carbon fiber lifetime
.. I have a great handlebar, BBB FiberTop bhb-14, and the manufacturer advised to use it 1 year, than to be replaced with a new one for safety reasons....this is my 3rd season I'm using it and the bar still works well , I don't notice any weaknesses, excessive bending or similar, and it has no scratches...
what do You think, how long can I use this carbon fiber bar, without the risk of breakage and of course rider injury?
I've always thought carbon bars didn't have to be changed frequently, like any others, unless damaged. Now maybe if they are some ultra-light racing version or something...Who knows.
2013 DeVinci Leo SL
2012 Niner Air9
2009 SE Racing SoCal Flyer
2003 TiSport Gman
Carbon fiber experiences no fatigue like metal does. So it can theoretically last as long as the integrity of the bar isn't challenged, as would happen in a crash or fall that damages the resin or fiber in the bar. The manufacturer is recommending you replace the bar so that they can sell more items.
(I'm not an expert, nor do I pretend to be one, so don't go blaming me if you break your bar one day and smash your face on the stem in the subsequent crash.)
I've made some bad decisions like taking the gears off my bike. So here's the warning: Do not as I say, nor as I do.
I would never buy a carbon part from a manufacturer who said to replace
it ever year. I think that is a rip-off outfit. I have some carbon bars that are
over 7 years old and still work fine.
Carbon will fatigue, just like anything. The resins and bonding agents break down, and clamping forces will weaken the component over time. Carbon, like anything else, is not perfect. Especially bicycle components, which are designed to be as light as possible. Lightweight carbon will fatigue quicker than heavier components.
That said, people should replace all aluminum parts within a year, as well. Few people actually do that, obviously. Part of the reason to replace carbon has to do with the inability to see structural damage. The internal weave can be damaged without any visual evidence, unlike steel or aluminum. If you've had a crash or overtightened the stem, it may be damaged.
Carbon has come a LONG WAY, since it first showed-up on MTB bikes. Earlier carbon was actually heavier than steel, because of the quality, quantity and type of resins then-used.
Even today, very few bike manufacturers take the time, cost and effort to make composite structures, using Aerospace-grade processes. I know a Motorsport Composites Engineer/Cyclist who told me Trek, Ritchey, Thomson, TIME, Giant, Parlee, and Cervelo produces the highest quality frames, with many weaving their own pre-peg carbon and employing strict, Aerospace-Certified manufacturing processes, which include FEA design principles.
"The mind will quit....well before the body does"
Replacing your aluminum frame at less than one year intervals and carbon frame at one year intervals is a bit ridiculous. Same with components.
Would be more helpful if they recommend an estimated number of usage hours before replacement. For most casual riders, it would take several years to equal a year of usage for a pro rider, so "replace yearly" is not helpful. Even more true if you have multiple bikes and only ride each one some percentage. In industries such as air frames, they track how many hours things have been used for scheduled replacement.
Guess it depends on your comfort factor, it's your collarbone at risk. The guidelines they publish are worst case scenarios, to limit their liability.
This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time.
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