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Catastrophic Carbon Fibre Frame Failures

Old 07-02-20, 05:09 AM
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MattTheHat 
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Catastrophic Carbon Fibre Frame Failures

Otherwise known as crabon asplosions. We’ve all heard the legends, but I’m wondering how many BF members have actually experienced one. Paint chips don’t count. If you know a guy, that counts, but only if you saw the actual failure. Please relate your experiences.
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Old 07-02-20, 05:12 AM
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AlmostTrick
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Sometimes, there are no witnesses and no survivors.
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Old 07-02-20, 05:26 AM
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I worked in bike shops long enough ago that the only catastrophic failures that come to mind were failures of steel frames and (especially) forks.
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Old 07-02-20, 06:54 AM
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I saw a post on facebook about a guy who knew a guy who heard about this horrific crash caused by a cf frame failure.

Oh, wait.

I guess I don't know of any cf failures.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Simone
Um, he’s sick. My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.
Pretty serious, indeed.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:18 AM
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Good question. My answer is no, I have never seen or heard of anyone's carbon fiber bike having failures.

Then I asked myself "how many people/friends do I know that ride carbon fiber?" That answer is two people and myself. Everyone else I know rides steel or aluminum. My network of individuals just don't ride that style of bike so my answer is certainly biased.

It will be interesting to read the other comments.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:22 AM
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never in person, I saw one in my LBS....but it was hit by a car.....does that count?
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Old 07-02-20, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
never in person, I saw one in my LBS....but it was hit by a car.....does that count?
Only if the resulting fireball didn't scorch the frame beyond recognition.

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Old 07-02-20, 09:34 AM
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Never seen nor heard of a carbon frame failure. The ONLY failure I've ever heard of was a chromoly mtn.bike frame of my ex-neighbor (large-200lb, but not obese) person who broke a headtube weld after launching off a jump. Around 20 yrs ago or so. I did have a weld fail on a chromoly frame, think it was just a bad welded joint that finally failed.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:39 AM
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I am going to just put out that I am sure carbon frames fail, but not to the extent of a black hole opening and sucking it in and dissolving in a ball of fire. I am sure they have cracks and such like ever other kind of frame but the catastrophic failures have an allure of sasquatch, everyone has seen one but never in person or only knows a guy/gal.

I have both frames, alum/carbon. My money is neither failing before the other short of a crash.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:41 AM
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Niner had a few frames in recent years that would crack. Jet 9 would crack in the head tube area and the Air 9 would crack in the bottom bracket area.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:46 AM
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My steel fork broke near the top, 3 times on a tour. So also fixed 3 times. LOL It wasn't completely unrideable when broke either.

I hate to be a ghoul, but IMO many deaths could be attributable to the CF bike asploding in collisions. Pedal clips would compound the effect. Sad. Metal bikes certainly might not help much of the time either.
OTOH, My heavyweight has been slowly broadsided at the left rear chain stay by both a car and MC. Me and the bike jumped a couple inches, but NO fall. LOL
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Old 07-02-20, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Niner had a few frames in recent years that would crack. Jet 9 would crack in the head tube area and the Air 9 would crack in the bottom bracket area.
Back in the '80s, the San Rensho sale rep, showing off the latest frame iteration in the bike shop where I worked, said that the earliest version of that model of the frame had tended to crack near the shift lever braze-ons, so they beefed up the tube there, which resulted in some down tubes cracking near the bottom bracket. They then increased the tube wall thickness there, followed by some chainstays cracking. The latest version used upgraded chainstays, he said.

Edit: forgot to mention that those were steel frames.

Last edited by Trakhak; 07-02-20 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:55 AM
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I’ve seen a fair number of them at my local co-op. It seems carbon doesn’t stand up to garage doors very well. But then, neither does the number of aluminum and steel bikes I’ve seen that have been run into garage doors.

Riding asplosions? Not seen a single one.
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Old 07-02-20, 10:53 AM
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My avatar bike has had several cracks, but no asplosions. The frame originally came to me as a warranty-replaced cast-off, so I was prepared to fix it up. It's been trouble-free for about 7-8 years now so my patches must have been good enough.
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Old 07-02-20, 11:07 AM
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I had an embarrassing fall on the left side because I lost balance while climbing too steep a slope. The top tube cracked. Bianchi replaced the frame with no charge, maybe because it was defective from the start.
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Old 07-02-20, 11:14 AM
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Broke my fork in a head-on collision with an e-bike. One side of the fork completely cracked through. Still managed to ride it 500 yds to a coffee shop before I realized it was cracked through. Also cracked a steel Colnago near the BB.


Last edited by gregf83; 07-02-20 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 07-02-20, 11:27 AM
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I saw Alberto Contador asplode one hitting a large rock on a fast decent in the TDF.

Kinda blew himself up too.
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Old 07-02-20, 11:36 AM
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So based on the responses in this thread, there is no evidence that CF frames fail catastrophically unless involved in a crash or subjected to some other external force.
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Old 07-02-20, 11:43 AM
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https://www.amazon.com/Twill-Carbon-...s%2C159&sr=8-2
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Old 07-02-20, 12:02 PM
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I have heard about a cracked chain stay. I had asked about a brand of bike they carried and he said they were good bikes, but a customer had cracked a chain stay but that brand did not cover it. The bike store owner said they should have covered it so he no longer steered people toward that brand.
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Old 07-02-20, 12:17 PM
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Been in the bike biz since 1982 and have seen steel, aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber frames fail. No failure outside of one titanium frame, happened on its own. All of them had come from outside sources, ie crashes, drops, or otherwise. Without a question I have been presented with more carbon frame failures than all of the other materials combined. Frankly, if you ain't sponsored with a sweet bike deal, don't race them, it can get expensive.

Carbon is just fine if you like. So is steel, aluminum, and titanium. Run what you can afford and enjoy every time you can climb aboard and get a few miles in.
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Old 07-02-20, 12:37 PM
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George Hincapie famously had his carbon-fiber fork fail during the 2006 Paris-Roubaix.

And there's the "Busted Carbon" blog documenting numerous other examples.
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Old 07-02-20, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
George Hincapie famously had his carbon-fiber fork fail during the 2006 Paris-Roubaix.

And there's the "Busted Carbon" blog documenting numerous other examples.
Apparently slightly less famously, it was the aluminum steerer tube of Hincapie's fork that broke, after a previous hard fall.

Equal amusement can be had by looking up "broken steel bike" and "broken titanium bike."
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Old 07-02-20, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
George Hincapie famously had his carbon-fiber fork aluminum steerer tube fail during the 2006 Paris-Roubaix.

And there's the "Busted Carbon" blog documenting numerous other examples.
fify
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