Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

How do I dispose of a carbon bike frame?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

How do I dispose of a carbon bike frame?

Old 08-01-21, 12:18 PM
  #1  
JoeO
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 5 Posts
How do I dispose of a carbon bike frame?

I have a high-end carbon-fiber Cannondale SuperSix frame that is cracked at the dropouts. It cannot be fixed according to the business I contacted that repairs carbon fiber bikes. So how does one typically dispose of a frame like this?

From my searching, it doesn't look like it can be recycled but if there's some place out there that does this, I'd love to hear about it. I think it's just too big put in the trash by itself. I'll guess I could get a permit from my local DPW to throw it away since it's that big. Or I guess I could try to cut it up. But is there any business out there that might have a use for the carbon fiber?

(Since the break is right on the dropout, I wouldn't even trust this as a trainer bike, even if I needed one).
JoeO is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 12:47 PM
  #2  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 26,049
Mentioned: 209 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14432 Post(s)
Liked 2,417 Times in 1,803 Posts
There is some market for damaged frames on E-Bay.

If the fork is good, those are usually sold separately.
CliffordK is online now  
Old 08-01-21, 12:48 PM
  #3  
Korina
Happy banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 2,407

Bikes: 1992 Specialized Rockhopper Sport, 2016 Giant Liv Rove Lite, 1995 Trek Singletrack 930, 1994 Trek Multitrack 750

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 886 Post(s)
Liked 568 Times in 383 Posts
Landfill or yard art are your only options. Toxic from manufacture to disposal. Buy soda can or boat anchor next time.
Korina is offline  
Likes For Korina:
Old 08-01-21, 12:52 PM
  #4  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 6,855

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2297 Post(s)
Liked 1,102 Times in 557 Posts
Cut it up and toss it in the garbage, that's where carbon belongs.
wolfchild is offline  
Likes For wolfchild:
Old 08-01-21, 12:55 PM
  #5  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 867
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 534 Post(s)
Liked 406 Times in 251 Posts
Hacksaw, mask, and contractor's bag. 10 minute job.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Likes For GhostRider62:
Old 08-01-21, 12:57 PM
  #6  
scottfsmith
I like bike
 
scottfsmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Location: Merry Land USA
Posts: 289

Bikes: Roubaix Comp 2020

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 124 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 75 Posts
You might want to try a few more repair places. https://ruckuscomp.com/repair/ for example claims they will repair dropouts.

I didn't believe any of this stuff was repairable but there was a GCN Tech video recently which toured a carbon bike repair shop in the UK and they were fixing all sorts of stuff I thought was impossible to fix.

scottfsmith is offline  
Likes For scottfsmith:
Old 08-01-21, 01:00 PM
  #7  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 867
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 534 Post(s)
Liked 406 Times in 251 Posts
Calfee repaired a carbon frame for me and did a stellar job. It wasn't cheap. Probably $750 with shipping both ways.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Likes For GhostRider62:
Old 08-01-21, 01:43 PM
  #8  
shelbyfv 
Senior Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 9,192
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2586 Post(s)
Liked 2,880 Times in 1,529 Posts
Cut it up. I had a neighbor who disposed of most of a VW bug that way. Or if you have a yard, maybe hang it somewhere and attach wind chimes or a bird feeder.
shelbyfv is offline  
Likes For shelbyfv:
Old 08-01-21, 03:01 PM
  #9  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 31,051
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13752 Post(s)
Liked 6,662 Times in 3,370 Posts
Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Calfee repaired a carbon frame for me and did a stellar job.
He was at the Philly Bike Expo one year. Seemed like a nice guy.
indyfabz is offline  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 08-01-21, 03:11 PM
  #10  
tkamd73 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Menomonee Falls, WI
Posts: 1,189

Bikes: 1984 Schwinn Supersport, 1988 Trek 400t, 1977 Trek TX900, 1983 Bianchi Champione del Mondo, 1986 Trek 400 Elance, 1978 Raleigh Supercourse, 1991 PDG Paramount OS, 1971 Schwinn Sports Tourer, 1985 Trek 670

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 392 Post(s)
Liked 433 Times in 244 Posts
Our community recently gave us these huge garbage bins, that get picked up and emptied by a truck with a hydraulic arm. Driver never leaves the truck, so now if it fits, it ships. Disposed of a couple of bike frames that way, even a 62cm frame fits in that bin, no hacksaw required.
Tim
tkamd73 is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 05:15 PM
  #11  
JoeO
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Landfill or yard art are your only options. Toxic from manufacture to disposal. Buy soda can or boat anchor next time.
Boat anchor isn't quite as aerodynamic as I would like. :-)
JoeO is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 05:43 PM
  #12  
jayp410
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Germantown, MD
Posts: 352
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Landfill or yard art are your only options. Toxic from manufacture to disposal. Buy soda can or boat anchor next time.
Carbon fiber fabric itself is probably inert and non-toxic. The epoxy hardener (especially) and resin are toxic in their liquid forms, but once cured, it forms a polymer which is either non-toxic or at least far less toxic. It's true that there are different types of epoxy, with varying chemical makeups, so it's too difficult a claim to make in general, and I certainly wouldn't recommend licking the bike or eating carbon dust. However, restaurant table tops and bar counters are often clear coated in epoxy. I'd be more worried about the toxicity of paint and/or lubes on the bike than the carbon fiber laminate itself.

So while I'm not making any scientific claims, I've fabricated several carbon parts using several different types of epoxy, and those are my impressions. The curing can leave a "blush" residue, which may be toxic, but once that is washed off (with soap and water), the resulting laminate feels "clean" and has no smell, nor does it leave any kind of residue on my hands that I'd worry about needing to wash my hands after touching it before eating. It's also hard to affect cured epoxy with any solvent that I'm aware of. Sunlight will cause it to degrade over time.

Carbon fiber dust is nasty, and should not be inhaled. The fiber particles are sharp, and can get into your skin (and lungs) and cause irriation (at least), similar to fiberglass but worse.
jayp410 is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 05:44 PM
  #13  
fishboat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 1,231

Bikes: Lemond '01 Maillot Jaune, Lemond '02 Victoire, Lemond '03 Poprad, Lemond '03 Wayzata drop bar conv(Poprad), '79 AcerMex Windsor Carrera Professional(purchased new), '88 GT Tequesta(purchased new), '01 Bianchi Grizzly, 1993 Trek 970 drop bar conv

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 448 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 368 Times in 216 Posts
Landfill or wall art..or wind-chime (like that one). Composites (carbon fiber + epoxy) are useless once their main job is over...similar to a fiberglass boat.

It wouldn't be considered toxic at this point as the molecules that were once considered toxic are cured into a solid polymer(plastic)-network. Beer, soda, and food cans are lined with an epoxy..a different epoxy, but an epoxy just the same. Once an epoxy cures, in most cases, it's pretty much inert.
fishboat is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 05:54 PM
  #14  
jayp410
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Germantown, MD
Posts: 352
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 13 Posts
To answer the question about recycling, nothing can be done with it from a recycling standpoint.

Also, I wouldn't trust a repaired carbon fiber bike, as someone who has fabricated some parts, played around with failures on scrap pieces, etc.. Maybe someone could add enough layers of new fabric to make a "patch", but it won't be chemically bonded to the old frame. Once epoxy is cured, new epoxy doesn't bond with it... the best you can do is a physical bond, using texture (like sanding). If the patch is strong enough by itself... I guess it's possible to make it safe, but it's still a weak point, and I sure as hell wouldn't ride a repaired frame.
jayp410 is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 06:29 PM
  #15  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,665

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2989 Post(s)
Liked 1,586 Times in 1,050 Posts
Originally Posted by jayp410 View Post
To answer the question about recycling, nothing can be done with it from a recycling standpoint.

Also, I wouldn't trust a repaired carbon fiber bike, as someone who has fabricated some parts, played around with failures on scrap pieces, etc.. Maybe someone could add enough layers of new fabric to make a "patch", but it won't be chemically bonded to the old frame. Once epoxy is cured, new epoxy doesn't bond with it... the best you can do is a physical bond, using texture (like sanding). If the patch is strong enough by itself... I guess it's possible to make it safe, but it's still a weak point, and I sure as hell wouldn't ride a repaired frame.
That depends entirely on the repair. If it is done to make the frame "look like new", yes, I wouldn't trust it either. But if the repair was done like the bonding of cured parts like in sailboat construction, with full respect for secondary bonds, I'd have no second thoughts about riding it. I did a CF wrap around the chainstays & BB of a steel frame with both chainstays about to break. When I finished, that was the strongest part of the whole frame. But, I made no attempt to hide the repair. Instead, I did clean work with careful masking and simply painted the repair black like it was always that way. Now, whether I'd want to own and ride a CF frame with such an obvious repair, well I just don't know. I'll stick to steel and ti where simple tube replacement is possible and brazing/TIG torches can do a lot.

Boats have very important structural pieces bonded inside the hull. Bulkheads for one. Those bonds are entirely secondary. Yet those boats go to sea and come back.
79pmooney is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 07:16 PM
  #16  
Medium Size Dog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: southern California
Posts: 79

Bikes: 98 Trek 6000 MTB, 70's mutant St. Etienne

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 20 Posts
I have only owned 2 bikes in my adult life, both of which I still ride regularly. One is aluminum from '98, the other steel from the 70's. Do any owners of carbon fiber bikes and products that support the carbon fiber industry have any ethical concerns? Bikes and parts utilizing toxic chemicals, gases, dusts produced and petroleum products. They're extremely limited in recycling and re-purposing possibilities and non-biodegradable. Has anyone chosen not to buy CF for any of these reasons? Or damn the torpedoes? Has this already been argued and justified in other posts?
Medium Size Dog is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 07:25 PM
  #17  
Korina
Happy banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 2,407

Bikes: 1992 Specialized Rockhopper Sport, 2016 Giant Liv Rove Lite, 1995 Trek Singletrack 930, 1994 Trek Multitrack 750

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 886 Post(s)
Liked 568 Times in 383 Posts
Originally Posted by jayp410 View Post
Carbon fiber fabric itself is probably inert and non-toxic.
I meant toxic to the environment. Although I'm sure the manufacturers are very careful with their workers' health. [end sarcasm mode]

Last edited by Korina; 08-01-21 at 07:29 PM.
Korina is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 07:31 PM
  #18  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 26,049
Mentioned: 209 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14432 Post(s)
Liked 2,417 Times in 1,803 Posts
Originally Posted by Medium Size Dog View Post
I have only owned 2 bikes in my adult life, both of which I still ride regularly. One is aluminum from '98, the other steel from the 70's. Do any owners of carbon fiber bikes and products that support the carbon fiber industry have any ethical concerns? Bikes and parts utilizing toxic chemicals, gases, dusts produced and petroleum products. They're extremely limited in recycling and re-purposing possibilities and non-biodegradable. Has anyone chosen not to buy CF for any of these reasons? Or damn the torpedoes? Has this already been argued and justified in other posts?
The steel and aluminum industries aren't without downsides, including often large open pit mines, energy intense manufacturing. Use of fossil fuels, and incorporation of rare earth metals.

Plenty of damaged steel and aluminum bikes that are tossed, and many aren't recycled.

Should I ask if your steel bike was chromed?
CliffordK is online now  
Old 08-01-21, 07:32 PM
  #19  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 22,014
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 1,622 Times in 1,164 Posts
There are carbon fiber recycling companies. But I probably would cut it up and throw it in the garbage
unterhausen is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 07:35 PM
  #20  
Korina
Happy banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 2,407

Bikes: 1992 Specialized Rockhopper Sport, 2016 Giant Liv Rove Lite, 1995 Trek Singletrack 930, 1994 Trek Multitrack 750

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 886 Post(s)
Liked 568 Times in 383 Posts
Originally Posted by JoeO View Post
Boat anchor isn't quite as aerodynamic as I would like. :-)
Actually, if you think about it, it's more aero than a soda can. But really, steel and aluminum can be built quite light, and short of running them into an SUV, are more durable than plastic.

That said, feel free to ignore me, and ride your own ride. Have fun with whatever you get next!
Korina is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 07:38 PM
  #21  
base2 
Random Internet Person.
 
base2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 1,672

Bikes: 5 good ones, and the occasional project.

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 859 Post(s)
Liked 452 Times in 278 Posts
Carbon fiber can be recycled.
Well, what I mean is: Boeing has found someone to sell the scrap bits to. I don't remember who it is, but they had 5x5 bins scattered throughout the factory labled for such a purpose when I used to work there. They took a long time to fill up as there really wasn't that much waste to begin with...Mostly from automated drill validation processes.

What the buyer did with the scrap of industrial processes, I don't know. I think machined into smaller parts like washers, spacers, and such.

The rest? After it's cured it's inert. I wouldn't eat it. But, inert nonetheless.
__________________
My lights are obscenly bright because drivers are dim.

I shouldn't have to "make myself more visible;" Drivers should just stop running people over.
base2 is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 07:40 PM
  #22  
Korina
Happy banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 2,407

Bikes: 1992 Specialized Rockhopper Sport, 2016 Giant Liv Rove Lite, 1995 Trek Singletrack 930, 1994 Trek Multitrack 750

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 886 Post(s)
Liked 568 Times in 383 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The steel and aluminum industries aren't without downsides, including often large open pit mines, energy intense manufacturing. Use of fossil fuels, and incorporation of rare earth metals.

Plenty of damaged steel and aluminum bikes that are tossed, and many aren't recycled.

Should I ask if your steel bike was chromed?
This is true; no manufacturing process is clean. Aren't even bamboo bikes epoxied? At least metal bikes can be recycled, whether or not people do.
Korina is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 07:59 PM
  #23  
kahn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: northWET washington
Posts: 727
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 192 Post(s)
Liked 174 Times in 134 Posts
Originally Posted by JoeO View Post
I have a high-end carbon-fiber Cannondale SuperSix frame that is cracked at the dropouts. It cannot be fixed according to the business I contacted that repairs carbon fiber bikes. So how does one typically dispose of a frame like this?

From my searching, it doesn't look like it can be recycled but if there's some place out there that does this, I'd love to hear about it. I think it's just too big put in the trash by itself. I'll guess I could get a permit from my local DPW to throw it away since it's that big. Or I guess I could try to cut it up. But is there any business out there that might have a use for the carbon fiber?

(Since the break is right on the dropout, I wouldn't even trust this as a trainer bike, even if I needed one).
What kind of warranty did it have?
kahn is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 08:02 PM
  #24  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 7,927

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1706 Post(s)
Liked 1,355 Times in 876 Posts
There are carbon fiber recyclers but they are strictly industrial quantity based, not 1 bike frame.
dedhed is offline  
Old 08-01-21, 09:22 PM
  #25  
jayp410
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Germantown, MD
Posts: 352
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by Korina View Post
I meant toxic to the environment. Although I'm sure the manufacturers are very careful with their workers' health. [end sarcasm mode]
The actual carbon fabric will not harm the environment at all - it's carbon, like a piece of charcoal, except with different bonds between the carbon atoms, and in a different shape. The manufacturing process to get it into that form requires energy, but carbon is one of the most common elements and getting it pure doesn't seem that difficult.

Manufacturing steel, aluminum, and especially titanium also use a lot of energy. They have to be mined, smelted, welded... it's definitely not an environmentally friendly thing to make metal.

You may be right that the production of carbon fiber is more harmful to the environment production of metals, but that is not at all intuitive to me. If I had to guess, I'd guess it's the other way around. I am kind of curious about it though.

Epoxy now... that seems like it it's messier in terms of chemicals used. But is it any worse than production of regular plastics? I don't know... It seems like the average human goes through WAY more plastic products in their lifetime than an occasional bike frame or seat post.
jayp410 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.