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Longeivity of aluminum lugged, carbon Giant frames.(5 posts)

Longeivity of aluminum lugged, carbon Giant frames.Scy
Dec 4, 2001 3:19 PM
Bought a used Giant CFR about 12 months ago and, after 5,000 miles, am very happy with it. This was my first year riding a road bike in weekly group conditions. I plan on racing next season for the first time. I don't need a "better" bike because any limitations on my performance are almost certainly related to my fitness, rather than my bike. I'm also happy with the ride/feel/stiffness/weight/cornering of the frame and would like to just replace/upgrade parts as they break. However, if the frame is going to die in the near future, I'll just sell it and buy a new bike altogether.

I've read on this board that the aluminum lugged, carbon tubed frames of that era (about 5+ years ago -- it has 8 speed STI) made by Trek and Specialized were prone to failure/deterioration. Do the Giant CFR frames also suffer from similar design defects, or was this just Trek and Specialized? If it's simply a bad design to bond aluminum to carbon fiber, why is the present trend to have alumimum frames with carbon seatstays/seattubes?

So, should I get rid of the frame?
My Takegrzy
Dec 4, 2001 4:49 PM
Ride it until it craps out. Just keep an eye on all the welded and stressed areas. If you do your own maintenance and routinely clean your machine it should be pretty easy to detect a failure before it becomes catastrauphic.

Keep in mind that aluminum frames exist b/c they're cheap to make.
don't worry too muchpersonne
Dec 4, 2001 5:44 PM
I have a (1990?) Specialized Allez Epic bought in 1991 (and made by Giant). The bike has done tens of thousands of km, been touring in the Alps (with panniers f+r clamped on), ridden in Paris-Brest-Paris, etc, etc. It sees everyday use.

To date, no problems with frameset...
re: Longeivity of aluminum lugged, carbon Giant frames.McAndrus
Dec 4, 2001 6:15 PM
I also have a Giant CFR which I believe is a 1999 frame, which I bought about this time last year. I put it together a piece at a time and started riding in March and have been riding it since.

I share your concern about aluminum lugged carbon frames. It just seems logical that at some point the bonds will fail from the stress.

However, I'm happy to report that I've put several thousand hard miles on it and it still rides great.

I've also compared it against Trek 5500s owned by friends. While the test wasn't scientific we could tell virtually no difference in weight and only a slightly stiffer bottom bracket in the Trek. The Trek did, though, hold a straighter line in a standing climb - for what that's worth.

I couldn't be happier with the frame and I'm just going to ride it until I see a problem. By then I'll be stinkin' rich and I'll just replace it with a C40. ;-)
20,000+ miles and still going strongSkunkWorks
Dec 7, 2001 11:07 PM
What happens is the carbon and aluminum react to form a small battery. The glue used to hold the carbon tubes in the aluminum joint acts as an insulator to keep them from reacting, but if the glue breaks down then it tears itself appart. Eventually it will happen, but it could be a long time. The thickness of the glue is probally a little different in each frame and it is anyone's guess as to how well it is glued. Still it could be a long time before you have any problems and it probally won't be as catastophic a failure as a pure aluminum frame. At least those joints are pretty thick and they usually don't just snap like a welded joint would. I do know of someone that had a failure on a CFR, but the tube just started slipping inside the joint, and he actually rode it home. I have over 20,000 miles on my CFR from the mid 90's and it still seems fine.