Greetings. What happens to a carbon frame over time? Miles ridden, inclement weather, and general wear and tear are all elements a bicycle frame will encounter in its lifetime. Carbon frames are light, responsive, AND comfy. They will last longer if you care for them properly.
One of the most important things you can do to keep your carbon frame in good shape is to clean it. This is a perfect time to check over the frame for damage. When wiping it down using Pro Gold Bike Wash check for scratches. If the rag you’re using snags on anything look more closely at it. If you are unsure bring it to County Cycles and let a friendly member of our staff help you out. Because carbon is made of tons of tiny little threads and fibers it can be very difficult to see imperfections and can be tough to diagnose. You can tap a nickle on and around a spot you may suspect to be damaged. If it makes a high pitched sound it’s most likely OK. If you hear a more dead thud it is worth investigating.
TORQUE VALUE is critical here. Always tighten bolts to the manufacturer's specifications. This is important for all fasteners but carbon has a very specific torque value for every part held on the bike. The Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair is a great tool for this. Paired with the Park Tool Torque wrench you’ll be set!
There are various types of frame protectors out there. Some cover the bottom of the down tube. Some the chain stay under the chain. Some at the head tube. All of these are great ways to prevent your carbon frame from chipping and exposing the fibers. They also keep your paint in good shape. If you ever suspect damage to your frame bring it to have your bicycle mechanic inspect it.
Thanks for reading. I hope you and your carbon frame have many happy miles ahead of you.