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Discussion Starter #1
Two years ago I bought my first carbon mountain bike, 150mm full squish and have been riding it harder than I did my old bike. Averaging a couple rides a week, and more time at Demo, SC. I’ve mashed the frame a couple times in steep rock gardens and so it’s got some dings. It makes me wonder how long the frame will last if this kind of wear and tear continues. How long can carbon frames be expected to last with heavy riding and regular crashes?
 

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Hoolie Ghoulie on Strava.
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My 2011 Turner 5 Spot, 160 Fork, 140Rear, was going strong at about 1,200 rides. Tahoe, Downieville, Utah, Whole Enchilada, Bootleg Canyon kind of rides. Oh, and Demo when taking it easy (kidding, I bypass 1/2 the Braille jumps). Made in USA. Canfield Riot was running perfectly after 400 rides (like new with $25 of bearings). Keep in mind these bikes are aluminum, and had many dents, but they are both still being ridden by new owners. Im not sure my CARBON Ibis Ripmo will,last 1,200 rides, but I am at about 120 rides now. I will probably sell it after 2 seasons, cheaper than replacing tons of parts I wear out. I think this Ripmo is the best bike I have ever owned. Friends dont let friends buy my used bikes.
 

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Log off and go ride!
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My oldest is 15 years and has an estimated 10k miles on it. I am OCD about maintenance, but despite my careful ministrations it is showing its age and I am having difficulty keeping it running properly.

The age-old quandary -- keep replacing parts or time for a new bike...
 

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My 2006 Turner 5-spot (now a frankenspot with newer rear triangle, new rockers, probably close to a 6-spot) is still going strong. Don't even know how many rides or miles. It's now backup bike for the wife and friends.

Bike has done trips to Moab (a few times), St. George (a few times), Sedona, Oakridge, Bend, Umpqua, Shasta, Kernville, Vegas/Bootleg, so many Downievilles, Tahoes, SLO.

Biggest problem with that bike is that its not easy to find 26" tires anymore.

EDIT: Oops, didn't mean this as a response to the other Turner. But glad to see another Turner going strong!
 

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I don't think there is a useful life to a carbon frame like a consumable would have. Assuming no major crash event, the answer to your question probably has more to do with your appetite for replacing parts and degree to which you want new tech.
 

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Up In Smoke
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Both my bikes are aluminum, a hard tail xc bike from ‘14 and a cx bike from ‘12. Both running strong.
 

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Hoolie Ghoulie on Strava.
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Brahhhhhhh. I love the Turner Love.
 

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I'm generally getting 2-4 years hard use. However like any crash on any wheeled device it might last years or until your next decent crash.... no body knows. Its how you crash and what you crash into that makes all the difference.

Imagine if you asked the same question on a car forum.
"I have a new car, how many times can I crash It before its written off???"

In both instances you need to rub your crystal balls pretty hard to try and predict an correct answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes, I’m not having big crashes but the sharp rocks are not kind to the frame. Just wondering if this is “normal”, but it probably varies much. It seems expensive if a carbon frame has a good chance of needing replacement within a few years.

I'm generally getting 2-4 years hard use. However like any crash on any wheeled device it might last years or until your next decent crash.... no body knows. Its how you crash and what you crash into that makes all the difference.

Imagine if you asked the same question on a car forum.
"I have a new car, how many times can I crash It before its written off???"

In both instances you need to rub your crystal balls pretty hard to try and predict an correct answer.
 

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No known cure
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My 2010 Ventana El Ciclon is still going strong. It's had hundreds of super d and enduro events on it alond with destination rides like Sedona, Kernville, Downiville, Tahoe, Bootleg, Moab and daily riding here in Big Bear. The rear triangle is actually from 2006 and the bearings are buttery smooth.

My newest bike is a Guerilla Gravity and I specifically went with aluminum over carbon.
 

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So far 26 years for my Diamond Back Axis TT (Ti) and 11 years for my Trek fuel EX (Al)

The "Patina" on both bikes alwsays brings a smile to my face, they've been maintained well but used hard those years, they've earnt every scratch and dent :D

I know what i'm like, if i bought a new bike it'd ruin my day each time i scratched it or dented it

I find owning older bikes more relaxing :thumbsup:
 

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Sharp rocks are hard on frames, regardless of Al or C (can create stress risers and potential failure points on both).

I think with “normal” use, a modern MTN bike frame will last quite a long time, certainly longer than your desire to get a new bike just because you want one.
 

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If rock strikes are the source of concern, have you considered some form of armor on the downtube?

There are commercially available downtube guards, all the way down to something as simple as an old tire cut to length/width and zip tied onto the downtube.

Any of those options should do a lot to protect the frame from a big rock strike impact.

In terms of durability, I’ve never had a bike break actually. From kids bikes up through college and commuting. I’ve only been riding mountain bikes just shy of two years though, so not much hard use data to go by.
 

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1987 Custom Tanaka road bike that is still stiff and fun to ride. The brakes and drivetrain are, of course, outdated to say the least but I'm primarily a dirt rider. This frame replaced a gorgeous Austro Daimler that I rode into a three step staircase at UC Davis.

1992 Trek 830 mountain track xc. Still rides as well as it did when new. It is outdated with rim brakes, a 3x drivetrain, and elastomer forks with about 1/2" of travel. I now have flats on it and am using it to get around the ranch while I'm waiting for a hip replacement (joy). The steep upright geometry makes this bike fun to ride randomly through the eucalyptus grove and the nut orchard.

2010 Specialized FSR XC. A good nimble bike with full sus, a 3x drivetrain, XT brakes with big icetech rotors (which replaced the useless avid brakes). I take this bike on non-mtb trips figuring it would be less of a loss if stolen. It is also good as a lender for visiting friends if they can fit a large frame. Still in great condition. Again, a steeper more nimble bike than the newest bike.

2014 fezzari Cascade Peak 27.5+. My main bike with a 1x 11 Shimano drivetrain, XT brakes with big rotors, big beefy Maxis 2.8 tires. Slack geometry makes switchbacks harder but big tires and slack geometry make downhill real fun.

All the bikes are in good condition and operate 100%. They all have scratches and a few minor dings but that is part of mtb.

If this sounds a bit excessive, don't look at the canoe and kayak collection in the barn or the gaggle of old skis in the shed.
 

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Cactus Cuddler
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5 Years is my target for something that gets ridden hard, crashed, and to where the performance edge matters enough that geometry improvements matter. That coincindes with the point where suspension, pivots, drivetrain, and brakes are all getting to the point where first or second replacements are happening concurrently, and for the cost of a full refresh, I can get that new bike sensation.

If I can get it down to $2/mi of sunk cost, and get anywhere near half the existing value out of a bike, I'm happy with it. Downside is that getting spoiled with carbon bikes makes it hard to hit this target, especially when my brain seems to think $1/g is perfectly appropriate when I need to drop 35lb off myself to actually be a competitive cycling weight.
 

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The oldest bike in my harem is a 2017 Nukeproof Scout 290

Guess they don't last long at all...

Been biking since 2014

Sent from my HD1900 using Tapatalk
 

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I don't think there is a useful life to a carbon frame like a consumable would have. Assuming no major crash event, the answer to your question probably has more to do with your appetite for replacing parts and degree to which you want new tech.
This. Remember, a Boeing 787 is heavily made of carbon fiber and they're flying at 550+mph and expected to last decades.

You'll have to replace it when you break it, or you can't get parts for wear items.
 

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Yes, I’m not having big crashes but the sharp rocks are not kind to the frame. Just wondering if this is “normal”, but it probably varies much. It seems expensive if a carbon frame has a good chance of needing replacement within a few years.
Look at invisi frame protection. That will protect againts small chips and bangs.

In regards to pointy impact damage alloy is better than carbon in this regard. Alloy will plastically yield and dent and still be possibly be usable. Carbon has no plastic deformation. It will go from elastic deformation to straight to cracking.

If I was to buy a bike specifically for crashing onto sharp rocks I would buy a low end alloy frame and be prepared to chuck it out when the dents get too much.

That said, if you crack a carbon frame it is easy to repair at home in your garage with basic hand tools, some epoxy resin and some carbon cloth. In that regard just ride your carbon frame knowing that one day you may need to repair it given your location and propensity to crash.
 

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Everyone is worried about carbon damage while ignoring the fact that aluminum has no fatigue limit and will therefore fail eventually given enough load cycles.
 
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