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  1. #26
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    In over 25 years of being around a lot of bikes, I've never heard of a single case of a detectable fork issue like this - now you say the second fork is the same way. I'd like to see a pic or two. You are saying that the second fork has the same detectable problem - that there's enough play in the stem/fork interface to effect handling?

  2. #27
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    stevesbike,

    Likewise - I have been around bikes well over 25 years, and I had not experienced anything like this before. But then every bike I have had prior to this had a Al or Fe steerer, or had Fe quill stems. That may be a coincidence.

    I have never had a headset fail on a bike, and that is despite riding is all weather. Not sure if that tells you that I am not a person terribly hard on my bikes. I know a few much lighter riders who seem to trash headsets fairly frequently, but then they don't bend pedals or pull spokes like I do.

    I did not mean to say that the replacement fork has also failed. What I meant to say is the replacement fork is as rigid as the original fork was before the original fork failed. I raced on it (the replacement fork) on the weekend (on that same dreadful course - 70k race), have trained on it, and rode to work on it this morning. In the 300 or so km I have done on it - and that includes a wide variety of road surfaces and effort - it seems to be working just fine.

    I did not take photos before I took the bike in to the LBS, or when I was at the LBS to collect my frame sans fork, simply because I never had any desire to litigate. As stated, if the importer did not provide a replacement fork I would simply have purchased a suitable replacement fork - the cost of a new fork is small compared with the time and cost of proceedings.

    The importer now has the original fork. I doubt they will provide the fork to me so I can take pictures of it to post on the 'net.

    For me, what it means is I will be quite careful to inspect the carbon steerer on my bike, and will purchase a torque wrench so that I can take the stem on and off during normal maintenance. To date I have not touched the stem and if it needed regreasing I would take it to the LBS, simply because I did not have a torque wrench to re-tighten the stem.

  3. #28
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    OK, get the flame throwers fired up.

    I raced from 1960 through 1987 or so. In all that time, racing, riding, touring, running errands, commuting, etc. not once, not ever, not under any circumstances have I seen threads like this where something so structurally vital failed. All right, I do remember a few stem failures, and I also remember a guy in our club breaking a chain stay on a Serotta. He shifted the derailleur into the spokes, it rotated around and mashed the stay.

    This makes me wonder about plastic bikes. Look how many questions and concerns pop up on this forum about them. Does grease hurt them; how do you paint them; I weigh xxx#. Am I too heavy for a CF bike; if I use solvent on my chain and some of it accidentally spills on my CF frame, will it be damaged; how do I clean them; is this crack significant; do you think the mfg will warranty this; where can I get this repaired; if I get it repaired will it be safe to ride; how much torque should be applied to the stem, bars, cranks, pedals, etc.; I'm hearing this noise from my CF frame, is it safe to ride; I crashed my CF bike. It looks like there's no damage, but I need to know if it's safe to ride; is it harmful to ride my CF frame in the rain; what kind of wax should I use to polish my CF frame; can I trust my CF frame on 40+mph bumpy downhills; can I put a trunk rack on my CF bike; can I put a trunk rack on my CF bike if it has a CF seatpost; will CF crack if I leave it outside in freezing weather; will my CF bike hold up to the stress of poorly paved, potholed roads; how long should I ride a CF frame before buying a new one; can they fix it if I need to replace a dropout? This goes on, and on, and on.

    I very seldom, if ever, hear questions about steel, aluminum, or titanium bikes. (Yes, I know there's a thread about steel fatiguing). It seems that many owners and potential owners of CF bikes have real confidence issues about using this material on a bicycle.

    I apologize in advance if this is untrue, but don't you think that a complete novice that has never even heard of bicycles, would draw some kind of conclusion from these posts? I know that I have and I am hardly a novice. I really try hard not to be a retro-grouch. That being said, If I were looking for a new bike now, a bike with a CF frame or fork would really give me pause. You could say that the same questions were asked about steel and aluminum when they first came into use, but you'd be wrong. "Well, after all, CF is a pretty new product and has a few unknowns, so..." Why are they risking people's lives with it then? Yes, yes, I know it's used for wings on military aircraft. Seems to me they've had some catastrophic failures too.

    Sorry about my doubts, but my doubts are real, at least to me.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  4. #29
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    Carbon fiber is less tolerant of abuse, than steel, IMO.

    If I was building a commuter or touring bike, I'd likely go steel.

    For the weekend, thrill-ride bike, I'm building up a "plastic" frameset ;-)

    There's a place for both, just as there is with cars.

    My daily driver is a Chevy K1500 SUV, with a pushrod V8 that rarely turns over 3500 rpm, still runs great after 200K miles, and will still be running great, when all the wiener-green-wanker-mobiles, government-approved by the Obama administration, have 10,000 dead NiMh battery cells ;-)

    My "fun" car is an '87 Grand National w/ 20 psi of turbocharged & intercooled boost Would I drive that on a 1000 mile family vacation? No Way !!

  5. #30
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    Mr V,

    You pretty much hit how I now feel. I have doubts - not doubts when I am riding, but doubts when I have time to think. I thankfully do not think about a fork or frame collapsing at 90 kph, otherwise I would not be riding about 5 kph.

    I have had steel, Al, Ti and CF bikes. I have cracked steel, Al and Ti frames, always where there was a weld. All bar one was replaced under warranty, and the one that was not was abused by a stupid 12 year old (me!) who thought road bikes were made to race through the bush. But each of those failures was telegraphed to me long before it became a safety issue - stange noises, flexy frame etc etc.

    Neither of the CF frames I currently own has caused me any concern at all. Only the CF steerer subject of this thread. So until now I have no real cause to complain about CF as a material.

    What does concern me is I do not have the same confidence in CF as I have in metal bikes - I am concerned that the failure of a component might be sudden. Perhaps that is a concern that is one I should not have, but when you are a larger person you have to wonder whether the quest for light weight means some of the margin for engineering and safety is taken out.

    I appreciate the concern I now have is not necessarily based on sound analysis, but it is how I feel.

    Mind you, I had the same concerns with lightweight Al bars back in the early 1980s. See, I had a well known Italian brand bar that snapped at 60kph, and it was a crash that hurt quite a lot. However, I now prefer to ride with sturdy Al bars, on my road bikes and my track bike, because I accept they have learnt a thing or two about Al in the past 20 odd years.




    What concerns me with CF is

  6. #31
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    An update.

    The importer claimed that they could find no fault with my fork, but provided me with a used replacement which was fitted to my frame by the LBS. The LBS owner remains of the view the fork had failed (in the sense it was flexing too much, not that it had broken). For a few weeks it was fine - nice and stiff , just as the original fork had been. However, the replacement has now developed a similar flexing issue, although not to anything like the same extent as the original fork. There is also a stange knocking noise that seems to somehow be related to the flexing issue.

    I thought it was me imagining the flex, although the knocking noise is audible to others and can be felt when pressure is put on the bars. So I asked a number of friends (all long term bike industry people) to see what they thought was the knocking noise, and in the process of moving anf flexing the bars they all noticed the flexing as well. Some expressed the view they would not ride the bike.

    I know nothing of the hostory of the replacement fork - it seems (from some residual adhesive from team stickers) to have been used by a local pro team, so I can assume it has had some use. There is no visible evidence the fork has ever been crashed.

    Possibly a problem with this brand of forks? Do not know. What I do know is that a friend who was until a pro with the local pro team referred to above (he has now moved up to another pro team) said he found the bike supplied by that team (the same brand as my bike) "went soft".

    My LBS guy has suggested I might be better to fit a fork with an aluminium steerer, which I will now do and am looking at an EA70 fork. The original fork really owes me nothing, and when I sell the bike the new owner will be told of the issue and given the option of buying the bike with both forks.

    Thank you to those who posted. Even if I did not agree with some of you, I welcome the input.



    My cycling fri

  7. #32
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    I wouldn't recommend the Easton fork. They are pretty flexy. And since that is one of the issues that concerns you, I'd look at other brands. Alpha Q's are very good. Edge and 3T are two other good fork manufacturers.

  8. #33
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    good post

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Versatile
    OK, get the flame throwers fired up.

    I raced from 1960 through 1987 or so. In all that time, racing, riding, touring, running errands, commuting, etc. not once, not ever, not under any circumstances have I seen threads like this where something so structurally vital failed. All right, I do remember a few stem failures, and I also remember a guy in our club breaking a chain stay on a Serotta. He shifted the derailleur into the spokes, it rotated around and mashed the stay.

    This makes me wonder about plastic bikes. Look how many questions and concerns pop up on this forum about them. Does grease hurt them; how do you paint them; I weigh xxx#. Am I too heavy for a CF bike; if I use solvent on my chain and some of it accidentally spills on my CF frame, will it be damaged; how do I clean them; is this crack significant; do you think the mfg will warranty this; where can I get this repaired; if I get it repaired will it be safe to ride; how much torque should be applied to the stem, bars, cranks, pedals, etc.; I'm hearing this noise from my CF frame, is it safe to ride; I crashed my CF bike. It looks like there's no damage, but I need to know if it's safe to ride; is it harmful to ride my CF frame in the rain; what kind of wax should I use to polish my CF frame; can I trust my CF frame on 40+mph bumpy downhills; can I put a trunk rack on my CF bike; can I put a trunk rack on my CF bike if it has a CF seatpost; will CF crack if I leave it outside in freezing weather; will my CF bike hold up to the stress of poorly paved, potholed roads; how long should I ride a CF frame before buying a new one; can they fix it if I need to replace a dropout? This goes on, and on, and on.

    I very seldom, if ever, hear questions about steel, aluminum, or titanium bikes. (Yes, I know there's a thread about steel fatiguing). It seems that many owners and potential owners of CF bikes have real confidence issues about using this material on a bicycle.

    I apologize in advance if this is untrue, but don't you think that a complete novice that has never even heard of bicycles, would draw some kind of conclusion from these posts? I know that I have and I am hardly a novice. I really try hard not to be a retro-grouch. That being said, If I were looking for a new bike now, a bike with a CF frame or fork would really give me pause. You could say that the same questions were asked about steel and aluminum when they first came into use, but you'd be wrong. "Well, after all, CF is a pretty new product and has a few unknowns, so..." Why are they risking people's lives with it then? Yes, yes, I know it's used for wings on military aircraft. Seems to me they've had some catastrophic failures too.

    Sorry about my doubts, but my doubts are real, at least to me.
    I think you have pretty much covered every CF concern post in the last 10 years! I built up my first CF bike recently after riding steel for 10 years or so. I have to admit that just reading the lawyer warnings on just about every manufactuers instruction sheet gives me pause. I am not scared that it will explode on me but I will probably inspect it more closely and more often than I do my steel bikes.

  9. #34
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    I don't mean to insult you or the mechanics) but are you sure your headset is installed properly? Are you running a CK or a different type that uses a compression ring to take up slack between the steerer and upper bearing like in the attachment?

    This recently happened to me on my MTB. I had CK's for ever and this new one that came on the bike had no compression ring and rode like crap. Steering was terrible and the top cap had to be tightened too much before the play went away from the front end. Luckilly I only took a few slow speed pavement spins through the neighborhood before contacting FSA to get it all straightened out. No harm to my frame, fork or headset and it felt perfect after the compression ring was installed. Heck I never knew I needed a compression ring before.

    Just thought I'd throw it out there.
    Be safe.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Anyone else had a problem with carbon steerer failure?-orbit-x-drawing.1.jpg  

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Versatile
    plastic bikes.
    This is why I'm not even remotely interested in carbon bikes, I dont have time to go through a checklist like a pilot just to make sure the bike is safe to ride. Aaaand I dont trust the workmanship so I would never be able to trust the bike, sure if boeing started making bikes I would trust it.
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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Balderick
    ...
    My LBS guy has suggested I might be better to fit a fork with an aluminium steerer, which I will now do and am looking at an EA70 fork...
    Also take a look at Wound Up forks.
    They are pricier than many carbon forks, but they have a reputation for reliability and their burliness.

    Go with the most reputable quality one you can afford.

    Don't want to the be one of these two people who crashed on their REI Novara bikes because of carbon fork/steere separation leading to face injuries.
    Last edited by holy cromoly; 06-04-2009 at 02:52 PM.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by longcat
    This is why I'm not even remotely interested in carbon bikes, I dont have time to go through a checklist like a pilot just to make sure the bike is safe to ride...
    I am a steel guy, but have carbon bike too.
    The tricky thing about doing a "pre-flight" check on carbon is that there are some parts that simply cannot be inspected pre-ride, a carbon steerer being one of them. For this reason, I've gone with frame/fork set that has an aluminum steerer.

    I think for regular daily riders like us in the real world, an aluminum steerer and fork dropouts are best. Not sure I can trust those Scott carbon fork dropouts.

  13. #38
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    Never buy a Chris King headset if you have a fork that has a carbon steerer

    George Hincapie broke a carbon steerer in Paris-Roubaix once because of the threadless Chris King headset he was using. The design on the top cap of the Chris King is actually quite poor for such an expensive and long-lasting headset. It will make a scoring mark in your steerer every time. Guaranteed. Repeated cycles of hard riding will eventually turn that scoring mark into a crack. And then, fork steerer failure!

  14. #39
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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    In light of a slight modification of a George Box quote:

    "All bike parts are wrong. Some bike parts are useful."
    '09 Voodoo Wazoo
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    '06 Raleigh Cadent 5.0
    '01 Trek 4300 MTB
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    1 hour of running = 1 hour of wasted time when you could have been riding. - Alaska Mike

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by rook
    George Hincapie broke a carbon steerer in Paris-Roubaix once because of the threadless Chris King headset he was using. The design on the top cap of the Chris King is actually quite poor for such an expensive and long-lasting headset. It will make a scoring mark in your steerer every time. Guaranteed. Repeated cycles of hard riding will eventually turn that scoring mark into a crack. And then, fork steerer failure!
    Bollocks. In the incident you're referring to, he was riding an aluminum-steerer fork. In fact, much was made about the rationale his mechanic had for it in that he thought it would be more robust than a carbon steerer on the cobbles. Look it up.
    Last edited by otiebob; 06-05-2009 at 06:13 AM.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by otiebob
    Bollocks. In the incident you're referring to, he was riding an aluminum-steerer fork.
    Yup. Hincapie was on an aluminum steerer.

    And yes, he was riding a King headset Have not read anything about King headsets being the kiss of death to steerers though.


  17. #42
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    for all those worried about carbon components, you should really be worried about aluminum ones. You should google "aluminum fatigue limit" for some interesting reading. The bottom line is aluminum will eventually fail due to cyclic stress. FWIW, the only components I see regularly fail are lightweight aluminum ones - all those 115 gram stems etc. Also, carbon does not 'go soft' it simply isn't a property of the material. It's brittle (that's why it snaps instead of bends like alum or steel).

  18. #43
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    I'm not pessimistic at all, not at all

    Quote Originally Posted by stevesbike
    for all those worried about carbon components, you should really be worried about aluminum ones. You should google "aluminum fatigue limit" for some interesting reading. The bottom line is aluminum will eventually fail due to cyclic stress. FWIW, the only components I see regularly fail are lightweight aluminum ones - all those 115 gram stems etc. Also, carbon does not 'go soft' it simply isn't a property of the material. It's brittle (that's why it snaps instead of bends like alum or steel).
    And the only **** I see fail is the carbon ****! How convenient.

    Lets just all agree carbon sucks cocks, I've been biking for over 20 years and I never even heard of steerers breaking, until "carbon" became the standard that is.

    Shoot that **** to outer space, thats the only place no one will get hurt because of it!

    Lets just face it, carbon sucks ass because its only a massively hyped fragile crappy material, but a somewhat "strong" material (600Mpa dont cut it in my book, but thats just me, 1/2-1/3 or so of commonly used steel!).

    I feel its inappropriate for any kind of imaginable bike parts except 2kg road frames. Car-bone turds imo.

    Carbon sucks ass, every other post on the intarwebz is about "will this frame explode and kill me because of this crack etc etc, that **** just sucks! **** carbon I say! Why even bother, should I rack out the penetrants to look for cracks in the top coat, wooden hammer for loose delaminated fibers running amok on the inside of the tubes, MRI-scans for the **** I may have missed??

    Its a joke and the joke is on you.

    "but they win toor the franz on those" no ****, but they have many many of those! And you dont!

    The guys I work with are the top people on the planet, they were making carbon fighter jets 20 years before the US even noticed this material existed, and they sometimes ask me, just for fun, if my new frame was made out of "composite" (of course its always 4340 or 4130 steel), they know all too well how this material behaves, jets coming back with holes the size of peas in their wings, in several places, what a ****ing joke, and the people designing and building these really know their ****!

    Funny how these problems seems to stay under the radar for over 100 years but now just happening to surface, Gotta suck to be the one of the guinea pigs!

    I can go out and buy a whole bike thats 50 years old for less than 50 bucks and run it on a downhill course (I´m not a downhill rider btw), and it will be working for 50 more years after that, and you all know it! Its made out of non Reynolds 853 suck ass weak steel, but even that "inferior" material is more long lived than the best CF out there, go figure.

    Carbon is a joke for almost all parts on a bike, and if I owned the test equipment to show you I would (and since I do what I do I may have to design and build this equipment just to prove my point). Chinese carbon, gimme a fukn break, theyre just hacks capitalizing on the carbon "fashion", that it. Nothing more

    I can go out today and buy a 50 year old steel bike, that has been used daily for 50 years, and I have complete trust in that, name one single carbon part that will last for 10 years with confidence? trek oclv?

    Even the carbon/carbon (carbon fiber (melted) re-inforced graphite) they put on the space shuttles sucks ass so much it killed the crew on a shuttle. Imagine that! And those are made to a quality level several hundred-thousand times better than a bike frame or component!

    **** carbon ****

    should say fuk carbon sh!t

    I think
    Last edited by longcat; 06-05-2009 at 08:35 PM.
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  19. #44
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    Still wouldn't recomment a King threadless headset

    Quote Originally Posted by holy cromoly
    Yup. Hincapie was on an aluminum steerer.

    And yes, he was riding a King headset Have not read anything about King headsets being the kiss of death to steerers though.


    I should clarify myself. A King threadless headset will put a mark in ANY steerer, not just carbon. I have seen several steel steerers that have had the scoring mark put in them by the top part of the King headset.

    I actually thought that Hincapie had a carbon steerer. My mistake. However, the King headset has a design issue that puts the scoring mark in a steerer. The King threaded headset is good, but I still would not recommend a King threadless headset. No way. Especially not withh a carbon steerer.

  20. #45
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    here is info on the headsets and what they do

    "KUOATE"

    http://www.pvdwiki.com/index.php?title=The_BEST_Headset

    The Best

    The finest, greatest performing headset that I have ever owned is also one of the best values, the Cane Creek S-3. Commonly available for less than $30.
    [edit]
    Why not a Chris King headset?

    Back in the day of threaded 1" steerers, only two real performance options existed for bicycles, the Campagnolo Record HS-01OR Headset or the Chris King Two Nut headset. Both were fantastic options for both on and off road.

    Then came threadless and oversized threadless steerers and other new developements. Chris King was one of the first to adopt the new systems, but Dia-Compe USA (now Cane Creek) made key developments in the threadless headset (AheadSet®) and holds the patent on the design using a split compression ring (U.S. Patent #5095770). This split compression ring is how the system is able to maintain concentricity among the mating parts.

    The biggest initial problem with the Dia-Compe parts was overall percived quality. Others followed and improved their designs, but for many years, the Chris King NoThreadset headset was the only quality choice available, but things have changed.

    The real Achilles Heel of the Chris King design is the way that the top plate is held concentric to the steerer tube to avoid tresspassing on the Dia-Compe patent. An o-ring is used to hold the top plate centered. The problem with this design is that when strong enough forces are introduced to the fork, the o-ring gives a little and the steerer is pushed off center of the headset.

    Many people will see:

    * Wear marks on their aluminium steerers
    * A wear pattern on the taper of the base plate
    * A wear pattern on the taper of the top plate
    * Wear between the top plate and the first spacer or stem if the delrin shim is not in place (you were wondering what it was for?)

    "KUOATE"
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  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-a-Reno
    I don't mean to insult you or the mechanics) but are you sure your headset is installed properly? Are you running a CK or a different type that uses a compression ring to take up slack between the steerer and upper bearing like in the attachment?

    .
    That was the first thing the LBS owner checked, and my friends who own another LBS had their staff check that out as well. The headset is, I am told, installed properly. The headset is an FSA headset and the compression ring is fitted.

    I have fitted the forks off my 2003 Giant TCR Composite 2. It has a Al steerer. The flexing problem has disappeared (not that I am surprised by that).

    Not coincidentally, a young guy who works at the LBS I purchased this bike from also rides a bike of the same brand. He looks like he weighs less than 60kg, and is not a person who many consider to the a powerful rider. He had a carbon steerer break in a race - no, he did not hit anything. The Importer has taken a very long time to provide him with any response and he is still waiting for a replacement fork. Interestingly his broken fork had similar delamination on the part of the steerer where the stem was fitted - just as the two forks that I have had problems with. The delamination was not where the headset is but above it, where the stem clamps on to the steerer.

    His view - and he is a 19 year old with no formal training and little practical experience, so take what you will from it - is that the carbon steerers are made from substandard carbon - he used the word "cr@p". I am not so sure about that, but do wonder whether the increased use of HM carbon (as these forks claim to be) might be undesirable. That is, and I am asking a question rather than making a statement, is HM carbon (or are some types of HM carbon) less suitable for use as a fork steerer than other types of carbon?

    One positive - the failure of my two forks was something that I was able to detect before there was a catestorphic failure. However, my young friend's fork failure was catestrophic, in circumstances where he would unlikely to have put a signifcant amount of strain on his bike.

  22. #47
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesbike
    for all those worried about carbon components, you should really be worried about aluminum ones. You should google "aluminum fatigue limit" for some interesting reading. The bottom line is aluminum will eventually fail due to cyclic stress. FWIW, the only components I see regularly fail are lightweight aluminum ones - all those 115 gram stems etc. Also, carbon does not 'go soft' it simply isn't a property of the material. It's brittle (that's why it snaps instead of bends like alum or steel).
    +1

    Aluminum has no endurance limit, hence catastrophic failure and need for constant inspection (eg: airplanes).

    Steel on the other hand, has an endurance limit, and will show signs before fatigue failure unlike aluminum.

    Anyways, I love my Alu bikes lol.
    '09 Voodoo Wazoo
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    '06 Raleigh Cadent 5.0
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  23. #48
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    Jump

    Wow

    I have a carbon bike. And a few steel bikes, and an aluminum bike (couple)...
    Been riding a while (some 35 years or so)

    I like my carbon bike. I like it a lot.
    I don't worry one bit about it blowing up either.

    I don't worry much about any of my rides..

    I think you ride what you want to - get on with it.

    I have worked in machine shops and as a welder of some neat stuff - I know a fair bit about building things out of various materials -
    If you step out of the bike context for a moment - you find failure is not all that un-common.
    It is when it becomes a pattern, then you can jump up and down..

    I think people sometimes like to jump up and down just because then can...


  24. #49
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    1,585
    The problem with all of these type of threads is that this being the internet, all the bad news will surface and make the problem sound worse than it is.

    In the last four years I've been riding carbon bikes, I've never had a carbon failure. This includes riding carbon steerer forks, carbon seatposts, carbon cranks and carbon stems.

    For that matter, I ride everyday and do group rides twice on the weekend with large numbers of other people. In the last four years I have not seen anyone have a steerer failure on a fork. Nor has anyone I've been riding with told me they've ever had a problem like this.

    For that matter, the only time I see carbon break is on impacts from crashes in races.

    People need to put this all in perspective. We are talking about very small numbers of people having problems here. Most likely there were just as many failures of aluminum parts in the 80's and 90's, it's just that people didn't have internet forums to voice their problems.

  25. #50
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    183
    My carbon steerer fork imploded as I was rounding a corner, thankfully light traffic, out of the saddle. Wondered what that horrific sound was (carbon cracking) right as I was endoing into the road. Luckily caught the pavement with my shoulder and hip, not my face.
    I defer to all of you on the technology, materials, expertise, etc. I weigh 183 lbs, trying not to be a masher, but will never use a carbon steerer fork again.

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