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Judge and Gavel
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  • Richard L. Duquette

Carbon Fiber Bike - Repair and Recovery

Let’s explore several different options to recover for damage to your carbon fiber bike. Its heart breaking to see these works of art damaged.

First, a little background on Carbon Fiber (CF). The industrial fiber is called polyacrylanitrile or PAN for short. Most CF has a tensile strength/stiffness of 33 million pounds per square inch. Alternatively, there is CF pre-impregnated and reinforced with epoxy (Pre-Preg).

You probably know an engineer or two, ask them to calculate the degree and mechanism of force to see if your bike accident was scientifically sufficient to crack the carbon fiber. Or was it a preexisting manufacture defect that gave out.

I’d also take a quick look at the warranty on your bike. See what’s described and disclaimed. Ordinary wear and tear is often expected, whereas misuse of the produce is not covered. Warranty coverage will ordinarily depend on the disclaimer language. Further, in light of the fact that carbon fiber is touted as superior in strength, it might be foreseen that a mere tipping over of the bike (as opposed to an accident) should be covered because you are not intentionally misusing it and this accidental contact might not be expected to shatter a 33 million per square inch strength carbon frame.

Another factor to consider is the product advertising. Business and Professions Code Section 1700 et sec might afford you some relief from sharp business advertising practices if the product literature can reasonably be said to cover your accident. Don’t push it unless it’s clear from the literature your bike is covered for minor mishaps. Advertising representations must be fair. Now days, class actions are commonplace and provide deterrence and a consumer remedy for false or misleading representations.

If your bike was damaged out of the use and maintenance of your car, submit a claim to your auto carrier. If no luck, try reviewing your homeowners policy for accidental damage coverage. Your agent might help you. This might get you a new bike frame set.

As a practical matter, analyze the testing method used to diagnose your damaged frame. Some non destructive testing includes, ultrasound, x-ray, electrical current/voltage, infrared, black light – paint analysis and the good old human eyeball inspection.

You might shop a second repair opinion by calling Craig Calfee at 800.965.2171. He repairs carbon as well. View his website at (photograph your bike before you send it out for repairs.)

In any event, make sure you trash the bike, if it gives you a high speed wobble.

I hope the above information will help you in the event your carbon bike is damaged in an accident.

Richard Duquette is a local Carlsbad, California Personal Injury Attorney who, since 1983, has mixed law with his love of bicycling and surfing from Baja to Bali. He can be reached by clicking here


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