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Carbon or Bust

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Carbon or Bust

Old 03-19-19, 03:30 PM
  #1  
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Carbon or Bust

Is it just me, or has with bike industry gone a little too far on the carbon fiber hype cycle. So first off, I am biased against carbon fiber bikes because I think they look kinda weird. And I have no speed aspirations, or race aspirations so it is way outside what I need or want.

But the biggest issue I have at the moment is that bike consumers have been brainwashed into thinking the carbon is the best thing since sliced bread for every bike purpose.

"Hi, I am choosing between 2 commuter bikes. One feels really great and holds all my stuff, but it is steel. The other bike is 2X more, doesn't hold my stuff, and doesn't fit. The carbon bike is nicer so I should get it right? I can compromise on the fit so I can get carbon? Carbon rules!"

Or of course the carbon fiber bottle cages for crusing around town - gotta save 10 grams, even though a full water bottle will outweigh any of those gram savings.

Is there a carbon fiber bell yet? Because if you bike doesn't have 100% carbon components, it sucks.

Is anyone else over the carbon fiber hype machine?
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Old 03-19-19, 03:34 PM
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The market is much bigger than your wants and needs - yes ? What about the guy that has speed or race aspirations and doesn't need to carry any stuff ?
Democracy is a good thing
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Old 03-19-19, 03:39 PM
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I got over it about 6 years ago when I gave up worshipping speed and embraced the smooth ride of steel and shifters (friction) that didn't break every 3 years.

That said if you are a 135 lb whippet who can fly on Carbon -power to ya. Ride what puts a smile on your face
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Old 03-19-19, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Is it just me, or has with bike industry gone a little too far on the carbon fiber hype cycle. So first off, I am biased against carbon fiber bikes because I think they look kinda weird. And I have no speed aspirations, or race aspirations so it is way outside what I need or want.

But the biggest issue I have at the moment is that bike consumers have been brainwashed into thinking the carbon is the best thing since sliced bread for every bike purpose.

"Hi, I am choosing between 2 commuter bikes. One feels really great and holds all my stuff, but it is steel. The other bike is 2X more, doesn't hold my stuff, and doesn't fit. The carbon bike is nicer so I should get it right? I can compromise on the fit so I can get carbon? Carbon rules!"

Or of course the carbon fiber bottle cages for crusing around town - gotta save 10 grams, even though a full water bottle will outweigh any of those gram savings.

Is there a carbon fiber bell yet? Because if you bike doesn't have 100% carbon components, it sucks.

Is anyone else over the carbon fiber hype machine?
i feel you man. Its one of the reasons i love old bikes.
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Old 03-19-19, 04:10 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by sdn40 View Post
The market is much bigger than your wants and needs - yes ? What about the guy that has speed or race aspirations and doesn't need to carry any stuff ?
Democracy is a good thing
More that people who don't remotely need "carbon" have been fooled into believing any bike not made of carbon is a terrible bike, and it is not worth the money because it is outdated or crappy.

There is a time and place for everything, but unfortunately in today's bike universe people mistaken believe that it is always time for carbon.
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Old 03-19-19, 04:58 PM
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One side effect of this carbon craze or need for speed is that the steel and aluminum frames that we like are available because someone is going out to buy the latest bike and selling off their old steed. I agree for almost all of us, the older bikes are just fine. That is why we have them.

I work with a guy that brought in his carbon fiber triathlon bike. I was impressed at the weight or lack of it. When I raced (back, in 1980), my double butted bike weighed 22 lbs with tubulars. I don't know what this bike weighed, but it was several pounds lighter than my bike and it wasn't even that cutting edge. Then again, it is a race bike and cannot do much else. There is always going to be a new and better thing out there. It doesn't make the old stuff obsolete or even less worthy.
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Old 03-19-19, 06:06 PM
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I have a 2010 carbon Cannondale. It's really light (18 lbs) and comfortable to ride. I'll take it to the mountains to ride, if I ever get back in shape.

Our choices are determined by what the manufacturers produce and market. AL frames were the rage for a time - lighter, stiffer, etc. At the moment, carbon is the preferred production material. Is it a fad? Who knows. Carbon seems to integrate the lightness of aluminum with the comfort of steel. Haven't heard of any "asplosions" lately. Will CF frames stand the test of time, like steel? That remains to be seen. Steel is still an option for new frames/bikes: Ciocc is still building and selling steel frames. All the new Colnagos I see are CF. Same for Pinarello.

Carbon won't rust, that's for sure.
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Old 03-19-19, 06:41 PM
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I actually love the looks of a sleek carbon racing machine. But I will never own one, price for one reason. You can buy a much better vintage steel race bike for less than the price of an entry level carbon bike with crap components. Second is the actual feel of the ride. Now if you ride on glass smooth asphalt then they are great, but the rough chip seal country roads I ride on you will pee blood after a 20 mile ride. Give me an old steel bike anyday. And third, pay 5 grand for a new carbon bike and try to sell it 3-5 years later and see what kind of loss you have. I can usually make a little profit when I sell a steel bike.
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Old 03-19-19, 06:56 PM
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By far and away the worst bike I have owned was an aluminum frame / carbon fork / carbon stays bike . It was very stiff and transmitted every bit of road vibration to you even with 25 mm tires which were the largest ones that could be fitted to it. Granted I did not find it an especially comfortable bike because I am larger rider , but honestly I do not think a frame that has a supple , compliant ride is a bad thing. The vintage steel road bikes I own are fast enough to satisfy any need for speed I have , and they satisfy it comfortably.

As an aside no argument can be made from my perspective for the weight savings carbon offers since I know that a steel bike can be made just as light as a carbon bike ... The Rodriguez Outlaw is a good example.

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Old 03-19-19, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
I actually love the looks of a sleek carbon racing machine. But I will never own one, price for one reason. You can buy a much better vintage steel race bike for less than the price of an entry level carbon bike with crap components. Second is the actual feel of the ride. Now if you ride on glass smooth asphalt then they are great, but the rough chip seal country roads I ride on you will pee blood after a 20 mile ride. Give me an old steel bike anyday. And third, pay 5 grand for a new carbon bike and try to sell it 3-5 years later and see what kind of loss you have. I can usually make a little profit when I sell a steel bike.
Its true vintage steel will be cheaper, but it sounds like you've been riding the wrong carbon. I've ridden mine on chipseal (most of our local, rural roads composition), with 23mm high-pressure tires for 40+ miles with no issues. Just as comfy as my steel steeds, and a lot lighter. YMMV. Personally, I would not pay five grand for any bike, CF, steel or AL. Harley Davidson, maybe...
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Old 03-19-19, 07:19 PM
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Each to a purpose.
My carbon bikes have made people think I was fast. That's hilarious, actually.
My steel bikes have made people think I was odd, very experienced or had money. Just as funny.

I prefer steel, but I've got no business ranting about carbon. My "new" LBS just went out of business, so whatever it takes to sell bikes, OK.

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Old 03-19-19, 07:40 PM
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AL can provide a comfortable ride as well, IMHO, if built properly. I compared my AL Specialized Secteur with several CF bikes prior to buying it. It was just as comfortable as the CF Roubaix, and a lot less expensive.

I think it's great that we have so many choices.
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Old 03-19-19, 07:57 PM
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My two favorite bikes in my stable right now.
One CF, the other, steel...... They ride really really nice......and I am happy!!
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Old 03-19-19, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by sdn40 View Post
The market is much bigger than your wants and needs - yes ? What about the guy that has speed or race aspirations and doesn't need to carry any stuff ?
Democracy is a good thing
Well written.
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Old 03-20-19, 12:03 AM
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Carbon is the one true GOD. All others shall bow before me. Do not argue; there is no argument.

OK, I'm an atheist, but that's just me.

I've ridden several quite terrible mediocre big-name AL bikes, but have yet to ride a decent, modern carbon bike. I admit I'm curious, but I don't know anyone who has one in my size. Definitely not curious enough to buy one.
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Old 03-20-19, 03:46 AM
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Can we blame all the weight weenies of the world who want everything lighter?
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Old 03-20-19, 03:53 AM
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When I was thirteen or fourteen I lusted after the latest and greatest go-fast stuff - computers, cars, bikes, whatever. Over the next few years, though, I grew up and started thinking a little more long-term. Will this thing last long enough to amortize the extra cost compared to something more in tune with my practical need? Will it actually improve life in general or my life in specific? Will maintenance make my life miserable? Will I be able to get my money back should I ever want to do so? I also started to appreciate artistry.

And that's why I don't buy modern cars or modern bikes. Practically they're a bit silly unless someone's paying you to go fast, financially they're disastrous, reliability is dismal, and I don't need heated sun visors and automatic carpets. Every day I hope to see evidence that consumers have started to think a little more long-term, maybe not as much as I do, but at least a little more than is currently fashionable. But the popular thinking seems to be trending the opposite direction - things across all price ranges are being made more and more cheaply with less reliability than I ever thought the average consumer would tolerate. Bike frames have trended from hand-brazed with simple parts which required almost no maintenance, to machine-brazed with semi-reliable index shifting, to welded with hideously unreliable integrated shifters, and have now become blow-molded toilet seats with electric parts to do your thinking for you. Frames are getting cheaper and parts are getting less reliable. Yeah, I'd certainly be faster on one of those things than I am on my old junk, but nobody's paying me to be fast and if I was in a hurry to get somewhere I'd be in a car.

For me, the numerous drawbacks far outweigh the one irrelevant benefit. There are those who believe that if the drawbacks don't matter to them then they aren't actually drawbacks, but the problems with that line of thinking are obvious. I don't mind at all if people want to play with silly, unnecessary, impractical things - if my bike collection was true to my ability I'd only have one and it'd be a stock Schwinn Varsity. But, though the benefits and drawbacks are universal, I don't for a moment think that the perfect bike for me is the perfect bike for everyone else, too. Some people just don't care about practicality, and without those people life (and my various possessions) would be much less interesting. But when a large enough group of people allow themselves to be fooled by the hype and start lying to others because of it, there's a big problem. I can't wait for people to start talking about how amazing self-riding bikes will be.
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Old 03-20-19, 05:03 AM
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I donít quite get it. Some of the carbon is heavier than steel, ie 25+ lbs. so low end carbon (Domane, etc) is just marketing hype. Have I considered some new stuff? Yes. But at this point if I buy new I found a custom made to order TI frame I would go with, or if I need to cut cost by $1300 then go with steel. To each their own.
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Old 03-20-19, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Is it just me, or has with bike industry gone a little too far on the carbon fiber hype cycle...is anyone else over the carbon fiber hype machine?
I'm guessing that you're not a huge fan of uber performance street cars either.

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Old 03-20-19, 06:35 AM
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And for the record, today I rode in to work on a 41-year old steel bike. I enjoyed my ride very much.
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Old 03-20-19, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
And for the record, today I rode in to work on a 41-year old steel bike. I enjoyed my ride very much.
i do it daily and its wonderful. It amazes me that most people dont do it.
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Old 03-20-19, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Can we blame all the weight weenies of the world who want everything lighter?
my observation of bicycles thus to date .... It is mostly about the motor and not so much about the platform unless you are operating at a serious amatuer or professional level of competition. I do not compete and the only records I have to break are my own.
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Old 03-20-19, 07:43 AM
  #23  
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If I was a masher and needed a stiff frame for a lot of climbing I would still have a carbon wonder bike.
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Old 03-20-19, 08:57 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I'm guessing that you're not a huge fan of uber performance street cars either.

I have no problem with high performance cars. No on goes around telling car owners that the only option is a super high performance car for every purpose. In bike land it seems like carbon is pitched as the solution for everything. Even when it is a terrible choice for the consumer. I think everyone who buys a high performance car knows they are getting a race car and making that choice consciously and understands the potential limitations (like if you drive city streets you wonít get to take advantage of all the performance.

On the bike side these carbon bikes are recommended for all the applications without that reality check to go with it. If you are commuting 3 miles, carbon fiber isnít typically the best choice.
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Old 03-20-19, 08:57 AM
  #25  
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I like steel as much as the next guy (or gal), but you know that if carbon fiber had been available in the 1930s, Rene Herse, Alex Singer, Nichola Barra, and all those guys would have been using it.

Our bikes would be a lot heavier and poorer-performing today if it weren't for the "weight weenies" of the past.
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