Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

1 - 20 of 52 Posts

·
CEO Product Failure
Joined
·
1,560 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Is there a recommended limit regarding how cold is too cold ride a carbor fiber frame outdoors?

I just got a new bike. Its my first bike with a carbon fiber frame and carbon fiber rims. If I tell 10 people about the bike, 6 of them will warn me about riding the bike in the cold.

I ride year round and this is a concern for me. While the warranty and customer service from this manufacturer are phenomenal, I'd prefer not to have to make a claim ever.

Lastly, my wife has a 2017 version of this same bike. She got it in fall 2016. In January 2017, her frame was punctured by something (a rock?) while we were driving home from the trails. It was 20F out and cloudy. In hindsight, I am wondering if the cold temps contributed to the blemish/frame failure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
I don’t have an answer but maybe some insight from my old material science days. Carbon fiber in particular is fine at temp extremes but it’s the resin (polymer) matrix that binds it together that is probably of greater concern as the frame material is a composite.

So I don’t know what the specific composite construction is but the resin and the process by which it’s made are key. If it’s a “cheap Chinese carbon frame” than god knows...

I’m a big dude at 6’4” and 260# so I tend to put my faith in steel. Do you know the riddle if steel? ;)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,755 Posts
It looks like there's at least a few carbon fiber fat bikes out there. If there was a widespread problem with cold temps I would think they wouldn't make them.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
34,995 Posts
I hope not, otherwise the stabilizers and tails of airliners would be falling off! It’s commonly -60 up there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
They use carbon fiber in airplanes and space ships. At 30,000 feet the air temperature is -48F. Your bike will be fine.
It’s not that simple. A bicycle frame and aircraft frame are two very different things. They layup process, manufacturing techniques, laminations, stresses, I could go on. Composites are not homogeneous materials.

That said, I too think a bike frame at any rideable temps is probably going to be fine if manufactured well.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
This comes up every few years. Carbon fiber is used extensively in airplanes, the Boeing 787 fuselage is mostly carbon, with planes flying at 35,000 and -60F temperatures.
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
30,797 Posts
my fatbike has a decent bit of carbon. I have ridden it in temps down to just a hair below 0F, and have had no troubles with the material. I definitely prefer carbon handlebars in the cold. They're a TON "warmer" than alu bars and it makes a difference for the hands.
 

·
High Desert MTBer
Joined
·
5,468 Posts
Be careful!!! Below about 28.5 degrees the thing will most likely explode into a gazillion little pieces!

Just like those Boeings...
 

·
SS Pusher Man
Joined
·
7,590 Posts
I'm pretty sure you'll fail before the bike does in the cold.
 

·
High Desert MTBer
Joined
·
5,468 Posts
I have a carbon frame and I will never find out what the critical point is :) 50 degrees is my limit... anything below that is for Nanook only...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,109 Posts
It’s not that simple. A bicycle frame and aircraft frame are two very different things. They layup process, manufacturing techniques, laminations, stresses, I could go on. Composites are not homogeneous materials.

That said, I too think a bike frame at any rideable temps is probably going to be fine if manufactured well.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Correct, that was an oversimplification. However, my point is that carbon seems to be this mysterious black-magic material within the cycling community, when in reality it's been around for decades and used in far more extreme scenarios than we as cyclists would ever encounter.

At the end of the day, we are just individuals riding bicycles.
 

·
EAT MORE GRIME
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
Joined
·
5,716 Posts
the only issue you will have with cf frames and cold might be water ingress into the layup due to defects around water bottle bosses or any other part of the frame if water can get in there and freeze

if clean and dry, you are fine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNd8MoWRnr8
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,739 Posts
Not a carbon expert, but lots of airplanes both commercial and military are built using carbon fiber, which at extremely high altitudes are subject to extremely low temps.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
34,995 Posts
Generally, the concern with curing is that you are doing it in warm-enough conditions. A rule of thumb that is applied is that the strength of the composite is only as good as the temperature that it cured in, as in if you cure it too cold, it may loose strength in hotter conditions. This is why for many years the FAA mandated composite aircraft like gliders to be painted only white. I think this is somewhat of a thing of the past, but curing temp and conditions are still very important, you always have a curing temperature range when you cure carbon fiber resin. I fixed one of my fat-bikes this year and it worked fine, but I had to make sure I had the air-temp to do it. This isn't exactly the same as being discussed here in this thread, but IME and at the classes I've attended, the concern was generally on the other end, that a structure could have been cured too cold and that it may not have the required strength in extreme hot conditions.

But this is is all so not even worth discussing due to it just not being a concern.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
34,995 Posts
Carbon should be cured in an autoclave.
No, there are various resins that can cure just fine at room temp. It all depends on what you are seeking in the end.
 
1 - 20 of 52 Posts
Top