Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    118

    Carbon Fiber Life Span

    Excluding something being broken, how long (time and mileage) do you think a full carbon fiber bike will last?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,433
    Excluding broken? I've seen Trek carbon bikes broken in their first month with a slight crash. That's like asking how long can I go without brushing my teeth, well plenty long if you don't eat. In labs carbon fatigue goes into the 10,000 (or more) stresses, but in reality, the non testable variables dramatically shorten life.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    118
    Yea right, and if you don't jump off the roof you probably won't break your legs!

    OK, but what I am after is what people's direct experience has been with longevity of carbon fiber WITHOUT breakage. Almost all materials fatigue overtime and usage, excluding impacts from wrecking, how long has this material held up? 3 years, 5 years?

    I know there are some highly skilled, very trained, competitive riders who read this forum, who ride full carbon fiber bikes, and who don't wreck often. I want to get their feedback.

  4. #4
    Formerly of Kent
    Reputation: Le Duke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2,388
    I've had mine for three years now. No problems.

    I've seen 20 year old Trek CF road frames, used on gravel and cobbles 6 or more days a week, every day of the year.

    This question is more or less not answerable, though. I can't tell you when my frame will break until it actually does. Nobody knows the lifetime of modern carbon fiber bikes. They could last 2 years, or 20 years.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    118
    I understand Le Duke the question is highly ambiguous by nature. But your input helps! Three years is a good bit of time if you ride a lot. Thanks!

  6. #6
    LMN
    LMN is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,432
    With Carbon (I think) you are either going to have problems fairly soon (first 1000 miles) or not at all. They seem to have much better life span than the old racing aluminum frames. Those I found three years to be tops.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    118
    Thanks LMN for your input!

    The reason I am asking this question is because I have a full OCLV 2011 Trek Superfly 100 that is coming to the end of its second season (purchased in April of 2012). I had a warranty replacement of the original front triangle because of a small crack at the seat tube gusset. Trek replaced it with a 2012 PRO front. I have a spare set of chain and seatstays which I thought I might keep just in case (Trek has a 3 year warranty on these while the front is lifetime). I have ridden the suspension, brakes, and stays for about 7,000 to 8,000 total miles. Everything else (bushings, bearings, rings, chains, etc) has been replaced or upgraded along the way. It was rebuilt once at the end of the first year.

    I am wondering if I should replace it or ride one more season with some upgrades (XX1? Brakes?) and another total rebuild (including all bushings and bearings). It will need a full FOX suspension rebuilt front and back also. So is it worth the money to replace it or rebuild/upgrade it?

    (BTW, I do race it!)

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    35
    Back when I was flying carbon aerobatic airplanes, the saying was that if "it" will take the load once, it will take it a million times. The technology has been advanced significantly since, and I have not heard of any carbon bike that has "worn out". (manufacturing defects notwithstanding)

  9. #9
    zrm
    zrm is online now
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    4,515
    Got five years and around 18,000 miles out of my S-Works Epic. No issues with the frame and I beat the crap out of it too. I was skeptical of carbon for an MTB frame material but now I'm a believer.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    118
    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Got five years and around 18,000 miles out of my S-Works Epic. No issues with the frame and I beat the crap out of it too. I was skeptical of carbon for an MTB frame material but now I'm a believer.
    This is fantastic! 18K is no small number. Five years is two more than most AL frames would yield and I doubt if most AL frames could go 18K miles either.

    Thank you!

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 7daysaweek's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1,366
    No where near 18k miles on mine but I have about 3000 on my bike over the last year and a half. I've had a few mild wrecks on it and have scuffed it but no major damage sustained. It's also go a set of carbon bars on it that's been around for probably about double that on other bikes and has no signs of any real wear/damage.

    In my (limited) experience it seems like barring a MAJOR impact or a sharp object carbon stuff can take a lot of abuse.

    What will probably wear out before the frame is my ability to resist buying a new bike. Sounds like you're in a position where you could replace it and that would at least give me an excuse to start shopping. If you find something you like as much/better then it all comes down to whether or not you want to spend the money. If you're going to upgrade your current bike anyway I'd probably just talk myself into starting fresh with a new frame.

  12. #12
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
    Reputation: Zachariah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,312

    2012 Superfly 100 Pro is the refined result....

    Quote Originally Posted by beastmaster View Post
    Thanks LMN for your input!

    The reason I am asking this question is because I have a full OCLV 2011 Trek Superfly 100 that is coming to the end of its second season (purchased in April of 2012). I had a warranty replacement of the original front triangle because of a small crack at the seat tube gusset. Trek replaced it with a 2012 PRO front. I have a spare set of chain and seatstays which I thought I might keep just in case (Trek has a 3 year warranty on these while the front is lifetime). I have ridden the suspension, brakes, and stays for about 7,000 to 8,000 total miles. Everything else (bushings, bearings, rings, chains, etc) has been replaced or upgraded along the way. It was rebuilt once at the end of the first year.

    I am wondering if I should replace it or ride one more season with some upgrades (XX1? Brakes?) and another total rebuild (including all bushings and bearings). It will need a full FOX suspension rebuilt front and back also. So is it worth the money to replace it or rebuild/upgrade it?

    (BTW, I do race it!)
    The 2012 Superfly 100 Pro has massively reinforced head tube, seat tube and rear swingarm lower pivot/chainstay bridge. It may not be as light as the equivalent-sized, 2010 Gary Fissure Superfly 100 overall - but the weight gain is nominal(I hear about +78-85g).
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,433
    Sorry for playing devils advocate, but really, chances are an accidental death will kill the frame well before you could fatigue it by simply riding it. Think of the fatigue a Pro in Europe puts into a frame in a year. I don't have the power output of Fabian Cancellliara, so you figure if he can't fatigue the frame in a year of hard efforts, you should be ok for several. If the frames were suspect to failure, Pros wouldn't trust them with their results, or the bike companies would have problems constantly supplying teams with new frames, and it would become costly to sponsor a Pro squad.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: deano machineo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    169
    There is no way to answer that question. What are you doing with it? Is it a road bike or MTB? Are you a gorilla or flyweight.
    With the constant push to make these things lighter and lighter I can't help but think they get a little more fragile. But of course materials and techniques get better and better. So maybe its a wash. I don't know.
    I do have a 15+ year old Trek 5200 OCLV that has been flat out abused pulling a 60lb trailer, ridden off road, crashed several times and still rolling. The frame is built like a tank. You can just feel it by handling it. I don't think my Felt F1 could take that. I'll never find out.
    Ride it like you stole it.

Similar Threads

  1. The Life Span of a Powerlink
    By Dag Nabbit in forum Arizona
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 12-13-2012, 08:55 AM
  2. What is he maximum life span of Carbon frame?
    By chris9888 in forum All Mountain
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 10-15-2012, 04:17 PM
  3. Fat Tire Life Span
    By JordyB in forum Fat Bikes
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 05-22-2012, 10:38 AM
  4. Carbon fiber frame's life
    By fatcat in forum California - Socal
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 09-27-2011, 05:05 PM
  5. Disc Brake Life Span???
    By Unbrokenchain in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-26-2011, 08:50 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •