Carbon w/105 vs. Aluminum w/Ultegra

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by GT Fanatic, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

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    WAY to much emphasis on weight. One of only the 2 things you can measure at the bike shop(other is price) but minor when compared to fit and how it feels to you.
     


  2. Mojo Johnson

    Mojo Johnson New Member

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    Go with fit and feel first.

    Personally, since you asked, I would spring for the bike with SRAM components over Shimano. As I recall, you've been having issues with Shimano drivetrains skipping under load. My underdstanding is that SRAM components are indexed as such that they engage perfectly upon one-click and do not require any "trimming" that is commonly associated with most Shimano grouppos, especially the front dereailleur. Perhaps you'll have a better experience with some finely-tuned SRAM stuff.

    Besides, Fabian Cancellara chooses SRAM. :D
     
  3. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    GT, like Peter said, first thing is to forget about weight. An LBS salesman might throw around weight figures to impress newby's, but they mean virtually nothing in terms of the quality and value of what they are offering. At the price levels your looking at, picking the lightest anything is liable to buy you more problems than any performance advantage. After all, anyone can make a wheelset lighter by shaving the rims and reducing the spoke count.....as long as you don't care about how long the wheels last, it's no problem at all.

    kdelong also raises an obvious question: why would you buy another bike from Performance? It's apparent they are selling stuff of unknown/low quality that they don't even bother to test ride and don't know how to fix.
     
  4. sufiankane

    sufiankane New Member

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    I'd go for the Aluminium if they both fit the same. Ultegra components are menat to be noticeably nicer than the 105. Aluminium is a lot more crash resistant, cheaper and only a tiny bit heavier, maybe 1kg max.
     
  5. GT Fanatic

    GT Fanatic New Member

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    The reason I would buy another bike from Performance (or exchange for a different one...) is because it's probably impossible to find a better deal elsewhere. LBS prices aren't competitive because they don't sell nearly enough bicycles to drop prices a whole lot. Not to mention, where else would you find a full-carbon bicycle with Shimano 105 components for $1399? Most of these bikes with those specs are selling for about $1900-$2000. I also had a "$200 off" "online only" offer which the retail store agreed to honor. I walked out of Performance with a bike that retailed for $2000, was on sale for $1399, and then got the $200 off. I paid $1199 for a $2000 bike.

    I did try to "wheel and deal" a bit with a few LBSes, but they didn't want any part of it. IMO, I wasn't being unreasonable. I was trying to negotiate on a Fuji ACR 2.0 and/or Cannondale Synapse for about $150-$200 off. They wouldn't budge below $50. Ya snooze, ya lose.

    My preference is to give a LBS my business, but money talks, bs walks. If they don't want to deal, then I"ll go elsewhere. They had the opportunity to not only make a sale off of me, but also make one off of my wife when she chooses her road bike. Their loss.
     
  6. TKOS

    TKOS New Member

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    A full carbon bike for 1399 with 105 is a great deal. If it is a full carbon bike that is actually worth far more and not just a cheap bike with good parts. Carbon can be really crappy if not done right. It can flex and crack and all sorts of issues if the fabric isn't laid well, by hand.

    In this case the Aluminum bike sounds like a better choice to me. Most aluminum frames in that range are all made in Asia (ie mass produced) but the technology to make them is well known and the frame will surely be stiff and compliant. And the Ultegra parts are a great value. Once you ride it a bit you can decide down the road whether or not you want to upgrade the wheels etc...
     
  7. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Explain what you mean. There are very few crap bikes out there--except from places like Walmart--no matter the material from which the frame is made.
     
  8. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    GT - I obviously don't know the issues you have experienced with your P7, but after skimming a few past posts I see tuning/set-up/adjustment related issues. Pretty hard to blame shifting problems on a frame.

    What I'm getting at is that 105 is quality kit and I think your frame isn't the source of your complaints. That doesn't leave much except the service you're getting from Performance. In fairness to Performance, that isn't the primary reason you listed for doing business with them.

    I have a hard time getting my arms around the concept that any discount is worth the headaches you've been having. Whatever you do, if you purchase another bike, don't buy it blind - give it a full workout first. :)
     
  9. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

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    So did Andy Schlek.
     
  10. TKOS

    TKOS New Member

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    Really? Only WalMart has bad bikes?

    Carbon Fiber is a material. A bike constructed from it can certainly be crap. Those WalMart bikes are steel. Steel is a fine material but use it incorrectly and you get a heavy crappy bike.
     
  11. finnrambo

    finnrambo New Member

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    I completely agree with you on that, even Colnago and Reynolds can make crappy bikes, steel is a perfectly fine material but with all of this marketing hype people think that carbon is an amazing material and steel is horrible the thing that has to be pointed out is that Mario Cippolini won races on an aluninum bike when everybody else had carbons
     
  12. sufiankane

    sufiankane New Member

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    As a manufacturing engineer I can say TKOS speaks correctly. The problem currently with composite shapes is that there is no automated way to make them (there are a few but extreme exceptions that won't apply here). This means that composite bikes are made by hand, totally. It will be people applying sheets of carbon fibre and resin by hand. The issue here is that it's highly dependent on the experience of the worker. If they are very experienced, they can make a stronger composite structure than an inexperienced person, just by the way they lay the material on.

    The advantage about the aluminium will be that the quality will be higher. Not quality in how well it performs, but quality in the sense of a consistent product. This consistent product will ensure that the bicycle will be of a standard quality, i.e. the one the manufacturer specifies.


    At the end of the day it's going to be an eternal conundrum because...

    If you get the carbon 105, you will end up upgrading the groupset. If you get an aluminium ultegra, you will just end up upgrading the frame.

    Here's a summary:
    Carbon pros:
    Slightly lighter
    Absorbs shocks a bit better

    Carbon cons:
    Much more fragile (if you crash, carbon will break a lot easier)



    Aluminium pros:
    Cheaper
    More resilient to crashes

    Aluminium cons:
    Slightly heavier


    Ultimately, get the bike that fits better!
     
  13. GT Fanatic

    GT Fanatic New Member

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    Actually, the frame was the problem, well, the person who assembled the bicycle from the Schwinn factory is/was. The derailleur cables are internally routed, and they were criss-crossed. One cable was pulling up on the other, not allowing the gears to shift.

    I had returned the original bike and got a replacement, and the replacement was doing the same exact thing. It wasn't until this happened that the problem was discovered. I had initially returned with the replacement bike, and was going to return it, but gave them the opportunity to re-route the cables correctly before tossing in the towel.

    Now, I am having brake issues. It seems that the mount on the fork is not staying tight. I've tightened the bolt numerous times, and it keeps loosening... :mad:
     
  14. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Try reading the post again: there are very few crap bikes out there.
     
  15. GT Fanatic

    GT Fanatic New Member

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    I dunno about that, man. I see plenty of crap bikes out there on the streets. My wife is looking for a road bike under $1000, and all we seem to be finding are "Sora" equipped bikes. The word, "Sora," strikes fear in the hearts of many, myself included.

    So, considering the components are pretty much the bicycle, I'd strike that up as being a pretty crap bike. If it needs to be upgraded to be good, it's crap, IMO.
     
  16. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    I have Sora on a 10 year old road bike. Still performs well. I agree it is not as good as Shimanos other groupsets Tiagra and above. But with an ocassional adjustment it gets the job done.:cool:
     
  17. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    I haven't seen a P7 in person, so don't know the frame at all, but it isn't likely that the physical construction of the frame is generating your issues. It's more likely a human problem - whoever assembled and subsequently adjusted the bike. Crossing the shift cables is not unusual - often done with newer shifters because the cables are routed under the bar tape and running the right cable down the right side can create a binding point if the transition is too tight between where the housing/cable leaves the bar tape and where it anchors to the frame. Some mechanics cross so the housing is less likely to rub paint off of the head tube.

    Prior to 2010 the Shimano 105 brifters routed shift cables from the side. In 2010 105 shares integrated cable routing with Ultegra and DA. Not sure which 105 shifters you have,but if the new design, then crossed in or under the down tube wouldn't be out of the ordinary. Some people just hate the cables being crossed. Others like it because it is different and "cool". Yours is internal , so neither of those reasons matter. Really shouldn't create a shift problem - front der cable under the rear may be the better option since it has less tension when on the inside ring. Maybe less cable pulled too, but not sure of that. Hopefully Performance took care of that quickly. Easy fix.

    The brake mount is another "easy fix", but needs to be inspected carefully. If the carbon fiber is cracked around the brake mount from over tightening, then it is quite possible the flexing of the fork would allow the fixing nut assembly to work lose. You'll want to check this very carefully - safety concern if it is cracked. If not cracked, a couple drops of loctite on the threads, proper torque, and your caliper will stay where you want it.

    Hope you find the bike of your dreams! Life's too short to fight with your wheeled stallion. :D
     
  18. TKOS

    TKOS New Member

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    Okay I give up. What did you mean? I posted that the carbon frame could be low quality. You posted that there are few crap frames except Walmart. I rebutted with my post. :confused:
     
  19. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I meant exactly that: there are very few crap frames out there. Even generic CF frames are top quality. Hell, even Walmart bikes serve their purpose, so the crap label for Walmart bikes probably belongs on their assembly, not on their function when properly assembled. Someone on this forum has been posting frequently about his rides on his Next mountain bike (rides up to 40 miles). The manufacturers actually producing CF bikes--and there aren't loads of them--have shown themselves to be quite adept at working with CF.

    The same is true for bikes made of any other material.

    A bike certainly isn't bad because it's kitted with Sora or Tiagra. Such a point of view is sadly misinformed.

    The best bet for any rider looking to buy a bike or frame is to follow the tried and true process: pick the one that rides best, fits the best, and that appeals to said rider. For those not willing to or incapable of doing their own maintenance, and additional requirement would be to buy from a place that is competent in assembling bikes and can provide quality follow-up service.
     
  20. TKOS

    TKOS New Member

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    And I said the frame might be bad. Reread what I wrote. And read what the other posters wrote. Carbon is hand laid. Do it wrong and you get a crap flexible frame. Not at all what you want. All carbon is not good. Put Dura Ace on a crap frame and you get a crap bike. I was talking frame construction.

    Do some research into how carbon frames are made and you will know that they aren't all good and high quality.
     
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