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[Carbon Fiber] Would this bike scare you?

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[Carbon Fiber] Would this bike scare you?

Old 11-27-22, 11:55 PM
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VegasJen
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[Carbon Fiber] Would this bike scare you?

A few days ago I looked at a Kuota tri bike. Price was decent, not great, but the guy might have some wiggle room. The bike has the clear coated CF finish so I was able to give it a pretty good look-over. I looked very closely but didn't find any signs of cracks. What I did see were a couple of big chips in the clear coating. By big chips, I mean the size of a postage stamp or better. There were maybe 3-4 four, the biggest one was right on the chain stay where the chain might hit it. As stated before though, I didn't see any signs of cracking or other damage. I was pretty surprised at how thick that coating is. But aside from cosmetics, is that a concern? I kind of like the bare CF look, but not the whole bike. If it's structurally sound, I might pick it up and custom paint it down the road. But I don't want to pay to offload someone else's headache.
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Old 11-28-22, 12:11 AM
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When buying a used car, many get a Pre Purchase Inspection by a reputable shop. Can you see if the seller is willing to let you take the bike to a local bike shop which sells carbon frames for a once-over? You may need to leave a deposit but state your concerns to the seller.

OR, take pictures and show them here or take them to the bike shop mentioned above.
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Old 11-28-22, 07:07 AM
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Around here a nice clean carbon fiber tri frame can be had for $500 or less and a simple quality paint job starts at $350. The guy would have to have a compelling story as to the source of those damaged areas for me to be comfortable to have a family member tri on that.
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Old 11-28-22, 07:13 AM
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Old 11-28-22, 07:21 AM
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Tap lightly with a solid object along the chainstay on either side of the chip, and on the chip itself. If the sound differs, walk away.
You can't always see a small crack in CF. There are a lot of shops that may look it over, as has been suggested, but few of them will give you the okay due to liability issues, unless they have the equipment required to perform an accurate inspection.
Technical FAQ: how to find cracks in carbon frames - VeloNews.com
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Old 11-28-22, 07:25 AM
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For a deep enough discount, sure, I'd buy it. In fact, I bought a deeply discounted flat-bar Motobecane carbon bike from BikesDirect that they described accurately as having similar damage to the finish, specifically including scraped-off clear coat and paint from a dropped chain.

I rode the bike for many thousands of miles over about 5 years until I decided that I'd gotten my money's worth out of it (not a flat-bar guy, it turned out) and retired it to smart trainer use. No problems resulting from the finish damage ever emerged. (Take this single data point for what it's worth.)
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Old 11-28-22, 07:59 AM
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What model year is the bike? If it was pre-2010, I would pan.

Did you test ride the bike? How did it feel?

I agree with rsbob , ask if you can leave a deposit and take it to a local bike shop and have them go over it with a fine tooth comb. If the seller isn't willing to let you do that, walk away.
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Old 11-28-22, 08:17 AM
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That bike does not scare me.
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Old 11-28-22, 08:39 AM
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If it is just the clearcoat flaking off then it won't be a problem. But with postage stamp sized chips, it's hard to say what abuse it has taken. Your description also implies that it doesn't have any chain protection on the stay, which is not a good sign in terms of maintenance and care. I would expect to see a nice thick PPF strip along the top of the chainstay.
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Old 11-28-22, 08:42 AM
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Are those even 23mm wide tires? I guess I've gotten use to wider because they look skinnier. Consider how much bigger tire might fit.
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Old 11-28-22, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
When buying a used car, many get a Pre Purchase Inspection by a reputable shop. Can you see if the seller is willing to let you take the bike to a local bike shop which sells carbon frames for a once-over? You may need to leave a deposit but state your concerns to the seller.

OR, take pictures and show them here or take them to the bike shop mentioned above.
Good idea, but in my little town, there are no bike shops, reputable or otherwise. I could take it to a bike shop in Vegas, but it would be just as easy there for them to tell me whatever they thought I wanted to hear and pocket the cash. Odds are, for as much as I'm going to use it, any damage I can't visualize will probably last a year or two before it manifests. At that point, what recourse would I have?
Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
Around here a nice clean carbon fiber tri frame can be had for $500 or less and a simple quality paint job starts at $350. The guy would have to have a compelling story as to the source of those damaged areas for me to be comfortable to have a family member tri on that.
I wish that were the case here. The thing about Vegas, as is the case in most cities out West, is it's like an island in the middle of the desert. There's a whole lot of nothing in between. Point being, it's a small market, especially for such a specialized bike. In the last year I can count exactly two tri bikes for sale that would fit me.
Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
For a deep enough discount, sure, I'd buy it. In fact, I bought a deeply discounted flat-bar Motobecane carbon bike from BikesDirect that they described accurately as having similar damage to the finish, specifically including scraped-off clear coat and paint from a dropped chain.

I rode the bike for many thousands of miles over about 5 years until I decided that I'd gotten my money's worth out of it (not a flat-bar guy, it turned out) and retired it to smart trainer use. No problems resulting from the finish damage ever emerged. (Take this single data point for what it's worth.)
I don't know how much the guy would discount it. He's asking $950, and that's a couple hundred over blue book for this bike. Given what I've seen, and my personal preference, I don't think I want to go over $600 at the most.

I have found a nice Specialized Transition down in San Diego that I like much better for about the same price. Problem is, that's about a 700 mile round trip just to go look at it.
Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
What model year is the bike? If it was pre-2010, I would pan.

Did you test ride the bike? How did it feel?

I agree with rsbob , ask if you can leave a deposit and take it to a local bike shop and have them go over it with a fine tooth comb. If the seller isn't willing to let you do that, walk away.
I did test ride it. It felt solid to me. But it's also the first tri bike I've ever ridden. I don't expect it to feel much different structurally, but it did feel more "twitchy". I assumed that was more likely due to the geometry and such, but I don't know.
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Are those even 23mm wide tires? I guess I've gotten use to wider because they look skinnier. Consider how much bigger tire might fit.
They are 23c.
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Old 11-28-22, 09:32 AM
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Related question- why do you need a tri bike? I have read a few of your threads and have seen tri bikes mentioned multiple times.
What is your end goal and do you think this bike will get you there? I have no idea, so that question isnt leading or critical or anything, its just asking.

I will say that you dont often see someone with a tri bike and platform pedals. There is no official way to ride a bike, but there are tendencies and that definitely isnt a tendency for anyone Ive seen.
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Old 11-28-22, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
I have found a nice Specialized Transition down in San Diego that I like much better for about the same price. Problem is, that's about a 700 mile round trip just to go look at it.

I did test ride it. It felt solid to me. But it's also the first tri bike I've ever ridden. I don't expect it to feel much different structurally, but it did feel more "twitchy". I assumed that was more likely due to the geometry and such, but I don't know.

They are 23c.
I love doing a road trip to buy a bike and have fun in a place of interest.
SD is a great place for this and now you can compare to your above test ride.
Big clear coat chips can be a sign of bad quality control and possibly risk that the CF layup was also out of QC
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Old 11-28-22, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I will say that you dont often see someone with a tri bike and platform pedals. There is no official way to ride a bike, but there are tendencies and that definitely isnt a tendency for anyone Ive seen.
Surely you recall this thread...?
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Old 11-28-22, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by joesch View Post
I love doing a road trip to buy a bike and have fun in a place of interest.
SD is a great place for this and now you can compare to your above test ride.
Big clear coat chips can be a sign of bad quality control and possibly risk that the CF layup was also out of QC
A road trip does sound like fun. My problem right now is that we're in the home stretch of this semester and I literally cannot take a single day off, then the day after finals, I fly back east to spend Christmas with family. I can only hope that bike is still for sale when I get home, or a similar one in the right size.
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Old 11-28-22, 09:48 AM
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If I bought that bike, I'd fill the chipped areas gradually with coats of clear nail polish.
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Old 11-28-22, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
I kind of like the bare CF look...
One of CF's weaknesses is UV degradation of the epoxy binder.

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Old 11-28-22, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Tap lightly with a solid object along the chainstay on either side of the chip, and on the chip itself. If the sound differs, walk away.
You can't always see a small crack in CF. There are a lot of shops that may look it over, as has been suggested, but few of them will give you the okay due to liability issues, unless they have the equipment required to perform an accurate inspection.
Technical FAQ: how to find cracks in carbon frames - VeloNews.com
^^^ This.
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Old 11-28-22, 12:31 PM
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That Kuota is likely to be available for quite a while if it's overpriced, especially since very little in the world of bikes goes out of fashion as quickly as TT bike technology. Those bikes lose value as fast as older mountain bikes, if not faster.

Since you'll be flying back there soon, maybe start searching your home town Craigslist for TT bikes in your size. There's a woman who has listed a surprising number of smaller road and TT bikes for sale on Baltimore's Craigslist over the last couple of years, for instance. You can look at older Craigslist posts, too, for bikes that were listed a month or two ago that haven't sold.

If you find a bike, you should check with airlines to see which will let you bring a bike back for cheap. If they're too expensive, you can always ship via Greyhound---very cheap, and I imagine that Greyhound has service to Las Vegas.
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Old 11-28-22, 12:39 PM
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As mentioned above, the price has to make it worth the risk.

Also, any time I am concerned about the integrity of something (usually wheels or frame), I ride it VERY slowly and do some hard bunny hops. Anything structurally sound should withstand that, and if it does break, better at slow speeds near home than hitting a pothole at speed far from help.
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Old 11-28-22, 12:42 PM
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I have a beat-to-hell 20+ year old CF MTB that is still going strong. It has multiple places where the paint is missing and the underlying carbon is exposed. I have zero concerns about its structural integrity. That said, old Trek OCLV frames were pretty damned sturdy.
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Old 11-28-22, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Surely you recall this thread...?
yup, that's the thread I had in mind when asking about why buy a tri bike only to then use platform pedals.
It's an interesting combo.

Sorta like wearing MC Hammer parachute pants on your aero bike.
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Old 11-28-22, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
yup, that's the thread I had in mind when asking about why buy a tri bike only to then use platform pedals.
It's an interesting combo.

Sorta like wearing MC Hammer parachute pants on your aero bike.
My conclusions from multiple threads from the OP...
- Enjoys doing triathlons
- Pretty new to cycling
- Very limited budget
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Old 11-28-22, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post

Sorta like wearing MC Hammer parachute pants on your aero bike.
...nttawwt.
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Old 11-28-22, 01:16 PM
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.
...this was the year they ran the first Sacramento Ironman Tri. It was a big deal, that got cancelled last year because of a howling gale that appeared out of nowhere, like a curse from God. Anyway, I rode one of my ancient bicycles down to the venue, where the start/finish was set up, near the State Capitol. One of the tents was some service that assembles/disassembles the participant bikes. Many of those guys fly in from far away locales, for an official, sanctioned, Ironman competition. It was interesting to look at all the various bikes hanging up on the done and ready for pickup rack.

I have always had the impression that triathletes are generally not cyclists. I think the competitive ones are the men and women who can run a relatively fast marathon, not lose much time in the swim leg, and everyone just figures if they don't fall on the bike leg, they are doing pretty well. A lot of crashes right at the beginning of ours. There was significant gusting wind at times, throughout the morning.

To the OP: missing chips in the clear coat or paint on a CF frame are not a big deal, but it requires more expertise than I possess to visually determine if there is any underlying damage to the structure of the composite fiber. Probably not, but if you have to ask here, it's probably worth getting someone who knows this stuff tl look at the frame in person. If it's really cheap, maybe just take a chance, if you really need another bike. As stated, tri bikes get crashed, just like any bicycle someone races in competition. **** happens.
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