Carbon

by Jack ward   September 14, 2013  

Dose anyone have any preferences on starter carbon bikes

28 user comments

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I just built an alloy/carbon bike. It's very good and responsive too. Have a look at my blog about it at http://through-hell-on2wheels.blogspot.co.uk/

Mattrb78

posted by Mattrb78 [21 posts]
15th September 2013 - 0:30

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Yup, get a high quality aluminium bike. For the same price as you can get a "cheap" carbon, which you don't really want to go near, you can get a quality aluminium and the weight difference is less than a bag of sweets Applause

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posted by Gkam84 [8796 posts]
15th September 2013 - 0:57

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Start at about £2K

posted by 700c [556 posts]
15th September 2013 - 1:08

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Probably not what you want to hear, but I'd recommend you get a high-end aluminium bike, not a low-end carbon bike.

E.g. Canyon Roadlite AL, Ultimate AL, Cannondale CAAD 10, Kinesis Aithein, Kinesis Roadlite, etc.

Low end carbon is pretty ordinary, whereas the high-end aluminium bikes above are outstanding.

posted by drmatthewhardy [303 posts]
15th September 2013 - 1:12

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I wouldn't buy a starter carbon bike. Get a quality Aluminium bike and IMHO you can't go far wrong with a Cannondale CAAD 10.

Trying not to bonk!

posted by Hypoglycaemic [21 posts]
15th September 2013 - 3:37

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Yep, Al is best bang for your buck, on a budget. Cheap carbon might just go "bang".

Disclaimer - i've only ridden steel and alu, never carbon, but have seen enough horror stories about cheap carbon to last me a lifetime.

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posted by PJ McNally [586 posts]
15th September 2013 - 7:51

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By 'starter' carbon I assume you mean budget and not 'what colour should my Project One Trek Madone 7.9 be?'.

Wouldn't recommend budget carbon, there's plenty of 'starter' bikes (I'm taking by that you mean £1k max) that are actually heavier than their aluminium counterparts due to being built to a price and carbon's expensive stuff. Not to mention that as aluminium bikes are cheaper to build they will likely have better chain set and wheels.

Case in point - Boardman Team and Carbon Team LTD - both £1k and the carbon's heavier with lower spec kit.

posted by madhouse [38 posts]
15th September 2013 - 8:08

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over the next few days there are bargains to be had as retailers clear out 2013 stock. I'd take a look at evans & wiggle as there are some fairly good deals on felt, specialized and cannondale bikes to name a few coming in around £1400 ish. I would query the benefit of a carbon bike with a low end groupset on it but carbon is generally more comfortable than aluminium on Britain's fine roads....

posted by arfa [476 posts]
15th September 2013 - 9:56

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If you're set on carbon and (for the sake of argument) your budget is a grand, then it's hard to look past this:

http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/CBPXSLPULT2/planet_x_pro_carbon_shim...

The frame has been around for a while now and may seem dated but there are many happy owners. Full Ultegra at a grand is amazing regardless of what frame it's hanging off.

Ribble also have a good rep for low budget carbon.

The Kinesis Aithein looks amazing but it's £650 just for the frameset. I think some people are missing the fact that top end aluminium isn't exactly cheap.

What is your budget?

Rob

posted by robert.brady [146 posts]
15th September 2013 - 10:32

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It's nonsense that low end carbon is crap. I'm sure some is, but then lots of alu might well be crap too.
As the post above says, if you want a well priced first bike then it's hard to look past PLanet-X. I've been really happy with mine for the last 2 years after riding around on a far more expensive Condor for the previous 2 years. Only now am I looking at getting a new frame, but that's as much an n+1 thing as anything else.
There's so much of it about now that it may well be cheaper to produce decent carbon than decent alu. Plus carbon doesn't ride around with that awful hollow sound.
Carbon horror stores? Yeah, there's a lot. But funnily enough they all seem to come from the people who ride around exclusively on steel and alu.
Basically, we all want to justify our buying decisions, so it's hard to find a proper assessment of the truth, and the truth is subjective anyway.
But anyway. Planet X. They're good. Buy one.

posted by bashthebox [638 posts]
15th September 2013 - 12:22

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Would carbon bikes are better to race with

posted by Jack ward [18 posts]
15th September 2013 - 13:51

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Check out canyons outlet store if you want discounted carbon with a huge spec

posted by chiv30 [857 posts]
15th September 2013 - 15:30

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arfa wrote:
over the next few days there are bargains to be had as retailers clear out 2013 stock. I'd take a look at evans & wiggle as there are some fairly good deals on felt, specialized and cannondale bikes to name a few coming in around £1400 ish. I would query the benefit of a carbon bike with a low end groupset on it but carbon is generally more comfortable than aluminium on Britain's fine roads....

+1 Wiggle have got 35% off Felt's 2013 range just now...F4 with Ultegra for £1,500; job done Big Grin

posted by Al'76 [126 posts]
15th September 2013 - 21:06

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For me, this bike is a steel and would be top of my list in the £1k bracket
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/felt-f5-105-2013/

posted by arfa [476 posts]
18th September 2013 - 19:49

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+1 to quality alu for a starter, the Allez is awesome & speedy enough for racing.

You're better off concentrating on the quality of your groupset first, if you go budget carbon you're going to sacrifice quality gearing first off which will inhibit you more in racing than a slightly lighter frame.

I race on carbon but am seriously considering going back to metal at the moment, or maybe both #greed, it's my legs that do the work and I always seem to ride quicker on an alu bike.

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [542 posts]
20th September 2013 - 12:15

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+1 For aluminium.

The frame will last forever and is cheaper so if you have a grand you can get a better groupset and other stuff.....

posted by SlowSPDRider [22 posts]
20th September 2013 - 14:27

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+1for Planet X superlight pro carbon. Mine is heading towards 5yrs old and has done Paris Roubaix. Keep thinking about a new frame but it rides so nicely.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [289 posts]
20th September 2013 - 14:36

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+1 For Planet X sl, I got hit by a car in it and the frame and forks are fine, front wheel and rear wheel both aluminium, both bent beyond repair, when it happened I thought I was looking at a whole new bike....

Also I love the look of it, it looks mean. Goes like the clappers and is as light as a bike can be at that price.

Ultegra is good, I have used a few times, but mine came with Sram Force, which I personally prefer.

Good luck with either anyway.

posted by UnflappableEd [11 posts]
20th September 2013 - 15:07

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Giant Defy. Incredibly comfortable, perfectly lightweight, stiff and responsive. Carbon for me next year, but only once I've budgeted a couple of grand for the frame...

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posted by YorkshireMike [70 posts]
20th September 2013 - 16:20

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UnflappableEd wrote:
+1 For Planet X sl, I got hit by a car in it and the frame and forks are fine, front wheel and rear wheel both aluminium, both bent beyond repair

You make that sound like a wheel and frame are comparable in an impact situation. Completely different.

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posted by YorkshireMike [70 posts]
20th September 2013 - 16:27

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+1 ribble pro evo carbon

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [122 posts]
20th September 2013 - 19:13

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SlowSPDRider wrote:
+1 For aluminium.

The frame will last forever and is cheaper so if you have a grand you can get a better groupset and other stuff.....

Can't agree with the generalisation that aluminium will last forever - I've broken three alu frames in recent years! Don't know if the implication is that carbon is less durable - but not sure that's true either - (though I've no experience of carbon). Possibly metal might stand up to knocks better than carbon?

As long as you get a frame with a reasonable warranty from a reputable manufacturer, then it should be ok though, regardless of material

Agreed that there seems to be good value in a decent Alu frame vs a carbon one. If this means you can get better components on the Alu frame, as has been said, then it's got to be worth considering.

posted by 700c [556 posts]
20th September 2013 - 20:42

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realistically longevity in quality carbon is not an issue (aeroplanes are increasingly manufactured with the stuff and they have 30-50 year time horizons).
The major issue is that if you have a smash on aluminium, you might be able to repair it. on carbon, no chance.

you pay yer money, you makes your choices...

posted by arfa [476 posts]
22nd September 2013 - 7:58

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arfa wrote:

The major issue is that if you have a smash on aluminium, you might be able to repair it. on carbon, no chance

There are a number of specialist companies able to repair carbon frames. With the new crop of aluminium frames using ultra thin tube walls, I'd imagine they are harder to repair.

Rob

posted by robert.brady [146 posts]
22nd September 2013 - 11:25

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when I got hit by a car in February, the costing of carbon repair vs a new frame was pretty much the same so it was an easy decision to go with the new frame and not have any anxiety about structural weaknesses arising from impact.

posted by arfa [476 posts]
22nd September 2013 - 15:10

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Having had both a Planet X SL Pro and and a Canyon Ultimate AL, I can confidently say that the aluminium Canyon is a vastly better bike. Not more than a few hundred grammes heavier, but a vastly better, stiffer frame and just as comfortable with carbon forks and carbon seatpost.

I liked my PX initially, but as I used it I found the SL Pro frame flexy and with weirdly vague steering at speed. That is not something you want on a bike in a 30 mph downhill corner.

Go with a first class Aluminium frame any time over a cheap carbon frame.

posted by drmatthewhardy [303 posts]
24th September 2013 - 23:38

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The 2013 Cannondale Supersix Tiagra (carbon) is fairly widely available at £1199 presently and CAAD 10 with 105 (aluminium) at £1099. I think most would agree the Supersix is a good carbon frame for a grand (ish) with functional if not great groupset.

But the CAAD 10 is only 100g heavier on the frame and a hundred notes would go towards a decent set of wheels.

You pays your money etc but hard to see you'd go badly wrong either way.

posted by Nixster [73 posts]
25th September 2013 - 22:51

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For 1200 pounds I built a totally custom CAAD 10. You could buy stock, but you'll want to upgrade things. Here's a breakdown of my parts and cost (USD, I'm not a conversion wizard):

CAAD 10 frame and fork - $600
SRAM Rival - $230
Easton EC70 Seatpost - $40
Syntace Stem - $32
Oval Bars - $25
Fizik Tape - $15
Jagwire TEFLON COATED racer cables - $35
Fulcrum 3 racing wheels - $520
Conti Gatorskin tires - $80

My Rivet Independence saddle - $200

Shop put it together for $300. Some of the things were purchased from them.

I have nothing I want to upgrade, everything's awesome. ie: my stem weighs 96g.

Total bike weight is 7100g.

[custom] '12 Cannondale CAAD10 - Rival

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posted by badkneestom [128 posts]
26th September 2013 - 0:17

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