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Thread: Carbon vs Alloy Shaft

  1. #1
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    Default Carbon vs Alloy Shaft

    Hi All,
    I'm looking at a new WW paddle and wondering about a C100. Choice of alloy or carbon shafts. I know the carbon is warmer on the hands but otherwise what's the difference (apart from price)?

    Looking here the weights appear to be about 50g different.

    Is there a difference in strength, flex, resilience etc?

    Tom

  2. #2
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    In answer to your three question, yes ,yes, and yes. My main paddles are both carbon shaft, but my spare gravel bashing ditching one is alloy. I'm sure I could tell them in use, blinfold and with gloves, but I would be hard pressed to explain how. I think the alloy is stiffer perhaps, but the carbon shafted ones have bigger blades, so in fact that may be the difference. Carbon is defo lighter, and that, for an old man on the downward path, is paramount over long day.

  3. #3
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    I expected a larger difference in weight to be the main difference. I know from bike frames etc that the shape and profile etc make more of a difference than the material (stiffness can be added or removed for example).

    When looking only at the C100, presumably the blade is identical between the alloy & carbon variants so the feel in the water & power etc should be identical. I would imagine that the blade makes the most difference to the weight so having a similar weight makes sense.

    In which case, what is the benefit of going for a carbon shaft C100 over an alloy C100? It is nearly double the price for maybe 50 - 100g difference.

    Has anyone paddled both and can give a comparison?

  4. #4
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    The flex in the shaft is worth the difference in my opinion. It doesn't jar the joints in your shoulders when you put on the power.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  5. #5
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    If your paddling style includes hard contact between paddle and gunwale, you may find aluminium more durable. Carbon will wear, and is seriously damaged by sharp impact from the side of the tube. Aluminium will dent, but probably remain usable for longer, given the same abuse. Having said that, I'm not saying aluminium is better; my paddles are nearly all carbon or wood.

  6. #6
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    I found the Ainsworth alloy shaft to be just so rigid and unforgiving that I risked injury using it even on modest whitewater. And its cold. Cheap though! I switched to wooden (Hammerhead) but quickly found myself with a carbon paddle thanks to a lucky second hand find, and in all ways its superior (not an Ainsworth).

    As an aside, I recently borrowed one of their Canoe River blades, and much preferred it to the C100 for both still and moving water. I've never liked the c100 blade, there's something odd about the way it tries to "float", though its powerful enough I guess.

    Personally, if you can stretch to a carbon blade (or one of the better/lighter glass blades) as well as shaft, its worth it if you're paddling w/w regularly.

  7. #7
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    My carbon shafted paddles have removable handles, and my gunnels are alloy, and I pry off the gunnel when needed (well actually more than that). So I take of the handle, thread a brightly coloured heat shrink tube over the shaft, heat, shrink, replace handle.

  8. #8
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    Not that it is such a big deal but you might want to note that all which is black and composite is not carbon. The Nantahala and the Bandit for example have black shafts but these are glass and I think have very slightly more flex than their carbon equivalent albeit they are quite stiff.

  9. #9
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    In prying off gunwales I've shredded wooden paddle shafts and stripped the heat shrink off aluminium shafted canoe paddles. Bare aluminium oxidises, is cold and getting the resulting black off your hands after a days paddling with your back-up paddle can take quite a lot of doing. My Werner Nantahala has seen tons of abuse and it still appears minty. As Adrian says it's a glass rather than a carbon shaft.

    I've tried my own kevlar wrap on one of my wooden paddles, it was brilliant until I'd abraded the epoxy down to the kevlar and then it fluffs somewhat, the next re-coat will be a straight glass wrap as I'm told that glass wears smooth.

    Impcanoe's suggestion of removable handles to facilitate the easy replacement of protective/insulating heat shrink is brill.
    DCUK
    Can't ytpe or roopf read

  10. #10
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    I've a Werner nantahalla which I don't use much myself if you fancy that for a reasonable price.
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Open Canoe hire/outfitting in the Massif Central
    ”We will make your trip work”



  11. #11
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    Cheers guys,

    Mal: I liked the look of the canoe river but I much prefer symmetrical blades. I used a mitchell on my L1 course and really didn't get on with it.

    Impcanoe: Great idea. How do you secure the handle?

    Mark: PM Sent.

  12. #12
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    I forked out for a carbon Ainsworth and really appreciate the warmth more than anything. The weight difference, for an unsubtle newbie like me, is barely noticeable and when it is I notice you have to actually push down to get the paddle in to the water which isn't saving you much anyway!

    My wooden paddle is lighter, still warm, and was cheaper than the carbon jobby. I'm going to say it.... I think carbon fibre is probably slightly more to do with image (in almost everything!).
    I refuse to let the fact that I haven't got a clue what I'm doing hold me back in any aspect of my life.

  13. #13
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    When you say 'carbon Ainsworth' do you mean carbon shaft or all carbon construction. The carbon shaft AFT blade will be a bit floaty, the polycarbonate blade a little less so but the all carbon is stated as weighing about 500g which is pretty light; most would be around 700g which is about the weight of a wooden paddle.

  14. #14
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    I agree about the floatyness of the aft blades. Takes some getting used to

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    Yes the AFT blade carbon shaft. Not unpleasant to use, and I suppose you get the energy back at the end of the stroke, but I wouldn't spend the money on it again.
    I refuse to let the fact that I haven't got a clue what I'm doing hold me back in any aspect of my life.

  16. #16
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    Jamie, If I remember correctly the club has Alloy AFT's. I've used them but I don't recall them which presumably means they worked, were not offensive and were equally not outstanding. I'll have to have a try with them again and pay attention. I've not used them on a river though as it was only flat water.

  17. #17
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    It does. I've got one too. I've also got a down creek ww big dipper which is of course superior to all paddles

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

  18. #18
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    Sorry, been a bit involved with enjoyable grandparent duties and missed the question about fixing. One of my paddles (and my favourite long lost one too) had T grips added after I had got blade and shaft. I sanded down the handle till it was a tight fit, placed it in the shaft, at the right angle and drilled through the shaft and handle and fixed a stainless screw. The other one had a handle already fixed, so I cut the the shaft between handle and where my lower hand goes at an angle, sanded a piece of dowel about 6" long to size, araldited one end in, with a stainless crew as well, and push fit and screwed the other end. Cutting at an angle makes lining up easier. I'm quite a big bloke, use a big WW spooned blade all the time, and apply a lot of power to draws and pries, and the handles have never moved, but always been removable with care.

    Impcanoe

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