Carbon frame vs better components

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by AngieD750, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. AngieD750

    AngieD750 New Member

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    Hoping to get some advice on what bike to get. I'm torn between Specialized Vita/Sirrus Sport Carbon ($1300) and the Spec Vita/Sirrus Elite ($1000). Let me start with I'm a newbie, just starting to ride, but I'm certain I'm down for the long run.
    I've done a lot of research, but I was told something to think about. Hoping for verification on this. I was told, it may be better to go with this entry level carbon bike, for the carbon frame and just upgrade components down the line. Was told this is better than going with the Elite, without carbon frame, but with better components. When I upgrade down the line, and I know I will, I would be going with carbon anyways.
    I'm using this bike for fitness, working up to long distance rides. I would love any feedback and/or advice.
     
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  2. Andy Jennings

    Andy Jennings Member

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    I should qualify this statement first. I am not experienced with the up to date information and am stating my personal preferences. I am NOT familiar with either bike you are considering. I am also assuming you are relatively new to cycling.

    The benefits of a carbon frame for a new rider are minimal to none. It would generally be the weight difference between the two frames and as that is unlikely to be more than 4 - 5 pounds it will have little or no effect on your performance. Maybe a few years down the track it will be beneficial if you get to a level where a couple pounds makes a difference

    The frame with the better components is most likely going to have a higher benefit in smoothness of use and durability. So better for the planned long distance rides later on.

    More than happy to be corrected by the more knowledgeable riders on here, but that is my 2c worth, for what its worth.
     
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  3. AngieD750

    AngieD750 New Member

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    Actually, that was great advice. It's along the lines of what other experienced riders have told me too. You make a good point that right now, as an inexperienced cyclist, I probably couldn't tell the difference or benefit from a carbon frame. Thank you for your advice & time!!
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    In it to win it? Good for you! I hope you stick with it for a lifetime. Cycling is a pretty cool way to stay fit.

    Now...flat bar bikes...

    Both are fitness bikes. Made for cruising the bike trail or perhaps for commuting duty.

    What would you upgrade on them? I can see a seat swap for a better fit or perhaps a stem length change, again for a more precise fit. I can see the need for some riders to prefer a seatpost with more or less setback. Most of that can be taken care of at the the time of purchase though. Other than that...what?

    Both models have adequate gearing range and the durability of even Microshift components is pretty darn good. Both are equipped with very good brakes.The aluminum frame will suffer handling abuse better. The carbon frame 'may' offer a smoother, more damped ride. Only a test ride of both is going to really answer your question.

    Both models are eminently upgradable if that is your desire.

    If your goal is to get fit for long distance rides, both models will take you there. At that point you may find yourself wanting a drop bar road bike or a much better flat bar bike. If either option becomes reality, upgrading is rarely the answer though.
     
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  5. AngieD750

    AngieD750 New Member

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    I'm almost certain I'll go with the cheaper Spec Elite, for the better components and enjoy and learn on that bike. However, you have me thinking looking towards a road bike, in the future...near future. I appreciate your advice...I've read through some of your other post, and its all been great info!!
     
  6. workingguy

    workingguy Member

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    I would just go with a road bike immediately, unless you want a bike that you can beat on just around town. As far as frame material, carbon vs. aluminum is about 1 lb difference, if that. It's the smooth drivetrain (components) that you feel with each pedal stroke and shift. I've only ridden Shimano road components. (My first bike 1992 cannondale aluminum with Shimano Ultegra). It served me well for 12+ years. For a beater bike I have a Schwinn MTB ($200) that I bunny hop around the city. And it's a great workout to lug up the single track trails too!
     
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  7. AngieD750

    AngieD750 New Member

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    That's been the advice I've been getting...and "just have two bikes" ;)
    However, I live in Florida, so where I live, I probably wouldn't ride around town. I know I'll mostly be riding paved trails. I'm sure I probably won't ride the trails at the parks, so need for a mountain bike like I used to.
    Speaking with the people at the LBS, they all said the fitness hybrids is what I need. I guess for the upright seating and for the fact that right now, it will be for a few miles here and there.
    I'm certain I'll be upgrading in about a year (or less) & probably to a road bike. I'm just getting into this & as much I feel I'm going to love riding and go all the way, I want to make sure I'll be able to do it. Thanks again for you advice and time
     
  8. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I seriously doubt the weight difference between the two bikes is more than a pound, I tried to find the weights on both bikes but was unable. But we're talking cheap carbon fiber which is about the same weight as decent aluminum, add on top of that heavier cheaper components on the CF bike, I just can't see there being hardly any weight difference between the two.

    But maybe someone can find the weight specs and prove me wrong.
     
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  9. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    For the extra $300, I'd pop for the carbon model.

    From the couple of Specialized Roubaix bikes I've had a ride that were fitted with the funky looking Zertz inserts, I can say they work well and should provide a better ride without sacrificing efficiency. The frame looks much cleaner with all the cables and hydraulic lines being run internally. The better wheels on the carbon model are a nice touch and sometimes it's the simple things like stainless steel spokes gleaming in the sun that make things just that little bit better. Plus the color "Blackberry tint carbon" sounds cool...

    When you buy whichever bike you decide on, ask for some help getting the handlebars and saddle in the correct position. If you do end up getting a Specialized bike and the dealer is a certified Specialized "Body Geometry" fitting center then part of the fit is finding a saddle, stem and handlebar that suits you the best. Often they'll swap out parts at the time of purchase, if you need to change something so the bike fits you better, for little or no cost.

    Both bikes are great and should provide years of fun.
     
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  10. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I did see several CF frames that were cut in half length wise and Specialized had the best quality control with no wrinkles or left behind glue etc, all the others including Trek and even Pinarella (this one was really bad) had all sorts of quality control issues. So if I were too ever buy CF it would be the Specialized, but I hate sameness, everyone and their grandmothers either ride Trek, Specialized, or Cannondale, but I also don't care for CF but that's another story.
     
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  11. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The OP is in Florida. She could strap a cement block to the bike and not notice the increase in mass except when accelerating away from stop signs. Just kidding. I agree the weight difference between the two listed models is not much. The difference in ride and handling, if any, would make my choice.




    Always.
     
  12. dhk2

    dhk2 Well-Known Member

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    Froze, agree with you we don't all need to ride Trek, Specialized or C'dale. I'm riding a Lynskey ti frame now which I really like a lot. It's stiffer than my old custom al/cf frame bike, with better stability. Doesn't ride quite as softly as the old rig, but I like the stiffer BB response feel, as well as the "on-rails" handling.

    With the sale prices Lynskey is offering now, to me they are very competitive in the marketplace. Plus, it's made nearby. I went to their shop in Chattanooga to pick up the bike when it was ready. MIne has their brand-name fork, but for a few bucks more you can get the frame with a made-in-USA ENVE fork.

    OK, this is starting to sound like an ad. I just like the idea of a small-volume, hand-welded metal frame. Ti appeals because it's unpainted metal...the finish and fine welds are out there in full view.
     
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  13. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    The Enve fork is no longer made in the USA, but it is made to Enve specs and quality control standards in Vietnam now; my Enve 2.0 was at the transitional period so without removing my fork and sending the serial number to Enve I'm not sure if mine is made in the USA or Vietnam. The only product that Enve makes that is made in the USA are their CF wheels...which are in my opinion ridiculously expensive, in addition I simply don't have the need for a CF wheelset.

    I did discover from riding a Serotta TI bike with a Serotta CF fork, a Motobecane TI bike with a generic fork that mine tracked a lot better and didn't feel a noodly as the others, and my friend with the Moto felt the difference too when he rode mine and this last spring he replaced his CF fork with a Enve 2.0 and now he loves the way it tracks and I've notice an improvement in handling as well.
     
  14. dhk2

    dhk2 Well-Known Member

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    Agree a solid fork is important to handling and safety. Selected a Reynolds Ouzo Pro for my custom frame in 2004, and it's never given me any concern over 40K miles. That one was made in USA according to the decals anyway. The Lynskey brand fork is pretty stiff in torsion also; it's got the tapered 1-1/2 inch bottom bearing. Seems like a quality piece, but I trust the Enve brand more because I'm of the opinion their engineering and QC testing is top shelf....could be wrong here of course. My buddy got the Enve 2.0 on his Lynskey for around $200 upgrade.

    One thing I don't like about the Lynskey-branded fork (and the Enve as well) is the lack of finish. It's just raw tinted gel coat with a spray of matt clearcoat over it. It shows some shiny and lighter/darker areas near the crown, and on the inside you can see the cf layers if you look carefully in sunlight. The factory guy showed me others that look the same way, and said they kind of thought the bare, unfinished look went well with the brushed bare metal frame. At first I thought about painting it, but then after I started riding the bike and enjoying it I just quit looking. As they say, "it's a tool, not a jewel".
     
  15. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    It may be a tool and not a jewel but there are people that subconsciously will get bored riding a bike if the looks of the bike isn't appreciated by the rider. So there is something to be said of having a jewel of a bike...in the eyes of the beholder of course.
     
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  16. AngieD750

    AngieD750 New Member

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    I'm at that stage...I guess once I really get into Cycling and appreciating the components and the ride itself, color won't make a difference. However, I'm sure it'll still be hard for me...everything I own is black...car, motorcycle, kayak, etc...something so sharp about all black (and I'm not goth or anything...lol)
    Now, I wouldn't mind adding a little red though
     
  17. Motosonic

    Motosonic Member

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    Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth.. I was in your shoes not too long ago and I made the mistake of buying the 'hybrid' or flat bar bike to get into cycling.. Found myself only riding road because riding that thing on anything else was pure hell to my entire body. If you don't forsee yourself ever road riding.. then just stick with the hybrid, flat-bar. Otherwise, I strongly urge you to buy a bona fide road bike right off the bat.
    Additionally, to answer your question about components and replacing them.. Don't buy a bike with lesser components to 'upgrade them' in the future. I made this mistake and believe me, you get a wayyyyy better deal when you package the deal with the bike.. The components are like half price or less sometimes. So, buy for components..

    So, to explain my comments above.. I fell for the Hybrid 'starter' bike.. and 6 months later I wanted a road bike.. Something lighter, better geared and more comfortable on the road. My starter bike was worth next to nothing.. and it was close to impossible to sell or trade-in.. So, I took a HUGE loss on that bike.

    Then, I bought a bona fide road bike.. Loved it.. But, it was aluminum, kinda heavy, didn't have the best ride and.. it was old and used. I found myself wanting something lighter, faster, smoother shifting.. so I took it to the shop to find out what a new drivetrain would cost me. In many cases, a new (better) drivetrain, installed was going to cost me as much as a new bike. I saw a nice Trek Domane Carbon with an Ultegra Groupset for only a little more...So, I asked.. why is this new bike with the groupset only $200 more than the groupset itself? They said they discount the parts when you package them.. odd.. but it seems to be true throughout the industry.

    In any case.. My point is, don't count on 'upgrading' your components.. It's just doesn't make good sense. If it were me and I could do it all again.. I'd start with a entry-level carbon road bike with a decent set of components. Carbon bikes, especially with Shimano 105 or Ultegra, tend to resell well.. so, it will help if you ever want to upgrade.. and riding on the road.. Carbon tends to have a more comfortable ride.
    I hope this helps
     
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  18. AngieD750

    AngieD750 New Member

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    This was great advice. I did end up returning the hybrid I first bought and bought a Specialized Dolce Elite E5. It has the Tiagra group set which I was told is pretty good for a starter bike. To me, the bike feels pretty light, at least compared to the Vita Elite I had before...not sure if that's bc this road bike doesn't have the disc brakes. I feel great about this bike and for my budget, I think I did the best I could.
    In the process, I totally left the first bike shop I dealt with...not a good experience. Plus, when I decide to upgrade bike, the bike store said they'd give a higher value since I initially bought the bike from them.
    Thanks for the advice!!

     
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  19. Motosonic

    Motosonic Member

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    You did good.. It's a great bike and Tiagra is a good Value groupset. I've seen plenty of people on my long rides with Sora or Tiagra and they have 0 problems keeping up with everyone else.
     
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