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Are Carbon bikes worth it?

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Are Carbon bikes worth it?

Old 09-08-17, 06:19 PM
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zachstep
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Are Carbon bikes worth it?

My LBS has a Domane S 5 on sale (2017 model, $700 off the retail price). But I'd have to upgrade my car hitch to support it, and find a rack to store it in vs just parking with a kickstand.

My question is, are Carbon fiber bikes really worth it to someone who isn't going to race, but just wants to go fast for longish distances? Note, my idea of fast and long might be different than what "she" thinks it is

The only reason I'm considering this bike is because, it feels amazing, and is priced about $5 above the Aluminum model with the same features. Oh and it wouldn't need to be ordered in.
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Old 09-08-17, 06:25 PM
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Maybe. Depends on your values and goals and budget.

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Old 09-08-17, 06:27 PM
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If you already have a good bike, likely not.
I ride a 2002 bike. I have a Venge I could ride, but not worth the time to set it up for me.
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Old 09-08-17, 06:31 PM
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No.

But not because they're CF. Simply because bicycle prices have gotten ridiculous in general.
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Old 09-08-17, 06:39 PM
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Apparently you think so. You are the one who said the bike is amazing. Is amazing "worth it" whatever "it" is?
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Old 09-08-17, 06:51 PM
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“Worth it” is relative. Is good carbon fiber a better material? Yes it is. However, I would buy a good AL bike (Trek Emonda ALR, CAAD12) over a lower end carbon bike any day of the week.
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Old 09-08-17, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by zachstep View Post
My LBS has a Domane S 5 on sale (2017 model, $700 off the retail price). But I'd have to upgrade my car hitch to support it...
If it weighs that much, maybe you should consider steel.
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Old 09-08-17, 07:08 PM
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With all the issues I had with mine this year, I likely would just get an aluminum or titanium frame next time. But since Trek has a life time warranty, I'm stuck with my Emonda forever

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Old 09-08-17, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by awesomeame View Post
With all the issues I had with mine this year, I likely would just get an aluminum or titanium frame next time. But since Trek has a life time warranty, I'm stuck with my Emonda forever

Matt
How do you figure? You could sell it. And what about n+1?
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Old 09-08-17, 07:16 PM
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I'd use weight as your guide. A 22lb carbon bike realistically won't perform any better than a 22lb steel bike. A 17lb carbon bike will outperform a 22lb steel bike and a 17lb steel bike will outperform a 22lb carbon bike. Unless one of the frames is losing watts in power transfer (flexy frame) the material itself won't make much difference. I have a 1986 3Rensho steel bike that outperforms many of my carbon bikes. Yes, it's stiff, and quite light for a steel bike.
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Old 09-08-17, 08:46 PM
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OK, I'll bite, Yes, it's worth it. After riding an Aluminium Specialized Allez, I upgraded to a carbon frame and I noticed I could accelerate faster, climb easier, and pedal faster with less effort. Plus, it was more comfortable over rough roads.
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Old 09-08-17, 08:55 PM
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Did someone say kickstand?
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Old 09-08-17, 08:58 PM
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Nope. Avoid those plastic bikes. Steel is real! Also If you don't race and don't have a kickstand you are a poser.
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Old 09-08-17, 09:13 PM
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I had the opposite experience: going from budget Nashbar Carbon frame to mid range aluminum, Bowman Palace:R. I find the new aluminum frame climbs and accelerates better; about equal in the comfort department. Nothing against Carbon though, I like steel too. My steel bike is the most comfortable of all, but different animal...all-day bike with 28 tires and less aggressive setup.

Will add to OP if a bike feels "amazing" that's probably the one you should go with.

Originally Posted by Sojodave View Post
OK, I'll bite, Yes, it's worth it. After riding an Aluminium Specialized Allez, I upgraded to a carbon frame and I noticed I could accelerate faster, climb easier, and pedal faster with less effort. Plus, it was more comfortable over rough roads.

Last edited by MagicHour; 09-08-17 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 09-08-17, 09:18 PM
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General, carbon is more comfortable, stiffer, and lighter than metal bikes. I find carbon far more comfortable that aluminum alloy. To me, yeah worth it. I'd only consider carbon for road and Ti for my "cross" or gravel grinder bike. My gravel/cross bike is an alloy Specialized but I often get tempted to switch it to Ti. I'd do carbon but after selling my Moots years ago, I often get the urge to buy another Ti bike.
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Old 09-08-17, 09:38 PM
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The average bicycle retail store earns annual pre-tax profit of 5.5 percent, but the top 25 percent bring home nearly three times that.

They are similar in many ways, but when an average store owner locks the doors for the final time to end a given year, he or she will have netted about $46,000 in profit. The owner of a high profit store nets $123,000.

Fred Clements: A formula for high-profit bike stores | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News
...I think the profit margins are better if you own a liquor store. Without expensive plastic bikes on year end closeout, there would be a lot fewer brick and mortar bike shops.
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Old 09-08-17, 10:59 PM
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Yes, they are.

And in this case, at a $5 difference, I'd say go for it.
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Old 09-08-17, 11:05 PM
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I'm not the one riding it, but for five bucks difference, I'd go carbon all day long (having ridden steel, aluminum, and carbon).

Ride them both, and decide for yourself.

Fwiw, I would not buy an aluminum road bike, but that is just my choice.

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Old 09-08-17, 11:39 PM
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I've got a couple of bikes. I just love my vintage CF bike. It is light, nimble, and just feels like a bicycle should feel.

But I also like my vintage steel road bike. There is still a bit of fire in the old beast.

It is hard to say which bike is faster on the level. Both the steel road bike and the CF road bike are similar in speed, with the biggest variable being the person pedaling.

I do think the CF bike does have a slight advantage on hill climbs. It is a couple decades newer than the old bike, and perhaps nearly 10 pounds lighter. But my last hard hill climb ride... was on the old steel bike... Why? Well, it turns out that I do a lot of utility cycling, and that ride worked best commuting with the steel bike.

I am considering finding/making a trailer hitch for my CF bike, but so far it hasn't towed a trailer, or carried a bike rack. My old steel road bike (as well as the aluminum Tricross) carries a bike rack, and both have towed trailers.
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Old 09-09-17, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
Did someone say kickstand?
I know, right.
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Old 09-09-17, 12:18 AM
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Buy the bike not the material. A good bike is a good bike. For $5 more for the same model, same components, in carbon vs aluminum? I would take that bet. Carbon costs more, a lot more. Being carbon is not automatically better, so to hit a price point, don't get one that feels like **** just because it is a particular material.

As far as the old "stiffer is more efficient" truism, that train is pretty much derailed. Independent studies using finite element analysis and real world testing have not shown any power loss between crank and the ground due to flex among a wide range of performance bikes. So it boils down to what feels good to you.
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Old 09-09-17, 04:55 AM
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Whether it's worth it depends on whether you can appreciate the difference. Obviously you can appreciate the difference between the bike in question and what you're used to, but ideally you'd be able to ride the Al version of the same bike to compare it. If you'd ridden something similar in Al, that might be good enough, but the mention of kickstands suggest that you're comparing it to a MUCH different kind of bike.
We can't really answer your question, because it's not only a question of value, but also sensitivity, which is entirely personal. You can best answer it for yourself if you can test ride a similar bike in aluminum and see if it is equally (or more) "amazing."
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Old 09-09-17, 05:35 AM
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My personal experiences with carbon bikes is limited to many test rides over the years but I always come to the same conclusion which is there's a huge difference between an entry level carbon bike and a high end model. I had my mind set on a new carbon road bike a few years ago because that's what everyone seems to think is the best option but after test riding countless models at several stores over several weeks, a salesman who was probably tired of helping me handed me a Caad10 and said "go take this for a spin". As soon as I got the bike up to speed I instantly had a smile on my face and knew which bike I was buying. The Caad10 felt firm and lively compared to all of the carbon bikes I had tested and it just felt right.

I will say that there's a huge difference between low-end and high-end carbon. Low-end carbon feels like a sluggish, bouncy noodle and the higher end carbon feels a lot like my Caad10, firm and lively. You definitely get what you pay for and I can't afford the good stuff.

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Old 09-09-17, 05:50 AM
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I looked at the title and I was sure that this was going to be a 11-year-old zombie thread.
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Old 09-09-17, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I looked at the title and I was sure that this was going to be a 11-year-old zombie thread.
Just wait another 11 years
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