Carbon fiber is carbon fiber...right?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by razor_USMC, Aug 22, 2004.

  1. razor_USMC

    razor_USMC New Member

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    I just went riding with a buddy of mine who rides a Scattante bike. I am riding an aluminum Giant while I save up for my new purchase of a TCR1 composite in the next month or so. His Scattante is a full carbon-fiber frame with weyless stem and seatpost and full-ultegra. Wheelset was upper-middle shimano R540. While we discussed bikes, he mentioned that his bike cost about $1400 while the full carbon with full Ultegra Giant I am considering costs about $2600 (almost a new bike) $1200 more than the Scattante. Aside from the fact that most people would rather say they ride a Giant than a Scattante ("you ride a Sca...a what?") Does anyone know anything about the workmanship or quality of frames? I know the Giant is a seamless carbon fiber frame and thats awesome, but the Reviews on roadbike review for the Scattante has been pretty impressive to say nothing of the bike being nearly HALF the cost. Aside from better wheelset (Ksyrium vs. Shimano) and seamless carbon frame, what are your opinions about the two? Am I missing some HUGE thing here besides bragging rights. I would much rather own the Giant than the Scattante but $1200 buys a ton of cycling clothes and accessories, and I could buy the Scattante now and be riding, instead of waiting who knows how much longer to get my New Giant TCR 1. Thanks for your input.
     
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  2. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    Well, no it isn't all the same,but I have yet to hear a gripe about the supergo stuff.
     
  3. gotendurance

    gotendurance New Member

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    I was thinking about getting one of those Scatttante bikes just to use as a training bike. I ride some high end bikes carbon and aluminum, I don't think this bike compares to the quality hand made frames but for the money you get Ultegra and a decent frame. I think for the money it's worth it!
     
  4. Walrus

    Walrus New Member

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    Sorry, I don't have anything to add regarding quality, but I agree that this appears to be great value. 5 year warranty on the frame and 1 year on other parts. I'd be interested to hear your experiences if you pick one up.
     
  5. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Carbon fiber probably varies more between manufacturers than the different grades and brands of metal tubing do, actually. The basic composition of the stuff is the same -- carbon fibers are laid down in a particular configuration (a certain weave, or at a particular density), and bonded in a resin. There's enough room for creativity (and, supposedly, functional difference) in how those fibers are arranged and bonded that truly proprietary CF is common. In addition to the tubeset companies out there, a number of bike manufacturers also fabricate their own CF from scratch.

    Not that those differences necessarily amount to anything... but they certainly give companies justification for setting higher prices.
     
  6. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    Supergo does have some smokin' deals. The bike is worth it almost for the components alone. While there may be some differences between the Scattante and the top ends rides, for someone looking at the $1500 price point it is a steal. FWIW, my sister rides that Scattante carbon w/ultegra and has yet to complain. I was looking at some of their entry level AL frames to build up as a beater bike, but for about 300 more you can get it complete.
     
  7. fredf

    fredf New Member

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    No. Actually, carbon fiber is carbon fibre.
     
  8. razor_USMC

    razor_USMC New Member

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    Ahh, thanks for the clarification.
     
  9. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Eh, not exactly...

    There's a million different ways to lay and bond the stuff, and a million different companies doing it -- there's definitely carbon fiber which is poorly fabricated. It's a far more varied fabrication industry than, say, the steel tubeset industry, which relies on a pretty standardized catalogue of steel grades and brand-name tubesets.

    That said, like boudreaux above, I haven't specifically heard many complaints about Supergo's Scattante frames. There was a forum user a few months back who bought a Scattante full carbon and noticed that the resin was heavily laced with bubbles -- not a particularly good sign. Hopefully just a freak Q/A mishap.

    On the other hand, I've argued before that purchasing a budget carbon frame is sort of like buying an inexpensive espresso machine -- simply for the sake of ending up with espresso over coffee. For the same amount of money, you could probably land an excellent coffee machine. Frankly, I'll take a great cup of coffee over an average cup of espresso any day.

    The "house deal" which always impresses me a lot more than the Scattante carbons is the Douglas Fusion (sold through Colorado Cyclist). It's an Easton 7005 aluminum frame with a Reynolds carbon wishbone seatstay, a Reynolds Ouzo Comp fork, an FSA Carbon Pro crankset on an otherwise standard Ultegra drivetrain, Velomax Circuit Comp wheels, Vredestein Fortezza Tricomp tires, a Ritchey WCS bar and stem, and an Easton EC70 carbon seatpost -- all with a regular price of $1599. That's a great parts spec, better than nearly every other bike in the same category.

    I'm not sure the Scattante, with its smattering of generic parts, comes even close on the value scale.
     
  10. fredf

    fredf New Member

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    Eh, not exactly...

    Sorry, guys, I guess you didn't notice. I agree with every single expert on this forum that not all carbon fibre is the same.

    I was referring to carbon fiber vs carbon fibre ...note that there is a difference in spelling. I was just asserting the Canadian English (as well as British) spelling. :)
     
  11. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    heh... ;)
     
  12. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    Missed your attempt at humour/humor.........
     
  13. dkota_rt

    dkota_rt New Member

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    There is a big difference between low quality and high quality carbon fiber. Without getting into a chemistry lesson, you can be sure that the quality is not the same.

    I have seen carbon frames and forks snap, especially in crashes. The bike your looking at is a great deal for what you get and they are backing it by a good warranty. I personnaly would rather see you spend your hard earned cash on a quality steel bike and enjoy the ride a whole lot more. Check out the Jamis brand of bikes. They have a bike in your price range with exceptionally good componets. The ride quality is first rate compared to the low quality carbon bikes.
     
  14. davidbod

    davidbod New Member

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    I have an EPX 303 SL and a friend of mine has an EPX 303. They are the same frames as those sold by Supergo under the Scattante name. I beleive they are all made in the same factory in Taiwan as the Kestrel CF frames. My buddy got his on E-bay for 430 dollars US. I payed 1350 for mine, but it is considerably lighter than the standard 303 and comes with a full carbon fork. It uses lighter carbon in the same way that Trek does the 120 and 110 OCLV. Weight wise mine falls between a Trek 5500 and 5900, but closer to a 5900. With a 5 year warranty they are bargains compared to the Trek frames. I have zero complaints with mine.
     
  15. davidbod

    davidbod New Member

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    What leads you to believe they are low quality?
     
  16. dkota_rt

    dkota_rt New Member

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    I am suggesting low quality in manufacturing process and attention to the shape and wall thicknesses of the carbon fiber that produces the ride characteristics. I know that this very subjective among different riders, but I think for the money you spend you could get a high quality riding steel road bike vs. a low quality carbon road bike.
    I admit that the structural integrity must be very good since the warranty backs it up. When carbon fiber was new to bicycles, their was a period of low quality (by todays standards) of laying the carbon fiber weave that often lead to failures, or a stiff riding frame with very little forgiveness. This, of course, has been greatly improved over the years and you can now get a higher quality carbon frame that is a dream to ride. The kicker is that the early days of carbon fiber frame building techniques is not gone. The tooling from the early years of processing is often sold to Taiwan manufacturers so they can mass produce these frames cheaply because they know the words "carbon fiber" are hot in the cycling industry and most people don't know the differences. The average Joe thinks carbon fiber is carbon fiber".
     
  17. davidbod

    davidbod New Member

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    Yeah OK, but these frames comming out of the same factory that the Kestrels are made in are high quality. The EPX frames are sold through an Australian company, and they stress test every frame they send to the consumer. Trek only stress tests 1 out of every 100 frames. Maybe its because Trek thinks they only need to do that, but I know my frame was stress tested before I got it.
     
  18. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    A good summary, Dkota. I think you hit a nail on the head by observing that there's a big market for manufacturing inexpensive carbon fiber, simply because the material has become synonymous with high-quality, or superior ride.

    Because it is a material that's fabricated to varying degrees of durability, thickness, density, weight, and so on (in a manner far less standardized than the metal tubeset industry), I'd have to agree -- why spring for a budget carbon frame, when the same amount of cash will get you a frame built from a truly proven tubeset? Carbon is a fascinating material, and some of the world's coolest bikes are built out of it, but it's not worth obtaining at any cost.

    And I'd have to reiterate: if picking up a great value is your plan, and you don't mind generic bike labels, the Douglas Fusion is unbeatably sensible and well-spec'd without cutting the corners Supergo does for the sake of carbon.
     
  19. ThrillBilly

    ThrillBilly New Member

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    i just bought a scattante CFR a month ago.

    smoking deal, monocoque CF, full ultegra for $1199 :D
    (NO sales tax, and they only charge $20 for UPS shipping)

    it is in every sense a high quality frame with a good warranty.
    if it survives for 5 years, i got more than my money's worth!

    it is a MONO main triangle, not a butted tube frame.
    full CF monostay rear and a "decent" CF fork.

    NOTE- the wheelset is NO longer the shimano. its weyless korso.
    its the same wheel as the "neuvation" wheels being sold on fleabay.
    ive put about 350 miles on mine without any probs or runout.
    i talked to the owner of the company, and he confirmed it for me.
    he also sells a cartridge bearing upgrade kit that is ABEC-5 spec for $40.

    IF you buy a CFR, 2 items are CRAP and need replacing right away.
    the selle seat is junk, and the weyless carbon seatpost is a bitch.
    budget for a saddle and post, and possibly a stem to get the right fit.

    call them and beg for the $1199 deal. i did, and they gave it to me!

    i ordered the bike on a FRI, it arrived on thur. 30 minutes to reassemble.
    all the cables were perfectly adjusted, shifting in tune, ready to go.
    i had one problem, supergo fed-exed the part next day to correct it.
    my experience was top notch with them at every step of the process.
     
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