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IM - How important is carbon?

Being talking this over with a friend - both of us are thinking of Ironman in the next year or so but neither own carbon bikes and was wondering if those of you who have completed IM's if the added comfort level that a carbon bike would offer is vital or just a nice to have? I've done a HIM on my trusty alu steed and my my main comfort issue was consistently staying down in the aerobars which is not really to do with the bike and probably due to not doing enough hours in that position, but was curious to see if anybody else had any stories to offer in this area.


  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Carbon does absorb alot of the road buzz and on long rides does make it more comfortable.But an ill fitting carbon bike can be more uncomfortable that a well fitted Alu/steel bike.
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    As mentioned above, it's bike fit that is more important than bike material. The ability to maintain an aero position for long periods of time makes bike fit more essential than ever, along with practice!

    Whatever you decide to do, i.e. new bike or not, I'd certainly suggest that a professional bike fitting is definately worth the investment (probably about £100), by someone who knows what they are doing specific to triathlon.

    I had one recently and was surprised at how much alteration there was to what I thought was a good position and how much more comfortable my bike has been since!
  • okennyokenny Posts: 231
    I had a thread here a few months ago where I essentially asked the same question...

    There were a LOT of replies - everyone who had a carbon frame said they were very happy to have bought a it....I decided I wanted my next bike to be carbon too, rather buy one good bike than in a year or so decide that I want carbon.

    I am awaiting delivery of a Specialized Transition at the mo....it's gonna be a good year (2010 70.3 Germany and then Roth in 2011).

    Look at how much your Alu bike flexes when you cycle in the home trainer.....it must be a colossal amount of energy.
    When you see wind tunnel analysis of different try bikes (i.e. 220 a few issues ago), they don't look at the energy lost due to the flexing of the frame. Witha carbon bike thuis should be a lot...

    In the end though, having a better bike will probably just get you to T2 more quickly....the main difference will be made by having fit legs. It's difficult to cycle the 180km 30 minutes faster, but it's very easy to be VERY slow in the run!
  • I did my first couple of IMs on an '02 alloy Giant TCR, it is quite harsh, but it's what I was used to and did all my training on.

    You'll be fine with what you've got, unless you've got excess cash burning a hole in your pocket, in which case go for it.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    A good carbon frame will be faster, no question. However a really good alloy frame will beat a low end carbon frame. The down side with carbon is that in a crash you're most likely to kiss good bye to the frame. I think trek replace the frame if it develops a crack, I could be wrong in that.

    I can recall in a race where I overtook a guy on my alloy bike and he had the trick carbon bike. it felt awesome as well. The point is that its much to do with rider as well.

    Having said that i know have a carbon bike, with carbon wheels and I can really notce the difference in terms of comfort, as mentioned the carbon will soak up a lot of road vibration.

    If you do get a carbon bike, really best advice make sure the frame is top notch and get fitted for the bike as well.
  • Jmurt, if you're getting carbon, you can dump your new bike on me if you want...
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