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What is a carbon fiber bike?

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Quick Answer

A carbon-fiber bike is a bicycle made from carbon fiber, a material composed of strong, super-fine crystalline carbon threads. When woven together, these threads form a material that is strong yet light.

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What is a carbon fiber bike?
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Full Answer

According to Berne Broudy of Bicycling magazine, the amount of carbon fiber used to make all of the world's bike frames is equivalent to three Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Bike-frame carbon fiber comes in five grades. Higher-quality grades are used to make premium bikes, while lower-quality grades are used to make budget bikes. Generally, bike frames manufactured from carbon fiber are far more durable than steel or aluminium frames, as the material does not suffer from fatigue.

Carbon fiber is often chosen for its low weight, ability to tolerate high temperatures and harsh chemicals, rigidity, high tensile strength and low thermal expansion. These properties have seen the material find its way into aerospace, civil engineering, marine and other industries. The overwhelming proportion of the global carbon-fiber output is generally destined for the aerospace industry.

Generally, carbon fiber is not used on its own. It is mixed with other materials to form composites. Among other uses, these composites are used to make bike frames, car bodies, boat hulls and aircraft fuselages.

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