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I'm gonna geta new bike soon!

But, is a carbon fram really worth the cash?
Is it a lot better than a good Alu frame?
I know that the 1kg difference isnÄt much, but what about the stifness?


  • TRIumphantTRIumphant Posts: 850
    It's not always about the weight. With carbon yoy get a much smoothr dies as it abosorobs all of the bumps etc. And the other benefit you get, is that manufacturers have the ability to form alnost any shape they want, so in theory the frame can be more aero than is achievabale in alu.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    Yes to them all mate.

    Carbon helps reduce vibration on the road, its lighter and stronger...It looks better as well. Look at the joints on a alu compared to a carbon

    Get a carbon bling bike now!
  • BmanBman Posts: 442
    Related to this, Ive also seen mention (cant remeber where) of carbon frames only lasting a few years due to wear and tear (same said about carbon wheels), so just wondering if there is any truth in this? thanks
  • okennyokenny Posts: 231
    if you exclude the difference the 1kg weight difference makes, do you go faster on a carbon bike?

    I know that the frame can be more aero, but the difference is really small, the bike itself really has very little drag compared to the rider.

    A stiffer frame can mean that more power is transferred from the pedals to the road, but does this really make a difference?
    What do you guys think the difference between a good alu frame and a carbon frame would be over 40km?
  • Most newbees will scream CARBON at you when suggesting a new bike, BUT a GOOD ally frame will smoke a shite carbon frame anyday of the week!!

    Just cos its got Carbon written on it dosnt mean the weave is a good quality or the frame is made of a good grade of Carbon. Trust me, a good ally frame (cervelo, principia etc) will shit ALL over a cheap carbon frame.

    Do your homework, go round a few bike shops, snoop round a few cycling forums (dont join them though!!) and spend the max you can afford (and a bit more if poss) or you'll be back on here within 12 months saying I need another new bike...........
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    yes but a really good carbon frame will frazzle allumin frame.
  • Maybe, But I doubt you'll be able to tell the difference between a TOP end ally frame and a Top end carbon in ride alone.
  • My new road bike (actually nearly a year old now) is 'top spec' aluminium with carbon forks and stays. It also has kevlar (wrapped, incorporated??) as part of the forks and stays and so sucks up vibration like a good Tokyo building.

    I bought this bike purely because I couldn't afford the £1000+ for pure carbon and always thought I'd buy carbon when I was rich enough.

    But this bike has been utterly smoking all year, I'm in love and wouldn't change a thing. I've beaten grown men on BIG hills as well as fast flats (screw-on TT bars) on it and will not be parted from it.

    The latest 220 actually has a good article about frame materials and explodes a few myths about carbon.

    Not that my head won't be turned by bling......just quoting personal experience here.

  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    Perhaps, but in terms of weight you def will.
  • Obviously :roll: . My point is that if you rode the two back to back I wouldnt imagine your times would differ massively, and does the price negate the time you save?

    I'm not talking a £250 toys r us bike versus a carbon fibre bike, I'm saying the difference between......lets say a Cervelo Carbon Soloist and Cervello soloist (ally frame) the weight is a minor issue and the time saved on a 40kmTT probably wouldnt offset the extra cost.
  • risris Posts: 1,002
    i asked this question at bridgtown cycles and the suggestion was that the reduction in road buzz from a carbon frame over an equivalent quality alu frame was worth it, particularly for longer rides. whether it would make much odds over a shorter tri event i don't know.

    i'd be more interested in the longevity of carbon, like bman said.
  • Interesting debate though... I just did a bit of a search online to see if I could find any comparisons between the Cervelo S1 and S2. The Cervelo S1 is probably considered to be the amongst the premier aluminium frames on the market. The S2 is the next model up in the "S" range and is arguably a very similar bike to the S1 only constructed of carbon plus a few minor tweaks to the geometry. The Cervelo website prices the S1 frameset at £899.99 and the S2 Frameset at £2,199.99.

    So... assuming that Carbon Vs Alu is the primary difference between these two bikes I was wondering how much time going carbon would actually save you, and how much each additional second would cost?

    I couldn't find the answer but there seemed to be a lot of vigorous debate about whether the S1 or S2 was the best bike. From the (possibly unrepresentative) sample of comments which I saw the consensus was pretty split, but I think the gist was that if the bikes were evenly equipped then the S2 is marginally better for longer rides (carbon= smoother ride), but that there was not much to choose between them on short rides. If working to a budget the consensus was for the S1 and better components every time.

    Anyway... the point I'm trying to make is that the potential benefits of carbon may not be as clear cut as is commonly believed, especially where price is a limiting factor.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    what would you rather pull alloy or carbon over an undulating and hard vibrating course.... of course carbon.

    I'm not justifying the price tag just the benefits. Ofcourse the real difference is the rider..
  • Well if its a hard vibrating course, you'd probably have your fillings rattled out by both ally and carbon. And TBH if it were down to the soloist I'd rather lose a couple of fillings than spend an extra £1300??!! on an exactly the same frame but made of a different material.

    I ride a carbon bike by the way....................
  • I'm not justifying the price tag just the benefits
    No doubt there are benefits but to me the interesting question is what is the marginal cost of each second saved. Only then can we make an informed decision about whether carbon is worth it. Of course £100 per second saved on a 40k course may sound like a bargin to some but is entirely subjective. I'm afraid I'm not on good enough terms with my bank manager to b able to justify it.
    Ofcourse the real difference is the rider.
    Thank you shadowone1... I was delighted (and shocked) that in IMUK I seemed to outclimb all the carbon feinds (admittedly with their fancy but heavy disk wheels), although this feeling of elation would only last until they all felw back past me on the flats and descents! A tit for tat battle that lasted the entire bike course! kept me entertained though!!
  • clv101clv101 Posts: 45
    Trust me, a good ally frame (cervelo, principia etc) will shit ALL over a cheap carbon frame.
    What's more expensive, a good ally frame or a cheap carbon frame? Which offers the best value.

    I ride a Planet X SL Pro Carbon - it was pretty cheap (£999 full Ultegra) and it's light years ahead of alu bikes I've ridden but then I've never ridden a £1000 alu bike.
  • okennyokenny Posts: 231
    Thanks for all the replies guys!
    Though, I'm still not closer to deciding on which frame material to go for!!
    I don't want to buy a bike (which I want to use for a few 70.3s and an IM) and be disapointed with it in any way, I'd rather save a little longer and get the right bike.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    I was riding a shit alu frame and now I'm on carbon. tbh I've only been on it once as I got it at the weekend.

    I agree with the comments about going tit for tat on the alu frame against the carbon dude. I've been there and its quite satisfying
  • okennyokenny Posts: 231
    Which carbon fram do you have now shadowone1??

    So, if I understand you correctly, you're happy u went for the Carbon?
  • just2trijust2tri Posts: 198
    Blurredgirl - what bike do you ride??
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    here's the animal.....

    Only rode here once so far.... I don't have enough experience but the difference between the old alu bike and this one is like night and day....

    PS this photo was taken in one the mankiest hotels I've been in.... total hovel.
  • beautiful
  • okennyokenny Posts: 231
    that's a nice set of wheels.

    I'm lookiung at a Cannondale Slice... also a nice set of wheels!
  • Hi there,

    I ride a Bianchi that had an RRP of just over £1000 last September but that I bought for around £600 (Evans sale, plus I reaped the benefits of wanting an odd size). It's one of their C2C frames (Via Nirone) which is comprised of aluminium with carbon and kevlar stays and forks. It also has a carbon head-tube and seat post. It's fitted with Ultegra throughout. I swapped the saddle for a female-specific one and put Look keo pedals on.

    I must qualify how I ride this bike - because I do believe that makes all the difference when you choose a bike.

    Firstly - I'm female, so the stem is short and I had the seat post cut down, and that makes the geometry quite specific.

    Secondly, although I do a lot of triathlons - my big love is road cycling and I researched and eventually bought this bike based on that. When not training for and competing in triathlons, I ride distance and big hills, non-competetively - for the love of it. For instance I was holiday in France recently and me and my DH would go for 60km+ bike rides that often included climbing 5-7kms out of the gorge to the tops of cols as well as riding along undulating roads.

    What that means is that I wanted a bike that is comfortable over distance and that likes to climb. The Bianchi came out top in all my research for those factors. For triathlon I compromise by screwing TT bars on the bike and changing my position.

    If you are looking for something fast just for racing you may well have different criteria and a full carbon beast - probably a specific tri bike if you are primarily doing non-drafting races - is likely to be your bag.

    I thought that I'd found exactly the right bike for me, and I was right. Whether it was carbon or not was not an issue.

    But as I said before, I do drool over carbon fibre, wherever it is and if someone handed me a full carbon bike I would not kick it out of bed.....

  • Xyzee_ukXyzee_uk Posts: 100

    Have just gone from Alu frame DHCycle with carbon forks and campy mirage groupset to a Boardman Team Carbon with SRAM Rival (penny short of a grand - Cycle to work)

    I've got to say the carbon does make me a bit faster but you could argue the SRAM groupset has a lot to do with that. BUT I find the bike responsive and smooth in every way, it just feels right - and it also feels like it can give more than the Alu - I know this isn't specific but I don't think the difference is much about actual lightness or increased speed due tot he material.

    That said carbon makes me feel like a million dollars and as someone said here before - if it makes you get on your bike and get out on the road then it is money well spent!!!

    I love Carbon. Fact.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    I found that when i was trying out bikes (so not for huge distances/times) the alu framed Bianchi was not as comfortable over the quite rough and ready third-worldesq London streets it was quite responsive and relatively light but there was just more buzz and vibration off the road which the carbon framed similarly spec'd bike i was trying the same day (on the same roads) didn't have. It made me more confident in putting the hammer down with it. Plus the weight difference between the carbon and alu frames made my mind up for me - I quite often have to carry the bike up and down long staircases (the Greenwich foot tunnel) so weight can be an issue at the end of a long ride if i have a backpac etc too.

    I am very glad I went for a Carbon frame, and luckily got a reasonably good deal on it.
  • okennyokenny Posts: 231
    okay, I'm getting a carbon bike! Don't care what it costs at this stage. The comments here have convinced me that it's worth it!
    Thanks guys!
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    okenny I don't think that 'Carbon' has to mean hugely more expensive - just look at the boardman bikes for that and from all accounts they are great bikes to ride too.
  • durhamvamdurhamvam Posts: 246
    I've just got my first road bike and have gone from a heavy, heavy, aluminium hybrid to an all carbon thing - it was in expensive (relatively) for two reasons - last year's colours and so the LBS did me a deal and the badge says Raleigh (no snob value there).

    I got it because I trust the LBS and it was the most comfortable I tried and so far I love going out on it. Mind you I love Harry the hybrid too but for different reasons.

    I think that's the most important thing - that you get the bike that is right for you at a good price and don't get too fixated one thing over another. If it doesn't fit and you find it too twitchy then you aren't going to be happy riding it
  • [toPh][toPh] Posts: 244
    I ordered my Planet X SL Pro Carbon today, super excited can't wait for it to arrive.

    SOne1 - What did you get your Argon18 built up with?
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