It is now over a decade since carbon fibre took the performance cycling world by storm, and since then the industry has continued to produce even lighter and more impressive designs that were once considered impossible when relying on its metal counterpart. While carbon fibre road bikes are renowned for being incredibly light when picked up, the real surprise comes when one rides them for the very first time and realises just how much of their cycling efforts are transferred to the tarmac and the increased acceleration that is intertwined with increased control on those tricky hill climbs.
It isn’t only the performance cycling sphere that has taken advantage of this lightweight material; Boeing used it to produce their 787 Dreamliner, which was heralded as a ‘new age of air travel’. As you can see, carbon fibre is not only lightweight, it is also in incredibly strong and durable.
However, in relation to cycling, it is important to consider the fact that carbon possesses different qualities when compared to aluminium or titanium. Carbon is a synthetic material that is made up of fibres soaked in epoxy resin, heated and cured. This means that you need to be somewhat clued up when it comes to taking care of your carbon fibre road bike, especially when you consider the fact that unlike other metals, fibre will not display any signs that it is damaged, meaning that your bicycle could fail at any moment.
With that in mind, take a look at my top tips on how to care for and maintain your carbon fibre road bike.
Day to Day Care
A carbon fibre bike requires a little bit more looking after than your standard road bike. One of your first considerations is to park your bike safely and securely. I don’t only mean ensuring that it is properly chained and locked up, but not leaning it against a wall in a way that means it could easily roll over and suffer considerable damage.
While it may seem a little over the top, remember that any damage may not be immediately visible and the cost of a carbon bike means that you need to be treating it with respect. If you are like me and live by the sea, you will also need to make sure that you are cleaning it regularly in order to avoid the salt in the air damaging the bike.
Giving It a Wash
It is possible to use warm soapy water to give your bike and its components a wash. However, just like any other bike, you should avoid getting the bearings wet as this will wash the grease away. Once you have cleaned, rinsed and dried the bike, use bike polish or spray for added protection.
Touching Up the Paint
If you are a regular cyclist, then you are inevitably going to need to touch up the paint every now and then due to stone dings, chips, and scratches. Luckily, most carbon fibre road bikes are relatively easy to touch up due to their clear-coat finishes. A quick and easy solution is to apply clear nail varnish to hide the spot, seal it and then restore the original finish.
If you are looking to transport your bike around, avoid car racks that clamp to the frame tubes due to the enormous loads concentrated in such a small area. If you are opting to use bike racks that clamp to the forks, never pull the bike sideways as this can damage the fork tips and cause permanent damage. Take some time to loosen the fork mounts and left until the fork is clear before removing the bike.