure how a clearcoat finish can give the illusion that the entire depth of the matrix looks like there are plate tectonics going on.
    It certainly is inexcusable shoddy appearing work.

  30. #30
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    Does your bar end or brake lever "hit" your top tube near there?
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Does your bar end or brake lever "hit" your top tube near there?
    No, the handlebars and brakes dont touch no matter how much your turn the wheel in. I hammered the piss out of it riding today on some pretty technical trails and nothing has changed. The whole tiop tube has a funky finish where you can see lines across it though. If you guys are interest I can upload some more pics but yeah, I am not too worried about it anymore. Gonna gkeep an eye on it though. If I notice anything change I will report back

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    agree with those who say the frame is fine but if I paid Specialized money, I want specialized finish. If you paid $300 for chinese no name carbon it would be expected. FWIW, my chinese carbon road wheels look great and have worked flawlessly for a year at my 250lbs so I'm strongly considering going that route for a 29er frame.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    agree with those who say the frame is fine but if I paid Specialized money, I want specialized finish. If you paid $300 for chinese no name carbon it would be expected. FWIW, my chinese carbon road wheels look great and have worked flawlessly for a year at my 250lbs so I'm strongly considering going that route for a 29er frame.
    Yes, I agree. Although I imagine a year after riding it will have many batte scars. It can only look pretty so long. In fact, it's already got a nice coat of dirt on most of it. I would recomend the carbon frame. So far I have enjoyed the stiffness and response from it. Loving the bike so far, even though I only have about 40 miles on it.

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    I've seen those on UD carbon frames including high-end Scotts. I stripped and repainted a Scale Ltd. frame (lost about 50 grams) and I've seen some parts of the frame that looked like that. They usually cover these parts with thin black paint before the designs and the final coating. In contrast, 3K and 12K carbon frame have these unusual surfaces covered by the final 3K and 12K layer and are designed minimally under the top coat to show most of the carbon weave look that carbon parts have been famous with. No need to worry about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    I own my fair share of carbon Mtb frames and components of course they are different in designs and how they were made, I'd conceded that the pic is just one spot and not necessary explain the whole pic but it does not look very pleasing. Sure it's would function the same but come on, after "thousands of strips of carbon of various sizes" what's a few more on the outer layer to make it look good huh?

    At the end of the day that pic alone, it sure looks like Spech dropped the ball. I don't think I've seen Spech carbon frame like that before.
    Some manufacturers go exclusively with a raw frame, some offer a weave outer coat as an option, or even paint them. Me, I like the raw look, strips, sand marks etc, as long as you can;t feel anything to the touch. I haven't paid much attention to SPecialized frames, but I would imagine if you look close at the shock mounts, head tube, or any type of gusset area you can make these strips out it out if it isn't painted.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaboo View Post
    Maybe the "carbon experts" should chime in...
    Carbon frames may be manufactured from thousands of "strands" and certainly individual fibres but not "strips".
    I'm not sure how a clearcoat finish can give the illusion that the entire depth of the matrix looks like there are plate tectonics going on.
    It certainly is inexcusable shoddy appearing work.

    Nope, there's strips of carbon laid up on the frame.

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    Nothing structurally wrong with the frame. The person who did the carbon layup just laid a little too much uindirectional fabric in that ply and it sorta conformed to the edge of the next ply when they vac/pressure-molded it and it ends up looking wrinkled along a strip. All the carbon in the frame is hand laid so expect to see this type of cosmetic issues. This is especially obvious near the tube joints because most "monocoque" carbon frames are usually pieced together from several smaller chunks of frame.

    I'm surprised that the builder did not put down a "pretty" decorative ply like a 1x1-12k or 2x2-3k twill (that familiar checker pattern) so that the pretty layer shows through the gel coat and you don't see the problems like this. Could have also put in a little black dye in the gel coat to make darken the color (but still a little transparent to show the CF) of the frame and hide stuff like this.

    -S

    BTW, structural carbon fiber is usually laid up using mixed sheets of woven and unidirectional "prepreg" (carbon fiber with semi-activated epoxy). With complex shapes like what we have on bikes, these sheets are cut up into smaller strips and then laid up (built up in layers) so technically "strips" is correct.

    The other method is the "tape" method where a continuous unidirectional tow of carbon fiber (0.5" to 6" wide depending on what is being made) is "wound" on a pre-formed mandrel core form. This tape can be pre-preg tape or wet laid (this is supposedly what Spesh currently does - but dont quote me on this because I cant remember where I read about their methodology).

    P.S. If you didn't already realize it, I do a good amount of composites work in my engineering company.
    Last edited by shibiwan; 11-23-2012 at 10:19 PM.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    Nothing structurally wrong with the frame. The person who did the carbon layup just laid a little too much uindirectional fabric in that ply and it sorta conformed to the edge of the next ply when they vac/pressure-molded it and it ends up looking wrinkled along a strip. All the carbon in the frame is hand laid so expect to see this type of cosmetic issues. This is especially obvious near the tube joints because most "monocoque" carbon frames are usually pieced together from several smaller chunks of frame.

    I'm surprised that the builder did not put down a "pretty" decorative ply like a 1x1-12k or 2x2-3k twill (that familiar checker pattern) so that the pretty layer shows through the gel coat and you don't see the problems like this. Could have also put in a little black dye in the gel coat to make darken the color (but still a little transparent to show the CF) of the frame and hide stuff like this.

    -S

    BTW, structural carbon fiber is usually laid up using mixed sheets of woven and unidirectional "prepreg" (carbon fiber with semi-activated epoxy). With complex shapes like what we have on bikes, these sheets are cut up into smaller strips and then laid up (built up in layers) so technically "strips" is correct.

    The other method is the "tape" method where a continuous unidirectional tow of carbon fiber (0.5" to 6" wide depending on what is being made) is "wound" on a pre-formed mandrel core form. This tape can be pre-preg tape or wet laid (this is supposedly what Spesh currently does - but dont quote me on this because I cant remember where I read about their methodology).

    P.S. If you didn't already realize it, I do a good amount of composites work in my engineering company.
    Thanks for re-assurance. So far the bike has been great and I love the carbon frame. I have been keeping an eye on it but nothing has changed. I have ridden it pretty hard. This glorious pic was from yesterday. I did not even scratch the bike but my side sure is black and blue right now haha.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is my Carbon frame cracked alredy?-untitled2.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    Thanks for re-assurance. So far the bike has been great and I love the carbon frame. I have been keeping an eye on it but nothing has changed. I have ridden it pretty hard. This glorious pic was from yesterday. I did not even scratch the bike but my side sure is black and blue right now haha.
    OUCH!!! Hope you feel better.

    I took a nasty spill 3 weeks ago while going downhill. The roadrash (or trailrash) and bruising is mostly healed/healing but I still have a large swelling on my left hip about the size of my palm and it still aches. As you'd expect, I have not ridden much since then (I only averaged 10-12 miles last week instead of 40+).

    Maybe I'm getting too old for this.

    Whatever you do, keep the carbon frame as dry as possible. If you ever end up riding in mud/rain or anything that gets the frame wet, dry it off after the ride. Store the bike in a dry place, out of the sun. Water/humidity is the biggest enemy of carbon fiber composites. Take care of the frame and it'll last 30 years assuming you don't smash it before that with stunts like the one above.

    -S

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    Whatever you do, keep the carbon frame as dry as possible. If you ever end up riding in mud/rain or anything that gets the frame wet, dry it off after the ride. Store the bike in a dry place, out of the sun. Water/humidity is the biggest enemy of carbon fiber composites. Take care of the frame and it'll last 30 years assuming you don't smash it before that with stunts like the one above.

    -S
    Really? I didn't know this. How does the humidity affect it? Is it the resin? I just keep my bikes hanging in the garage. I don't expect to keep them 30 years though, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by turbogrover View Post
    Really? I didn't know this. How does the humidity affect it? Is it the resin? I just keep my bikes hanging in the garage. I don't expect to keep them 30 years though, lol.
    There are 2 factors:

    1. Water acts as a plasticizer for the resin and will cause resin to degrade faster than anything (no, it won't happen overnight - it could take years). Most well-made carbon fiber parts are made with a water-resistant gel coat that helps protect the cabon-resin matrix but it is not totally waterproof.

    2. Carbon fiber is electrically conductive and when used with bonded aluminum inserts it presents a problem unless precautions are taken to stabilize the galvanic effects at the bonded interface. Cracks or imperfections in the gel coat (often found close to aluminum inserts like the BB and the head tube) allow some water into the carbon-aluminum interface and act as an electrolyte that corrodes the aluminum pretty quick if not taken care of (you can see this within a month or two in a bad situation like salt water). In aerospace and automotive use, proper prep of the aluminum is needed to passivate or electrically insulate inserts (phosphating, nickel plating, or fiberglass base layer).

    Unfortunately I have not seen this type of protection being done on bikes. I may be totally wrong here, but I have not dissected any carbon frames to be completely sure of this. Anyone want to donate one for dissection?

    Sorry for the long rambling post....Just to be on the safe side, the advice with most carbon fiber products is to keep them dry as much as possible. A little heat to keep it warm and dry doesn't hurt either (most carbon fiber products are cured above 200F).

    -S

  42. #42
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    I'd put the dropper post on your list of upgrade


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    I have a dropper post on it. I just didn't drop it in time. Accidents are usually rider errors and well, I made an error.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    OUCH!!! Hope you feel better.

    I took a nasty spill 3 weeks ago while going downhill. The roadrash (or trailrash) and bruising is mostly healed/healing but I still have a large swelling on my left hip about the size of my palm and it still aches. As you'd expect, I have not ridden much since then (I only averaged 10-12 miles last week instead of 40+).

    Maybe I'm getting too old for this.

    Whatever you do, keep the carbon frame as dry as possible. If you ever end up riding in mud/rain or anything that gets the frame wet, dry it off after the ride. Store the bike in a dry place, out of the sun. Water/humidity is the biggest enemy of carbon fiber composites. Take care of the frame and it'll last 30 years assuming you don't smash it before that with stunts like the one above.

    -S
    I keep all my bikes in my basement out of the elements when not riding. I live in Wyoming so getting my bike is pretty rare. Occasionally I will ride in light rain, or ride through some snow but excessive moisture is almost never an issue here.

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    My activities (biking, surfing, kitesurfing and fishing) involve a lot of carbon fiber gear and my stuff is used hard and put away wet. From my experience, water and humidity are no biggie but heat and UV/sunlight is a factor. Here in Florida you do not want to leave your board in the car in the summertime as high temps will cause some bad mojo on carbon layups. Also the biggest damage to carbon in fishing gear and surfboards results from too much time in the sun.

    Riding that carbon frame in full daylight is no worry but leaving a carbon lamination out in extended heat and direct sun will age it more than a thousand wipeouts!

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    Quote Originally Posted by smellurfingers View Post
    Nope, there's strips of carbon laid up on the frame.
    My point is that there may be strips, but not "thousands" of them.
    Nobody seems to have actually defined which method was used to make this frame. the vague crisscross of lines makes it look like a filament wound frame apart from the dramatic dead ends of the supposed unidirectional layers.
    Bottom line is that if this is acceptable then all the endless marketing spiel about the complexity of carbon lay-up and the importance of fiber orientation is a load of BS,
    This frame looks like a. spider web spun by a spider on acid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaboo View Post
    My point is that there may be strips, but not "thousands" of them.
    Nobody seems to have actually defined which method was used to make this frame. the vague crisscross of lines makes it look like a filament wound frame apart from the dramatic dead ends of the supposed unidirectional layers.
    Bottom line is that if this is acceptable then all the endless marketing spiel about the complexity of carbon lay-up and the importance of fiber orientation is a load of BS,
    This frame looks like a. spider web spun by a spider on acid.
    It's unidirectional prepreg. The criscross is actually the interface of to plies. the first ply goes from top left to bottom right, and the ply under it goes from bottom left to top right.

    Directional carbon fiber layup is critical (I had to write a program to calculate theoretical strength of the layup configuration for grad school that I still use today) however there are so many human factors affecting the actual layup. This is why a statistical models are used to predict the final strength of the composite part. the question now is what happens when the construction is outsourced to a 3rd party... especially when they are overseas...

    -S

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaboo View Post
    My point is that there may be strips, but not "thousands" of them.
    Nobody seems to have actually defined which method was used to make this frame. the vague crisscross of lines makes it look like a filament wound frame apart from the dramatic dead ends of the supposed unidirectional layers.
    Bottom line is that if this is acceptable then all the endless marketing spiel about the complexity of carbon lay-up and the importance of fiber orientation is a load of BS,
    This frame looks like a. spider web spun by a spider on acid.
    It's strips. You don't have to like it, but it is what it is. The woven or detail-less finish you see on some carbon frames is for aesthetics only.

    I don't know what you mean by complexities, I've never heard a carbon frame described that way, but they are stronger and stiffer. This is a fact.

  49. #49
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    Please read more carefully. The frame may be made of strips but not "thousands" of them.
    By complex I mean the theories about fiber orientation of each ply.
    Presumably they are laid up in a set pattern.
    This has nothing to do with my like of the bike or stiffness of frames etc. I'm not sure where you're getting that idea.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaboo View Post
    Please read more carefully. The frame may be made of strips but not "thousands" of them.
    By complex I mean the theories about fiber orientation of each ply.
    Presumably they are laid up in a set pattern.
    This has nothing to do with my like of the bike or stiffness of frames etc. I'm not sure where you're getting that idea.
    They are not laid up in a set pattern. There is a general way they are positioned, but it depends on the manufacturer and specific point strength requirements that will vary from frame to frame. More strips are used in areas that need to be reinforced.

    The direction of the carbon in the strips is uniform, but they are laid up it different directions, that is sort of random in exactness. This is where much of the strength comes from.

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