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  1. #1
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    Advice on Carbon Vs Aluminum

    First off I would like to thank all in advance for any advice you can give and apologize if this is a repeat thread.

    I just recently moved to Jackson, MS area and went to my local bike shop to test out some bikes to get fitted and get a idea of what I like/dislike.

    Unfortunately I was only able to test a Aluminum Trek and a Carbon Felt Z series I believe though both great bikes. The Trek was 2.1 Apex I believe not 100% sure on that (H2) I liked the ridding position of the bike, but didn't feel at good as the Felt did. I didn't like the way it shifted compared to the Felt.

    The Felt had a good feel to it when I rode it though it had a higher stance which I did not like compared to the lower stance of the Trek.

    I just sold a motorcycle and have about a 2,500 limit to what I could spend and want something I will be able to enjoy for awhile.

    My question is would it be better to get a higher end Aluminum frame in this price range or a carbon framed bike. Are the ridding positions about comparative between brands, like will the Felt F series have about the same ridding position as the Trek I rode. I would like to train up to be able to do a Triathlon some time in the next year or so would it be better to jut get a Tri bike? Any advice on brands I should try or on the Felt F series would be great. Thanks again.
    Last edited by zeerith; 09-25-11 at 11:47 PM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
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    Ok Zeerith!

    There are a few questions that I'd like to ask before I could attempt to assist you.

    What do you actually need a bike for right now, at this very moment?

    What surface or surfaces will you be primarily riding on?

    How soon will you expect to be in physical condition to do triathlons?

    Will you be riding hills at all?

    - Slim
    Last edited by SlimRider; 09-30-11 at 03:05 PM.

  3. #3
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    Currently I will be using it for road riding, I run regularly and swim a lot during the summer though have never had a lot of experience on a bike. My goal is some time next summer or closer to the fall after I had gotten a good bit of riding in.

    The area I will be ridding in is mostly flat though if I get a chance I would love to ride hills etc. I expect mostly will be pretty flat with not much variation in elevation change.

    So at this moment I want to use it to road ride as not only a hobby, but also to get some fitness/experience in on the road.

  4. #4
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    I'm fairly new at this myself, but what I have learned simply due to the roads I ride are either going up or down & not in the best condition. I could bought any bike I wanted but i wasn't sure I would even like cycling enough to stick with it. So 1st went to wall mart & those bikes were way too heavy & so inexpensive I felt if anything would keep me off the road it would be a cheap bike. So I mozy on down to the LBS and bought a Giant Defy aluminum frame for 800 something after tax. Now this is where the difference is as I understand it Aluminum is great if you live in a relatively flat area with decent road quality, but I have neither. So I just ponied up for a Giant TCR Advanced Dura Ace Carbon Bike, it's 6lbs lighter which will help in climbing and Carbon is supposed to absorb much more of the road shock that comes with gas tax dollars going for beurocrats pensions instead of maintaining the roads like it's supposed to. some of these problems I have learned to solve by changing tire size & inflation right here in th Bike Forums. But God I can't wait for that new bike, it can't get here soon enough. That's all I know, I hope it helped.

  5. #5
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    Thanks sgt. It did clear up a few questions and a main worry that the rough cracked roads will be too much for a carbon frame. Another problem is I have the money now due to selling a motorcycle I had. So it's either get a cheaper bike and pray I love it or go ahead and get a nice one since It will take a longer time to save up for a chanc that I have now. I will be saving the rest for a rainy day.

  6. #6
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    Well let me clear the last post up some, I want something that will work for me well with out any need for near future replacements. I don't want to have to worry about near future replacements due to
    Cheaply made/not something that will make me happy in the long run. Since I have the extra money I would rather get something that I will enjoy for awhile than spend X amount and want to replace it in a year.

  7. #7
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    Alright Zeerith!

    I believe that you should get an aluminum bike for your first Triathlon. The Felt F 75 seems like a really great bike with a 5 105 groupset. I also like the Jamis Comet and the GT-GTR SRS 2, but those are a little more expensive than the Felt F 75, probably due to the Ultegra components added. Of course, any of these bikes will set you back financially, but that's a minor sacrifice compared to the exhaustive conditioning schedule that lies ahead for you. Aluminum is more forgiving than carbon and if any mishap should occur in either training or during the competition, your aluminum frame stands a better chance of survival. Besides, the fatigue life of aluminum is greater than that of carbon.

    At any rate, that would be my advice...

    Good Luck!

    - Slim

    PS.

    Get loads of Triathlon info at your public library. Get on an approved schedule ASAP.

    You're going to need a really good lock. Get the New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lock and the OnGuard Beast Chain Lock. Keep your Bike Locked at all times.
    Last edited by SlimRider; 09-26-11 at 11:08 PM.

  8. #8
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    Elevation near Jackson, Ms.? A loooooooooooooooooooong way away

    I'm in Jackson, Tn and am at about elevation 450ft. Jackson, Ms is lower than that. The closest place to me with elevation to make a difference? Grandfather Mt, N.C.? That is several hundred miles away And that is 'only' 6,000 ft. Have to be out west to get 'elevation' and that is 1,300 miles away. So I think riding in elevation is a little bit of a stretch for us. Now it you said "riding in heat"......THAT we can do
    Last edited by bigbadwullf; 09-26-11 at 02:14 PM.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbadwullf View Post
    Elevation near Jackson, Ms.? A loooooooooooooooooooong way away

    I'm in Jackson, Tn and am at about elevation 450ft. Jackson, Ms is lower than that. The closest place to me with elevation to make a difference? Grandfather Mt, N.C.? That is several hundred miles away And that is 'only' 6,000 ft. Have to be out west to get 'elevation' and that is 1,300 miles away. So I think riding in elevation is a little bit of a stretch for us. Now it you said "riding in heat"......THAT we can do

    Got cha BBW!

    Thanks!

    - Slim

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    Thank you, you have helped a lot. My LBS will have to order the bike I want do they usually take awhile to ship?

    I normally use a bike machine at the gym is it better to go for more resistance and less rpms or vice versa?

    Thank you again.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeerith View Post
    Thank you, you have helped a lot. My LBS will have to order the bike I want do they usually take awhile to ship?

    I normally use a bike machine at the gym is it better to go for more resistance and less rpms or vice versa?

    Thank you again.
    So do you know which bike you're going to order yet?

    Have you ordered already?

    Just curious...

    - Slim

    PS.

    For building strength, you add resistance. For actual field triathlon training you would want to keep a steady cadence of approximately 90-100 rpm.
    Last edited by SlimRider; 09-26-11 at 02:26 PM.

  12. #12
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    Heat yes and humidity, I think we have those covered.

  13. #13
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    I leaning toward the Felt F75, I am going to make sure it's what I want before I order it. I will probably order this Wednesday or Thursday when I have the free time to get by there.

    I am also going to look up the other two you suggested tonight when I get on my laptop.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeerith View Post
    I leaning toward the Felt F75, I am going to make sure it's what I want before I order it. I will probably order this Wednesday or Thursday when I have the free time to get by there.

    I am also going to look up the other two you suggested tonight when I get on my laptop.
    Hey Zeerith!

    Don't you think you'll need a beater or a single speed just to do errands on?

    If so, then order off of either CL or bikesdirect.com!

    Hate to see you park your beauty at the Seven Eleven and come out and see nothing there!

    -OR-

    Park it next to a beater bike where the person has scratched your bike with their lock or their beater!

    Just Say'N

    - Slim

  15. #15
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    zeerith, The F75 is a good choice, when looking at other manufacturers seek out similarily equipped models and you can't be far off the mark.

    Brad

  16. #16
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    Sorry for the bad spelling/grammar in the other post. I have noticed a iPhone is not the best thing to post with.

    Hey slim, I was thinking about that today in my C++ class how much I would cry if someone stole or even scratched my new shiny ride. I would be highly upset I will give that website a check now that I am home.

    Brad I plan to try another bike shop just to make sure the Felt is what I want I believe their is one close that sells Cervélo, Giant, Look, Fuji and a few other brands. Any brands in particular you guys like/hate or have had any experience with?

    I have been reading a lot about the brands, but don't put a lot trust in most internet reviews I find on random websites.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Besides, the fatigue life of aluminum is greater than that of carbon.
    Trek engineers disagree. Skip ahead to the 9 minute mark to see the testing and their comment regarding aluminum vs carbon fatigue life.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nVbmcnsXXs
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertL View Post
    Trek engineers disagree. Skip ahead to the 9 minute mark to see the testing and their comment regarding aluminum vs carbon fatigue life.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nVbmcnsXXs
    Hey There RobertL!

    T H A N K ....... Y O U!

    My GOD! I feel as though I've awakened from a very long hibernation!

    - Slim

    PS.

    So insofar as fatigue life is concerned with carbon, it's really design dependent...
    Last edited by SlimRider; 09-27-11 at 01:04 PM.

  19. #19
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    Yes it's able to bend and take stress that is spread out over the frame, but how does it handle focused stress. Will a clamp tear a hole right through the top tube? What about if something was to fall off a self and hit it at a point. How would it survive next to aluminum?

    Thats what worries me. I know they are made strong and not for you to beat on, but accidents happen everyday.
    Last edited by zeerith; 09-27-11 at 01:23 PM. Reason: Spelling

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeerith View Post
    Yes it's able to bend and take stress that is spread out over the frame, but how does it handle focused stress. Will a clamp tear a hole right through the top tube? What about if something was to fall off a self and hit it at a point. How would it survive next to aluminum?

    Thats what worries me. I know they are made strong and not for you to beat on, but accidents happen everyday.
    Yes!

    Zeerith, I have for a long time wondered about the same thing. Actually, I already know that CF can't take high impact strikes. In fact, the smaller the area impacted, the greater the chance of compromised material structure. It's just that, I didn't know that the unibodied molded unit was so strong. I always thought that it was strong in one area but weak in so many others. That video convinced me that I was wrong!

    Nonetheless, you're right! Striking CF frames with great force in small areas will compromise the integrity of the material for sure! I know that at one time, swinging handlebars could break the top tube. I heard of one case where this guy was so excited about completing a century before the storm began and he set his bike against a rail, while celebrating. The wind then blew the bike off the rail and the bike shattered in a couple places.
    See, it's stories like that, that scares people and turns them away from CF!

    However, this was many years ago. Do you suppose that CF has evolved that far away from that type of material compromise?

    Something deep down inside of me suspects that it has, I'm just not certain. Anyway, I sure do have a much deeper respect for CF now, than I did when I woke up this morning!

    - Slim

  21. #21
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    Slim I have know many who used CF on their cars with great result, but I have also seen them problems. I really liked the ride of the CF Felt I rode, but was still a little worried about the integrity of the CF.

    This is the testing of a CF fishing pole. That shows its flexibility.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eURrj...e_gdata_player

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeerith View Post
    Slim I have know many who used CF on their cars with great result, but I have also seen them problems. I really liked the ride of the CF Felt I rode, but was still a little worried about the integrity of the CF.

    This is the testing of a CF fishing pole. That shows its flexibility.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eURrj...e_gdata_player

    Zeerith, one thing for certain.

    It surpassed the flexiblity of both aluminum and steel!

    - Slim

    PS.

    You know most roadies here in the Bay Area either ride CF or that's their goal...

    For some reason, I just can't see myself riding on top of CF!

  23. #23
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    I get the feeling, that the longer you wait to get CF, the better off you'll be...

    Sorta like computers, you know...

    - Slim

  24. #24
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    Trek has a lifetime frame warrantee..

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Trek has a lifetime frame warrantee..
    Yeah, I know!

    I was shocked to actually find out what it was!

    Call 'em up and ask them about their frame "warranty"...However, do you have to promise not to laugh!

    - Slim

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