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Planet X Carbon Shimano Dura Ace real bargain or just get what you pay for?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Planet X Carbon Shimano Dura Ace real bargain or just get what you pay for?

Old 05-30-11, 05:24 PM
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bus_ter
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Planet X Carbon Shimano Dura Ace real bargain or just get what you pay for?

I've been looking around for a new mid/upper spec road bike. I always like to research my purchases carefully and make an informed choice. It's never been so difficult as it is with bikes. There is just such a massive choice of bike brands, makes and models. Literally hundreds of bike options, that to be honest are all pretty similar. However every so often something grabs the attention, and that includes the Planet X SL Pro Carbon Shimano Dura Ace.

For £1500 you can have a very light weight (16lb), all carbon Dura Ace road bike. At first look these are specs you expect to see on a bike costing twice as much, and well out of my price range. So naturally I've spent a lot of time researching further into these bikes, but unfortunately the more I do the less of a bargain they appear. Let me explain..
The Shimano Dura Ace groupset isn't so much a group set than shifters, derailleur and that's it. Nothing else. The brakes, chain, freewheel, cassette, chainset/crankset, brackets etc are all either Planet X own brand (such as the brakes) or lower end mix up of FSA, SRAM, KMC equipment. How much of a big deal that is I don't know. However, in my mind I would much rather have a complete 105 groupset, by that I mean every single component from the 105 range. They all connect together, and they're all designed to work together. For example Shimano actually design the teeth of their chainset and gears to work in conjunction with the chain from the same groupset. So what's the point in having a couple of Dura-Ace parts and connecting them with a £10 KMC chain! I think the answer is simply because the chain doesn't have Dura Ace printed on it, and to save a lot of money in the build.

Whenever I come across someone's bike my quick inspection to check it over involves looking at the shifter and the rear derailleur, which is where the groupset branding is most obvious. I see Dura Ace written on the derailleur I think nice bike. I think Planet X are selling on this principle. I would be less impressed to see 105 or Ultega printed on the rear derailleur, but as I've already stated I would rather have a complete 105 groupset.

The other concerns I have with the planet X bike are the cheap looking own brand wheelset (but they are very light) and the quality of the carbon frame. Does anyone know much about the Planet X wheels? I know you can buy a set for £100-130 from their site. Are they comparable in quality to branded wheels that cost a LOT more for similar weight specs?

Also nearly every review I read about the frame mentions issues about the stiffness and flex. Some say it's not a big deal, others say it's a deal breaker. However again we have to remember we're talking about a £1500 bike. There are plenty of Carbon frames or wheelsets that cost more than this on their own.

So what do people think? Is this a genuine bargain of a Bike, or are you just getting what you pay for? I can't help but think Planet X are selling on a low weight headline and a little bit of Dura Ace branding. I think it's a lot like PC companies that sell their computers with the latest, fastest processor at a bargain price, but when you look into the specs you get a low end Video card, cheap motherboard and other average components.

As much as I would like to arrive at my next club run with a Dura Ace all carbon framed bike, perhaps I would be better off spending similar money on a "lower spec" Felt or Specialized?
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Old 05-30-11, 05:43 PM
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why does the entire group need to be the same? i would rather have a KMC chain over any chain shimano makes and i do(kmc x10sl). i also like Planet Xs brakes (i own them) they are light than DA brakes, have swiss stop pads, and stop great. i can not tell you a lot about thier frames but ive read good things. what other parts are SRAM or FSA? is it the crank? i bet that frame is BB30 and because shimano doesnt make a BB30 crank obviously thats not going to be DA. sorry but to me its silly to rather have an entire 105 group than DA shifters and RD w/ the rest of the group something else.
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Old 05-30-11, 06:01 PM
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I don't think the group set has to be all the same, but I assumed as they are all designed to work harmoniously together it would be the ideal. What do you think is wrong with Shimano/Dura Ace chains?
I'm sure there's nothing wrong with the Planet X brakes, but given the choice I would rather have the Dura Ace brakes to go along with the Dura Ace shifters because I know they will work well together. My post does actually sound quite negative towards the bike, but I am very much considering it as an option. By listing what I consider to be the down sides of the bike I can best decide if it really is a bargain.

..and yes the crank is a 'FSA Gossamer Pro' 53/39
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Old 05-30-11, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by M_FactorX19 View Post
why does the entire group need to be the same? i would rather have a KMC chain over any chain shimano makes and i do(kmc x10sl). i also like Planet Xs brakes (i own them) they are light than DA brakes, have swiss stop pads, and stop great. i can not tell you a lot about thier frames but ive read good things. what other parts are SRAM or FSA? is it the crank? i bet that frame is BB30 and because shimano doesnt make a BB30 crank obviously thats not going to be DA. sorry but to me its silly to rather have an entire 105 group than DA shifters and RD w/ the rest of the group something else.
I'm guessing it's because they order OEM groupsets to get the price so low, and you can't mix and match.
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Old 05-30-11, 07:16 PM
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i like my KMC chain + (lighter that dura-ace) Force groupset - they work fine together.

When i judge someones bike i look at the following: Frame, wheels, brifters
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Old 05-30-11, 08:12 PM
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Unless you're running Campy with the brake release in the brifter it doesn't matter one bit what caliper goes with what brifter.
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Old 05-30-11, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bus_ter View Post
I don't think the group set has to be all the same, but I assumed as they are all designed to work harmoniously together it would be the ideal. What do you think is wrong with Shimano/Dura Ace chains?
I'm sure there's nothing wrong with the Planet X brakes, but given the choice I would rather have the Dura Ace brakes to go along with the Dura Ace shifters because I know they will work well together. My post does actually sound quite negative towards the bike, but I am very much considering it as an option. By listing what I consider to be the down sides of the bike I can best decide if it really is a bargain.

..and yes the crank is a 'FSA Gossamer Pro' 53/39
im not sure where you got this idea that one group will not work as well together if it isnt all the same. yes there are some combos that will not work but for the most part with in a brand you are fine. the only parts that really should be the same brand are shifters, RD and cassette (shimano & sram work together). they dont have to be the same model though.

there is really nothing wrong with a DA chain. i dont care for the directional part but im sure they are fine. i have broke a shimano chain though. for the money i think KMC chains are the way to go. they work really well and i also like the missing links.

i will say im not a big fan of that crank. i had one on one of my bikes and never liked it. they even had a recall on some of them (thats no longer an issue im sure).

good luck with your bike search and let us know what you decide on. (with pics of course)
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Old 05-31-11, 07:32 AM
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You're getting a 16lb bike for 1500 quid - of course they are going to try to save money somewhere, but you'll get the smooth shifting of Dura-Ace with this bike, and even if the crankset, brakes are not DA, it wont really affect the ride in any meaningful way. The drivetrain is not the issue.

Opting for full 105 over a mix of DA shifters/mechs and other parts doesnt make sense to me.

I have a friend who's got the new P-X Nanolight frame, and really likes it.
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Old 05-31-11, 01:24 PM
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I would concentrate less on the groupset and think about the frame and the wheels, these are much more important than the groupset.
A lot of people speak very highly of Planet X, personally I don't think that they are such good value as they first appear. After the headline grabbing "Dura Ace" which has been pointed out is only a couple of components, you are left with a very cheap frame and a pair of cheap wheels. Nothing wrong with that but 1500 is still a fair amount of money to pay for this bike.
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Old 06-06-11, 04:39 AM
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Thanks for all the replies. As I continue to research I've now been drawn towards Ribble bikes. Another UK 'budget' brand, but they offer a larger selection of frames and when you scrutinise the components they appear to be of higher quality. Also when you choose a groupset you get the entire groupset and not just a couple branded parts.
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