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Sept. 22, 2022, 8:45 a.m. -  Mike Ferrentino

I hate to sound like a carbon evangelist. I'm not. It's expensive, toxic to work with, requires a fuckton of tooling and upfront investment and isn't generally the kind of material you turn to for bespoke custom one-off frames (although there are people doing that, too). But yes, it is repairable. And, beyond that, a well made carbon frame is probably a lot stronger - even when damaged - than a similarly dented or gouged metal frame. Anecdotally, I had a journalist wreck a brand new media sample carbon fiber XC bike that I had loaned him on the first day of a five day XC race. He crashed in a rock garden and stepped on the rear triangle while floundering around. This caused a rock to crack the left side chainstay, top to bottom. I had no spare bike or rear triangle to swap out, so I marked the crack with a felt pen and told him to avoid big jumps and sent him on his way. The crack did not grow or propagate in any way, and both journalist and bike finished the race. Around this time, the company I was working for was using something like 8 layers of carbon fiber along the bottom of their downtubes. Damage failure/survivability was something that they were chasing hard in the test lab. And it was pretty amazing how intact some very heavily abused frames would remain.  One engineer told me that he was way more comfortable randomly drilling holes in carbon fiber frames than metal ones and continuing to ride them because with carbon fiber there are several plies of material, all laid in different directions, being drilled through, so there aren't really any of the directional-grain related stress points that occur with steel or aluminum. This is also why so many manufacturers are pushing out carbon bikes with gaping holes in the downtubes - because they can. Specialized invested insane amounts of time and effort into hydroforming the right piece of aluminum to be able to put a SWAT box on an alloy Stumpy, and it weighs a ton by comparison.

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