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carbon vs. aluminum


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#1 Fly1296

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:09 PM

I know this may seem like a silly question but stick with me ;)

 

I'm on the proverbial fence betwixt high-end Al and entry CF.  Namely Specialized Allez Comp vs. Tarmac SL2 Elite, as well as Giant TCR Comp vs. Defy 1.  And yes I know the Giants are also comfort vs. racing geometries, but we'll ignore that for now.  Anyway the price jump from the Al to the CF is $300-$400 in each case.  Both brands offer the same components between the two, SRAM Apex for Specialized and new 105 for Giant.  Naturally the CF frame will be lighter but LBS guys have said that all four will be 19-21 lbs as finished bikes.  2 lbs of weight savings just isn't enough on its own for me to be completely comfortable with the price jump.  I don't know enough about the other components to intelligently compare.  I also need a complete new rider equipment package (shoes, pedals, road kit, bottles etc), which could all be easily purchased with that same $300-$400.  So what else would I be getting with the CF?  Again, ignore geometry for now.  I'm leaning more towars a race geometry but the Defy is still in the picture















#2 davereo

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:51 PM

My picks would be Aluminun, 105 and the equipment package.



#3 vspa

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 05:33 PM



Originally Posted by davereo View Post

My picks would be Aluminun, 105 and the equipment package.


+1



#4 Fly1296

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:08 PM

     So that's 2 for the Defy, the only "comfort" geometry in the mix.  Without getting completely off topic, what are the trade-off between the geometries? My normal ride is 15-20 miles although that is likely to increase as the new bike will up my average speed.  Still it will be only on rare special occasions that I would exceed 25-30 miles.  Comparing the Defy and the TCR the differences in various lengths and angles seem so tiny as to be inconsequential...1/2 degree of head angle or 1cm of top tube.  I'm sure that there is a level of personal performance at which such differences really matter, but if that level is higher than I wish to go that will be one less aspect to which I need to devote attention.

 

    



#5 m0b00st

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 01:01 AM

This whole time I thought you were talking about the Defy Advanced, which is also a CF frame.  No wonder I was so confused.



#6 maddogbubba

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 08:29 AM



Originally Posted by m0b00st View Post

This whole time I thought you were talking about the Defy Advanced, which is also a CF frame.  No wonder I was so confused.

boost -  see how you could get confused - 1296 is currently processing lots of info . I have had to back track/ check out the bikes online etc on some threads just to try to keep up . however I still enjoy following 1296's concerns .

 

1296 - you are doing the right thing here by doing lots of homework , instead of rushing out and getting a bike that you would later have doubts or regrets about.

 

 



#7 Fly1296

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 09:44 AM

     Yes, I am definitely all over the map!    I really appreciate everyone's willingness to help!

 

     I'm getting pretty comfortable with the fact that for me the biggest thing will be to get a component group that I really like.  The differences between CF and Al, racing and comfort geometries are not significant for my current and forseeable future needs.  My budget makes my component choices 105 or Apex, which is something I can only settle by riding.  I've considered Tiagra (I was, after all, blown away by Sora during a brief trainer session) but I'm 99% certain I want to go ahead and do 105 if I go Shimano. 
 

Originally Posted by maddogbubba View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by m0b00st View Post

This whole time I thought you were talking about the Defy Advanced, which is also a CF frame.  No wonder I was so confused.

boost -  see how you could get confused - 1296 is currently processing lots of info . I have had to back track/ check out the bikes online etc on some threads just to try to keep up . however I still enjoy following 1296's concerns .

 

1296 - you are doing the right thing here by doing lots of homework , instead of rushing out and getting a bike that you would later have doubts or regrets about.

 

 





#8 maddogbubba

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:38 AM

105 would be the way to go . that way in the future you have something under you that not only you feel good about but also can get great performance from .



#9 64Paramount

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 12:50 PM



Originally Posted by vspa View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by davereo View Post

My picks would be Aluminun, 105 and the equipment package.


+1



+2

 

 


Sometimes you may have to look very close to see it, but a measure of grace exists within us all..

#10 m0b00st

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 01:29 AM

I think you should do carbon so that you dont regret it later, because you know that you will.  And if you have the money to be in the 105 price range, I think that you should opt for a bike with SRAM Rival groupo, it offers 105 performance or better and weighs less than Ultegra.

 

I myself was very suprised when I tried out the SRAM groupo.  I honestly did not think that I would find them to be all that different, but I personally liked the ergonomics and the operation of the SRAM much better than I did the Shimano.  Not to mention the SRAM that I tried out was Apex.  But like I said, for the same cost as 105, almost every bike I've seen can be equiped with SRAM Rival instead.

 

Something to consider is all.  At least ride one with it if you havent already.



#11 Fly1296

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 08:31 AM

I think you've nailed it on the carbon.  A response in one of my other thread said kind of the same thing in a different way.  Aluminum would probably be perfectly sufficient for my needs and wants, now and in the future.  But carbon DEFINITELY will. 

 

I had not considered the Rival.  I, too, have played with the Apex on the sales floor and really like the feel.  Not to mention the fact that 3 of the 4 LBS guys I've talked with at length ride SRAM.  I guess I just assumed that Apex was the direct competitor to 105, Rival to Ultegra, and so on.  As such, since Ultegra was out of my price range so would be Rival.  But looking at it I see 4 levels of SRAM to go along with the DA/Ulltegra/105/Tiagra line from Shimano.  I know that direct comparisons might be taken with a grain of salt but would it be fair to say that rival is more of a 105 competitor? 

 

Can I ask for any group on a bike from the LBS or are they required by the manufacturers to build to certain equipment specs?



#12 maddogbubba

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 12:52 PM

typically the bikes are spec'd out by the manufactuer , then sent to your LBS and built . most LBS dont want to change anything.expect to pay something if you want them to build to your specific's. But it does not hurt to ask what they could do for you in that dept . sometimes grouping other items into a package deal can help things along in that aspect .( such as shoes , helmet  etc ).



#13 m0b00st

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 01:09 PM

105 and Rival are considered to be more in-line as far as the "level" of the groups are concerned, although I've had people tell me they feel Rival perfoms as well as Ultegra.  I guess the "level" of the group is just determined by what each groups retail cost is.  Srams groups just happen to be lighter across the board than Shimano's do.  This is a nice bonus since the more you read and talk to people, the more you will find that the actuall performance difference between groups has been narrowed so much, that the only reason people tend to upgrade components is to save weight since the groups get lighter as you move up the chain.  This is why I said to get SRAM instead of Shimano, because for the same price you can get the RIVAL group instead of 105 from a lot of manufacturers, and RIVAL weighs in less then even the Ultegra group.

 

I dont think you can just ask for the LBS to equip it that way, but if the manufacturer offers it in that configuration, and your LBS doesnt have one on the floor that way, they can order it and probably have it within a week in most cases.

 

 

http://www.specializ...001&scname=Road    

 

If you follow that link you will see that there are 3 Tarmacs listed with a $2700 MSRP (every LBS ive been to sells your choice for $2500).  The difference between the 3 bikes is that 2 are Shimano equiped, both with the 105 group, but one has a compact front chainring setup, and the third bike is the SRAM Rival equiped bike.  I think I have pretty much decided to get the SRAM Rival equiped Roubaix, but like I mentioned, I need to call the shop on Monday to have them order one because all the floor models they had were Shimano bikes.  It sure is a tough choice between the Tarmac and Roubaix.



#14 Fly1296

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 07:17 AM

I've already talked to them about packaging everything, since I'll need it, and they've all said they'll be able to 'do something'.  Specialized offers a Tarmac with choice of 105, Ultegra, or Rival but it's the step above the Apex Tarmac I'd looked at.  Giant only offers Shimano.



#15 m0b00st

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:16 PM

If you were in the price range of 105 on a Tarmac, the SRAM Rival bike can be had for the exact same price.  That bike is offered from $1800-10,000 depending on frame and component choices.  But if you are in the 105 price range you are at the $2500 level (website will list these bikes at $2700 MSRP).  For that price the bike can be optioned 3 ways. 

 

- With 105 and a standard front chain ring

- With 105 and a compact front chain ring

- With SRAM Rival, standard front chain ring

 

 

PS - I made a better (longer more detailed) post yesterday for you, But none of my posts yesterday actally posted...Sorry about that.

PPS - Back on the topic of race vs. comfort geometries, I rode both the Tarmac and Roubaix from Specialized, and I have to say that I'm strongly leaning towards the Roubaix.  The owner of the pro level shop where I live even races on his Roubaix.  I just cant find a downside to that bike.



#16 Fly1296

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 02:33 PM

     Both Specialized bikes I'm looking at come with Apex, $1300 for the Allez and $1800 for the Tarmac.  Going up to 105 or Rival on the Tarmac gets me into the $2300 range, which while it also comes with a much better wheel package is simply more than I'm willing to spend.

 

     The guy I talked to today (via phone...still snowbound ) remembered me from last week as a pretty tall guy.  He hadn't thought of it at the time but told me that the aluminum frames (Secteur, Allez) are available in a 64cm while the CF (Tarmac, Roubaix) only go up to 61.  Might or might not make a diference, he just wanted me to be aware of it, and of the fact that the proper fit will be of far greater benefit than CF over aluminum.  He does have a used 64 frame built up for sizing purposes but doesn't normally keep them in stock, as well as numerous 61s so I'll be able to try both.

 

     Next week is supposed to be in the 60s all week so I ought to be able to finally get some test rides in.  I really have a feeling that it will come down to whether I like Apex or 105 better. 

 

    
 

Originally Posted by m0b00st View Post

If you were in the price range of 105 on a Tarmac, the SRAM Rival bike can be had for the exact same price.  That bike is offered from $1800-10,000 depending on frame and component choices.  But if you are in the 105 price range you are at the $2500 level (website will list these bikes at $2700 MSRP).  For that price the bike can be optioned 3 ways. 

 

- With 105 and a standard front chain ring

- With 105 and a compact front chain ring

- With SRAM Rival, standard front chain ring

 

 

PS - I made a better (longer more detailed) post yesterday for you, But none of my posts yesterday actally posted...Sorry about that.

PPS - Back on the topic of race vs. comfort geometries, I rode both the Tarmac and Roubaix from Specialized, and I have to say that I'm strongly leaning towards the Roubaix.  The owner of the pro level shop where I live even races on his Roubaix.  I just cant find a downside to that bike.





#17 m0b00st

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:13 PM

I liked the Apex that I rode better than the 105 simply because of the way it operated and the ergonomics.  I, like you, was initially in the $1500-1800 range when this search started.  Fact is the extra money is better spent up front than piece by piece down the road.  You cant upgrade your wheels at a later date for the price difference between the bikes, so its like they throw in the better component group for free.

 

I just can't justify not spending the extra money up front, even if it means I have to wait an extra month to get the bike.

 

Of course all of this, and all of the stuff in that MASSIVE private message I just sent you, could all be null and void if you cant get a CF bike that is your size!

 

Only upside is that you may be able to get an AL framed bike with a better component group and wheel set than you could have gotten with the CF bikes, and that just may be the best option of all.



#18 AndyNZ

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 11:25 PM

Go Carbon,  its no contest, the SL2 frame is well worth it and you can upgrade bits and pieces later. 

I've just come off decent alloy onto the Tarmac SL2 Elite.  The wheels and crank are the weakpoints but I already had good wheels and they are an easy upgrade down the track.  I swapped out the crank for a Force crank (that took 300g ish off straight away) and a Force RD for slightly better shifting. Still came in very cheap compared to the 105 version with lighter groupset.   The Apex group is very good.  Shifters have same internals as higher level ones.

The frame rides very smooth and has excellent stiffness around the BB and Headset.  To me noticably stiffer than the Addict R3 up front. 

It decends way better due to smoothness/geometry/stiffeness leading to better tracking. 

My next mod will be brakes. 

The SL2 isn't the lightest frame but weight isn't everything unless you are climbing the French Alps.

Summary.  Carbon will give you a much better ride (if it fits you and you get set up properly).  The SL2 frame is worth upgrading in the future if you want, there are easy gains to be made in a couple of areas.  Very good bang for buck.


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#19 ambal

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 11:55 PM



Originally Posted by davereo View Post

My picks would be Aluminun, 105 and the equipment package.

 

Same, makes the most sense IMO
 



#20 rjstange

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:31 PM

I am in the same boat..6"4" and wanted to stay under $1800. I went with the Defy 1 with 105 componentry. Absolutely love it.....BUT I am still "jonesing" for my next bike...a CF, probably the Giant TCR. If you are like me, and will eventually be wanting that next step, just poney up to the bar now and pay the bartender for the CF. If you are unlike me and have self control, the aluminum will do you just great. As someone said earlier, 2 pounds ain't gonna make you or break you except in your head. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with either path your looking at.  




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