To Carbon or not to Carbon

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by wolf_eyes, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. wolf_eyes

    wolf_eyes New Member

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    Hi all..



    Thinking of buying a half decent road bike, at the moment I only have an entry level hardtail mountain bike which has served me well over the years.

    I was originally in the market for a aluminium frame bike with 105/ultegra, but noticed that composite frame bikes are not really that much more price wise.

    I have no intention of racing (at the moment anyway) , I want the bike mainly for fitness and doing a few longish rides.

    The bike that has caught my eye is the Giant TCR composite 2 (Australian model) it has full 105 group set, it’s at the top end of my price range (around $3 000AUS). Have also had a look at the specialized bikes but noticed for the same price they seem a bit lower spec’d.

    Was wondering if the step up to a carbon frame bike is worth it or is it better to go with an aluminium bike with maybe ultegra group set. Not having owned a road bike before it makes my decision difficult.


    Thanks

    Andrew
     
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  2. esandman

    esandman New Member

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    How does the carbon bike feel to ride on compared to all aluminum? Over the years I've had Aluminum, butted carbon, Titanium, and full carbon monocoque frames they're all a little different. I think alot of how a frame feels to ride depends on the geometry (and how well the bike fits you), the tube thickness butting or carbon lay-up, and (not really part of the frame), but wheels do make a difference too. That being said I think the different materials can be made to have very different characteristics depending on the design so I wouldn't exclude a frame exclusively on frame material alone. But my personal favorite has been the all carbon bike for its lack of high end vibration, which makes for a very comfortable sort of "dead" ride.



    Erik

     
  3. davidmc

    davidmc New Member

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    there's carbon & Ti then, there's everything else. One thing to consider is a bike w/ carbon fork, seatstays & seatpost. This can be had for < $1500 USD. Another thing to consider is replacement cost in case of crash or catastrophic failure of componentry such as derailluer catching in rear spoke for instance. I have an older carbon frame i flipped (endoed) over the w/e BUT it sustained no damage. However, this is not always the case. There is no feeling like riding a carbon or Ti framed bike & one only lives once. Just take into consideration the replacement cost, in a worst case scenario. Here's a pic of my bike:
     
  4. shabba

    shabba New Member

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    I agree that if you can afford the carbon, you should definitely consider going that way (this assumes that you like the feel of the bike). I bought a higher end aluminum, and am now looking to upgrade to a cf. There are many here with more expertise than me, however.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. wolf_eyes

    wolf_eyes New Member

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    thanks for the replies...

    went to one of my LBS yesterday and test rode 2 bikes...1st was an Avanti (Corsa i think) was last years model with 18 speed Ultegra Alu frame. Was a nice bike very responsive and really like the Ultegra group set.

    I then tried a Specialized Tramac Elite (CF frame), I really liked the handling of this bike, I seemed alot more comfortable on it. Only downside was the 105 gears not shifting properly ocasionally, maybe they weren't adjusted right since the sales guy pulled it straight off the self...not sure.

    The bike I really wanted to test was a Specialized Roubaix (Elite or Comp), but the one they had in stock had not been built yet..so that will have to wait til next week. I think this bike will suit the type of riding I want to do.

    Would also like to test ride some Giant's...specifically the TCR1 and TCR2 comp...but that maybe a problem due to the other LBS not having any Composite bikes in stock, I'd say thats due to new 2007 Giants due out soon.

    What are peoples opinons on the TCR 2 Comp?... at the moment I just want a decent bike to do some longer miles on (hence looking at Specialized Roubaix), have not even considered joining a club (but you never know down the track). Would the TCR2 comp suit this sort of riding?

    cheers
     
  6. davidmc

    davidmc New Member

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    I believe the TCR series frame is built for competition/racing whereas the OCR Comp is more a touring/trekking carbon fiber set-up (more relaxed geometry) w/ possibly 3 front chain-rings whereas the TCR has 2 front-chainrings

    http://images.google.com/imgres?img...&prev=/images?q=ocr+comp+2&svnum=10&hl=en&lr=
     
  7. IzzyG

    IzzyG New Member

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    Heya mate. I've changed bikes more often this year than I've changed engine oil in my car. 4 bikes in 6 months. =P I went from the cheap Trek 1000, SoftRide PowerWing, Cervelo Soloist Team and to the current Cervelo R3. All I can say is the R3 takes the cake. Two things to keep in mind, power transfer on the R3 is AMAZING but the R3 has superb BB stiffness so the material isn't the only factor. Secondly, comfort on the R3(full carbon) is very very comfortable even when I compare it to the Cervelo soloist team(which has carbon fork and chainstays-if I'm not mistaken). Over uneven surfaces, the R3 soaks up so much more vibration and handling isn't compromised(then again the R3 was made for the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix).

    My advice is to get a full carbon bike if possible with the right geometry. I've test ridden the Giant TCR's and even though it was full carbon, the geometry did not take full advantage of the material. I felt somewhat clumsy on it, but it could be cause the geometry did not fit me. Don't worry about the components, 105's and Ultegra both shifts superbly in my opinion.

    Izzy G.
     
  8. rosborn

    rosborn New Member

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    wolf_eyes,

    I have the Specialized Tarmac Comp and I have to say that I fell in love with this bike the first time I rode it. I was used to riding a Giant OCR3 and the comparison is non-existant. Of course, the Giant OCR3 is aluminum and the Tarmac Comp is carbon. You will not go wrong in choosing either the Giant or Specialized carbon bikes. They are both road easy (dampening the bumps in the road) and are quality bikes for the price.

    Of course, make sure that you are fitted properly.

    Cheers!

    Rob
     
  9. shokhead

    shokhead New Member

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    LeMond has carbon now. Fuji and Felts carbons are very sweet.
     
  10. wolf_eyes

    wolf_eyes New Member

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    Man this sux, paid a visit to my usual LBS today (where i brought my mountain bike from). They sell Giant with a few Cannondales, I asked if they had any road bikes to try out, the owner (who knows me by name) was really relucant to offer anything. They dont have much stock at the moment but did have a TCR 1 (Alu frame). He did mention he mite be able to get a TCR 2 comp from Giant to try out, but it seemed like a big hassle....so i was a bit dissappointed since I really want to try the Giant.

    Totally different situation at the other bike shop who sell Specialised & Avanti, the sales guy basically said pick any bike you want and you can go for a 10km ride on it...he even put his own pedals on the bikes so I could ride them....now thats what I call service.

    To top everything off I went for a run in the afternoon, when I was crossing the road a guy on a TCR2 comp passed me. He was going too quick for me to say anything, would of been good to pick his brains.....so pissed off :(.
     
  11. Bob Ross

    Bob Ross New Member

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    I just recently went through a reasonably exhaustive search for a new road bike. I'd been riding a Trek 750 hybrid for the past 11 years, but this year got very seriously involved in club rides, longer distances, and much more frequent rides so figured it was time for a "serious" road bike.

    I admitted to myself (& to my LBS salesperson) that I was predisposed towards a carbon frame: I'm a bass player & I own two different instruments made of or with CF, and the advantages of carbon in those basses are impressive. Seemed like the high strength-to-weight ratio and inert resonance profile would lend themselves well towards bike frames also.

    Anyway, long story short, after a bunch of test rides I eventually whittled my choice down to either the Giant TCR 1 Comp or the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 2. Both seemed the most comfortable & smoothest riding of the 7 or 8 bikes on my initial short list, & both were as high-performance as anything I'd ever ridden (with the possible exception of a $7000US Merlin Ultralite!)

    But after riding the Giant & the Cannondale back-to-back, there was no comparison: I chose the Cannondale. It was like night & day. But still, had I never tried the Synapse, I'm sure I would have been quite happy with the TCR.
     
  12. thomas_cho

    thomas_cho New Member

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    Hi there,
    Broadly speaking there are the comfort roadies, and the race roadies. Once you have decided which class to go for you can look at each brand's specific models.

    I ride a Giant OCR comp, cos I needed the relaxed geometry. I also recently set up a "race" bike around the Cervelo One frame. Riding both these bike back to back, there is a whole lot of difference between the feel and the ride.

    The Giant composite frame does absorb road vibrations, and the relaxed geometry makes it an even more comfortable ride.

    The cervelo aluminium was designed as a triathalon bike, with a steeper seatube angle of 75 degrees, and while I feel its faster, its a comparatively more harsh ride. You do feel the bumbs on the road more.

    I use the ultegra group on both bikes, and I am very happy with the group. Although on the giant, I have Campy Chorus shifters mated with the Shimano Ultegra group.

    I'd say treat yourself to a Carbon frame. Although I have not ridden an Avanti before, I had a real close look at the Avanti Carbonio, and its looks pretty awesome. I went with Giant, because considering the price, Giants offers very good value for the money.

    Good luck with your search.
     
  13. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    Hey, davidmc:

    And I thought I was the only person who still rode one of those. Y22, with Strata Pro shock and lockout, RaceFace crank, just like mine. I've also adorned it with a Marzocchi shock, Rolf Dolomite wheels, and I recently added an Avid disc to the front so I had better stopping power when the rim got muddy.

    I would thoroughly agree with the ride quality of carbon. It is superb. My road bike is (not entirely by coincidence) a Trek Y-Foil, one of the last beam bikes. Very smooth riding, very light, very stiff. Pretty cool looking too, especially in the metallic gold they put on the Y77.

    I've been riding pretty steady for the last six years, and haven't damaged a frame yet. I suppose replacement cost is a factor, but I never gave it a moment's thought. Get what feels good, and hit the road.



     
  14. Mike1970

    Mike1970 New Member

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    Have you tried a Cervelo?
     
  15. jarrah

    jarrah New Member

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    My current ride is a Giant TCR Aero 1.

    I had a good test ride of the Roubaix elite last weekend over 93kms (30% hills) and it is an *amazing* ride!! The zertz inserts really do what the marketing hype claims - I felt far less fatigued after the long ride than I would normally on my bike and what are normally aweful roads on my Giant felt like they had been resealed on the Roubaix.

    It's an excellent climber - the compact crankset really makes a huge difference. The shifting feels closer and more accurate, and it gave me the scope to sit down and just spin up the hills once I could no longer climb out of the saddle. Yet I was still able to roll along easily at 45k/h+ along the flats. The gear ratio is such that you only lose one high gear compared to a traditional 53/39, 12-25 setup, and I certainly didn't miss it.

    Descending was amazing also - the bike felt smooth and solid on the long straight descent I took it on, and cornered well on the corners I took.

    I wouldn't fuss about the "lowspec" groupset on the entry level bikes in either of these models. The 2006 105 10-speed is *much* better than the previous year's 9-speed 105. On the roubaix, the compact crankset makes the gearing so close and accurate that even the action in the STIs feels easier (I particularly noticed this as I have small hands, and find my current 105/Ultegra 9-speed takes a much bigger action to shift, specifically in the large chainrings).

    Overall, I was stunned with how good the Roubaix ride quality was. For the price it is hands down the best bike of its kind IMO. I'll definitely be getting one, the moment the 07 stock hits my LBS.
     
  16. shokhead

    shokhead New Member

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    I think its the longer wb and all carbon then the zerts. I wonder if they will change much in 07. They did for the worst{imo}from 05 to 06. Not saying the 06's are bad but i didnt like how they redid the lineup from 05.
     
  17. jarrah

    jarrah New Member

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    I think it's mostly the zertz - have test ridden the Transition and found it to be a very similarly super-comfortable ride, despite the mostly aluminium frame (composite al with carbon fork & seatpost). No doubt the carbon helps though in the Roubaix and Tarmac.

    AFAIA the wheelbase isn't actually any longer on these bikes.
     
  18. Thos

    Thos New Member

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    I just started riding a few months ago. I have an '05 Scattante 660, which has an aluminum frame w/ carbon fork, seatstays & seatpost. I really like it. I eventually want to upgrade the frame to carbon, but it's a good ride as it is.
     
  19. shokhead

    shokhead New Member

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    Well the Roubaix wb is longer if my memory is close at around 1035 and standard wb so to speek is around 995 for a 58.
    Mostly the Zerts,imo not. More at hardly the Zerts but hey,if they do anything thats good.
     
  20. ::dom::

    ::dom:: New Member

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    My feelings exactly. 04 Roubaix Pro was very sexy. Nude carbon with a matt clearcoat. The 06 S-Works F2 (Red and Black) is spectacular IMHO.
     
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