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Carbon vs. Aluminum for 'cross racing.

Old 07-29-10, 07:50 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by 4SEVEN3 View Post
Carbon cracks.....aluminum bends.
And aluminum cracks, and carbon bends.

mzeffex does not know that a carbon frame would fare better in a collision than an aluminum frame. A collision that "only" bent aluminum (and therefore compromised frame integrity because of aluminum's terrible fatigue resistance) would probably do nothing to the carbon frame except perhaps chipping some resin or paint, which is easily repaired and would not weaken the frame. A collision that cracked carbon would almost surely do the same to a Coke-can frame.

If the frames were of equal weight, smart money would be on the carbon frame.
http://www.calfeedesign.com/whitepaper4.htm
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Old 07-29-10, 07:56 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by flargle View Post
And aluminum cracks, and carbon bends.

mzeffex does not know that a carbon frame would fare better in a collision than an aluminum frame. A collision that "only" bent aluminum (and therefore compromised frame integrity because of aluminum's terrible fatigue resistance) would probably do nothing to the carbon frame except perhaps chipping some resin or paint, which is easily repaired and would not weaken the frame. A collision that cracked carbon would almost surely do the same to a Coke-can frame.

If the frames were of equal weight, smart money would be on the carbon frame.
http://www.calfeedesign.com/whitepaper4.htm
It's not a coke can frame or of equal weight of the carbon. It's heavier and thicker. It's no CAAD frame by any means. That said, if I have my bike and just drop it on a barricade, I'm pretty sure that out of these two frames, the carbon wouldn't be as good. Maybe it wouldn't crack it, but a chip is something to be concerned about. The aluminum might have a small dent, maybe not. Either way, like I said, it's not a beer can frame.
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Old 08-03-10, 11:16 AM
  #28  
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I say go with the crux simply because it is designed to be a race frame and the Crux carbon is just a renamed Tricross which has a more urban oriented geometry. On that note the nice Cannondale cross frame is made of aluminum and as strong and light as carbon, if you are a Cannondale dealer as well.
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Old 08-03-10, 12:56 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by flargle View Post
And aluminum cracks, and carbon bends.

mzeffex does not know that a carbon frame would fare better in a collision than an aluminum frame. A collision that "only" bent aluminum (and therefore compromised frame integrity because of aluminum's terrible fatigue resistance) would probably do nothing to the carbon frame except perhaps chipping some resin or paint, which is easily repaired and would not weaken the frame. A collision that cracked carbon would almost surely do the same to a Coke-can frame.

If the frames were of equal weight, smart money would be on the carbon frame.
http://www.calfeedesign.com/whitepaper4.htm
All of the above is utter bollocks with the exception of the point that cf has better strength to weight.* Fatigue resistance has VERY little to do with resisting crash damage or not! (And while pure alu may have relatively poor fatigue resistance, in the real world tubes are built out of carefully designed alloys.)

Beside its bollocksosity, it also misses the key point about CF and crash damage: the danger of delamination. This can be invisible but leave your frame ready to snap in half at a later time for no apparent reason.

* Although even this doesn't mean that CF will do better than an alu frame of the same weight in a crash. Strength is a measure of structure's ability to support weight, NOT to resist damage! A CF frame can be strong but still delaminate easily.

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-03-10 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 08-03-10, 01:00 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by mzeffex View Post
It's not a coke can frame or of equal weight of the carbon. It's heavier and thicker. It's no CAAD frame by any means. That said, if I have my bike and just drop it on a barricade, I'm pretty sure that out of these two frames, the carbon wouldn't be as good. Maybe it wouldn't crack it, but a chip is something to be concerned about. The aluminum might have a small dent, maybe not. Either way, like I said, it's not a beer can frame.
Another problem with CF is that chip or scratch can prime the frame for catastrophic failure. Meaning that, again, you can be riding along and ZING! no more bike frame. That's not to say you shouldn't buy a CF bike - but touting as whoever was doing for its resistance to crash damage is crazy. Fortunately crossers tend to crash on soft ground - I've read horror stories about carbon crit bikes being written off after trivial crashes on tarmac.

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-03-10 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 08-03-10, 02:11 PM
  #31  
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To make this decision worse. The geometry isn't the same between the CF and aluminum. Specialized updated the aluminum and left the carbon the same as the tri cross. (well, that's what I was told by the specialized dealer, they haven't posted specs on the site yet. I believe dealers have it in their newest book though).

I was going to go for the aluminum for the new geometry, internal cable routing and $500. Unfortunately my finances didn't work out this year.
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Old 08-03-10, 05:49 PM
  #32  
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my carbon road fork 'creaks' alot....and seat post. all the carbon i got. except for my footprints....

but a full carbon frame is for those who can afford it...and for cx? why even consider carbon? i love my aluxx...and steel steeds
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Old 08-03-10, 08:02 PM
  #33  
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Well I'm going with aluminum. That's that. Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-06-10, 03:12 PM
  #34  
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Might as well go titanium if your thinking about carbon....that kicks ass on both. Id go light steel or titanium myself!
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Old 08-16-10, 08:26 AM
  #35  
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I rode a carbon framed triathlon bike for years and loved it. I also have a carbon mountain bike that rides incredibly well. For the latter, I wasn't looking for carbon but the local shop had an incredible deal and I couldn't pass it up (turns out it was miss-marked, but they honored it anyway). My road bike is titanium and I love the ride and the feeling that it is indestructible. Anyway, I also did a bunch of research on using a carbon mountain bike frame and was convinced that they are essentially just as durable as aluminum bikes. I wasn't willing to pay up for one, but when the deal presented itself, I jumped on it. Not sure if any of that helps...
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Old 08-17-10, 12:14 PM
  #36  
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I've never enjoyed riding on aluminum therefore would choose carbon but what about a good steel frame?
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Old 08-18-10, 07:34 AM
  #37  
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Ok now that this is settled let me put in my 2 cents. I've rode all kinds of cross bikes over the years, all AL and up until I got my Lemond Poprad in 853 steel I had no idea how harsh a ride my AL bikes were. I can't speak for carbon frames off road but I'll never ride another AL cross bike. The steel bike is heavier yes but the ride is so forgiving that it makes the extra weight worth it.
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Old 08-18-10, 09:06 AM
  #38  
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Last year I rode a 25 pound steel single speed conversion. It was a beast over the barriers and on run ups. But the ride was nice.

I decided to be more competitve this year in CX and race with gears - I'm not a masher! So went around to different shops to try to find something. I'm not a big fan of Treks, but that's what I get my team deal on. Was looking hard at the XO2 as my price was going to be okay. But I don't think the all AL frame w/ carbon fork justifies the retail price, nor my team price. Kept searching and test rode a few carbon fiber bikes on the off road trails near another bike shop. Tried an '09 Tricross and an '11 Crux - both CF. Crux rode beautfiully soaking everything up. Tricross was a little stiff, but power transfer was nice. Probably due to frame construction, lugged v. monocoque.

All in all, I decided to go with carbon fiber A) to head off the upgrade bug next year LOL and B) lightweight, absorbant ride. The less harsh the ride for me the better due to back and shoulder problems.

So my Blue Norcross should be here in hopefully a week and a half! Excited to say the least!
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Old 08-19-10, 03:23 PM
  #39  
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Are you planning on racing cross? If so, it's a lot of stop, go, run, back on the bike, go again, stop, run, etc.

Carbon would help your accelerations and would weigh less when you're lugging that thing up a steep a hill.

Just a thought.
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Old 08-19-10, 03:41 PM
  #40  
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Still say cross racing to win is a 2 bike team for each rider, plus a bike cleaner
and quick triage mechanic...

Pick an A bike, and a B bike. Can't decide between metal and Carbon Composite?
.. one of each, & fit them with 105 stuff so you can afford the backup bike.
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Old 08-19-10, 11:00 PM
  #41  
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Depends on where you race, in Central/Southern Cal...it doesn't start raining here until February. 1 bike plus wheels in the pit is pretty standard.
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Old 08-22-10, 10:58 AM
  #42  
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If you have the money a Lynsky Ti built up with SRAM Apex for $2700.

Or you could get the highly regarded Motobecane Fantom CX for about $1000 less.

CX racing bikes can do dual purpose as road training bikes with a wheel swap, so they are a good value IMO and therefore its worth investing in one that will last.
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Old 08-22-10, 11:46 AM
  #43  
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Buy two aluminum and use the money you saved on a quiver of tubular tires and wheels.

I roll with 2 bikes and about 6 pairs of tubular wheels to every cross race
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Old 08-22-10, 06:54 PM
  #44  
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You said "racing", right?
I'd spend money on redundancy vs. bling.
If you are sponsored, have a significant discount, or have deep pockets then ignore me...whatever.

Frame material is probably lowest on my list of limiters.
Worrying about buzz and harsh ride in cross *racing*? That's silly.

Cross is hard. Stuff will break. That stuff can add up over a season.
Heck, the season hasn't even started yet, but I'm already replacing/repairing stuff from the weekly "practice" races around here.

See nitro's post above. that's how you show up to a 'cross race.
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Old 08-22-10, 08:43 PM
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Well the Ridley aluminum frame will be here tomorrow.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:00 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by myclem View Post
Worrying about buzz and harsh ride in cross *racing*? That's silly. .
I disagree, see former post.

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Old 08-23-10, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
I disagree, see former post.

Full disclosure: I recently switched from a light Aluminum frame with CF rear triangle to an almost 2 lb heavier steel Poprad. But switching was about fit rather than material. I sized down.

Yes, on the road with high pressure slicks, I can notice the ride difference on longer rides.
But during the few practice 'cross races I've had on the new-to-me steel frame, I don't perceive much difference in harshness when my lungs are on fire and I'm bleeding through my eyes. I suck just as much on steel, cf, and aluminum.

Maybe if I sucked less, and my long list of limiters wasn't so...ummm...long, then frame material might get bumped up in priority.
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Old 09-25-10, 03:24 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by mzeffex View Post
I think I'll go for the carbon. I rode it today and it's great. The only thing is the new re-designed Phenom saddle creaks like crazy, not just the one bike but all. They did something wrong.
Warranty the saddle. Some of the new phenoms do that, most don't.
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Old 09-25-10, 08:18 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by flargle View Post
And aluminum cracks, and carbon bends.

mzeffex does not know that a carbon frame would fare better in a collision than an aluminum frame. A collision that "only" bent aluminum (and therefore compromised frame integrity because of aluminum's terrible fatigue resistance) would probably do nothing to the carbon frame except perhaps chipping some resin or paint, which is easily repaired and would not weaken the frame. A collision that cracked carbon would almost surely do the same to a Coke-can frame.
This is wrong in two ways.

Firstly, the alu alloy tubes used in modern cross racers do NOT have "terrible fatigue resistance" - a lot of metallurgy and engineering has gone into this. In fact the problem was solved at least 20 years ago, which is why alu MTBs from that time like Kona Cindercones - which have much harder lives than crossers - are still aound.

Second, the problem with carbon isn't so much its vulnerability to damage as that it can be damaged with no visible sign. If an alu frame is risky to ride, you'll see the problem. If a carbon frame has become delaminated you probably won't know anything about it until it snaps while you're riding it.

Which isn't to say you shouldn't ride a carbon crosser - I don't think delamination is much of a risk from a crash on soft ground - but let's get the facts right.
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Old 09-30-10, 11:52 AM
  #50  
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I say go with the alu this year and reward yourself next year with carbon. Take the $ and buy some wheels.

However, I went carbon this year and stiffness, agility are measurably better over my alu bike. The first time I road it I went up a small grass hill and I was like whoa! The weight difference is about 1.5 pounds, again this helps over 45 minutes of racing, plus another the following day. There are certainly people winning on both materials, but a $500 difference isn't a lot for the Crux. With all this said, a custom geo steel Strong, PM or Vanilla will be next for me.
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