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      12-31-2019, 02:53 PM   #1
iBrakeLate
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PSA: Read This Before You Buy Carbon Fiber

I started this thread as a PSA and as an educational thread (if you care) about the cheap carbon fiber that is on the market that is mostly originating outside of China.

I work in the Powersports industry and we deal with a lot of composite products and I was curious to see what some of the carbon products looked like, and if it was really a bargain to have or a too good to be scenario.

This is not just the stuff you see on eBay / Amazon but also some "branded" carbon products you see on various websites. I am not going to name the brands on here, I want to be respectful to vendors of the forum who might carry similar products that are being called out in this thread.

IS IT ACTUALLY REAL CARBON FIBER?

With carbon products the first thing people ask about is "fitment", and rightfully so, but they forget to make sure what they are buying is 100% carbon fiber.

Most of the products on the market are not all made from carbon fiber, but they are fiberglass with carbon veneer, meaning they only lay one layer of carbon fiber over fiberglass. This is very easy to spot when you look at the backside of the product, a real carbon fiber product will look like carbon fiber on the inside as well, it won't be finished and shiny but it will easily be recognizable.

I have attached some pictures of an example of a diffuser I received today so that you can see the backside of the product, it is clearly fiberglass with one lay of very badly laid carbon fiber on top.


DRY CARBON FIBER VS PRE PREG CARBON FIBER

Also the quality of the product is evident in the weave. On a good quality product the weaves should be straight, and no waves in them. When the material is poorly laid it often has weaves in them, this is usually a clear indication that "dry carbon fiber" material is used. Funny enough you see some companies advertising "dry carbon fiber" as a superior product, they are either misleading consumers or misusing the term "dry carbon fiber".

Usually a higher quality carbon fiber product will be made from pre-preg carbon, this simply means the carbon weave is impregnated with resin to being with.

You can go on YouTube and there are lots of videos that show what pre-preg carbon fiber is.

Also further things to note is the clear coat that is used on the carbon products. Usually products are clear coated to have a gloss or satin finish.

If the carbon and resin is being manually applied, the quality of the resin will show on how clear it is. Some lower quality resins are not perfectly clear and will always have some bluish/greyish tinge to it, this is visible more under direct sunlight than shade.

I hope this "in a nutshell" write up helps you with your decision and ends up saving you from spending money on poorly made products which are highly misleading and make false claims about what the product actually is.

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      01-02-2020, 12:20 PM   #2
RacletteMan
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Thanks for the post. The diffuser you posted looks just like the cheap garbage I bought.
It is going to the bin next week.
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      01-03-2020, 01:31 PM   #3
iBrakeLate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacletteMan View Post
Thanks for the post. The diffuser you posted looks just like the cheap garbage I bought.
It is going to the bin next week.
Some companies are selling these for $800 or so.
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      01-04-2020, 04:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iBrakeLate View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacletteMan View Post
Thanks for the post. The diffuser you posted looks just like the cheap garbage I bought.
It is going to the bin next week.
Some companies are selling these for $800 or so.
This is why if I decide to buy carbon, I will pay top dollar for it. While I understand many want to save the money, I'm a quality first person.

Thanks for the info! I was one of those shmucks who thought dry carbon was superior.
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      01-06-2020, 03:51 PM   #5
iBrakeLate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMiaogi View Post
This is why if I decide to buy carbon, I will pay top dollar for it. While I understand many want to save the money, I'm a quality first person.

Thanks for the info! I was one of those shmucks who thought dry carbon was superior.
Not that dry carbon is not superior, they miss-use the name "dry carbon".
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      01-06-2020, 04:17 PM   #6
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If you pay the same price as a 100% carbon piece, then yes, its a shitty practice

If however you're paying less, I don't see the big deal

The carbon weave overlay looks good in the pictures, no one will know the difference
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      01-06-2020, 06:12 PM   #7
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Great post! Definitely something that more need to be made aware of. Carbon fibre built in this manner is prone to failure down the line due to the mixture of composites and use of cheap resin & lacquer.
We always recommend going for pre-preg carbon fibre.
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      01-08-2020, 03:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iBrakeLate View Post

DRY CARBON FIBER VS PRE PREG CARBON FIBER

Also the quality of the product is evident in the weave. On a good quality product the weaves should be straight, and no waves in them. When the material is poorly laid it often has weaves in them, this is usually a clear indication that "dry carbon fiber" material is used. Funny enough you see some companies advertising "dry carbon fiber" as a superior product, they are either misleading consumers or misusing the term "dry carbon fiber".

Usually a higher quality carbon fiber product will be made from pre-preg carbon, this simply means the carbon weave is impregnated with resin to being with.

You can go on YouTube and there are lots of videos that show what pre-preg carbon fiber is.

Also further things to note is the clear coat that is used on the carbon products. Usually products are clear coated to have a gloss or satin finish.

If the carbon and resin is being manually applied, the quality of the resin will show on how clear it is. Some lower quality resins are not perfectly clear and will always have some bluish/greyish tinge to it, this is visible more under direct sunlight than shade.
One thing to note... "Dry Carbon Fibre" is another word for "pre-preg carbon fibre".

It's a simplification of pre-preg to show the one of the key manufacturing differences between the "wet" and "dry" carbon fibre.

"Wet" Carbon fibre is as you described in your original post. It's laid then wet resin/lacquer is applied to build the the carbon piece. As you rightly said, this carbon is often combined with fibreglass to reduce the cost - and ultimately the durability and quality.

"Dry" Carbon fibre is pre-preg. The "Dry" part of the name is simply relating to the fact that no additional resin or lacquer is applied to the carbon before it is baked, hence it being "dry".
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      01-14-2020, 07:11 PM   #9
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I think the main thing I care about is if the clearcoat (or maybe it's the resin) is durable and doesn't fade into disgusting colors. If that kind of CF is wrapped around fibreglass, I don't really mind (as long as the price reflects it).
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      01-27-2020, 03:15 PM   #10
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Had aftermarket carbon fiber on my 2017. FI Exhaust tips (dry) and a rear spoiler (wet CF). In both cases, after 18 months, the coating began to peel away. After the 3-year lease was up, the spoiler was 100% trash. Will not being buying after-market CF again
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      01-30-2020, 02:19 PM   #11
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A few more pictures showing the craftmanship and attention to detail to expect when buying garbage. This vendor's website says they'll "always deliver products and services of exceptional quality"

Hard to photograph with my now obsolete phone. It looks much worse in real life. I wasn't able to photograph the myriad sand/dust specks under the clear coat. I don't even care about those as you can't see them from afar. The crappy cf weave however looks worse the farther away you go.

Just don't !
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      01-30-2020, 02:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacletteMan View Post
A few more pictures showing the craftmanship and attention to detail to expect when buying garbage. This vendor's website says they'll "always deliver products and services of exceptional quality"

Hard to photograph with my now obsolete phone. It looks much worse in real life. I wasn't able to photograph the myriad sand/dust specks under the clear coat. I don't even care about those as you can't see them from afar. The crappy cf weave however looks worse the farther away you go.

Just don't !
Ah, just paint the pieces body color to match.

Wait. Hold on.......
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      01-30-2020, 05:31 PM   #13
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As someone who actually works with carbon fiber for a living this "informative post" is littered with flat out incorrect information.
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      02-10-2020, 10:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoolin Montego View Post
As someone who actually works with carbon fiber for a living this "informative post" is littered with flat out incorrect information.
If I were to work with syringes would it make me a doctor? Think about it
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