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Clydes... carbon, steel, or ti?

Old 05-12-10, 09:59 PM
  #1  
froggmann
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Clydes... carbon, steel, or ti?

Hey guys. Wanted to see what ya'll think.

I'm in the market for a new ride. I'm currently on a Felt SC1 which is scandium/al with carbon forks and seatstays. It rides great but I want something new. My budget is between $1500-2100. I'm 6 foot tall and between 215-230lbs. I ride about 2500 to 3500 miles a year doing a couple of sprint triathlons, several centuries, a bunch of charity rides, and training in between. My rides are on rural roads (lots of chipseal), city streets, MUP's, and some trips to the Texas hill country for the hillier(?) terrain.

So far I like these;

Specialized Roubiax- The full carbon rides great but I'm concerned a/b durability
Bianchi Vegorelli- Love the all steel and classic geometry but how will it ride on the long hauls
Moto Le Champion Ti- Never ridden ti but for the price this bike is spec'd out nicely. Cant seem to get a straight answer on ti, some say it's to stiff for non racers, others say too flexy for big guys.
Specialized Senteur- Haven't test ridden yet, but looks good for the price. I'm wondering how well it will get along with the Tx chipseal

I appreciate any input you guys might have. Thanks
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Old 05-12-10, 10:23 PM
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Buy what fits you and meets your fancy. The frame material won't matter. They can all easily handle your weight.
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Old 05-12-10, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
Buy what fits you and meets your fancy. The frame material won't matter. They can all easily handle your weight.
+1 I don't think that you weigh enough to worry.
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Old 05-12-10, 10:52 PM
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I have seen published maximum rider weights for steel so I wonder what the manufacturer specified maximum rider weights are for the cf and aluminum frames? I suspect they are 200 pounds or less.
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Old 05-12-10, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
I have seen published maximum rider weights for steel so I wonder what the manufacturer specified maximum rider weights are for the cf and aluminum frames? I suspect they are 200 pounds or less.
I don't know why you'd suspect that but you'd suspect wrong. CF and Al can be made just as strong or stronger than steel frames. It just depends on what the frame designer wants to do with the material. Frames and frame materials are not the limiting factor by a long shot. Wheels are the limiting factor.
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Old 05-13-10, 08:51 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
I have seen published maximum rider weights for steel so I wonder what the manufacturer specified maximum rider weights are for the cf and aluminum frames? I suspect they are 200 pounds or less.
Maximum weights are decided upon and published by lawyers... who know absolutely nothing about engineering or materials science.
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Old 05-13-10, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
I don't know why you'd suspect that but you'd suspect wrong. CF and Al can be made just as strong or stronger than steel frames. It just depends on what the frame designer wants to do with the material. Frames and frame materials are not the limiting factor by a long shot. Wheels are the limiting factor.
My buddy is a 205 lb Clyde, barely! This was his last steel bike. A fine steel DeRosa.

I don't know all the details as to why it broke, all I know is that the frame snapped while he was riding it. Bottom line.


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Old 05-13-10, 12:41 PM
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Ooh! I did that once... but it was old POS Univega frame I had built up SS.

To answer the OP's question...
Consider how long you want the bike to last. Aluminum and Carbon generally won't last as long as well made steel frame (although that DeRosa makes me wonder). An Al frame will usually give a harsher ride in my experience (although that was mostly limited to late 90s Cannondales which were very stiff bikes). I have no personal experience with Ti so I can't comment there.

Ultimately the best bike is the one you'll ride the most. Which is going to be the one that fits you the best and is the most comfortable. I'd recommend test riding, a lot, and getting the bike that just plain feels the best.
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Old 05-13-10, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BikEthan View Post
Aluminum and Carbon generally won't last as long as well made steel frame (although that DeRosa makes me wonder).
Please: if you don't have a degree in materials science or a statistical study to back you up, don't make absurd claims like this.

I owned my first carbon bike frame for 15 years. I sold it last year and AFAIK, the new owner is still riding it without problems. The construction of my current carbon frame is much more advanced than the old bike. Provided I don't crash, I would expect it to last significantly longer than the first one.
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Old 05-13-10, 03:59 PM
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From what I'm reading, I'm probably one of the heavier ones on a full carbon bike. I'm 255 (without the lycra, even) and I ride on some pretty messed up roads with some full 24oz water bottles and a 2L hydropack sometimes.

For what it's worth, I roll on a Giant Defy Advanced. When I tested other bikes, it just seemed so much more "alive" and sprightly.
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Old 05-13-10, 04:03 PM
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You can take any one of those materials and make either a very stiff or very flexible frame. You can also make a piece of junk that will break or something that will last a very long time. Ride the bikes, look at the frame warranties and buy accordingly.
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Old 05-13-10, 05:44 PM
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I'd definately check out the Cannondale Synapse as well. I'm about your size and just bought one for similar riding (and while granted I'm only a week in) really like this bike. You might even be able to get the Carbon SRAM Rival verson close to the top of your range if you push things...

-spence
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Old 05-14-10, 11:55 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
I don't know why you'd suspect that but you'd suspect wrong. CF and Al can be made just as strong or stronger than steel frames. It just depends on what the frame designer wants to do with the material. Frames and frame materials are not the limiting factor by a long shot. Wheels are the limiting factor.
Dude, maybe read what I said, I did not say steel was stronger than cf, I said the steel bikes I have seen numbers for give max rider weights of 140 t0 200 pounds and I suspect that would be similar for a cf and aluminum frame.

So, have you seen specifications for rider weight on a cf frame or not?
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Old 05-14-10, 12:29 PM
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It mostly matters on how the frame was built, not material it was made out of. I'm a fan of steel, but my recumbent is aluminum. I'd probably have a titanium bike if I could afford it.
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Old 05-14-10, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
Dude, maybe read what I said, I did not say steel was stronger than cf, I said the steel bikes I have seen numbers for give max rider weights of 140 t0 200 pounds and I suspect that would be similar for a cf and aluminum frame.

So, have you seen specifications for rider weight on a cf frame or not?
Can you point to an adult bike with a steel frame that has a 140lb weight limit? Or even a 200lb limit?

I've never seen a carbon fiber frame with a weight limit. To be honest, though, I've never seen a steel bike with a weight limit. And I certainly can't imagine that any bicycle manufacturer would sell an adult bike with a 140lb weight limit in the United States, regardless of the frame material...
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Old 05-14-10, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
Dude, maybe read what I said, I did not say steel was stronger than cf, I said the steel bikes I have seen numbers for give max rider weights of 140 t0 200 pounds and I suspect that would be similar for a cf and aluminum frame.

So, have you seen specifications for rider weight on a cf frame or not?
I read what you said and what he said. He never said you stated that steel was stronger, he simply said that your "'assumptions" that max weigth on cf and alumin would be 200 or less are wrong. Which they are!

Taken from the Trek website, Safety manual PDF files:

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Old 05-14-10, 02:28 PM
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look at Independent Fabrication bikes.....they are steel.....some of them have weight limits of 180......
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Old 05-14-10, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by BigDaddyPedals View Post
look at Independent Fabrication bikes.....they are steel.....some of them have weight limits of 180......
Can you name one? I don't see anything on their website that would indicate this...
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Old 05-14-10, 05:18 PM
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sure can.....factory lightweight i believe is the name.....i don't feel the need to go investigate it.....but a friend is a rep/owner of LBS and sells their bikes.....he was actually looking into getting one for himself.....decided instead on getting the Wilier cento uno with campy record.....anyways.....they said the weight limit on the light was 180....he is below that weight and could of gotten it....but decided on the Wilier for other reasons.....i'm looking at doing an IF custom build but with the appropriate build for my size......

i would also say i'm not a metal expert of any sort.....just stating what i knew to be fact.....not one to post something without it being true.....i guess i shouldn't of jumped into this.....obviously some are very passionate about their opinions on what metals or materials are better......i'll go back to pedaling:-)

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Old 05-14-10, 06:10 PM
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I'm at 240 lbs, and had been riding an old steel-frame Raleigh (1980), but I got a Scott CR1 Team this past Christmas, which I love. (The old Scott CR1 was a very race-oriented bike, but the new CR1, starting with the 2010 model, is a semi-comfort bike - somewhat more relaxed geometry, and with seat-stays and a fork that are designed for more shock-absorbing. Probably not as comfort-oriented as a Specialized Roubaix - more like the "performance fit" Trek's...)

It seems plenty robust enough for my weight, although I also try to "ride light" by getting out of the saddle over bumps, etc.
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Old 05-14-10, 07:48 PM
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Get a Marinoni Sportivio Xtra made for you. Columbus steel with carbon stays and fork - made just for you in North America (its what I want so I vicariously want everyone to
have one)

http://www.marinoni.qc.ca/Images/Bik...ivoExpress.jpg
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Old 05-14-10, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BigDaddyPedals View Post
sure can.....factory lightweight i believe is the name.....i don't feel the need to go investigate it.....but a friend is a rep/owner of LBS and sells their bikes.....he was actually looking into getting one for himself.....decided instead on getting the Wilier cento uno with campy record.....anyways.....they said the weight limit on the light was 180....he is below that weight and could of gotten it....but decided on the Wilier for other reasons.....i'm looking at doing an IF custom build but with the appropriate build for my size......

i would also say i'm not a metal expert of any sort.....just stating what i knew to be fact.....not one to post something without it being true.....i guess i shouldn't of jumped into this.....obviously some are very passionate about their opinions on what metals or materials are better......i'll go back to pedaling:-)
If you go to Independent Fabrication's website this is what they say about the Factory Lightweight:
"Tubing is selected based on rider's weight and overall riding style or ideal handling." There is no weight limit...they are custom made.

The material that is used in the frame is really a non issue here. A frame designer can use any material to make a frame that is so frail a 100lb rider would destroy it. That same designer can make it strong enough to hold a 600lb rider. It just depends on what the designer wants to do with the material. CF frames do not have the longevity of other materials yet because they haven't been around that long! If you look though, there are still a lot of early speciallized and Kestrals running around that have been on the road for 20+ yrs. The newer CF bikes are even better designed and built. Time will tell but 20+ yrs is a good start. I'm not to worried about it. There are also a ton of well built AL bikes on the road that are way more than 20yrs old.
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Old 05-15-10, 07:03 PM
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I asked the same questions when I was shopping for a new bike. Bottom line....buy whatever bike turns you on the most. Durability shouldn't be an issue in the price range that you're looking at.

Here's my experience. I went from entry level aluminum to custom titanium. Huge difference. My aluminum bike was stiff and harsh. My new titanium bike is really smooth and responsive. Some of this can probably be attributed to going with a custom frame. I kept my aluminum bike as a commuter and put 25mm tires on it. The bigger tires approximate the smoothness of the titanium bike on 23mm tires, but it's still not as responsive. I test rode a few carbon fiber bikes before I bought titanium. I really liked the feel of the CF frames. My preference was for classic styling of the Ti frames over carbon so I went in that direction. That said, I think I would be perfectly happy on a CF frame.
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Old 05-17-10, 12:16 AM
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Thanks guys for all your input, it is greatly appreciated.

As of today it's been narrowed down to the Specialized Roubiax Elite and the Scott CR1 Team with the slight edge going to the Specialized from the LBS down the street as opposed to Sun and Ski that is a little further away. Both are fantastic bikes that ride awesome, they are spec'd and priced almost identically . The Roubiax is a little more "stealthy" looking while the Scott is a little "flashy" being all white. I'm sure I'll be just as happy with either. I'll wait until S&S has their big summer sale in June and see how much, if any they lower the price.

Thanks Again!
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Old 05-17-10, 12:41 AM
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Consider the Ti frame if you want a lifetime bike ...
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