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What to look for in a carbon frame

BobScarleBobScarle Posts: 282
edited September 2010 in Road beginners
I am hoping in the not too distant future to be looking for a carbon frame for a road bike build. I am starting the process of buying new shifters and gear components and will swap over more bits from my aluminium frame. I am hoping to get the bike on the road by next Spring, so no hurry.

I wish I could say that my budget runs to several thousands but I have to be realistic and, although I haven't set a maximum price yet it is likely to be £200 to £300. With that comes the realisation that second hand may be my best bet.

Apart from the obvious, checking for splits and cracks, are there any other things specific to a carbon frame that I need to look for?

Thank you



  • TeachTeach Posts: 386
    If I was buying an older frame I would buy a brand that I knew. I think earlier carbon fibre models varied in their quality so I would buy a name that I knew.
    Depending on what you are spending on parts, eg total budget. Would it not be better to look for a complete carbon road bike.
    The other question is why do you want carbon fibre? What's wrong with your aluminium frame?
  • That Ribble frame looks nice. Doesn't include forks which pushes the price up to about £350 which is not too bad. Thats a good idea and worth more investigation. I have not seen any others around that price. That makes buying new a real possibility, especially if early frames were so variable.

    There is basically nothing wrong with the aluminium frame and it could turn out that the bike is built around it. That said, I really fancy a nice carbon frame. (My god! Its not that mid-life MAMIL thing is it!!)

    At the moment, the bike is used as a trainer, ie attached to the turbo, and has a real mish-mash of parts on it. some of which are good. I have always enjoyed building up bikes right from my early days with a Raliegh Banana, so I would prefer this to buying a new bike. I don't know why, but it just seems a little more satisfying. Also, it doesn't seem quite so painful financially buying bits when I see them.

    Thanks for the responses.

  • kev77kev77 Posts: 433

    One of the keys to a good stiff carbon frame is that there is no whip at the rear wheel.

    Check with the rear wheel out and press between the two dropouts, if this is very flexy stay clear.

    If it is very stiff buy it!

    Hope that helps.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I'm not sure a cheap carbon frame would be any better than your alu frame ? Weight would be pretty similar. Until you ride the bike - you cant really see how it feels ?

    If its just looks you're after - get your frame resprayed - it'll look brilliant.
  • Hi Bob

    I have a good aluminium frame (2005 Litespeed Avior; OK, it's aluminium with carbon seat stays) that I had re-sprayed last winter by Bob Jackson Cycles in Bradford to my own, minimalist, design and looks absolutely fab.

    I also have a cheap carbon framed bike (Planet X SL Pro Carbon). I think this is a good frame for the money but, apart from being 200g lighter, offers no benefits over the Litespeed. The ride is pretty similar being as harsh/comfy (depending on whether you are a glass half full or half empty type of person) as the Litespeed so I would suggest not buying a cheap carbon frame if you are expecting it to be a plush ride. You get what you pay for.
  • There are some interesting comments here, and I thank you for taking the time to make them. My aluminium frame is a little on the large side for me, although still rideable, so that was one reasons for changing it.

    It seems that at the lower end of the price range, where I am, a good aluminium frame would be at least as good as carbon. I think it will be worthwhile having a trawl through some online shops to see the relative prices of each.


    BTW, markos, what makes you think I will be taking it out in the rain?
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