Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Curmudgeonly on Carbon

I admit I have an unreasonable prejudice against carbon parts. Some of is based on things like this six-year-old article, which was answered to almost nobody's satisfaction in this similarly dated article. Some of it is based on the advice of more experienced cyclists who have told me cautionary tales of broken carbon forks and worse tales of broken carbon seat posts.

I also find anecdotal evidence of the virtues/evils of carbon all over the interwebs. If you google "fragility of carbon fiber bicycle parts", you'll find pages and pages of articles espousing the virtues of carbon fiber frames. You'll even find videos like this one where aluminum and carbon are (sort of) subjected to the same stresses; though if you're one of those who believes in using rigidly controlled scientific experimentation to obtain proof, you'll probably just be entertained.

Or you could watch this video, which demonstrates that carbon breaks, but steel deforms. Come to think of it, most of the videos I've seen from searching the phrase "fragility of carbon fiber bicycle parts" demonstrate something like that.

So...this is the spot where I would put a picture of a broken carbon fork, but no, it's too sad. So instead, a nice steel bike:
Picture owned by Rodriguez Bicycles
Given the evidence, anecdotal or not, I wouldn't pass up a nice ride just because it had a carbon fork. But I wouldn't seek out a bike simply because it had carbon parts. I'm still undecided. Or agnostic. 

But I'm not going to blindly believe any opinions on either side of the issue until I have a chance to see for myself. Empirical evidence is the future, baby.




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