Home Chat General Chat

Carbon bike for a newbie?

Hello, newbie here looking to buy my first bike for London triathlon in August. A lot of the buying advice I've seen for newbies is to get a decent entry level bike such as the SCR 2.0 or Spesh Allez but if I stretched a little more I could probably get a carbon bike such as the Focus Cayo 2007 which I've seen for around £750. My question is for a newbie who haven't cycled for over 20 years, will getting a lighter carbon bike really make that much of a difference in terms of speed? Would it be better to improve my cycling ability before upgrading to a better bike? Appreciate any advice from you knowledgable lot.


  • mike_trimike_tri Posts: 60
    if i was you i'd go for a cheaper non-carbon bike as my first. Of course you will go faster on a carbon bike but it's a lot of money if decide that after all tri isn't for you. It would probably be easier to practice bike handaling skills on a slower non-carbon bike as well. Hope this helps
  • tripetripe Posts: 4
    Thanks Mike_tri. So a carbon bike would definitely be faster. I appreciate it's hard to put a figure on something like this but what would you say the percentage increase of speed would be? I guess I'm pretty sure I will be continuing with this triathlon malarki so my concern is that I'll regret not getting the best bike I could afford. If the advantage was small however I would probably go for the cheaper SCR2, use for a couple of years and then get a higher end bike when I've saved up more.
  • I have to say that I'd disagree with Mike. If you're not sure that you want to keep doing triathlons then you'd be better off borrowing a bike for your first race and then deciding whether to buy after that. If you definitely want to buy then I'd get the best frame that you can afford (i.e. probably the Carbon one) and then you can upgrade it in the future as and when you can afford it. If you go for the more basic bike then there's a real risk that you'll get hooked and then end up buying another, more expensive bike a year or two later when you find you have no scope to upgrade the cheaper frame - a lot of friends followed this route and now just use the older bike for winter training (useful, but they have v.unhappy partners now that there are 2 bikes blocking the hallway).

    Just a view, and I'd be interested to hear what others think.
  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    hi matey, i have to agree with tiring, but it does depend on what stage your at.

    its always the same dilemma, will you enjoy this triathlon lark, will you end up getting an expensive bike and then not use it.

    In my experience I know when I like some thing, i did it with playing the guitar, within a few months of starting playing I was hooked and bought a les paul for an obscene amount of money. But 10 years later I still play the guitar, I still have my les paul.

    my opinion is, get the best you can for the money you have. Get a quality frame, get carbon, then ideally you will never need another one!
  • tripetripe Posts: 4
    Hmmm very good arguments for and against. I guess for me it all comes down to how much faster I'd be in for example a Focus Cayo 2007 compared to a SCR2. Would the lighter frame and better components of the Cayo improve my times dramatically bearing in mind I am a novice cyclist?

    Btw I'm intending to do most of my training on a turbo due to time constrants and being too chicken to attempt cycling through the city to work. Does this make any difference to bike choice?
  • gaterz1981gaterz1981 Posts: 233
    Buy a exercise bike if your not buying a road bike to go on the road[:)]

    I personally dont like clamping a carbon frame into a turbo, lots of unecessary stresses. Buy second hand bike or borrow as mentioned. The only thing that will get your times down in the begining is improving fitness.

  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Hear hear... even the best carbon aeroo bike will only go as fast as the athlete on it, although a good bike - as long as itvis set up properly will allow an athlete go faster. How much faser? Well the fitter you are the greater the improvement wil be. Save your money get ultra fit then buy the bike ( see the other threads for make/model ) when it will make a difference!
  • As always this topic has come round to "it's not worth saving 1kg on your bike at big cost when you are carrying around 3kg of pies, which could be lost at very little cost". Another thing we havent discussed is the ability of carbon to last and handle stresses. I don't know much about this but think that on the rough roads round here I would probs have broken a carbon frame by now, also I am still riding my alloy framed bike over a year after a car went into the side of me (this was within a month of me buying the bike). Fit is also very important, I would suggest you make sure you buy from a good shop that will spend the time to make sure the bike is set up perfectly for you, then you will know what you want better and can maybe go mail order later when it comes time to upgrade. I have heard some very good reviews of triandrun's fitting service.
  • sfullersfuller Posts: 628
    Most bikes have a life guarantee on the frames, dont they? therfore if the carbon cracks.... get a new one for free
  • fixiebobfixiebob Posts: 6
    I have to disagree that carbon bikes are faster than cheaper ali ones.For the money your spending you will be buying a low end carbon better to get a cheaper frame and good wheels. I agree with Tiring Tri ing either borrow a bike or buy second hand.

    An average frame with good wheels would be better than a good frame with cheap wheels also get somone to sort out your position on the bike that will give you more speed and its free.
  • tripetripe Posts: 4
    Thanks for all the advice, interesting discussion. As I intend using the bike a lot on the turbo and so as not to get a 'low end' carbon bike for the sake of buying carbon I have decided to go for a decent alloy bike. My initial intensions was to go for the popular Giant SCR2 (around £525) but I'd be interested if for a bit more money there are other options with better frames? Treefrog you seem to rate the Cannondales highly, are you familiar with the Synapse range which start from around £699?
  • i have a focus cayo 08 which i bought in february and i haven't noticed i go any faster on a less technical course although its much more responsive than my Specilized allez, it handles much better on corners and climbs.

    I read alot of good reviews from various mags and website's before buying it all of which rated the cayo highly, i Fell for the reviews hook line and sinker but i'm over the moon with it! I upgraded the wheels and saddle (was like a razor!!) and simply love riding it.

  • KiwiPaulKiwiPaul Posts: 46
    I agree with comments above re carbon bikes not being faster just by being carbon. I've actually just got a new bike with alloy main triangle with full carbon rear and carbon forks. The thing that those carbon bits have added for me is the shock absorbing of the shocking Essex countryside I ride on - really quite impressive how much more comfortable it is. My speed has improved too but am putting that down to better fitness combined with new tighter groupset and better wheels. It's easy to get pulled by the glitz of the web photo's but get into a shop and have a chat with the guys to really understand what you need to buy for you.
Sign In or Register to comment.