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  1. #1
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    First road bike Carbon Fiber or aluminum

    Hello all am a 270 lb clyde commutin to work on a mountain bike and am interested in what you guys think or know about these two bikes just which one would be better for a beginer

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    Carbon Fiber has a tendency to spontaneously explode and send razor sharp shrapnel in all directions. Guys on the roadie forum sometimes hit potholes and their bikes are destroyed. One guy leaned his bike against a wall, it fell over and received a deep scratch. When a CF frame is scratched, it's often a total loss. I'd stay with steel or aluminum for now. Eventually you'll get a CF bike because if you want Ultegra components of better, they're generally only available on CF frames....

    Here's Hincapie's bike, and he gets the best bikes in the world, this would never happen on a metal bike:







    Here's another proud owner of a carbon fiber bike:



    Here's an Iraqi kid whose Carbon Fiber bike detonated and destroyed his home:
    (Note the dead cat on the right of the frame, killed instantly no doubt)

    Last edited by Richard_Rides; 01-24-09 at 09:12 PM. Reason: Removed rambling diatribe about doping in the pro peloton.

  3. #3
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    CF is also not eco friendly and you'll get ass poisoning from riding one. Soda cans are made of aluminum and see how well they stand up to pressure when you run over them w/ your car? Get a steel bike. Steel bikes originally started off as Roman chariots and have been recycled over and over for millions of years.
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  4. #4
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Resistance is Futile!
    Assuming you plan to ride somewhat long: If you can afford CF and find a nice carbon bike you like, buy it. Certainly don't avoid it because you are a "beginner". (Hmmm... on the other hand, if you buy aluminum and ride it a while you will appreciate the CF more later.)
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  5. #5
    Used to be fast surfjimc's Avatar
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    I fluctuate between 275 and 290 and have been riding a cf frame for the last year because I had always ridden steel and wanted to try cf. I bought a fairly cheap frame on ebay in case I was too big and exploded it. Hasn't happened yet. It has been a great ride. A bit damper than my steel frames; sometimes too damp I think. But I enjoy it. Aluminum tends to ride very harshly if you get a rode bike with narrow (23) high pressure tires. It's much better with mountain bike tires. Go with the carbon if you have the cash. You might also try a good lugged steel frame. I think they are the best mix of lively and and dampening. And they last forever. Good luck!

  6. #6
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    I'd go for a steel-frame bike for their longevity and the way they handle. Aluminum for a hybrid for their rapid response on changing terrain. And that's what I did. I'd only want CF if the streets were paved perfectly and no potholes, and stupid motorists, existed. If such a place was nearby, I'd build a CF framed bike.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyossarian View Post
    Steel bikes originally started off as Roman chariots and have been recycled over and over for millions of years.
    Win, on so many levels.

  8. #8
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    CF bikes are not going to explode on you. You will always get old timers who just don't like change, a properly fit aluminum bike will ride just as good as anything else in most conditions. Steel is good too but also has draw backs, I myself find them ugly but that's me. ALL bikes have the ability to fall apart there will always be bike failures thing is steel is easy to repair, aluminum not so much, carbon requires a trip to Calfee. I rid ewith two old guys that always ride CF one guy has an origional first year Trek CF, he has almost 100,000km. on it with only upgrades to group, he also has 2 steel frames behind his shed that are broke at bottom bracket. Buy what you want or can afford.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    I'm not a bicycle expert, but it's all about design margin. Weight is very important in aircraft design, but major components, skin and structure, can and are fabricated from carbon fiber. These components are designed to last for many more hours than your average bicycle will ever see. The cost of a design error is many lives lost. A bicycle pro's ride is designed for absolute minimum weight with little design margin. The cost of a design error or small manufacturing flaw is a race lost and road rash. If a more serious injury it's just one guy/gal in the ER.

    If you're interested in CF I'd find a manufacturer that has been using this technology for several years, a warranty that reflects confidence in their product and perhaps not the absolute lightest frame on the planet. I would also get in touch with the manufacture and verify that the frame is suitable for your usage and weight. Working with an LBS would be very helpful.

    I can imagine the earliest CF frames being overdesigned due to liability concerns; the early entries in this market wouldn't have what I imagine is severe pressure from the marketing department to get the weight down in order to counter competitive pressures.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_Rides View Post
    Here's an Iraqi kid whose Carbon Fiber bike detonated and destroyed his home:
    (Note the dead cat on the right of the frame, killed instantly no doubt)

    Winner. Evil, but still...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Herbie53's Avatar
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    Most entry level road bikes seem to be aluminum. Carbon fork and maybe seat stays seems to be the mid level upgrade path.

    I have a carbon roadbike and an older steel bike with a carbon fork. I hate to admit it, and will never tell my wife, but I like the ride of the old steel bike at least as much (maybe more when you add in the vintage factor). I'm not aware of to many entry level steel bikes these days (perhaps craigslist / eBay), but would definitely look into steel if buying now.

    ps -- your weight should not be an issue for any decent frameset -- a good wheelset will help though.
    Last edited by Herbie53; 01-25-09 at 09:29 AM.
    "Today me will live in the moment, unless it's unpleasant, then me will eat cookie." -Cookie Monster

  12. #12
    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_Rides View Post

    Here's an Iraqi kid whose Carbon Fiber bike detonated and destroyed his home:
    (Note the dead cat on the right of the frame, killed instantly no doubt)










    Thanks, I think I'll go wax my lugged steel beauties now.
    ~ "I like the way the brake cables come out of the top of the levers and loop around to the brake calipers!...I like those downtube shifters too!...No no no, don't take 'em off, don't take 'em off,...leave 'em on, leave 'em on! - Thats right baby!!

    ~BF - Steel Club Member #00051

  13. #13
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    Thanks guys i forgot to mention the bikes in guestion are a 2008 fuji ccr-2 or a 2009 trek 1.2 i like both very well then there is a 2008 fuji roubaix pro that is a beautiful bike i just cant decide

  14. #14
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    Or you could ride the best Aluminum bike, Cannondale CAAD9, absolutely fantastic ride and very smooth.
    Brian | 2015 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

  15. #15
    Used to be fast surfjimc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youcoming View Post
    Steel is good too but also has draw backs, I myself find them ugly but that's me.
    A steel frame that is tig welded is ugly. There is no real art to that in my opinion. But when you look at some of the 80's lugged steel Italian frames, those are sexy as hell. Look at the frames Vanilla or Waterford or any number of guys are building now, they are beautiful. John Slaughta at Landshark does amazing work fillet brazing steel. Those frames are gorgeous. I still have a Curtlo and a Landshark in the garage. I'm riding a cf frame right now, but if I could have only one bike, it would be steel.
    Last edited by surfjimc; 01-25-09 at 04:05 PM. Reason: it needed it

  16. #16
    Draft Producer Fastflyingasian's Avatar
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    my first real road bike was a Fuji CCR1. i absolutely love it. ironically i am buying backwards and bought a steel frame as well. the biggest thing that made me want a non cf frame is i like to do charity rides. and the last one they hired a moving company and it was like animals were handling these things. my fork got all scratched up and i was bummin since its cf. just surface scratches but who wants scratches on anything that you just spent over $2k on. so i just scored a pacer and im building that for LD rides like brevets and of course charity rides. i got it cheap so when those animals are touching my bike again, i wont be too upset when it comes back with scratches.

    the best thing of all is now i can buy all go fast parts for the fuji. for starters i ordered rims from my lbs.

    oh and i was almost 280 pounds when i bought my fuji. have not had a problem.
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  17. #17
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    +1 Steel. Lots of options in the used market. Fewer options on new steel, unless you want to spend a lot of money.

    The 1980s Japanese bikes were awesome. From Miyata, Univega, Panasonic, Bridgestone, even Schwinn. There are many really good ones, available in the used market for around $200, often less.

    If you want something more modern, then there are a lot of good ones from the 1990s. The Colnago I bought Saturday off cost less than any of the new bikes you are looking at. Full Ultegra, nine speed, super Columbus steel frame. I certainly would not call either of these options ugly.

    Pics below are of my vintage 1984 Lotus Classique and my mid 90s Colnago.


  18. #18
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    If this is going to be a commuter rig, then stick with steel or aluminum.. You can find many nice deals on some older steel road bikes on Craigslist or Ebay.. For many they have gone out of style but they are solid and smooth riding machines..

  19. #19
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_Rides View Post
    Carbon Fiber has a tendency to spontaneously explode and send razor sharp shrapnel in all directions. Guys on the roadie forum sometimes hit potholes and their bikes are destroyed. One guy leaned his bike against a wall, it fell over and received a deep scratch. When a CF frame is scratched, it's often a total loss. I'd stay with steel or aluminum for now. Eventually you'll get a CF bike because if you want Ultegra components of better, they're generally only available on CF frames....

    Here's Hincapie's bike, and he gets the best bikes in the world, this would never happen on a metal bike:







    Here's another proud owner of a carbon fiber bike:


    Here's an Iraqi kid whose Carbon Fiber bike detonated and destroyed his home:
    (Note the dead cat on the right of the frame, killed instantly no doubt)

    Quote Originally Posted by jyossarian View Post
    CF is also not eco friendly and you'll get ass poisoning from riding one. Soda cans are made of aluminum and see how well they stand up to pressure when you run over them w/ your car? Get a steel bike. Steel bikes originally started off as Roman chariots and have been recycled over and over for millions of years.
    Quote Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
    Or you could ride the best Aluminum bike, Cannondale CAAD9, absolutely fantastic ride and very smooth.

    Richard and JY, you guys need to get out more, winter must be killing you. That is some seriously well inspired humor, on the other hand.

    Jaxgtr speaks the truth about the CAAD9, I'm a full blown member of the Kook Aid Brigade on this bike and I don't even own one.

    It boils down to what you want and how you are going to use it. A CF bike for commuting is probably budgetary overkill, but if your going to hit the roads on a regular basis and use it and want it, get one if you can afford it.

    I have steel and aluminum, but as you can tell from my screen name I'm heavily invested in steel, all be it mostly upper end steel. I will someday have a Carbon bike, But it's out there as a reward for reaching goal weight and if I ever race again.

  20. #20
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    [/IMG]
    Sigh. One of my Holy Grail bikes.

    I'm extremely envious and will be forced to hate you for the next 15 nanseconds.

    OK, I'm over it.

    Seriously cool find, but please gawd get the Shimano off of there before it reacts!

  21. #21
    Out fishing with Annie on his lap, a cigar in one hand and a ginger ale in the other, watching the sunset. Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    What kind of terrain are you riding? The reason I ask is because you might want to look at another option, also very fast and lightweight. A Single Speed, either with a fixed or freewheel hub, or a flip flop hub that allws both worlds. I mostly do my commuting on a fixed gear, vintage frame bike. It's a 1971 Nishiki, with a lugged steel Kawamura frame. 'Tis a thing of beauty, and riding it is an exercise of zen simplicity. The bike also only weighs in at about 12 pounds, rolling weight, maybe 15.



    If you live in a fairly flat area, it might be an option for you, as well. If you go with the fixed option, though, do have brakes, don't try the hipster thing of a brakeless track bike on the road.
    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  22. #22
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    Thanks Guys i am really wanting to get out there and push myself i just want to ride thats why i am going the road bike way.I ove my mountain bike but after 10 to 15 miles i am just sucking air and im slow as a snail. i will commute to work on it on good weather days or when i want a change, actually probably every day and i am still mtbing on non roadie days.I think i will be getting the trek it has cf fork that way i can just start riding. Cant wait till fair weather as i get more and more into it and my lady will finally understand and be more supportive (or we split) i will get a c/f bike as a reward

  23. #23
    A shrinking member </intolerance>'s Avatar
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    I have a Jamis Satellite which is a steel bike. I love it. Looking to get something new so that I can set it up with panniers and fenders for commuting. The Satellite is less that 1000$ new.

  24. #24
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    I was able to buy a Merckx Corsa Extra SLX Tubing with Campy Record 10 for under 1000.00.. This was a craigslist buy... Needed a tuneup and it has been a great bike..

  25. #25
    Decrepit Member Abacus's Avatar
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    Another +1 for steel.

    I had two steel bikes, then I bought an aluminium one. I rode that for two months, and bought a (steel) Trek 520.

    It is my experience that steel is significantly more comfortable than aluminium. Your mileage may vary.

    A CF bike is probably OK, but I just couldn't live with the possibility of the bike exploding because a minor fall or scrape damaged the weave.
    Last edited by Abacus; 01-26-09 at 10:26 PM.

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