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Old Skool
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is a shot of Sebastian Lang's bike after his crash in the 7th stage of the Tour of California. This is pretty dramatic. I have never had a carbon bike but am considering one. How common is this type of catastrophic frame failure in a crash? This would be next to impossible with a steel frame. Your thoughts please...
 

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Stogaguy said:
This is a shot of Sebastian Lang's bike after his crash in the 7th stage of the Tour of California. This is pretty dramatic. I have never had a carbon bike but am considering one. How common is this type of catastrophic frame failure in a crash? This would be next to impossible with a steel frame. Your thoughts please...
I'm sure in the same crash that the lightweight steel bike would be done for as well. Carbon just makes the death more dramatic, in most cases. Most crashes that take out a carbon bike will take out any bike of a different material.
 

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Agree with FTF

FTF said:
I'm sure in the same crash that the lightweight steel bike would be done for as well. Carbon just makes the death more dramatic, in most cases. Most crashes that take out a carbon bike will take out any bike of a different material.
Saw that crash; it was pretty nasty. A light-weight steel or aluminum frame would have probably held together, but would have been bent up enough to trash it. When Al, steel, or titanium fails, it usually yields and bends permanently; I believe carbon fiber's yield point is almost the same as it failure point (this might be an incorrect statement, hopefully someone more qualified will chime in :) ). In layman's terms, carbon doesn't bend much before it snaps. However, in most modern production bikes, it's a very strong and stiff material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
FTF said:
I'm sure in the same crash that the lightweight steel bike would be done for as well. Carbon just makes the death more dramatic, in most cases. Most crashes that take out a carbon bike will take out any bike of a different material.
My intention is not to impugn the strength of carbon as a frame material. I don't doubt that a steel bike would have died in this crash. However, steel certainly would not have turned into a set of jagged and probably dangerous chards. I reiterate my question:
How common is this type of catastrophic failure in carbon frames?
 

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not common...

This type of damage occurs from a direct frontal hit to something. I've been down several times on carbon frames, but never damaged one Most of my crash were slide-outs, going around a corner. My left hip always take the brunt of the impact. I've also slammed into the side of a car the turned right in front of me, but I got the bike turned enough that only my left arm suffered damage.

As others noted, if the wreck broke carbon it would fold up any metal frame.
 

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yeah, it looks ugly, but they're right -- light steel might not rip apart, but it would be no longer useable as a bicycle...
 

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Stogaguy said:
My intention is not to impugn the strength of carbon as a frame material. I don't doubt that a steel bike would have died in this crash. However, steel certainly would not have turned into a set of jagged and probably dangerous chards. I reiterate my question:
How common is this type of catastrophic failure in carbon frames?
Well, I've never seen a CF bike impale anyone before. But a CF bike that looks like that, from a crash, isn't very common. Now throw in the people that run them in to garage doors.....
 

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C-40 said:
This type of damage occurs from a direct frontal hit to something. I've been down several times on carbon frames, but never damaged one Most of my crash were slide-outs, going around a corner. My left hip always take the brunt of the impact. I've also slammed into the side of a car the turned right in front of me, but I got the bike turned enough that only my left arm suffered damage.

As others noted, if the wreck broke carbon it would fold up any metal frame.
I think I read somewhere that easton's carbon is tested to 10 times to breaking point of a comparable steel or aluminum tube (not really specific, sorry...memory is a little hazy). So it takes an awful lot to break carbon fiber, but when it does break, watch out...also avoid handling broken carbon fiber...i got a carbon splinter that stayed in for a few months hurting everyday when i picked up my friends broken carbon fiber chainstays (mtn bike, fisher sugars...this was a known defect and fisher handled it well)
 

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I have made it a point to find posts and news items on any carbon fiber bicycle failure. As others have said, reports are rare and as you see from this failure, it was from a severe crash from a racer that cruises faster than my fastest sprint. It shows that you can break a carbon fiber frame. It does not in any way shape or form show that carbon fiber frames are fragile or dangerous when they fail. The force of that crash hurt the rider as well, it was not the fault of the material the bike was made of.
 

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I didn't see the crash but doubt it was a front end collision. Note that the wheels are not damaged virtually at all compared to the frame.
 

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dang, I really want to see a video of the crash that did this! to the OP, carbon breaking should not be a concern to you, unless your intended use is to crash it into brick walls headfirst.
 

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Dam, I hope he didn't just throw that frame out. Seriously, I could fix that.

Metal tubes will bend until they buckle. Carbon tubes bend until they break. Survival just comes down to how strong the tube was to begin with, regardless of material.
 

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I hit a car with my Trek oclv at 35mph and the frame warped and the fork split but didnt break like the above. That is a clean brake and in my opinion an example of cheap carbon or not layered carbon. The Trek had strains in it and the tubes were actually bent in one place. Trek sent me $$$$ for a new framset on condition I mailed them my warped frame so they could x-ray it to see how it held up.
 

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So sad.

I hate to see accidents like this. That poor water bottle! Should have been wearing a seatbelt! ;)
 

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I'm certain a Trek OCLV would have suffered a similar fate in the same crash. I heard a musette bag actually broke one of Lances bikes once. :p
 
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