There are always a lot of questions for beginners who have problems with choosing the right carbon fiber bike, such as price, brand, size, material, daily care and so on.
In today’s complete guide, we list 44 facts of carbon fiber bikes that everything you need to know about carbon fiber bikes.
Let’s dive right in, one by one.
Table of Contents
Download this checklist and check these 44 facts before you buy your own first carbon fiber bike.
Carbon fiber material
1. What is carbon fiber?
Carbon fiber is a material consisting of thin, strong crystalline filaments of carbon frequently used for ceramics. Carbon fiber is becoming increasingly popular for use with the introduction to race cars, aerospace and performance bikes.
2. How much does carbon fiber cost?
Carbon fiber is a relatively expensive material due to strength and lightweight property. The common price for a pound of carbon fiber is $10, with road bikes costing upwards of a $1,000 – $12,000.
3. Why is carbon fiber so expensive?
Carbon fiber is generally so expensive due to the thin yet strong nature of the material, frequently compared to 1/10 thickness of human hair, however, a lot stronger too! Several thousands of these filaments are used per piece of carbon fiber, resulting in an expensive material.
4. How is carbon fiber made?
The majority of carbon fiber crystalline filaments are constructed from polyacrylonitrile (PAN process), whereas a smaller amount (roughly 10%) are created through rayon and petroleum pitch processes. Often carbon manufactures differ through how it is individually manufactured since there is not one single distinct way.
5. Titanium vs. carbon fiber bike
Titanium is much lighter than carbon fiber, making it ideal for a beginner road bike. Being a beginner it is more likely to be involved in minor crashes and falls whilst learning how to ride on the roads.
If using a carbon fiber bike you run the risk of cracking the frame due to the lightweight nature.
If, however, you are an expert on the roads and looking to improve your times and look like a pro then a carbon fiber bike will allow you to do that too!
6. Carbon fiber bike weight
The majority of carbon fiber bikes manufactured weigh 6.8 kg (15 pounds), this makes it legal for competition. In comparison, aluminum itself can also be close to the limit.
For carbon frames, normally road bike frame weight ranges from 700g to 1100g based on different types, super light frame for uphill, while aerodynamic frame for the flat road.
7. How to make a carbon fiber bike frame (DIY)
Creating a DIY carbon fiber bike is actually relatively simple. Current parts on your bike can be replaced for carbon fiber and can often be a much cheaper experience than buying an outright, brand spanking top of the line carbon fiber bike.
If relatively new to cycling, purchasing an aluminum frame along with additional carbon fiber parts such as handlebars, wheels and rims can reduce the weight of your cycling with little to no risk of damaging the main components.
8. Should I buy a carbon fiber or an aluminum bike?
As aforementioned, carbon fiber is the ultimate lightweight material perfect for frequent road users.
If relatively new to cycling, purchasing an aluminum bike may save you money in the long run. A new aluminum cycle can for as little as $200 with more expensive brands and models for upwards of $1,000, however, able to compete with middle-high end carbon fiber competitors.
If money is an issue, we recommend an aluminum bike to save you stress in the long run, especially if you were to crash and crack the frame.
If you do have a limit budget but still you want to try a carbon bike, then update part by part could be the right choice for you.
Most of the time we suggest to switch to a carbon frame first. You will feel a huge difference if you never try a carbon bike before.
Carbon fiber road bike frame
9. Rim brake road bike frame
A rim brake moves the original breaking point away from the rims. This, in turn, minimizes the chances of burning and damaging the inner tube or tire. This is a common form of riding style with more expensive bikes due to the parts being more expensive and much more difficult to replace.
Disc brake on a road bike is becoming more and more popular, with a more efficient disc brake, cyclists who ride downhill or sharp corners a lot will love to ride it. After all pros teams now are also riding on disc brake bikes as part of their tour racing event.
A fixed gear bike, or commonly known as a ‘fixie bike’ has only one gear and no freewheel. This basically means that when the back wheel spins the pedals are always turning. Fixed gear bikes are common for commuting due to the simplicity of the design with little to no technique needed.
12. Carbon gravel bike frame
Carbon gravel bikes are a mix of both road bikes and cyclocross bikes. This makes them work wonders on mud on mellow farm tracks, providing cushioning over cobblestones whilst providing performance when needed.
13. Carbon cyclocross bike frame
Cyclocross bikes are a combination of both off-ride and road style riding with the inclusion of much thicker and knobby tires. These are perfect for the individual who likes to muck it up in the woods and also commute to work, sacrificing a little portion of performance on each front, however, making up for it in the fun to be had.
Carbon triathlon bike frame
14. Triathlon bike frame
As well as traditional carbon fiber bike frames, there are also triathlon carbon fiber bike frames. The geometry of the carbon frame is different from a regular road bike, the seat tube angle is different to encourage a more aerodynamic position for racing in triathlon whereas a traditional frame is built for comfort and speed.
15. Time trial bike frame
Similarly to triathlon bikes, time trial bikes are also made differently to optimize performance. The general difference being the inclusion of triathlon handlebars or aerobars in order to create a more aerodynamic position to increase the speed at the cost of comfort. Due to time trials often not being too long in duration, this is a reasonable substitution and has time and time again seen a drop in performance times.
16. Hardtail mountain bike frame
A hardtail mountain bike frame contains heavy front suspension and little to no rear end suspension. This results in a lighter, less expensive and more durable frame. Hardtail mountain bikes are often considered the gold standard in the world of mountain biking.
17. Full suspension mountain bike frame
Full suspension mountain bikes are the common ride within the cycling world. These are perfect for beginners as allow for greater control over rough ground. Hardtail mountain bikes are often recommended for more experienced riders who are less prone to falling off.
Starting with a full suspension mountain bike and then progressing to a hardtail carbon fiber mountain bike will help you adjust to the riding style required as well as reduce your times on move ascents and descents.
18. Carbon fat bike frame
Fat bikes are an off-ride ride bicycle typically used for riding over grounds which contain low ground pressure and unstable terrains such as snow, sand or mud.
If planning on riding in rural areas these can often be an alternative to a classic mountain bike (carbon or not) and will allow for a much more stable ride over soft ground.
With the addition of carbon fiber, this will make the bike lighter which can be a blessing often due to the mass of the fat tires including, allowing seconds or even minutes to be taken off of your PB, whether that’s riding down sand dunes or in an x-country race.
Carbon fiber bike fork
19. Road bike carbon fork
Although it’s not a usual first upgrade, carbon fiber road bike forks can make a big difference to your riding. Carbon forks lighten up your ride towards the front of your bike which increases the comfort and provides greater control and handling whilst descending.
20. Mountain bike carbon fork
With a wide plethora of mountain bike forks available, it can often be difficult to choose. If you plan on keeping it simple then an original MTB fork will work wonders, however, if you want increased comfort and performance a MTB suspension fork will be a great fit.
Due to the fat bike’s commonly been ridden over soft terrains such as sand and mud, they also require heavy suspension on their forks in order to remain steady. With common options being aluminum or titanium, there are also carbon fiber options.
Carbon bike wheelset
22. Road bike rim
You may be thinking carbon fiber wheels are for the pros, and whilst that used to be true there are plenty of options available to suit both amateurs and your everyday rider.
Carbon fiber wheels provide a lightweight build, improve the ride quality and the performance (reduces stiffness which other materials have) and have increased aerodynamic benefits. Don’t believe us? Complete a race with aluminum rims then one with carbon fiber rims, your times will be totally different.
Generally, for the road bike, the width of the rims are normally 23mm, 25mm and 27mm, while the depth could range from 24mm to 88mm ( While triathlon bike rims could be 3, 5 spokes or disc rims).
Then you may want to know about clincher, tubular and tubeless rims, which requires different tubes and tires to gain related performance.
23. Mountain bike rim
Mountain bike rims are generally larger in size compared to road bikes whilst also hosting additional grips. Upgrading to carbon fiber mountain bike rims will allow your ride to feel much lighter whilst giving you greater control over the ride, perfect for navigating those extra bumps.
Generally, you will find 27.5er and 29er bike rims most common in the market. The width of the mountain bike rims ranges from 30mm to 50mm, while depth ranges from 25mm to 30mm.
Because of off-road condition, most of the mountain bike rims are tubeless.
24. Fat bike rim
Fat bike rims are much larger in size compared to both road and mountain bike rims. This is due to the soft terrain in which they are required to navigate to provide more grip and enhanced comfort over bumps and soft areas.
Carbon fiber options are available and will lighten up the ride whilst still providing a solid structure, this allows greater control and movement over the steering of the cycle and will definitely help in descending that sand dune!
The most common size of fat bike carbon rims is 26er, with 25mm depth, while the width range from 80mm to 100mm.
25. Carbon bike hub
Upgrading to carbon bike hub will simply improve the fluidity of your ride, allowing the front wheel more freedom to spin and more control on both ascents and descents. Due to it being a relatively small part, if looking to purchase your first carbon fiber piece these can be a great choice.
26. Carbon bike spoke
Due to the light nature of carbon fiber, your cycle will become more aerodynamic when the spokes are replaced with carbon. Furthermore, due to the strength of carbon, this will protect against high speeds on the wheels and is a relatively safe bet. Consider upgrading both your wheels and spokes at the same time for the optimal experience.
Carbon fiber bike handlebar
27. Road bike drop handlebar
It is essential to note that drop handlebars are not for everyone. You may consider looking into flat handlebars if they are not for you.
After a vigorous setup, drop handlebars allow greater control over the brakes (your hands are located on top of them), greater control over the drops and for longer rides your hands will not get tired and can instead relax in a comfortable position, especially if riding on a straight.
Now in the market, there are two drop road carbon handlebars, classic round handlebar, and integrated aero bars.
28. Mountain bike flat handlebar
Unlike drop bars on a road bike, mountain bike flat handlebars are the best option for greater control. Whilst riding fast downhill you need to be able to navigate through your surroundings much easier, flat handlebars allow this much better. With carbon options available, this will simply reduce the stiffness of the bars and allow for easier navigation.
Carbon fiber bike stem
29. Is a carbon fiber bike stem safe for a bike?
There have been many accidents with a wide range of carbon fiber components, however, there has also been a wide range with every other material bike used.
It is not to say carbon fiber is dangerous, it is more dependent on the rider, their experience and their knowledge of maintaining the bike.
It is safe to say that a carbon fiber bike stem is safe your cycle, however, ensure to keep up regular maintenance with your ride.
Carbon fiber bike components
30. Carbon fiber bike saddle
A carbon fiber bike saddle may seem over the top. However, these both reduce weight when it counts and improves the comfort of your ride over its counterparts, especially over long distances.
31. Bottle Cage
Also seeming unnecessary, a carbon fiber bottle cage is simply a lighter alternative to steel and aluminum. Essential if road racing to cut down a few seconds, especially with a variety of other carbon fiber parts.
32. Seat post
Providing additional comfort and support due to the strong yet light nature of carbon fiber, the seat posts are much cheaper than other carbon parts. Consider purchasing your seat post with your saddle for the best experience.
Carbon fiber bike repair
33. Carbon fiber bike after a crash
The strength of carbon fiber is multidirectional, this means it can absorb much greater impact over any other material used for a bike.
It can be common, however, to crack a frame whilst falling off at high speeds. It is recommended to become comfortable riding first if you are a beginner, or if a pro takes your time easing into the new frame to prevent an expensive crash.
34. Carbon fiber bike frame repair
Repairing a carbon fiber bike frame is actually possible. Done by professionals, dependent on the damage you are looking at an expensive price due to the high locality of the material.
Luckily, this will end up being cheaper than purchasing an entirely new carbon fiber frame, so there is some good news.
In some instances certain cracked carbon frames will be beyond repair, this is more likely after a serious crash which left serious damage to the cycle.
35. Carbon fiber bike repair kit
Although it is recommended to get your bike fixed by a professional, there are carbon fiber bike repair kits available.
Complicated to use, these kits are best suited to minor damage inflicted on the frame or other parts of the bike. If unsure upon the overall damage it is advised to go to an expert to get your cycle looked at and a potential quote for a professional repair.
36. Carbon fiber bike frame repair cost
The majority of carbon fiber bike repairs cost $300 and slightly more expensive if it happens to be the frame.
This is considerably cheaper than purchasing a new frame or additional parts and will ultimately save you money in the long run.
However, always ask your local bike shop when you want to repair your carbon bike. Not any damaged bike can be repaired without risky.
Carbon fiber bike care
37. Carbon fiber bike on an indoor trainer
Riding a carbon fiber bike on an indoor trainer may damage the carbon frame. This is especially possible if you spend a lot of hours riding indoors. If this is the case, it is recommended to get a cheap alternative different material bike primarily for this.
38. Cleaning carbon fiber bike
It is advised to use mild soap and water for cleaning carbon fiber bike parts, avoid using any other solvents as these can damage the paintwork and or the carbon fiber itself.
39. Carbon fiber bike frame protector
Bike frame protectors are especially useful for mountain bikes. With carbon fiber options available, these protect your frame for rocks and other debris flicking up whilst riding which have the potential to damage your frame.
Consider purchasing one if riding on a cyclocross or a mountain bike regularly, saving you money and emotion in the long run.
Carbon fiber bike transport
40. Carbon bike transport for car
If you are traveling with your bike by car, probably you want to check these bike racks for cars. On the roof or boot, that will be a question.
Either way, you need to make sure the bike is tied properly on the rack, you don’t want to leave your precious bike rolling on the highway.
And if you decide to put the bike on the roof, then pay more attention before you drive through limited height spaces like a parking lot, toll station or forest.
If you don’t want your bike to be damaged or stolen, then you better put the bike inside the car with wheels unassembled.
41. Carbon bike transport by train
First, you need to check if you can take the bike on the train, how much and how to process.
Then you need to lock your bike in the specific area.
Transport your bike by train could be easy if you check all necessary information before you buy the ticket, after all, you don’t need to unassemble your bike if you can bring the bike on the train.
42. Fly with your carbon bike
Fly with your carbon bike could be a risk if you don’t have a proper bike bag or case. Furthermore, you probably hear about damaged luggage by airline companies.
You may want to ask your local bike shop or friends who have traveled with their bike by plane.
How to paint carbon fiber bike
43. How to paint a carbon fiber bike frame
Before painting your carbon fiber bike, ensure to cover all areas you wish not to paint with tape.
Thoroughly wash your frame with hot dish liquid water (avoid cold water using cold water as this will cut through oil or grease), once washed dry your frame. Once everything is clean and taped up, ensure you are wearing appropriate protective gear including a painter’s mask, latex gloves, and goggles, standing 6-10 inches from the bike frame you can begin spraying
44. Repainting a carbon fiber bike frame
If you want to repaint your carbon frame, you need to make sure you really know how to repaint.
First, you need to abrade the decals and transitions between different color layers. (Be careful, if you are not familiar with this part, you can damage your frame easily.)
Then follow the steps about painting a carbon fiber frame.
Now we would like to hear from you
Do you still have a problem with carbon frame?
Or you are confused about the carbon bike transport?
Or you want to build your own full carbon bike?
Either way, leave a comment below, we read and reply to every comment in 24 hours.
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