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What do carbon bikes get more comfort features?

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What do carbon bikes get more comfort features?

Old 10-06-21, 08:32 AM
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Awesomeguy
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What do carbon bikes get more comfort features?

I noticed that features that are for comfort, like ISOSPEED of trek, and FUTURE SHOCK of Specialized, only come on the carbon bikes.
Why is it that these are not available on the aluminum versions of trek and specialized?
Is this a limitation of aluminum , or are companies purposefully trying to market\sell their carbon bikes?
Because if you do not care so much about the weight of the bike soo much and or are not racing, the only other reason to get the carbon versions , is for these enhanced features like ISOSPEED and FUTURE SCHOCK, personally i rather prefer to have stronger frame, and have the ISOSPEED\ FUTURE SCHOCK on the aluminum bikes but i don't have that option.
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Old 10-06-21, 08:46 AM
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- price point? This is the explanation you're looking for. Manufacturers include features that differentiate based on price point. Otherwise, the lower models would cannibalize the upper models, a bad business practice.
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Old 10-06-21, 08:51 AM
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...and I rode alongside a fellow who had the Specialized version of the steerer tube isolation. I watched its action as we rode. He said that he liked it. Now, I was riding along side over the same roadway. Same bumps, same everything else. I was on an aluminum frame, aluminum fork, carbon-over-aluminum stem and carbon bars. His were carbon frame, isolation steerer, aluminum stem and bars. He was on 28mm tires.

So, this action was moving up and down, very lightly damped. I had a "rigid" setup with whatever inherent flex was in the carbon bar. And I was on 25mm tires.

I didn't feel a thing from the road, not a bit of input. So, why did his appear to be flexing?

Inefficiency. Underdamped with too light a spring tension, at least to my eye. Would I want that? Um, no.
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Old 10-06-21, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Awesomeguy View Post
I noticed that features that are for comfort, like ISOSPEED of trek, and FUTURE SHOCK of Specialized, only come on the carbon bikes.
Why is it that these are not available on the aluminum versions of trek and specialized?
Is this a limitation of aluminum , or are companies purposefully trying to market\sell their carbon bikes?
Because if you do not care so much about the weight of the bike soo much and or are not racing, the only other reason to get the carbon versions , is for these enhanced features like ISOSPEED and FUTURE SCHOCK, personally i rather prefer to have stronger frame, and have the ISOSPEED\ FUTURE SCHOCK on the aluminum bikes but i don't have that option.
Cannondale used to do this with headshock equipped road bikes ---- i think they were even used in Paris-Roubaix (everything was aluminum in the 90's )

But regarding marketing and selling their up market models? -- Yes , definitely

The carboin frame is likely stronger than the aluminum frame though, - maybe a little bit lighter, but a bigger advantage to a high end carbon frame over aluminum is the frame can be made to have damping characteristics itself depending on how the carbon cloth is laid up
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Old 10-06-21, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
- price point? This is the explanation you're looking for. Manufacturers include features that differentiate based on price point. Otherwise, the lower models would cannibalize the upper models, a bad business practice.
The reason my Mazda Protege DX came with fewer standard features than the LX model. Th reason my Forester came with fewer standard features than the Touring edition and more than the edition just below it.

Not hard to understand if you think about it.
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Old 10-06-21, 09:37 AM
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If they're successful, these features will eventually trickle down. Then they'll make different iterations to satisfy the various price points, as well as a gravel-specific version that the marketers will tell you has "revolutionized the sport."

In the meantime, there's always this technological wonder:



Last edited by Rolla; 10-06-21 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 10-06-21, 10:10 AM
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The integrated frame storage might be one of the rare features that only carbon could easily accommodate. Shocks, decoupling designs, & other steering suspension features are likely equipped with bicycles that are more likely to sell at a higher price point.
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Old 10-06-21, 10:19 AM
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Upselling and different price brackets. While aluminum really isn't that much cheaper to produce than carbon, it is heavier and can't be produced in the aero shapes carbon can thus it's seen as less of performance oriented material. Yeah it be cool if manufactures gave us the same new tech on every model but how could they justify the prices for different models other than weight and group set?
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Old 10-06-21, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
In the meantime, there's always this technological wonder:



Donít knock it; they work pretty well on road bikes that have been converted for Path / gravel duty. And that Redshift that all the gravel guys are swooning over is just a Girvin with a better website.

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Old 10-06-21, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
If they're successful, these features will eventually trickle down. Then they'll make different iterations to satisfy the various price points, as well as a gravel-specific version that the marketers will tell you has "revolutionized the sport."

In the meantime, there's always this technological wonder:


Or the full deal!



Comfortable and fast as a scalded cat!
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Old 10-06-21, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Jrasero View Post
Upselling and different price brackets. While aluminum really isn't that much cheaper to produce than carbon, it is heavier and can't be produced in the aero shapes carbon can thus it's seen as less of performance oriented material. Yeah it be cool if manufactures gave us the same new tech on every model but how could they justify the prices for different models other than weight and group set?
My aluminum Emonda ALR was lighter than the carbon Emonda SL versions at the time, not sure about the current versions. Hydroforming aluminum tubes in more recent AL based frames have reduced the weight and dramatically improved the ride quality and gives the manufacturers the ability to mimic the carbon frames dimensions. The ALR had the same exact fork as the SL, and had a much nicer ride than the SL. So I bought the ALR, put a carbon seat post and carbon bars on it, and saved a boat load of cash over the carbon frame. Last time I checked it, with pedals, this bike weighed in at 15.9 lbs, but I just changed it to tubeless with some new wheels, so I know that will add a little weight to it.

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you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.





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Old 10-06-21, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Donít knock it; they work pretty well on road bikes that have been converted for Path / gravel duty. And that Redshift that all the gravel guys are swooning over is just a Girvin with a better website.
I'm not knocking it -- just an example of how "everything old is new again."
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Old 10-06-21, 11:35 PM
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Don't want to derail the topic but I love that red carbon fiber Trek !
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Old 10-07-21, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by frogman View Post
Don't want to derail the topic but I love that red carbon fiber Trek !
If you mean the pic above, that is a Trek Emonda ALR (aluminum) frame. But I have a Domane SLR7 in the same color . I really like the Viper Red.
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Old 10-08-21, 04:29 AM
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Maybe the extra stuff is needed to enhance the ride and comfort of the carbon bikes.
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Old 10-08-21, 06:48 AM
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Trek had rear IsoSpeed in the Domane ALR (aluminum), not sure if they still do. Even with carbon frames, front IsoSpeed has always been a little more exclusive and, if you take one apart, it's clear that it's considerably more complicated and expensive than a normal head tube; working that in to an aluminum frame would probably be more difficult than with carbon and would most likely put it at a price point that doesn't make sense.
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Old 10-08-21, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
...and I rode alongside a fellow who had the Specialized version of the steerer tube isolation. I watched its action as we rode. He said that he liked it. Now, I was riding along side over the same roadway. Same bumps, same everything else. I was on an aluminum frame, aluminum fork, carbon-over-aluminum stem and carbon bars. His were carbon frame, isolation steerer, aluminum stem and bars. He was on 28mm tires.

So, this action was moving up and down, very lightly damped. I had a "rigid" setup with whatever inherent flex was in the carbon bar. And I was on 25mm tires.

I didn't feel a thing from the road, not a bit of input. So, why did his appear to be flexing?

Inefficiency. Underdamped with too light a spring tension, at least to my eye. Would I want that? Um, no.
Maybe a few things at play:
  • If you felt nothing from the road then you are either using hyperbole to try to make your point stronger or lack sufficient perception to feel nuances of the road, especially since you specifically mention bumps.
  • There are multiple versions of Specialized Future Shock that you didn't seem interested enough to get or provide any details of which was on the bike in question, so that makes it difficult to say if it was version 1, 1.5 or 2.0 and if it was one that is adjustable, which spring was installed or what setting the dial was set to.
  • 28 vs 25 tires tells us very little if we don't know the actual tire or pressure. A 28 Schwalbe Marathon is going to be a lot firmer than a 25 Schwalbe Pro One, similar for different pressures in each.
  • Rider weight, balance and body position can certainly play a big role. If a rider's upper body is moving with each pedal stroke, they can be pushing & pulling on the bar causing the movement. Remember this is a suspension between rider and frame, not frame and wheel.
  • If it was moving up and down, but not bottoming out and simply moving within it's normal range, then I wouldn't say it's underdamped.
He said he liked it, so why do you feel the need to judge its usefulness from what sounds like a previously formed opinion, questionable visual observation and a lack of actually experiencing it yourself?
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Old 10-08-21, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy View Post
He said he liked it, so why do you feel the need to judge its usefulness from what sounds like a previously formed opinion, questionable visual observation and a lack of actually experiencing it yourself?
Excellent points. As to your question about "why I felt the need to judge...", I'm not sure, really. I was riding alongside him for about 3 miles on a freshly paved roadway and we had a chance to chat at length. As he was talking, I watched the suspension moving, and thought to myself "why would this be necessary at all, and why is it moving right now?"

His bike was carbon to my eye, a matte green/grey color, and he said 2 years old, if that helps. His riding style was not particularly smooth and not especially strong, and he had some upper body bobbing, to be sure. I was able to catch him without a change in effort, and I'm maybe average or slightly above fitness for my age (among riders). He was retirement age, maybe mid-60s, but I'm guessing. How he pumped his tires is an unknown. Many folks overfill their tires, as you undoubtedly know.

About me, I'm 62, and have been riding since the early 1970s, and have owned and ridden (but not counted) maybe 80 bikes or so. I don't know. I'm pretty sensitive to the character of a bike when riding it, including the influences of fit, wheels and tires, and frame. In the scenario I've described, my bike was a fixed gear on a modified track frame. The frame is pretty stiff, the wheels less so, but as I described the bars have some flex in them. On my 25s, they are Conti Sport IIs - cheap but fairly pliable, and not durable - inflated to 93 front, 98 rear. I weight 176 or so. The bike weighs another 18-ish.

When I say imperceptible road input, I mean it. Smooth as glass to my feel, as compared with typical macadam in the mid-Atlantic, which begins to degrade and become rutted after three winters or so.

Anyway, if any of this is helpful, then good. But you made great points in your post.
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Old 10-08-21, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Excellent points. As to your question about "why I felt the need to judge...", I'm not sure, really. I was riding alongside him for about 3 miles on a freshly paved roadway and we had a chance to chat at length. As he was talking, I watched the suspension moving, and thought to myself "why would this be necessary at all, and why is it moving right now?"

His bike was carbon to my eye, a matte green/grey color, and he said 2 years old, if that helps. His riding style was not particularly smooth and not especially strong, and he had some upper body bobbing, to be sure. I was able to catch him without a change in effort, and I'm maybe average or slightly above fitness for my age (among riders). He was retirement age, maybe mid-60s, but I'm guessing. How he pumped his tires is an unknown. Many folks overfill their tires, as you undoubtedly know.

About me, I'm 62, and have been riding since the early 1970s, and have owned and ridden (but not counted) maybe 80 bikes or so. I don't know. I'm pretty sensitive to the character of a bike when riding it, including the influences of fit, wheels and tires, and frame. In the scenario I've described, my bike was a fixed gear on a modified track frame. The frame is pretty stiff, the wheels less so, but as I described the bars have some flex in them. On my 25s, they are Conti Sport IIs - cheap but fairly pliable, and not durable - inflated to 93 front, 98 rear. I weight 176 or so. The bike weighs another 18-ish.

When I say imperceptible road input, I mean it. Smooth as glass to my feel, as compared with typical macadam in the mid-Atlantic, which begins to degrade and become rutted after three winters or so.

Anyway, if any of this is helpful, then good. But you made great points in your post.
That definitely sounds like his pedaling technique and upper body bobbing would be why you saw the amount of movement despite the smooth road surface. The Future Shock doesn't know if the force is coming up from the road or down from the rider, it's simply a damper in between the two. In some cases, when technique is not very smooth, having some flex in one of the contact points can be good for overall comfort, even when it's not necessarily working strictly as designed. It may be allowing his upper body movements to not cause as much constant movement between him and the saddle. I'm just speculating based on the info, and I don't know what his point of comparison is, or if he also rides on rougher roads where it can certainly benefit hands/wrists/upper body comfort.

I had a prior generation Roubaix with the first gen Future Shock and found it to be quite a bit more comfortable on the often very poor condition pavement here in New York. That was also compared to my Boardman SLS which also has a much lower stack height and running 25s vs 26-32s on the Roubaix, so not an even comparison otherwise. Now I've swapped the Roubaix for a gravel bike for my more comfortable, all weather, all terrain steed and find that even riding on 45s at much lower pressures, the Roubaix was probably slightly more comfortable on crappy pavement.
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Old 10-11-21, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Trek had rear IsoSpeed in the Domane ALR (aluminum), not sure if they still do. Even with carbon frames, front IsoSpeed has always been a little more exclusive and, if you take one apart, it's clear that it's considerably more complicated and expensive than a normal head tube; working that in to an aluminum frame would probably be more difficult than with carbon and would most likely put it at a price point that doesn't make sense.
i had an aluminum frame Trek Domane with an ISOspeed elastomeric decoupler near the seat stays. I concluded it was pretty much a worthless gimmick on that bike. Most uncomfortable ride Iíve owned. Iím thinking they just couldnít overcome the inherent nature of the aluminumís harsh ride on that frame.
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Old 10-11-21, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Maybe the extra stuff is needed to enhance the ride and comfort of the carbon bikes.
Surprising how many owners of steel bike seem to be obsessed with fitting the widest, softest, lowest-pressure tires on their bikes, even to the point of installing 650b wheels.
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Old 10-11-21, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Surprising how many owners of steel bike seem to be obsessed with fitting the widest, softest, lowest-pressure tires on their bikes, even to the point of installing 650b wheels.
I think that's a lot of the cycling industry. Maybe it's for gravel riding. Most of the steel roadies I know are still on 23s/25s. The exception would be the bikes that came with 27 x 1 1/4. My inner circle of riders would be small, however.
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Old 10-11-21, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Surprising how many owners of steel bike seem to be obsessed with fitting the widest, softest, lowest-pressure tires on their bikes, even to the point of installing 650b wheels.
To be fair, I also have old school Selle Turbo saddles. That makes the ride comfortable no matter which bike you're riding.
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Old 10-11-21, 06:07 AM
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Allow me to rephrase the question the way I suspect the OP meant it: Why do carbon frames get the vibration damping but not aluminum when aluminum is supposedly a harsh ride, like a tuning fork, while carbon is supposed to be the Holy Grail of smooth riding. We've been conditioned to believe that aluminum needs it, that's why they often come with carbon forks.
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Old 10-11-21, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Excellent points. As to your question about "why I felt the need to judge...",
DO NOT feel any need to justify yourself on that! I completely reject this idea that we are not allowed to have our own thoughts, that making observations and having opinions and judgements is inherently bad. It's not. It's natural. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Lot's of hypocrisy incoming!
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