Carbon fibre frame lifespan


Bexley, Kent
I'm well into my research for my next road bike, although I haven't got to the test stage yet. One question in my mind when considering carbon versus titanium is the lifespan of carbon frames. I read somewhere that they might have a finite life. Anyone know, or got any views? I do 4-5k miles per annum, all road.


mr Mag00

rising member
Deepest Dorset
basically its a plastic not in the truest sense but its bonded fibres so not open to corrosion as far as i know yes if stacked hard is liable to failure but things have improved massively over the years and a titanium frame would also need checking after a crash IMO of course :biggrin:
Pound for pound aluminium is the best frame material, I would not have Ti on the basis it is very difficult to repair, Cf less so in my experience so if the choice is between Ti and Cf, go Cf.

Gerry Attrick

Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Consultant
Cannondale give a lifetime warranty on their CF frames. I wouldn't imagine they do that lightly especially in view of the litigious nature of our trans-atlantic cousins.

As far as suitability for everyday use, why not? I use my roadbike several times a week with no problem.
Gerry Attrick said:
Cannondale give a lifetime warranty on their CF frames.
I read a ctc article once in which the author reccomended twice the warranty; twice a lifetime sounds cool to me :biggrin:


Well-Known Member
99% of what you will read about carbon frames online is idle speculation, recycled rumour or outright fantasy by armchair materials scientists. With that in mind, here are are a couple of things that are more or less true:

1. Spontaneous failure is rare with any frame material. Both metal and composite materials are susceptible to fatigue but the mechanisms of the latter are more complex, less predictable and less well understood.

2. In certain types of crash, a carbon frame is more likely to suffer irrepairable damage than one constructed from certain other materials, e.g. steel. In the same way that aircraft are built to withstand stresses imposed by flying, bikes are constructed for riding - not crashing. That said, all materials can be broken and Ti for example is comparitively expensive and difficult to work with meaning that repairs may not be feasible even if they are theoretically possible.


Lover of things that come in 3's
I think the OP was just asking about potential degredation over time. If you want CF then go for one with a decent frame warranty and you should be fine.


Watt-o posing in Athens
numbnuts said:
I think carbon fibre is OK for race bikes, but not for normal use, "steel is real"

What nonsense numbnuts! I commute daily 20mile round trip on a carbon fibre machine and it rocks (see avatar).


Cycling in Scotland
Auld Reekie
numbnuts said:
I think carbon fibre is OK for race bikes, but not for normal use, "steel is real"


Steel work hardens over time (as do all metals), I have snapped a steel frame which I used on a daily basis for six years. Carbon fibre on the other hand does not work harden and remains plastic, there is no reason why it shouldn't last.


Nr Cambridge
Carbon can fail just as steel, titanium & aluminium also fail. It's only because people have decided carbon is a problem that they like to shout about it. I find it telling that it's easier to buy components made from carbon which have warranties in excess of 5 years than aluminium.

Have I seen aluminium & steel frames, stems, bars & forks fail after an impact? Have I had steel spokes in a low spoke count wheel let go? Have I seen cracked alloy rims? The answers to those are all yes. So am I going to start a website to point out that these materials are s**t? No because I accept that things will fail when they're used.
Top Bottom