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Updated by rinascltabike on May 30, 2019
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Complete Carbon Fiber Bike Checklist: 44 Facts You need to Consider Before Buying a Carbon Fiber Bike

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.

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Carbon bike checklist

Carbon bike checklist

The Checklist for buying a carbon fiber bike
Carbon Bike Checklist

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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10.Disc brake road bike frame

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.

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11.Carbon fixie bike (single speed) frame

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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21. Fat bike carbon fork

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

  • As an OEM carbon fiber manufacturer, we are focusing on producing Professional level carbon bike frames (road bike, mountain bike and fat bike), carbon bike forks (road bike fork, mountain bike fork and fat bike fork), bike rims (road, mountain and fat bike rims), and carbon components (handlebar, stems, saddles and seat posts)

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