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Thread: Carbon frames and rock strikes

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    Default Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Been poking around at modern mountain bikes.

    Plenty of carbon mtb frames out there which leads to what I am sure is a well worn question - how well does carbon hold up to rock strikes?
    To qualify "rock strikes", I don't only mean when a rock gets tossed up from a tire but also when the bike strikes a rock...as in falling on/in rocks.

    There is plenty of arm chair engineering comments out on the internet about how things "should" happen plus comparisons to carbon baseball bats, F1 cars, road bikes, moto frames, jet nose cones, etc, etc. Or impacts from casing jumps, landing from height onto flats, etc, etc. Or whether carbon is a good frame choice. Yadda yadda yadda. None of which is particularly helpful for what I am looking to learn. I am interested in how well carbon mtb frames hold up to actual riding in NE style woods without man made stunts which means that the bikes hits the rocky ground (and other things) either at speed or very low speed.

    I realize that all it takes is one strike 'just right' to do damage and there are stories of someone's carbon mtb bike that shattered for some oddball reason.
    What I am after is the 'norm'. General riding experience which means the bikes falls down on rough terrain on occasion and how it has held up over the years.

    The one data point I have is that I have a dual suspension Trek from 99' that has a carbon rear end. That thing has been through plenty without issue. But, the rear end generally doesn't take the same abuse that a down tube or top tube takes when things get sideways or the bike simply gets dropped as part of a slow motion get off.
    Brian McLaughlin

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    I realize that all it takes is one strike 'just right' to do damage and there are stories of someone's carbon mtb bike that shattered for some oddball reason.
    What I am after is the 'norm'. General riding experience which means the bikes falls down on rough terrain on occasion and how it has held up over the years.
    I'm now using an aluminium frame as I don't really see the point buying an expensive carbon frame for a big trail bike to gain a handful of grams on an otherwise heavy (~14.5kg) one. However when I was more into XC/marathon racing I owned 2 different carbon XC frames for ~2 to 3 years each. They were bought new. I sometime heard some rocks hitting the frame but they didn't suffer any damage other than scratches on the clearcoat I didn't protect them with tape. My local trails weren't as rocky as those I am riding on right now. My sample size is small so I'm not sure you can draw any conclusion from that.

    I'd say that is what insurances are for if you have concerns about the reliability of your bike. Last time I checked in Switzerland for less than 100$/y you could insure a bike of around 5000$ that included damages while riding.
    Last edited by sk_tle; 1 Week Ago at 09:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bewheels View Post

    There is plenty of arm chair engineering comments out on the internet about how things "should" happen plus comparisons to carbon baseball bats, F1 cars, road bikes, moto frames, jet nose cones, etc, etc. Or impacts from casing jumps, landing from height onto flats, etc, etc. Or whether carbon is a good frame choice. Yadda yadda yadda. None of which is particularly helpful for what I am looking to learn. I am interested in how well carbon mtb frames hold up to actual riding in NE style woods without man made stunts which means that the bikes hits the rocky ground (and other things) either at speed or very low speed.
    Always worth a watch.
     

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Yes - I saw this. However they are primarily running tests that equal hard landings and/or driving into your garage with the bike of the roof. They did break one by slamming the down tube against a hard surface which is closer to having the frame drop on various shaped rocks.

    Quote Originally Posted by jscottyk View Post
    Always worth a watch.
    .....
    Brian McLaughlin

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    You have to crash really hard. Most breakage is in the rear triangle (scrubbing the chain or seatstays across rocks while crashing).

    That being said carbon is far easier to repair than alloy, and rear triangles are a lot less than a complete frame if you need one
     

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Not meant to be an indictment of all carbon frames but...

    I flicked up a rock with my front wheel on a Yeti last year and it punched a baseball sized hole through the down tube protector and the down tube. Once I built up the new front end, I kept a water bottle mounted in that location for extra protection.
    Sean Chaney
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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Aren't Yeti known to be fragile or is it an urban myth? I understand they have a bad reputation.
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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    We are a dealer and havenít seen more broken than others. That being said we do the 130 and especially the 150, which might have a stronger layup
     

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by andrew flowers View Post
    We are a dealer and haven’t seen more broken than others. That being said we do the 130 and especially the 150, which might have a stronger layup
    Andrew - Are carbon frames having a normal lifespan in your area? ...with a focus on general durability. You mentioned rear ends getting banged up. Any out of the ordinary front triangle issues you guys are seeing?
    Brian McLaughlin

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    While impacts on carbon are a concern, what about abrasion?

    I've scraped my ATB frame along rocks or tree branches, removing paint.

    That's where I'd be concerned; abrade through the clearcoat and shred some carbon fibers on the tubes, then there's certainly cause for concern. Other materials, not so much.

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon Technology - US Made

    Marketing hype or legit new tech? I believe in it. If I wanted a plastic bike, GG would be at the top of my list. Waiting for them to make a hardtail with adjustable chainstay length for singlespeed use though.
    Jonathan - Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    My Fuel EX 9.9 has a plastic guard under the DT. I assume it's here for something. I crashed it a few times on rocks here. So far so good.
     

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Polack View Post
    While impacts on carbon are a concern, what about abrasion?
    There's a thriving market for frame wraps for this very reason.
    My name is Hung | Instagram | Website/portfolio

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Nothing is immune. A controlled manufacturing environment may help, but I am more and more convinced there are a thousand variables. I had a very light aluminum frame and trashed and trashed it for about five years (I was the second owner and based on the components, I believe it was at least five to seven years old when I had acquired it). Then, after my five years I finally got it to develop a hairline crack at the seattube. I didn't want that to happen again so I got a shi-shi steel handbuilt, but it failed in exactly the same place as in the Santa Cruz video after approximately 2.5 years - when it could have sustained that kind of force I don't know, but sh!t happens.

    Sounds draconian but after two months not riding while I am waiting to get it sorted, I think my attitude is "Don't buy anything you can't afford two of, because sh!te breaks."
    Last edited by zambenini; 1 Week Ago at 04:24 PM.
     

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bewheels View Post
    Andrew - Are carbon frames having a normal lifespan in your area? ...with a focus on general durability. You mentioned rear ends getting banged up. Any out of the ordinary front triangle issues you guys are seeing?
    bikes seem fine, but normal lifespan is a tough answer.

    rear end breakage is normal rear end stuff

    my steel hardtail has two huge gouges out of the seatstays that probably would have cracked an alloy or carbon frame. Both times I fell climbing a rock slab and landed on the bike

    in terms of normal breakage we have several national enduro dudes riding. they break CSU's, wheels, etc regularly, but frames are rarer on the better brands (ibis/yeti). the smart ones sell their bikes every year, so it's hard to comment on longer term stuff
     

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    Default Re: Carbon frames and rock strikes

    I wedged a rock in my rear tire (2.5" WTB Vigilante) last weekend and it whacked the chainstay for a few seconds before I stopped and pulled it out. Dinged the paint a little but it is steel, not sure how carbon would have handled it, probably just would have gouged the topcoat. I just added some electrical tape, it's a mountain bike.
    Weight Doper

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