Should I be prepping my new X-Fire for storage, or is it okay to still bring it out and ride it when it's cold (-20C or so) now and then? How does the cold affect the brittleness of carbon bikes? If I crash (always a possibility, in the snow) am I really screwed? When I bring it in afterwards and wash it, do I have to worry about the temperature difference between the water and the frame?
I've got an Aluminum Crossbow that I can use, but it'd be nice to use my favourite bike when it gets all snowy.
Why would it be a problem? I've never seen any evidence suggesting CF is weaker at cold temperatures.
Everything becomes more brittle in the cold, even metals. I've also got a small worry about parts that are bonded and glue and expansion/contraction rates. If I bring a bike in from -20C and put some warm water on a part that's bonded with some metal, do I run the risk of uneven expansion causing material stress?
In retrospect, I've used a carbon fork on my aluminum CX bike for years, all the way down into the -30C range without any (noticeable) issue. Still, it's something worth thinking about since I just dropped a few thousand bucks on this machine. :)
Further question.. has anyone bike-commuted all winter with a CF frame?
I am curious as I am looking into buying an X-Fire
Honestly, I'd get a junker CX frame for winter commuting. My X-Fire already has chips in the finish from normal training and racing; I think winter commuting would be murder. If you've already got a CX bike, use that for the commute and save your X-Fire for the fun stuff. :)
Engineering planes and space vehicles is a different thing than engineering bikes; one assumes they'd consider these temperature extremes while designing things like planes.
But Zinn's article definitely makes me feel better about it. Strange that I missed that when browsing around for info before. Thanks!