How Strong is A Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike? (Explained)

How Strong is a Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike

Over the years, carbon fibers have been chosen over steel many times because of their strength and durability.

It is also known for its lightweight. It can weigh even lighter than steel, three times smaller than the size of carbon fiber.

We all know that carbon fiber is strong and very light. But what is the reason for its lightweight and strength?

Carbon fibers are carbon atoms joined together to form a string. This joining helps the fiber possess enough strength to handle any pressure. However, even as it takes higher pressure, there is a threshold that, if the pressure exceeds, the carbon fiber will break or possibly crack.

In this article, you will understand that carbon fiber is five times stronger than the steel used formally for mountain bicycles.

And mostly chosen for its lightweight, which permits easy carrying.

How Durable is a Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike?

How Strong is a Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike

Even though carbon fiber is strong and durable, you cannot compare its durability to steel or other materials.

So in terms of durability as an attribute to materials, carbon fibers cannot be considered durable for mountain bikes.

Like steel, it bends or scratches when it is involved in a crash, but carbon fibers will crack when involved in a crash.

The crack may be visible or not visible. If it’s not visible, it can create a bigger crack anytime it is involved in a crash.

If the crack is noticeable, it is advisable to repair or change it to avoid accidents.

Some other materials that you can use for mountain bike frames include

#1. Aluminum

Aluminum mountain bike frames are also durable, relatively lightweight, and very good for mountain races because of their lightweight.

Aluminum is also cheaper than the carbon fiber mountain bike and is very good for those who can’t afford carbon fiber.

Aluminum is also rust-free, giving it a high maintenance ability for cyclists. 

Although aluminum is the least in terms of strength among all bike frames, if the frame is thickened with more aluminum, it can become stronger than the one that’s not thickened.

Even if the frame is thickened, the weight of the bike frame will still be less, making it unique but not strong compared to the others.

#2. Steel

In terms of durability, steel bikes last a very long time since you can repair them when damaged. Steel was mostly used in the old times for bike frames for racing bikes.

Although steel is durable and lasts longer than aluminum, it also has a disadvantage that makes it less of an option.

The steel bike’s weight is three times that of a carbon bike frame, and because of this, it is not chosen for mountain races these days.

#3. Titanium

Titanium bike frames are known for their expensive nature. It is relatively as expensive as carbon fiber bike frames.

In terms of durability, titanium bike frames are a great choice because of their high durability rate, and they can last a lifetime.

This bike is for those who want something different from the carbon fiber mountain bike.

What are the Disadvantages of Carbon Fibre Mountain Bikes?

Before we talk about the disadvantages of carbon fiber mountain bikes, we have to discuss what it is.

#1. Description

Carbon fiber is a chain of carbon atoms molded or joined together. Carbon fiber, in its natural form, is flexible.

Although it is called carbon fiber, it is molded using resin. When molded with resin, it becomes the hard and thick carbon fiber frame used in bikes.

The resin used to mold it together makes it able to carry weight and gives it its strength.

The carbon fiber is woven differently, some small and some large; then, they are kept in layers and used in the resin to mold them.

The ones woven tiny, when layered, will be stronger than the ones woven large, and both will have relative weight.

For example, if the large weave is layered five times, it will have relative weight to the small weave of eight layers. But the small weave will be stronger than the large weave.

#2. Weight

The carbon fiber bike frames are very light in weight, thereby aiding the cyclist’s movement and transportation of the bike.

This bike feature is the most notable and is why most people prefer it to other types like steel and aluminum.

Due to its lightweight, it ensures a more smooth ride by avoiding a lot of friction on the road while cycling.

#3. Comfortability

The carbon fiber mountain bikes are built in a way that they can handle vibrations.

It means the cyclist can feel less or no vibrations even when cycling because of how the bike is built.

Since it has fewer vibrations, the bike will be more comfortable than a bike with frequent vibrations.

Its design is such that some parts are flexible while others are stiff to enable a smooth ride.

Below is a table stating the advantages and disadvantages of carbon fiber mountain bikes

It has a very lightweightThey are very expensive
Resistance to heat, shock, and corrosionIt cracks if too much pressure is applied
They are flexibleYou cannot recycle them

Even as good as they are, they also have a few disadvantages which might make you want to choose another option.

But even with a few disadvantages, they are very good to go for.

Are Carbon Fiber Mountain Bikes Fragile?

Even as Strong and stiff as carbon fiber mountain bikes are, they can still get broken or even cracked when there is too much pressure on them.

Carbon fiber frames will crack, unlike steel and aluminum, which will fold or vend when hit with something or in a crash.

The carbon fiber frames are fragile but do not be afraid; they are not as weak as you think they are or look.

It is hard for a carbon fiber frame to get broken, except if something like a hammer is hit on it or you’re involved in a crash.

So, a certain pressure to break or crack the frame must be very severe.

The cracks are sometimes hard to detect on the frame, so if you see anything looking like a crack on the frame, then it is possibly a crack.

Some are noticeable and sometimes break very well or are severe cracks on the frame.

If the crack is too severe beyond repair, you should go for a change, but if it’s the minimum, you should contact a professional for repair.

Since carbon fiber is a very expensive material, repairing carbon fiber frames will also be expensive.

After a race or possibly a crash, it is okay to check your carbon fiber mountain bike for any form of crack to repair with immediate effect.

Do Carbon Bike Frames Deteriorate

Carbon bike frames can also deteriorate if exposed to some conditions that are not suitable for them.

Here are the following conditions.

#1. UV Light

When exposed to UV light for an extended period, carbons can deteriorate faster than they should. 

So it is better to use UV light protection on your carbon fiber bikes to reduce the UV light’s effect on the carbon.

#2. Pressure

Too much pressure on a carbon fiber frame can cause a crack that, if not repaired, can result in bigger and larger cracks.

Hitting it with an object or, in the case of an accident and the pressure is above the threshold the carbon fiber can take, will cause a crack.

Even with all these, carbon fiber mountain bikes are undoubtedly the best for racing and even for normal cycling.

Carbon fiber mountain bikes are the leading mountain bikes in the present-day market.

Josh Matthews

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