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View Poll Results: alloy frame + carbon wheels or carbon frame + alloy wheels?
alloy frame + carbon wheels 3 25.00%
carbon frame + alloy wheels 6 50.00%
other (please see inline comments 3 25.00%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-23-15, 02:28 PM   #1
sgtrobo
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$4kish budget, aluminum frame + carbon wheels or carbon frame + aluminum wheels?

so for a pure CX racing bike, if you have only so much to spend, do you get a 'higher end' aluminum frame and spend the $$$ on a nice carbon wheelset, or do you take the $$$ and get a great carbon frame with a nice aluminum wheelset?

so in other words, do you go for a (for example):

CAADX w/Ultegra (alloy frame, ultegra groupset, for a shade over $2k) and then add a $2k set of carbon wheels

or do you go for a (again, just an example):
SuperX Ultegra (carbon frame, ultegra groupset, for just under $3800 total)

don't so much focus on the bikes themselves (not a question about Cannondale nor those specific models, they are ONLY EXAMPLES), but a focus on which is the more economical and better use of cash if the Minster of Finance grants you a $4k budget.

You're going balls-out for an hour in CX and you want to go as fast as possible. Yeah, the carbon frame probably doesn't beat you up as much, but everywhere I read, I always see that the best bicycle upgrade is a great set of wheels. I'm less worried about comfort (I have a Fargo if I want to "enjoy" my long mixed-surface ride!) and more worried about speed.

also, don't be afraid to provide your reasoning.

(again, PLEASE don't worry about the bikes themselves, they are purely for example purposes to highlight my question)
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Old 09-23-15, 09:24 PM   #2
Scotia_Cyclist
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I say carbon frame you can upgrade wheels next year

for cross you want multiple wheel sets anyway

if you are competitive the right tire choice makes a huge difference and with tubulars it is tough to just swap like a clincher
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Old 09-23-15, 09:49 PM   #3
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This month i got my CX rig together as follows:

Craigslist: 2014 Crux Elite Rival 10 speed, carbon frame, disc brakes, heavy stock clincher wheels, $2K, ($3K MSRP)
Ebay: Zipp 303 tubular disc wheels, included rotors, no tires, $1.3K, $2.3K MSRP . Added a DA cassette out of my parts bin.
Excelsports: MXP tires, mounted, cleats, a few other odds & ends, <$400, my team's bike shop so there was a bit of a discount
Ebay: Specialzed pro MTB shoes, $150 (MSRP$220)

For me the biggest incentive for a carbon frame wasn't comfort, it was weight. As a very small person, weight matters a lot to me. Bike is still heavy compared to my road bike, but the Zipp tubies save 3.5 pounds over the stock wheels. Crazy!
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Old 09-24-15, 11:44 AM   #4
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Carbon with a 105 group and a set of $1,000-$1,500 carbon tubulars which should leave enough to buy tires. You can use the wheels that come with the bike as your spare/mud tire wheelset. Not as nice as two sets of tubulars, but most likely you will primarily use one set of tires anyway. Use whatever money you have left, swap handlebars, seatpost, etc... OEM parts tend to be heavy.
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Old 10-23-15, 10:47 AM   #5
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I went used. I got a Cannondale SuperX Ultegra shipped to me for $1300 (eBay) then picked up a set of carbon FSA tubular wheels with Challenge Limus tires for $330 shipped. Racing this season on a $1700 investment (had to buy some pedals). Of course cross stuff is cheaper in February than October......
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Old 10-23-15, 11:32 AM   #6
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Aluminum frame and TWO aluminum wheelsets + tires is better. Or get your hands on some cheap carbon tubulars. I spent $300 for mine. If I stick with the rim brake bike next year, I'll add another $300ish CF wheelset if I can find one. You don't need to spend big money on CX wheels.
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Old 10-23-15, 12:47 PM   #7
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Never race a bike you cannot afford to wreck/break. With this in mind if the pricepoint of your race bike is an issue then go alloy or steel. Granted that Carbon is not exactly fragile but frames do sometimes get broken in race crashes. Carbon wheels though do seem to be worth the investment, from what I have heard, although I don't have those.
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Old 10-23-15, 12:56 PM   #8
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Aluminum frame and TWO aluminum wheelsets + tires is better. Or get your hands on some cheap carbon tubulars. I spent $300 for mine. If I stick with the rim brake bike next year, I'll add another $300ish CF wheelset if I can find one. You don't need to spend big money on CX wheels.
This is what I'd recommend as well.
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Old 10-23-15, 02:25 PM   #9
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Th Cannondales are not bad at all as far as AL goes but a carbon or even a steel frame is way better on a CX course. Having raced all three steel is the most comfortable but carbon is so nice and light.
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Old 11-01-15, 07:17 PM   #10
sgtrobo
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Never race a bike you cannot afford to wreck/break.
words of wisdom right there, thanks.
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Old 11-01-15, 07:31 PM   #11
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I like the C dales but wish they were a little more imaginative with color options. I like the CAAD X 105 disc at just $1500, wish it was available in something other than black.
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Old 11-01-15, 07:40 PM   #12
sgtrobo
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yeah, some of the color options are a bit wacky from some of the manufacturers, and some of them are just meh. I know that color shouldn't matter nearly as much as performance and especially fit, but doggone it, if I'm spending a few thousands $$$ on a bike, I want it to look cool.
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Old 11-01-15, 07:48 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sgtrobo View Post
yeah, some of the color options are a bit wacky from some of the manufacturers, and some of them are just meh. I know that color shouldn't matter nearly as much as performance and especially fit, but doggone it, if I'm spending a few thousands $$$ on a bike, I want it to look cool.
I agree, I want it to perform but I also want it to look good to me. So many bikes now are just another version of black. I really like the blue CAAD10 of 2015.
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Old 11-01-15, 07:50 PM   #14
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yeah, the black bikes are fine if they have some hints of color in them, at least...something....
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