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Carbon Fiber Frames and Hype(33 posts)

Carbon Fiber Frames and Hypescorpionking
Nov 11, 2002 7:52 PM
Have heard lots of talk recently about carbon fiber tubes as used in bicycle applications not being nearly as good at dampening out road vibrations as they have been claimed to. In fact, several materials scientists have claimed that CF as it is used in bike frame applications does not dampen road vibrations any better than steel or ti or aluminum for similiar stiffness tubes. Is this true and is carbon fiber in bike frame applications mostly a weight savings application with reported benefits of vibration damping largly myth? How about CF as it is used in components like forks, bars, and seatposts, more weight savings with lots of hype and myths about added comfort?
re: Carbon Fiber Frames and Hypejzinckgra
Nov 11, 2002 8:37 PM
Well, I just switched from a Klein QP (alum.) to a calfee CF and I can tell you that the difference in dampening and vibrations is no myth. I immediately noticed a "softer" feel over the little bumps and divets in the road when riding the CF. It just seems to absorb the road better, while the aluminum frame sorta bounced over the same bumps and vibrated the heck out of my arms. For the most part though, I won't shoot the alum. frame down b/c it's still a great frame, but the CF is more comfortable for me. At least in my opinion and comparison thus far, it is not a psyhcological thing.
Why not try yourself?deHonc
Nov 11, 2002 10:24 PM

I ride a CF frame - its a very, very long way from aluminium, but closer to steel. My CF ride is a total sensation especially after 100km. Why not test ride one yourself?

Ride Safe


re: Carbon Fiber Frames and AccelerationNoam
Nov 11, 2002 10:51 PM
I am not sure about the dampening properties of carbon frame. However, the acceleration is fantastic compared to steel frame. If you ride in a bunch on suburban roads with 20 trafic light stops a ride. You want to be there with the bunch when the green comes on.
Best of both worlds!!cyclequip
Nov 12, 2002 2:32 AM
I ride a custom, triple-butted aluminium main triangle/carbon-kevlar rear triangle roadbike. Previously it was all-aluminium. The difference is huge.
kevlar!? I think you're pulling our legs nmPdxMark
Nov 12, 2002 8:14 AM
Nov 12, 2002 6:14 PM
In the composite world kevlar is used to help in abrasion resisitance, it has no real use in a purely structural situation.
Kevlar OK for frames/forks....Bruno S
Nov 13, 2002 1:30 PM
Kevlar is a type of fiber made by DuPont. Composites can be made with.
re: Carbon Fiber Frames and HypeJimP
Nov 12, 2002 5:52 AM
I switched from a Cannondale to an Aegis 3 years ago and found a big difference in the vibration damping. The most notable difference is riding on a grainy surface where the aluminum frame would buzz and you could feel the vibration in your legs. The Aegis CF frame will vibrate but not nearly as much under those conditions.

Truth and lousy Ride Qualitybobobo
Nov 12, 2002 6:23 AM
My experiences with carbon fiber frames including Calfees is that they do dampen road vibrations somewhat better than aluminum bikes and no better than the steel or ti bikes I have ridden. Rear carbon traingles might help with aluminum frames, but the rear carbon stays I have tried on steel bikes were no improvement at all over the full steel models of same geometry for providing comfort.

My biggest dislike about full carbon fiber frames is their ride, it feels muted, dull, dead, call it what you want and nowhere near as lively or springy as any of my ti or steel bikes. This includes a Calfee Tetra Pro which I owned for about 2 months and sold because I got sick of the muted, crappy ride IMO.

Interesting but almost all the comments above mine seem to compare the comfort of CF frames with aluminum frames, the far end of the comfort spectrum. I'm guessing this has been done because when its compared with well made ti and steel frames there is little or no noticeable difference at all from a comfort standpoint. Heck, take a look at what CF bike and fork manufacturers themselves try to claim. Craig Calfee claims his Dragonfly model, "rides like a steel bike." Bull Dookey! I have ridden one and it has nowhere near the resiliency or spring of my steel and ti bikes. Fork manufacturers like Reynolds claim their CF forks ride like good steel forks. There is a reason why everyone tries to claim their CF parts and frames ride like steel, because that is the ride quality they want you to believe their parts emulate and unless they are steel they usually do not.
Bull Dookey? (nm)rtyszko
Nov 12, 2002 9:31 AM
Steel bikes are pretty.............and heavyJS
Nov 12, 2002 6:32 PM
Which is fine for Sunday morning coffee shop rides but if you race they are off the back. I know you'll argue that Foco Steel bikes are light but these bikes are more fragile than super-light aluminum. Who cares if my Ouzo Pro does or doesn't ride like a
steel fork, what I do care about is that it rides fine to me and doesn't weigh 1.5lbs. If your so worried about comfort get a friggin MTB, a good aluminum one will probably weigh about the same as your Steel road bike and I can Guarantee it will ride nicer. One more thing, this is a quote from an Interview with Pavel Tonkov (Giro winner and perenial podium finisher) about his stint riding for the Mercury team. " Can you believe they had us riding heavy steel bikes, it's like we were back in the 80's" He consequently had a C40 painted to look like the LeMond steel bike he was supposed to ride.
heavy to whom?laffeaux
Nov 13, 2002 11:08 AM
Do you think a pound really makes a difference to the average person? For professional racers it might make a difference, but to the average person who is carrying a few extra pounds on their gut already, do you really think the difference between a 18 pound and a 19 pound bike makes a difference, especailly when they are not racing? I don't think so. Ride a comfortable bike and enjoy the ride, regardless fo material.
A pound? try 2.5 lbsJS
Nov 13, 2002 5:09 PM
a Gios steel frame and fork in a 56cm from Excel sports is 5.6 lbs. A Med. Giant TCR composite with fork is 3.0 lbs even. I race and that is a big difference. My race weight is between 147-150lbs (at 5'11") 5%-6% body fat. Even though this is America not everybody in this country is a fat slob.......although it sometimes appears that way.
try getting a brainscorpionking
Nov 13, 2002 9:42 PM
I don't care if your frame and fork weigh 1 lb total. I know guys who ride heavy steel bikes who could probably drop you and your 3lb fork and frame like a bad habit without even breaking a sweat. No rider with a really good engine ever got dropped off of a pack simply because of the bike he was riding, if you actually believe that your not only an idiot, but an idiot who has never raced seriously. Talk about fragile, gee tell me how durable your carbon fiber bike any carbon fiber bike will be in a crash, try little to none genius. Little weight weenies like you crack me up, your a dime a dozen, you have this deluded little belief that if someones bike doesn't weigh 15lbs and have every single stupid light component in the world hanging off it, then its not raceable. I'm CAT 2 licensed based out of Denver. Anytime you'd like to come out and do some hillwork with your light bike I'll break out one of my terribly heavy steel bikes like my 3.6 lb Pegoretti Marcelo , I've got substantially lighter bikes including a Pinarello Opera and a Foco bike but I don't think there's any reason to go really light against someone like you. We'll have a little competition and see just how easily you drop me on my anchor of a bike. How about we do a little 25-50 mile loop with some good steep long ascents, loser pays the winner $100 for each minute he finishes behind. Let me know when, I could use some funds for an Ottrott.
Easy tough guy.JS
Nov 14, 2002 9:12 AM
My race bike weighs 16.5 lbs with race wheels, I'm hardly a weight weenie. I always say, " I don't care if I have the lightest bike on the start line, I just don't want the heaviest". My point is, if I'm racing the Tour of Gila, I'm not doing it on a 22lb steel bike. Let's see, your a really fast Cat 2 and your racing on a Pegoretti and a Pinirello? That seems odd as every fast Cat 2 I know rides for a team and gets a team bike. Your probably the guy who whined to the local rep so long they finally upgraded you to get you outa their hair or you were sorta fast 10 years ago when there were about 30 guys at the start of a 3's race. So, how about some results, I was ranked in the top 10 in the nation in my expert class on the MTB in 2000 before switching to the road this year, I also upgraded from 5 to a 3 in one season. how about you?
Easy tough guy.scorpionking
Nov 14, 2002 3:21 PM
I never recall saying I raced either of those bikes, training yes, racing, no. Please explain to me in your infinite wisdom how a 5.6lb steel frame/fork builds into a 22lb bike, because unless you are hanging lead weights off of it I can take any Ultegra or Chorus grouppo (not even D/A or Record) and build such a bike to sub 20lbs easily.

I'm based in Denver, anytime you'd like to show me your top 10 MTB form let me know. I don't know even a single serious CAT racer of any level who would tell someone they are going to get dropped off the back of a pack because of their 5.6 lb steel frame/fork combo. The very fact you made such a ridiculous comment tells me you have never raced at any serious level before. Top 10? Yeah, perhaps top 10 dreamer, that's about it. Where are you based out of Mr. Top 10? I do lots of traveling and more than likely I'll be somewhere close enough to your vicinity sometime soon so we can hook up on a ride. I'm on both coasts regularly. I'll bring a 22lb lead anchor of a bike, even if I have to modify it to get it that heavy and well see exactly how easy you drop me off your rear. Where are you based out of Mr Top 10 Dreamer?
You are fu%&**$ing dillusional!JS
Nov 14, 2002 9:51 PM
Let's see, we do a search looking for our pro wrestling wannabee Scorpionking and what do we find on the general forum?....SCORPIONKING; "I'm about to re enter road biking after a 4 year layoff. I had previously always been hard to fit and am wondering, should I buy a stock bike, ride it and then go for custom after I have my position and fitness level improved or should I go custom right out of the gate and who would you suggest if I go custom. Looking for a good century type bike and training bike, with no crits or stuff like that." Hardly sounds like a question posed by a hardened Cat 2 racer, no crit stuff? oh no, are you afraid of getting too close to other people? You went from asking people what bike to buy because you are "about to re enter road biking after a 4 year layoff" on Nov 2 2002 to magically owning a whole stable of high dollar steel road bikes and being one of the fastest guys in Denver on Nov 14 2002, that's a hell of a lot of progress in 12 days. You know if your gonna talk sh*t, and reinvent yourself on a forum you'd better cover your tracks better. Freak!
Nov 15, 2002 11:29 AM
Somebody got pee'd on. ;-)

Can't wait for the response in this little saga.....
Nov 18, 2002 7:37 AM
That's great. I see he hasn't bothered to comment. I love that "based in Denver, but travel to both coasts".

Come on, he sounds like a total poser to begin with.

My guess is his idea of "re enter road biking after a four year lay-off" refers to those 4 years from 16 (when he got his driver's license) to 20 (when he decides to buy a new bike). Bet his last bike was a Huffy mtn bike he road to school.

What a riot.
re: Carbon Fiber Frames and Hypepmf1
Nov 12, 2002 6:47 AM
I do think CF frames (I have two) have a smoother ride than ti, aluminium or steel frames (I have a ti bike and have owned steel and aluminium bikes). Some folks like it, and others do not. Whether it feels "dead" or "plush" depends on the individual. Its a matter of preference.

The widespread use of carbon forks says something. Almost all road bikes have them these days. Its more than just hype and weight savings (remember, aluminium frames are typically the lightest, not carbon).
re: Carbon Fiber Frames and Hypebobobo
Nov 12, 2002 8:30 AM
Actually it's all about weight savings. Almost all carbon fiber fork manufacturers attempt to brag about how their forks ride like good steel forks, take a guess why this is? It has nothing to do with better ride quality but simple weight savings. If carbon fiber forks were being built into 2lb forks you would not find very few if any people willing to buy and ride them. It is more of the industry's nonstop pursuit of convincing cyclists they have to shave mere grams or they can't possibly enjoy their cycling or compete effectively. A well made curved bladed steel fork requires much more hands on labor to fabricate than a molded and tube plugged carbon fiber bladed fork. It's all about weight savings, and decreasing manufacturing costs while charging the customer more. Not a single rider I know of who has ever ridden a quality steel fork has stated that carbon fiber forks ride better or handle better. They may change for weight savings, but they definitely are not changing for improved ride quality.
Nov 12, 2002 10:42 AM
I've had bikes with steel forks. The carbon ones are better IMO. I hear lots of frames get compared to steel, but I've never heard anyone claim a carbon fork rides just like a steel one. Carbon is lighter and it is easier to manufacture en mass. It also results in a better handling fork. Sorry, but I think most folks would disagree with you on this.
Im with pmf...koala
Nov 12, 2002 11:08 AM
I have had good steel forks and none ride as well as my current ouzo pro.
I'm with bobobo, carbon forks and frames are hypedscorpionking
Nov 13, 2002 9:24 PM
I ride good quality steel forks and some nice carbon forks including two Ouzo Pro's and an Alpha Q. I notice no improvement whatsoever in ride quality or smoothness of the carbon forks over the steel forks. To me they are 100% a weight reducing application. If you talk to any materials engineer who works with vibrations resonance issues in different materials, I know several, they will all tell you the same thing. Carbon fiber in epoxy matrix tubes does not posess the ability to significantly alter vibrations in the resonance ranges which could possibly be perceived by human beings through a sense of touch relative to steel and titanium. Not one single carbon fiber manufacturer has ever been able to document a single conclusive lab study or real world empirical study to suggest that carbon fiber bike parts significantly or even moderately reduce vibration transmissions within detectable resonant frequency ranges as could be perceived by human beings. Carbon fiber as it's layed up in bike applications has great structural strength to weight attributes, but its purported vibration reducing qualities is all smoke and mirrors. Talk to any material vibration engineer about it, they'll tell you the truth.The comfort in some carbon fiber bikes is likely coming from the flex in the tubes, same thing with some carbon fiber forks, it is not coming from some majical imagined vibration reduction effect though.
Wasn't that your point?pmf1
Nov 14, 2002 5:32 AM
I can't believe I'm arguing with two guys named Bobo and Skorpionking ...

OK, so as you say

"I notice no improvement whatsoever in ride quality or smoothness of the carbon forks over the steel forks. To me they are 100% a weight reducing application."

So they ride just like steel, but weigh less? And this is bad? Making something that is just as strong and half the weight is all "hype"? Hey, I'll buy that hype any day of the week. You can keep your steel.

My own experience with carbon bicycle frames (I own two) is that there is a definite difference in the ride compared to titanium (I own one) or steel (I own one). I think the ride is plusher and slightly muted. Some people do not like it. I don't think this feeling is the result of flex in the tubes. These bikes are as stiff as any others I have.

Carbon frames and forks are here to stay. They are light, ride nice and people like them. Go on an anti-carbon tirade all you want, but I doubt many folks are doing to side with you guys in saying a steel fork beats a carbon fork. Maybe bike frame, but not fork.
Wasn't that your point?scorpionking
Nov 14, 2002 3:11 PM
I did not know we were arguing? You need to take some Prozac and realize child, that not everyone, not even most people will always agree with you on every opinion you have on every subject. Looking over many of your posts on you seem to take very, very personally anyone saying even the slightest thing which does not exactly agree with your views. No one ever said carbon fiber parts were not here to stay and I think you'd be surprised how many people who actually understand the technology behind carbon fiber tubes totally disagree with you. You can keep your carbon fiber.

You don't have to "argue" with me any more little child, I will simnply ignore you from here on so you don't blow a gasket with rising blood pressure. :-)
So you're what, 22 years old?pmf1
Nov 18, 2002 7:30 AM
I bet I was riding bikes back when you were getting a stiffy looking at your mom's Sears catalogue :-)

You asked a question about carbon fiber -- does it have dampening qualities? Many of us chimed in, yes we have carbon bikes and they do have a unique feel. Not getting the answer you wanted (and why you bothered asking the question I don't know), you went on a testimonial about how carbon bikes are just hype, only good for lighter weight (which you don't need because you're about to turn pro)and have no dampening qualities whatsoever.

I'm not sure I understand why you posted this in the first place. Evidently not to learn anything. If anyone needs to lay off the coffee, I think its you.
I'm with bobobo, carbon forks and frames are hypedkestrel guy
Nov 14, 2002 5:33 AM
I hate to burst your bubble, but Kestrel has done EXTENSIVE studies on the dampnig, flex, and general compliance of carbon versus other materials.
You stating that it is purely weight is false. There are lighter, alot lighter weight frames in materials other then carbon. In fact, most carbon frames are 2 to 8 oz heavier. Look at the Calfee Dragonfly. He claims the weight at 2.2 lbs. They are coming in 1/2 lb heavier!! For a 52cm frameset!!

I have every frame material available, other then magnesium and beryllium. I will tell you that over the 15 yrs of racing, that my Kestrel is by far the most comfortable and the quickest bike I own. And, it feels the best. No where near dead!

If carbon doesn't absorb impact or flex, why do carbon bars last longer on a fatigue test machine then aluminum? Take a look at the results, try Titec. They do numerous tests on a cycle machine and consistantly carbon has a longer cycle life.

Maybe you should try to ride a nice carbon bike, like a Kestrel or a Time. Calfee is NOT a good rep. of carbon bikes.
If you want a bike that rides like steel, go steel. (nm)Spunout
Nov 12, 2002 9:14 AM
just ride your bikelaffeaux
Nov 12, 2002 12:27 PM
Who cares? People have different opinions (and all are valid) as what is more comfortable. If you like your bike then ride it.

The only bogus opinion is that all bikes of material "X" ride similarly. That is crap. I've ridden steel bikes that were incredibly harsh, nice and smooth, and some that I was pretty indifferent about. If you think the material is more important than the frame builder, you're a long way from being correct.
Material science guys mostly correctNessism
Nov 13, 2002 7:27 AM
Engineers will tell you that there are three main components to any vibration system: a spring, a mass, and a damper. A bike frame is basically a spring with no damping. The "give" that people feel in the frame is the frame flexing downward in response to a bump. This is quite different from damping which is the slowing down of the vibrations that occur after the spring is displaced.

Carbon fiber does have a small measure of damping that occurs when the fibers flex against each other but this effect is very small. The only way for damping to occur is to change the kinetic motion into heat and there is very little of this going on inside the frame tubes.

Material science guys mostly correctpet
Nov 13, 2002 4:33 PM
Ask yourself modern day tennis and badmintion racket is make of what???? CARBON!!! In the old days these are wood to aluminium-(steel too heavy) to modern day CARBON. The transaition period saw the PROs Tennis star switchin to carbon after their wooden racket get wipe-out by players with more powerful carbon racket. Carbon provide better engery transfer. I play tennis for 15 years and been thru the material transaition. GO WITH CARBON...U won't be WRONG. Well most manufacturer encourage alu or stell, due to its low cost, ask yourslef the material cost of cannondale CAAD7.......LESS THAN $100 total!!!!!