Road Salt versus Carbon Fiber
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  1. #1

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    Road Salt versus Carbon Fiber

    Does anyone have any info/links to tests on the effects of road salt on carbon fiber?

    I am thinking of getting a new 'Winter bike'. I am wondering how the road salt might effect a carbon fiber fork. Would it be better to go with an Aluminum fork?

    Currently my steel road bike is rusting! I was thinking of going to an Aluminum (maybe Carbon?) frame.

  2. #2
    Bike Wing Conspiracy
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    Road salt will do nothing to your CF bike.

    I ride year round on a CF bike. Never had one problem associated to salt.
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  3. #3
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    Titanium?

    Quote Originally Posted by john trials
    Does anyone have any info/links to tests on the effects of road salt on carbon fiber?

    I am thinking of getting a new 'Winter bike'. I am wondering how the road salt might effect a carbon fiber fork. Would it be better to go with an Aluminum fork?

    Currently my steel road bike is rusting! I was thinking of going to an Aluminum (maybe Carbon?) frame.
    that would be my vote...
    It never gets easier. You just go faster. Greg LeMond

  4. #4
    imbasilical moreon
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    ... salt has no significant impact on CF (eg- america's cup boats, etc) ... you will neet to pay careful attention to the metal bits ...

    "Totally INTP"



  5. #5
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by john trials
    Does anyone have any info/links to tests on the effects of road salt on carbon fiber?

    I am thinking of getting a new 'Winter bike'. I am wondering how the road salt might effect a carbon fiber fork. Would it be better to go with an Aluminum fork?

    Currently my steel road bike is rusting! I was thinking of going to an Aluminum (maybe Carbon?) frame.
    Aluminum is a dissaster with chorides (salt). - TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Salt and water together create an electolyte solution that, when in contact with metals, can cause an electrochemical reaction to occur. The result is the oxidation of the metal into an oxide - rust in the case of steel and that white, powdery, corrosion that one sees on aluminum. Carbon fibers themselves are non-metallic (but conducting) materials embedded in an organic (epoxy) matrix which is non-conducting. These latter materials should be much less affected by electrolyte solutions than any metals.

  7. #7

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    Either way you go, you have a good excuse to get a new bike!

  8. #8
    hfc
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    I think riding a bike with an aluminum fork is like asking someone to beat on your hands with a hammer (aluminum hammer, if you will) while you ride.

  9. #9
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    My god, the salt bent the seat tube.

    On my third winter commuting on a Look. Experience confirms what others predicted. Carbon fiber tubes look fine, aluminum lugs are oxiding, causing the paint to bubble.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

  10. #10

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    Thanks

    Thanks for all the info...I was hoping to get a winter bike that wouldn't cost much, but if carbon fiber is more durable in the salt, I guess it is best to get as much carbon fiber as possible (I keep my bikes for a long time). I never realized Aluminum would have a problem with salt!

    My current steel framed winter bike is from around 1990! It is getting a little worn out due to so many years of use (now mostly for winter and rainy rides...I keep my good bike for the nice weather).

  11. #11
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    Does this apply to ti?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmoryl
    Salt and water together create an electolyte solution that, when in contact with metals, can cause an electrochemical reaction to occur. The result is the oxidation of the metal into an oxide - rust in the case of steel and that white, powdery, corrosion that one sees on aluminum. Carbon fibers themselves are non-metallic (but conducting) materials embedded in an organic (epoxy) matrix which is non-conducting. These latter materials should be much less affected by electrolyte solutions than any metals.
    I've never heard/seen that it oxidizes like Alu or Steel, I could be wrong...BTW how many carbon bikes are out there that don't use any "metal bits" in the HT, BB, dropouts? Not that many, and the ones that are 100% carbon would probably not be used by most as a "winter/beater" bike. Some high end will use Ti parts to help with galvanic corrosion. At least that's what I have read....
    It never gets easier. You just go faster. Greg LeMond

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramjm_2000
    I've never heard/seen that it oxidizes like Alu or Steel, I could be wrong...BTW how many carbon bikes are out there that don't use any "metal bits" in the HT, BB, dropouts? Not that many, and the ones that are 100% carbon would probably not be used by most as a "winter/beater" bike. Some high end will use Ti parts to help with galvanic corrosion. At least that's what I have read....
    Titanium is supposed to have excellent resistance to corrosion in salty environments, although I have no first-hand experience. As far as protecting the other 'metal bits' on a CF frame, I guess one would need to resort to the pre-CF and Ti methods of paint or other coatings (e.g. Framesaver) and washing down after riding. Maybe this can serve as an excuse to buy a CF-Ti frame like the Serotta Ottrott for a winter bike?

  13. #13
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    At the risk of sounding elitist...

    I have never gone to the trouble of washing my bike down after riding in the snow, rain or mud. If things wear out it is not going to be the result of 1 ride in the rain or salt.

    Corrosion takes time. During that time I would most likely have upgraded the parts anyways. It is of no consequence to me that parts wear out, that is what they are supposed to do. I will just replace when necessary.

    Saying that, I have not changed my crank, seat, chain ring, front wheel, or seat post in 6 years. The rear wheel is new from a year ago when I had a new one built up. The handle bars are new after they snapped. The frame is new after it was hit by a car. The headset is new because CK headsets rock. I have changed the chain as needed.

    That is 6 years of city, salt and long distance riding. My bike shop told me recently that I need to have the front wheel replaced. The front wheel is close to 14 years old. It is a DT deep v from way back-bulletproof to the core.

    The upshot is, things dont really wear out in my opinion.
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