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Question regarding thermal tolerances of CF etc,....(3 posts)

Question regarding thermal tolerances of CF etc,....zero85ZEN
Oct 28, 2003 7:47 PM
I think I know the answer to this question but here goes, I'm curious for anyone's input:

Any way in which long term freezing (Leaving bike in a closed up unheated house for the winter) could be detrimental to a carbon fibre bike frame or Campy Record components? I wouldn't think so considering CF is a major component of the Space Shuttle and various high tech aircraft, etc. (No water is in the frame, BB shell or hasn't been used in months, I have others I've been riding lately.)

Any thoughts?
cruelty re: Question regarding thermal tolerances of CF etc,....charlieboy
Oct 29, 2003 1:19 AM
IMO, anyone who leaves a Campy Record-equipped CF bike all alone..., all winter..., in a freezing house..., should be locked up. How could you be so cruel, you monster?;)))
re:I think it depends on what you define as winterhudsonite
Oct 29, 2003 2:10 AM
I am not an expert, so this is an opinion.

Winter temperatures are not uniform across the world, let alone across America. Depending upon where you are it can be dry and cool (20F), or damp and very, very cold (-30F or lower).

If the area you live in is dry and does not get below 0, I doubt that there will be any problem. However, if you live in an area of the country that can get humid and very cold (North east for example) I would think the bike should be stored in a more temperate climate.

There are two things that need to be considered, one is condensation, which can cause rust on the steel bits of the bike, not much steel on a CF/Record, but there is some steel. The second thing to be considered is the different rates steel and carbon expand and contract. Different materials have different thermal properties. As it gets really cold, the metal parts are going to shrink at different rates than the carbon bits. This will cause the bonding surfaces between the two materials to be stressed. Most of the time this will not cause a problem, but if you bring materials down to -30F or lower, it can be an issue.

Space stations, airplanes and other high stress environments are engineered specifically for the temperature swings. They also do a lot of testing to make sure the thermal changes of the enviornment will not cause problems. I am not convinced that the good folks in the bike industry actually consider a bike will be stored at -30F or even -40F.

The other consideration is the rubber bits. I have seen bikes that have been stored in a shed through a very cold winter. The tires and tubes in the spring were finished and had to be replaced. Some other tires and tubes seem to be ok after a winter. So this depends. Cable housings also do not like massive swings of temperature. I have seen cracks in the outside of cable housings after being stored at -30F. Same things with saddles. Some will crack in -30F.

So in general, I would not store a bike or anything else of value in an area that could get colder than 0F. As a rule, I will not store anything of value in an unheated environment. My bikes are stored in a garage, where the temperature will stay well above freezing.

So I guess it depends on where you live!