Well, as most folks know, I just love carbon fiber. It’s in just about every component that I have on my bike. Today though, I learned that it is a miracle material for sure, but it does have its downsides. Caveat Emptor.
h4. Campagnolo Record Seatpost: Don’t overtighten even once!
My good buddy Dave has one of these. Someone tightened it too much with the seat post collar facing to the rear. This tore through the carbon fiber. The bike shops and his bike fitter though it looked OK, it was just one little tear. By the time we were 50 miles into our ride, he had to tighten it up three times and when we pulled it out, it was an oval and the crack ran down six inches. A reminder that carbon fiber is only strong in one direction (in this case vertically, so the horizontal force of tightening cracked it like a peanut shell). We dug around and found Bike Master in Spanaway. What a great guy! Does BMX, but replaced this $100 part with a $12 aluminum seat post and it was fixed.
h4. Easton EC-90 Handle Bars: One crash is all it takes
On the ride back, I was tired, ended up on a busy street, hit the brakes too hard in the front. This caused the front wheel to wobble. Like an idiot (or someone who had been riding for 11 hours), I tried to stand up at 15 mph. Predictably, crashed. The bar came down hard on the curb. Snapped in right in half. I only had a scrape. Same problem as the seatpost. The fibers are lined up left and right, so an impact that was vertical, just snapped it. I was lucky, the break was three inches to the right of the stem, so I could ride home by using the close to the stem hand position. A nerve racking hour I can tell you. I think I’m going to get aluminum bars from now on. This is my second cracked handlebar. The first was from tightening a 25.4 stem on a 26.0 EC-90. Cracked right away. Then, one impact and this 31.0 EC-90 is dead. Plus, aluminum is cheaper too. You’ve been warned. The Deda 215 looks good. Make me nervous about my Time Monolink carbon fiber stem, but I think it is unlikely to take the brunt of a crash. Unlike bars, which are almost always going to.

One response to “Carbon Fiber: It's brittle too…”

  1. Anita's LOL Avatar

    Carbon Fiber Disadvantages
    Carbon fiber is a cool high-tech material, but Rich Tong has first-hand experience with some of its disadvantages.

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