Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Carbon Fiber

I've been reading a blog called Busted Carbon - or, rather, I've been looking at the pretty pictures. By focusing its content on carbon, the blog perpetuates the easy inaccuracy that carbon is more fragile than other materials. The reality is a bit more nuanced - steel and aluminum both have a long history of failing for various reasons. I file carbon-fearmongering under "missing the point." Nonetheless I enjoy Busted Carbon.

Additionally, realizing that both Calfee and Road Runner Velo will repair carbon frames for a fraction of their replacement cost has made me think about carbon as being between aluminum and steel in the disposable-spectrum - with steel being on the more surviving end for its ability to be bent back into shape. I'd rather not have the longevity of my bike be determined by one unfortunate crash. I'll have to check with Gui and Ethan about their carbon-repairing experience.

When you pack on the miles, certain realities emerge: you will wear out parts. You may break parts. You increase the likelihood that you will crash and severely damage bike and body. This leads me to wonder why I see so much expensive gear in Cat 5 races, where due to inexperience level and the race situation, crashes are probably more likely to occur. Maybe other people are just more comfortable spending a lot of money than I am; maybe they think that their Zipp wheels will be around for a long, long time. Maybe they think that they need that stuff in order to be competitive. That would be the biggest shame of the bunch.

(image above from Busted Carbon)

1 comment:

  1. I just took the Raleigh out around the park, equipped with flat pedals, and dropped a whole bunch of carbon. You know where I lie on that spectrum.