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Longevity versus performance, kind of...

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Longevity versus performance, kind of...

Old 03-19-17, 05:53 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
The question is performance over long life. I will go with performance....
I beg to differ. At my age I have the biased opinion of preferring long-life. Of course, at my age, any performance is always a BIG PLUS.
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Old 03-19-17, 07:08 AM
  #52  
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Aww heck, at 59 I no longer worry about spending money on a hobby I enjoy. Bring me a nice CF bike with all the latest technical bells and whistles, and I'm in.

I thought the Domane would be a 'for life' bike, but the new model and the new Specialized Roubaix both have front and rear IsoSpeed and electric shift option. One of them will surely be my next victim. And to what some of the other posters said, there ain't nothing better than riding a CF bike hard.
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Old 03-19-17, 09:21 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by wthensler View Post
Aww heck, at 59 I no longer worry about spending money on a hobby I enjoy. Bring me a nice CF bike with all the latest technical bells and whistles, and I'm in.

I thought the Domane would be a 'for life' bike, but the new model and the new Specialized Roubaix both have front and rear IsoSpeed and electric shift option. One of them will surely be my next victim. And to what some of the other posters said, there ain't nothing better than riding a CF bike hard.
The new Roubaix is awesome to ride, if you have not ridden it yet.
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Old 03-19-17, 04:48 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
I keep reading posts in which people are concerned about how long a CF bike will last.

Let's take all of the other arguments off the table for a few minutes, the arguments about whether or not this is actually true.

Let's, for a few minutes take the fact that virtually world class racers use CF bikes as evidence they perform at a higher level.

If these things are true, that means that the CF bikes have higher performance and the steel bikes last longer.

What are you willing to give up to gain something else?

For example, if the CF bike lasted 20 years and the steel bike lasted 50 years ( both ridden hard and worn out), but the CF bike performed better the whole time, what would you choose?

Or, the CF bike lasted 40 years and the steel bike 60 years, but the CF bikes always performed better, what would you choose?

Please stick to the actual OP. I am very curious to hear the what, but more curious to hear the why! The other CF, Ti, Alum, and steel arguments can be saved for other threads, please.
For me it's not "How long a bike will last", but how it may fail. After all the research I've done I've concluded that CF is simply more likely to fail in catastrophic manner than steel. I admit that this type of failure is rare, and plenty of folks have ridden their CF bikes hard for decades with no issue. But the effects of a serious failure can be devastating... and I only have one working body.

For me, any performance gain CF may provide is simply not enough to offset the additional worry of nicks, scratches, hidden damage and surprise failure. I understand others come to differing conclusions, and that's cool.
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Old 03-19-17, 05:08 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
For me it's not "How long a bike will last", but how it may fail. After all the research I've done I've concluded that CF is simply more likely to fail in catastrophic manner than steel. I admit that this type of failure is rare, and plenty of folks have ridden their CF bikes hard for decades with no issue. But the effects of a serious failure can be devastating... and I only have one working body.

For me, any performance gain CF may provide is simply not enough to offset the additional worry of nicks, scratches, hidden damage and surprise failure. I understand others come to differing conclusions, and that's cool.
Although I don't agree with you, I appreciate your thoughtful response. That is, I know there is a chance of failure, but I believe it is so low that it is not worth worrying about. Also, my MTBs have suffered many crashes, nicks, scratches, etc... and nothing has ever developed from these.

The good news is we all get to pick our own bikes and there are a lot of choices. Thanks for joining in the discussion.
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Old 03-19-17, 11:05 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
For me it's not "How long a bike will last", but how it may fail. After all the research I've done I've concluded that CF is simply more likely to fail in catastrophic manner than steel. I admit that this type of failure is rare, and plenty of folks have ridden their CF bikes hard for decades with no issue. But the effects of a serious failure can be devastating... and I only have one working body.

For me, any performance gain CF may provide is simply not enough to offset the additional worry of nicks, scratches, hidden damage and surprise failure. I understand others come to differing conclusions, and that's cool.
This. Even if a CF bike would make me as fast as I was thirty years ago, it wouldn't be worth the risk of its failure mode. Ditto for aluminum. I've had six steel frames fail, and not a one of them put me at risk with its failure mode (mostly shearing off at the bottom bracket or one seat stay failing at the seat tube).

That said, I am not convinced that I could resist buying a nice CF bike if I actually got on one and rode it. Decades ago, I made the mistake of test riding a Merckx, and it took all my willpower to not walk out of the shop with it.
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Old 03-20-17, 12:09 AM
  #57  
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This thread fails to address the correct issue, as most threads of this sort do here on BF. In the contexts of cycling, time is immaterial. To say that a frame might last 20, or 50, or 100 years is meaningless. Buy it, hang it from a rafter in the garage and that frame will last until the next ice age and beyond. Mileage, or service life is the important statistic. My grandfather rode the same frame for 60 years-- which is immaterial-- but he also put in excess of 250,000 miles on it. That number is telling. I cracked both chainstays on an aluminum cross frame in just two years... but put almost 22,000 miles on it in that time. Did it fail before it's time? I can't say. I feel like I got my money's worth out of it.

Will a carbon frame survive more miles than aluminum, or titanium, or steel? Yes and no. Who knows. That said, in the distant future, do I expect to see guys riding carbon frames with 200,000+ miles on them? That seems to me highly unlikely.
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Old 03-20-17, 12:21 AM
  #58  
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The issue with longevity in CF frames is not so much the carbon fibre itself, but the binding agent -- the epoxies that are used to give it form and rigidity to that form. Remember, that carbon fibre by itself, whatever the weave, doesn't hold its form very well. The issue with epoxies always will be their durability in various environments, particularly very sunny conditions. Evidently, there have been advances in the standards of epoxies in regard to sun exposure, so it might be less than an issue it might have been a decade ago.

I don't know much more than that about the epoxies, but it's also useful to look at the history of fibreglass. Despite the binding agent being a different substance, some of the issues have included delamination due to cumulative stress, and moisture ingression.

Personally, I like the way steel bends without breaking suddenly. In some instances, a steel frame's performance can actually be improved by cold-setting the frame... for example spreading the rear chain-seat stays to take a wide hub/cassette arrangement. This cannot be done effectively (perhaps read safely) with CF and aluminium.

As to performance and longevity, this may seem a little out of date, but the late Colin Chapman, who revolutionised Formula One racing cars with his Lotus creations, was credited with designing lightweight but very powerful cars. He was once quoted (although I have to paraphrase here) that his cars were designed to last the length of a race and no longer. If you want to have that level of performance versus longevity, good luck. You either need a deep wallet or balls of steel.
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Old 03-20-17, 12:40 AM
  #59  
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The most direct answer to the question for me is I doubt that any material will fail me before I fall them. Like many I have Steel, Aluminum and CF and like them all. But if I had to choose one to go with me till my dirt nap it would be hard to give up the CF bike. All other things being equal when I pick up the bike to carry it up or down stairs I notice what bike I have. Close my eyes and I can tell the CF bike every time. Being lighter it feels easier to get up to speed and "seems" just a bit easier for those hills that gravity seems to be making steeper every year. It doesn't make much difference on longer rides either except if there is any climbing I would rather have the CF bike.

So I can see giving up 10 or 20 years of longevity for the equipment for the ease of use for the CF bike. The cranks, wheels, chain, cassette and maybe a derailleur will have to be replaced long before my frame. So assuming I will still be riding for the next 10 to 20 years I will go with the easiest one to get moving and up a hill. However I don't have to make that choice and I will thank you not to give my wife such ideas.
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Old 03-20-17, 12:49 AM
  #60  
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If I may toss a hand grenade into this dialog, the entire question may be moot.

These days, a major limiter of bike life isn't the frame. It's the obsolescence of consumable components, and the rapidly changing standards. It's still possible to find parts to keep a vintage bike with ISO headest and BB alive. But stuff is changing very rapidly, and it can be harder to find some parts for a 10 year ole bike than a 50 year old one.

The situation probably isn't all that bad, but many people are replacing bikes, not because of frame age (in miles or time) but either because keeping them on road is getting expensive, or because they want to upgrade.

Modern bikes aren't being built a keepers, they're being built as consumables that people are expected to replace the same way they replace cellphones and laptops.

Now, feel free to debate 20 or 50 year life cycles.
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Old 03-20-17, 10:47 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
If I may toss a hand grenade into this dialog, the entire question may be moot.

These days, a major limiter of bike life isn't the frame. It's the obsolescence of consumable components, and the rapidly changing standards. It's still possible to find parts to keep a vintage bike with ISO headest and BB alive. But stuff is changing very rapidly, and it can be harder to find some parts for a 10 year ole bike than a 50 year old one.

The situation probably isn't all that bad, but many people are replacing bikes, not because of frame age (in miles or time) but either because keeping them on road is getting expensive, or because they want to upgrade.

Modern bikes aren't being built a keepers, they're being built as consumables that people are expected to replace the same way they replace cellphones and laptops.

Now, feel free to debate 20 or 50 year life cycles.
But we were having so much fun not quite answering the OP. Why did you have to spoil it with a truth bomb?
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Old 03-20-17, 10:49 PM
  #62  
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Mmmm...both. Don't mess with Mr. Inbetween.
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Old 03-20-17, 10:52 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
But we were having so much fun not quite answering the OP. Why did you have to spoil it with a truth bomb?
Threads get stale and this was starting to, so I figured I'd stir the pot a bit.
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Old 03-20-17, 11:16 PM
  #64  
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I dunno... the premise of this entire thread smacks of... everyone knows that CF bikes have more performance and with enough posts I can convince everyone here to agree that they should own one, especially at their age.

Right now I have no desire to buy a CF bike. I have nothing against them, but there are other bikes I would consider before a CF. My interpretation of performance is not yours.

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Old 03-20-17, 11:21 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I dunno... the premise of this entire thread smacks of...
I was thinking along similar lines, but not about bikes.

What I like about this thread is the fact that a bunch of folks over 50 years old are thinking about 50 year service life in prospective bike purchases.

Talk about unbridled optimism!!!!

For my part, I'll be thrilled if I'm still buying green bananas 20 years from now.
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Old 03-21-17, 12:16 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I was thinking along similar lines, but not about bikes.

What I like about this thread is the fact that a bunch of folks over 50 years old are thinking about 50 year service life in prospective bike purchases.

Talk about unbridled optimism!!!!

For my part, I'll be thrilled if I'm still buying green bananas 20 years from now.
LOL! In 20 years, they will have all sorts of CF medical devices including bedpans. But I don't suppose that will spur on much discussion on performance vs. longevity.

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Old 03-21-17, 05:23 AM
  #67  
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The performance factor isn't something I kid myself about since I no longer race so time is more a factor of traffic and road conditions rather than the bike's engineering and the fact that I'm not an elite racer where abilities are so equally matched with my competitors that the performance difference between a carbon and steel frame is a concern.

I just like to ride so I ride what's fun and do so almost every day of the year. When I want to challenge myself I ride an old tech single speed bike... riding that up hills and against headwinds for 100 miles is testing the performance of the most important 'component' on the bike.

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Old 03-21-17, 05:23 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Threads get stale and this was starting to, so I figured I'd stir the pot a bit.
Since this thread is getting stale, I’d like to obliquely quote this previous post from page 1.
Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
I keep reading posts in which people are concerned about how long a CF bike will last…

If these things are true, that means that the CF bikes have higher performance and the steel bikes last longer.

What are you willing to give up to gain something else?

For example, if the CF bike lasted 20 years and the steel bike lasted 50 years (both ridden hard and worn out), but the CF bike performed better the whole time, what would you choose?

Or, the CF bike lasted 40 years and the steel bike 60 years, but the CF bikes always performed better, what would you choose?...
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
As far as I can see, you can indeed have performance** and longevity, but it does some down to whether you can afford it….

** Performance in this context does not mean out right speed because that is down to the person riding it and their strength and endurance. But rather is in the quality of the shifting, braking, ride, handling through corners and over rough surfaces, aerodynamics and (dare I say it) comfort.
Nicely said, @Rowan. When I first read the OP, I decided not to reply because I anticipated the thread would devolve into the tiresome argument about expensive (carbon fiber) bikes vs cheaper, “holier-than thou” (steel) bikes, as for example from a recent thread,
Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
The fact is on the really high priced bikes, there is an old saying that applies. "There is a sucker born every minute".

IMO so many of the really high priced bikes are bought by people with lots of money just for the snob appeal. But what is really funny is that only probably less than 1% of people that see their bike will be impressed. What is even more funny is that if the person on a $10,000 dollar wonder bike and I are setting at a stop light, he will be ignored…
Originally Posted by blue192 View Post
Watching people spend 3k 5k or 10k on a bicycle just brings a smug to my face knowing that I will have money in retirement and able to afford the things that matter in life.
I own a CF and have joined several such discussions.


IMO, Rowan's comment about various dimensions of performance being important in various ways to the valuation of the cyclist justifies the cost to the purchaser, and unlike speed is not necessarily quantifiable. I have posted my justifications as:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
The Bridgestone was totaled in 2012 in an accident from which I was not sure I would ride again.Well I did, and decided to get a CF. My trusted mechanic said here’s the bike you want, knowing my riding style. Well the MSRP was $8000, but he got it for me at half off…

Personally, I can afford it, and it was an offer I could not refuse. Cycling is that important to me and I’m fortunate to be able to continue the lifestyle, so that puts it in perspective for me.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My average speed stayed the same, but I think I was hampered by injuries from the accident, and I believe the new bike compensated at least to maintain my average speed. I did note that I was more inclined to sprint (successfully) to beat traffic lights before they turned red.

I further craved the smoothness of the ride, including the shifting, making cycle-commuting more pleasurable. Of greatest benefit, while long (greater than 40 mile) rides took the same amount of time as before, I felt much less tired at the end

At least I have no buyer's remorse about what I might be missing.”

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-21-17 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 03-21-17, 06:21 AM
  #69  
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Money, weight, performance, component level, frame material and longevity always come up in these threads. Not as much mention of another component, IMHO, of the buyer's experience that may influence some, and that is the intangible I guess I could loosely call "artistry" or "aesthetics" - craftsmanship doesn't seem to really apply to a product mass-produced, since that conjured up for me at least the image of Campagnolo at work in his little workshop in 1950s Italy making parts almost one by one - not Chinese factories the size of an NFL stadium.

Since the thread has gone stale, off-topic, with apologies to the OP, I've bought several of my bikes partially based on aesthetics- making the decision between brands and models comparable otherwise, I've liked certain things about certain bikes -like the bright orange frame of my Crux or the weird, cool-looking offset single "lefty" front fork on my one Cannondale.
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Old 03-21-17, 06:44 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
In theory, carbon fiber could outlast other materials. Carbon fiber is used in advanced aircraft, subject to huge stresses and environmental extremes.

However, Carbon Fiber construction in most bicycles are not produced to Aerospace standards. Carbon fiber production in the bicycle industry can be inconsistent. Some will last 100 years, most will not.

I have a number of steel bikes, two of which are 45 years old. These could be preserved for 100 years, if they are kept dry and clean.

I also have 3 Carbon Fiber bikes. I expect to use them until I retire from faster road cycling in 20 years. No reason to think that they will fail from normal use. I actually expect them to need less protection from moisture than my steel bikes. However, it's less likely that ordinary Carbon Fiber bikes will be preserved as timeless treasures the way that better steel bikes are. The bicycle industry is fixated on premature obsolescence and bicycles are not seen as long-term investments today.
On the other hand there are several hundred people that are dead because the tail made of CF broke off French Airbus airplanes. Many senior pilots wont fly them or allow their families to fly on them.
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Old 03-21-17, 06:48 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
Money, weight, performance, component level, frame material and longevity always come up in these threads. Not as much mention of another component, IMHO, of the buyer's experience that may influence some, and that is the intangible I guess I could loosely call "artistry" or "aesthetics" - craftsmanship doesn't seem to really apply to a product mass-produced, since that conjured up for me at least the image of Campagnolo at work in his little workshop in 1950s Italy making parts almost one by one - not Chinese factories the size of an NFL stadium.

Since the thread has gone stale, off-topic, with apologies to the OP, I've bought several of my bikes partially based on aesthetics- making the decision between brands and models comparable otherwise, I've liked certain things about certain bikes -like the bright orange frame of my Crux or the weird, cool-looking offset single "lefty" front fork on my one Cannondale.
Most threads are off topic or stale within the first couple of pages, so it is interesting to see how they change. Aesthetics are very important, and I cannot imagine buying an ugly bike, except maybe as my commuter. I do think that some of the CF frames are beautiful given their shapes and the flow of the tubes. I thought my Venge had a beautiful frame.
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Old 03-21-17, 06:55 AM
  #72  
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On the third hand, the accident board(s) found that the rudder had been cycled rapidly, beyond anything feasible in the case you incorrectly cite, for the umpteenth time.

I am friends with many airline pilots from my military service, and living in an aviation community. In conversations with them, none are shy about flying an Airbus A320, or any other of their aircraft. If the old MD, Lockheed, Northrup-Grumman, and Boeing can use CF in military aircraft (F/A 18 in all variants, the F-35 in all variants, etc.,) and the new generation of Boeing 77X and 78X airliners can use CF in their air frame and flight controls its good enough for them. Please read up and use current data about this item before incorrectly attributing the loss if lives to the wrong causation.
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Old 03-21-17, 08:19 AM
  #73  
rydabent
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The question that needs to be answered here is at least two fold. First of all what do you plan to do with the bike, and second how much money do you have. If you intend to race, and have the money maybe a CF bike would be a good choice. But give the fact that if the bike is going to be used just for everyday riding for several years, a metal frame bike would be a better choice. It is a given that the really expensive and really light CF bikes, are quiet delicate and tender for everyday use. Look at every day use, a very light CF bike can be blown over, and may be broken or damaged. CF bikes as I have noted before are really CF reinforced plastic bikes, and are subject to the normal problems with plastic, They gas off and get brittle, and since they are out doors, subject to deterioration by sun light. These are real world problems with plastics. OTOH a metal bike may only get a scratch or a ding.
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Old 03-21-17, 08:33 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
The question that needs to be answered here is at least two fold. First of all what do you plan to do with the bike, and second how much money do you have. If you intend to race, and have the money maybe a CF bike would be a good choice. But give the fact that if the bike is going to be used just for everyday riding for several years, a metal frame bike would be a better choice. It is a given that the really expensive and really light CF bikes, are quiet delicate and tender for everyday use. Look at every day use, a very light CF bike can be blown over, and may be broken or damaged. CF bikes as I have noted before are really CF reinforced plastic bikes, and are subject to the normal problems with plastic, They gas off and get brittle, and since they are out doors, subject to deterioration by sun light. These are real world problems with plastics. OTOH a metal bike may only get a scratch or a ding.
CF bikes are not as delicate as you imagine. I commute on a 2008 Tricross S-Works carbon bike. It was a relatively expensive ($6,000) bike in its day and I don't baby it in any way. It gets ridden in the winter only so sees the worst weather and is holding up well. Unlike my steel Colnago which broke at the bottom bracket after 9 years.

The notion that CF off-gases and gets brittle is just nonsense. Most CF bikes are painted so no possible UV effects.
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Old 03-21-17, 09:15 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by wthensler View Post
Aww heck, at 59 I no longer worry about spending money on a hobby I enjoy. Bring me a nice CF bike with all the latest technical bells and whistles, and I'm in.

I thought the Domane would be a 'for life' bike, but the new model and the new Specialized Roubaix both have front and rear IsoSpeed and electric shift option. One of them will surely be my next victim. And to what some of the other posters said, there ain't nothing better than riding a CF bike hard.
There is no "forever" bike. There will always be something newer or shinier or in some other way better coming out next year. If that's what floats your boat and you can afford it, why not?
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