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  1. #1

    Default Does carbon absorb any shock?

    I am thinking about getting a set of carbon poles. I have a shoulder that has been rebuilt twice and can get a little cranky at times. I'm wondering if the "dead" feel of carbon in other sports translates trekking poles and cancels out the vibration, etc...? The cost is enough that I don't want to just throw the money away.

    I tried the shock absorber style poles but didn't have great success. One kept getting locked out and they made a pretty strange sound with each plunge. Perhaps this technology has gotten better int he past few years?

    I'm open to any suggestions!

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Yes, there is a bit or vibration damping in carbon trekking poles, although, whether it is enough to be what you are looking for or not is hard to say. Black diamond also makes some shock aborbing poles that use an elastomer donut instead of a spring system, that you might find worth considering. Buy both from REI and return whatever doesn't meet your needs.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zig-Zag View Post
    I am thinking about getting a set of carbon poles. I have a shoulder that has been rebuilt twice and can get a little cranky at times. I'm wondering if the "dead" feel of carbon in other sports translates trekking poles and cancels out the vibration, etc...? The cost is enough that I don't want to just throw the money away.

    I tried the shock absorber style poles but didn't have great success. One kept getting locked out and they made a pretty strange sound with each plunge. Perhaps this technology has gotten better int he past few years?

    I'm open to any suggestions!

    Thanks.
    I'm 46 and have some minor shoulder issues (resolved without surgery) and recently bought a pair of carbon poles at REI. I avoided the shock absorbers after thinking for a long time they would be the way to go. Hiking poles offer some rotational inertia with each step. The shock absorbers add more weight that constantly undergoes changes in rotation. In theory, they should be more comfortable the lighter they are and the closer the center of gravity is to your hands. I figured most of the AT is dirt, which offers some shock absorption. The carbon fiber is lighter. The rotational inertia from carbon fiber poles without shocker absorbers is the lowest.

    Anyway... My two cents.

  4. #4
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    Mostly dirt ! Guess u haven't bin the Rocksilvania. ;0)

  5. #5
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    I went from big poles with shock absorbers, to "ultralight" tiny poles, to my new, beefy carbon poles from Black Diamond.

    Big Leki Makalu poles with shock absorbers: ugh. The shock absorbers meant that the poles would NOT grip on rock, they would bounce off and I would go boom on my butt. They would loosen up and collapse without warning multiple times per day.

    UL poles that I swiped from my daughter: Much lighter, no shock absorber, worked great, but very thin and light for someone my size. These would also collapse without warning all the time.

    New BD carbon poles: the size and beefiness of the big Lekis, but the weight of the tiny poles. No shock absorber. They feel less "bouncy" in my hands while walking, though I can't quantify that. I like them, especially the flip locks -- they stay locked all day on the trail.

    Note that an awful lot of the AT is rocks, even outside PA.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

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    It is a different feel than AL, and less rotational inertia then heavier poles, that alone can be a big benefit for helping your problem. But the also have their own vibrational - not bad, just different.

    The other thing to consider is if side loaded, carbon poles will break far before AL poles will think of bending, so a lot of extra care is needed. Not so much for hiking, but for rest stops (I always collapse mine carbons, too easy for another hiker - or me - to accidentally step on, trip over them), and in the car (which I never did with my AL sticks).

  7. #7

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    Thank you for the replies so far. I appreciate it. I hadn't thought of things in terms of rotational inertia, but it makes sense. I also had not heard of the black diamond "donut" but will look into it.


    I've thought about pacer poles, as the (claimed) postural benefits would be great but it is so hard to commit to a purchase without ever getting to feel them first, etc...

    Thanks again!!!

  8. #8

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    I have a carbon fork on my bike. I originally bought the bike with an aluminum fork and then exchanged for the next model up with a carbon fork. I was amazed at the difference.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    There is another thread or two somewhere on this site where inexpensive carbon poles were mentioned highly - Not sure which thread it is, but I grabbed the site and added it to my favorites so I can get a pair when I replace my aluminum ones. Under $50 and have some pretty good reviews.

    http://www.cascademountaintech.com/Q...les-p/1010.htm

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtDoraDave View Post
    There is another thread or two somewhere on this site where inexpensive carbon poles were mentioned highly - Not sure which thread it is, but I grabbed the site and added it to my favorites so I can get a pair when I replace my aluminum ones. Under $50 and have some pretty good reviews.

    http://www.cascademountaintech.com/Q...les-p/1010.htm
    You can get similar looking and spec'd poles on Ebay for $15/each.

  11. #11
    2008 SOBO Frick Frack's Avatar
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    In my experience carbon poles w/o "shock absorbers" are plenty comfortable and much more quiet than aluminium poles &/or poles w/shock absorber. The ones that have flick locks are far easier to adjust than the twist ones too. In fact my aluminium Black Diamond poles made it from ME to NY before breaking and being warrantied with carbon shafts that went from NY to GA and beyond. Aluminium is for beer cans

  12. #12
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    I have had aluminum poles last much longer then carbon. Beer should b in glass bottles. If I had a shoulder problem light weight may be a better choice.

  13. #13
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    Even without a shoulder problem lighter poles are IMO more enjoyable to use due to the weight/inertia factor mentioned above.

    If one trips and falls onto a pole in a certain way it's going to bend or break whether it's an 11 oz aluminum pole or a 4.5 oz carbon pole. So the longevity of poles made with either material is due in large part to how the user treats them. We've all been around folks who are "rough on equipment" and who could break a bowling ball in a foam rubber room. If a brand new pole breaks (or, more accurately, is broken by the user) while departing a parking lot, that says nothing about the durability of the pole.

    However, Leki used to make the most durable poles I've ever used which are the original Makalus made of titanium, with all sections made of titanium. The current-vintage "Titanium" Makalus have Ti uppers but the lowers are Aluminum and nowhere near as strong and durable. I still have these and they are in perfect working order. In the past I used them a lot for mountaineering and they endured many shocks and stresses that would have shattered any other poles I've used.

    But for 3-season I'm definitely sticking with my lightweight CF poles.

  14. #14

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    I have had both aluminum poles with and without shock absorbers and also carbon; I prefer the light weight and vibration dampening of carbon without the shock absorbers. I know it may not sound like much, but the difference in a few ounces of swing weight on a pole is pretty noticeable (both my poles together weigh under 10oz) . Drawback to carbon is it really is hard to tell if they have been damaged, where aluminum bends. I'll take my chances with my carbon poles but will not use carbon fiber for my handlebars on bicycles anymore.

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