Kuota Kharma - An upgradable frame?

mask of sanity
mask of sanity Posts: 610
edited March 2011 in Road buying advice
I'm in the market for a new bike and am looking to spend around the 2K mark, could stretch to 2.5K. I visited my LBS to look at the Kuota Kharma and they were very positive about the bike.

My issue is that the bike can be bought for a fair amount under my 2K budget so I'm unsure as to whether the frame is of of a quality that would justify upgrades. A quality frame is my main focus to buying a new bike so I want to ensure I get the best I can get within my budget.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.

MoS

Comments

  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    How do you quantify "frame quality"?.

    IMO, its a great bike.
  • Things like stiffness, ride quality, handling, build quality.
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    I haven't got much to compare it against, I also have an Alu Allez and a Carbon Slice TT bike, but compared to those, its light years away.

    Build quality is very good, I can't detect any flex (and I am quite big and powerful), ride quality is also very good, its quite a "racy" position, not uncomfortable, but I am toying with a shorter stem.

    Like I said, I've little to compare it too, your best bet would be a test ride
  • Cervelo S1?
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college! " - Homer
  • spezial
    spezial Posts: 142
    My Kharma is 18 months old and in perfect nick (bar a couple of scratches that were very much my fault). It's a nice comfortable ride, stiff, but not as stiff as some others I've ridden. I don't have a massive amount of experience of carbon frames though, as this is the first one I have actually owned, all the others I've ridden have been short rides on other peoples and test rides.

    Upgrade wise, I've got new wheels and saddle. New wheels made a big difference to the ride, and I think you'd do well to get those upgrading from stock at the time of purchase (mine came with the "workman like" Shimano RS500s).

    Not sure if there's any difference between the model I've got and the latest ones other than the paint job, they look the same shape as far as I can tell.
    "what's it pertaining?"
  • twotyred
    twotyred Posts: 822
    With carbon frames these days price isn't necessarily a guide to quality when exactly the same frame is available direct from China, via Ribble or from an Italian brand for wildly different prices. Be aware a large part of the price of a bike is due to branding and nothing to do with quality.

    For what its worth I own a 2011 Kuota Kharma. Before purchasing I test rode it back to back with a Scott Addict and Bianchi Infinito and liked it better then either. It gives good feedback, feels nice and lively, filters out road buzz nicely and is very comfortable. IMHO it more than justifies upgrades. I upgraded mine to Ultegra with Reynolds Shadow wheels and will be upgrading the wheels further in due course.

    As Kuota are a less well known brand you pay less mark up for the name compared to say a Bianch or a De Rosa. Also I've never seen a Chinese supplier offering an unbranded Kuota frame on ebay for £300.

    I say test ride the Kuota against some more expensive alternatives and if you like it buy it and don't worry that you haven't spent enough.
  • Cheers guys :)

    I'm not a huge fan of cervelo, MaxwellBygraves.

    You make a valid point twotyred. Hadn't thought of it like that. I was also considering a Bianchi Infinito so it's reassuring to know that you preferred the Kharma. I think another trip to the LBS is in order.
  • Cheers guys :)

    I'm not a huge fan of cervelo, MaxwellBygraves.

    You make a valid point twotyred. Hadn't thought of it like that. I was also considering a Bianchi Infinito so it's reassuring to know that you preferred the Kharma. I think another trip to the LBS is in order.
  • Cheers guys :)

    I'm not a huge fan of cervelo, MaxwellBygraves.

    You make a valid point twotyred. Hadn't thought of it like that. I was also considering a Bianchi Infinito so it's reassuring to know that you preferred the Kharma. I think another trip to the LBS is in order.
    Fair enough. Don't think you will go wrong with the Kharma.
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college! " - Homer
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    Cheers guys :)
    I was also considering a Bianchi Infinito so it's reassuring to know that you preferred the Kharma. I think another trip to the LBS is in order.

    The Infinito was my other consideration too, I decided on the exclusivity of the Kharma in the end.
  • glasgowbhoy
    glasgowbhoy Posts: 1,341
    Another Kharma owner. Looks great, rides really well and gives you enough left over from some really nice wheels just to finish it off.
  • Wappygixer
    Wappygixer Posts: 1,396
    I've got a Kebel and I've never regretted it.
    Very well built frames and well finished.
    Every part of the frame was faced and ready
  • Just got back from the LBS and I'm decided on the Kharma.

    Got the option of Rival or 105 and am leaning toward the rival at the minute. Any thoughts on this? Also shall probably be upgrading the wheelset to American classic 420 Aero 3. Got a fitting on Monday :)
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    I have Rival on my Kharma, fancied a change from Shimano, this is a C&P of my impressions.....
    I have just got a bike with SRAM Rival on it (my first foray into SRAM), and I am not convinced its "better" than 105.

    Firstly, I don't like the way the shift lever "bulges" out the rubber hood when changing up, I also don't like the way that the indexing has to be SPOT ON, there is nothing in the way of feathering or triming, like you can with Shimano.

    Other than that, once its setup properly its very, very crisp to shift with, certainly quicker and crisper than my 105 setup, plus the levers look nice.
  • twotyred
    twotyred Posts: 822
    If you can squeeze another £200 out of your budget go for Ultegra but not if it means having to downgrade your wheels- its going to be properly sexy with those American Classics. Pictures when you've taken delivery please.
  • twotyred wrote:
    If you can squeeze another £200 out of your budget go for Ultegra but not if it means having to downgrade your wheels- its going to be properly sexy with those American Classics. Pictures when you've taken delivery please.
    Would I actually get more for the extra £200 pounds though? I believe rival is lighter than ultegra and still has good functionality? I've only ever used a sora/tiagra combo so cannot really comment on how well any of the other groupsets perform relative to each other.
  • simon_e
    simon_e Posts: 1,706
    I believe rival is lighter than ultegra and still has good functionality? I've only ever used a sora/tiagra combo so cannot really comment on how well any of the other groupsets perform relative to each other.
    I should think they're all very good. Chainsets are a muchness, shifters too IMHO. I don't think any of them would be a poor buy.

    I'd get the AC wheels then see how much you have left, as wheels make such a big difference to the ride. Two club members have bought a pair of Aero 3s and both have been very pleased with them.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    I'd go for better wheels over a "better" groupset IMO, TBH, I can't tell any difference between my low(er) end (Tiagra) groupset, and my mid range (105) groupset
  • glasgowbhoy
    glasgowbhoy Posts: 1,341
    The Ultegra on my Kharma is a dream compared to the Tiagra on my winter trainer.
    Don't know much about SRAM but good wheels and tyres will help with the ride. Why not spend £300 on wheels and get Ultegra?
  • Get the Rival.
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college! " - Homer
  • The Ultegra on my Kharma is a dream compared to the Tiagra on my winter trainer.
    Don't know much about SRAM but good wheels and tyres will help with the ride. Why not spend £300 on wheels and get Ultegra?
    TBH, Ultegra is not something I'll choose. I was talking groupsets with the LBS and they said that Ultegra wasn't really worth the extra money because they've made 105 so good. The only difference is a few grams. But I'm still leaning towards Rival. I guess I'll base my decision on ergonomics.
  • glasgowbhoy
    glasgowbhoy Posts: 1,341
    The Ultegra on my Kharma is a dream compared to the Tiagra on my winter trainer.
    Don't know much about SRAM but good wheels and tyres will help with the ride. Why not spend £300 on wheels and get Ultegra?
    TBH, Ultegra is not something I'll choose. I was talking groupsets with the LBS and they said that Ultegra wasn't really worth the extra money because they've made 105 so good. The only difference is a few grams. But I'm still leaning towards Rival. I guess I'll base my decision on ergonomics.

    That's good to know as I'll probably go for 105 when the Tiagra finally gives up the ghost on my trainer/commuter bike. Afte the last 2 winters I don't think that'll be too far away!