Did you regret not getting full carbon fibre?

p1tse
p1tse Posts: 694
edited October 2012 in Road buying advice
I've been looking a first road bike and like the cube range

First one I saw was a carbon version agree gtc pro
Now this is over budget, whilst in no rush keeping eye out on sale, classifieds etc

But now I'm thinking of the Aluminium option as cheaper and more option on sale and classifieds
So the peloton or older 2011 steamer (sl) or attempt (race)

Think it's more realistic if I look at the latter now
Wanted: Cube Streamer/Agree GTC Compact / Pro/ Race : 53cm
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Comments

  • maddog 2
    maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    if you can just about afford carbon then get it.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • pkripper
    pkripper Posts: 652
    Take your budget and buy the best base frame you can at that price. It may well be aluminum, as something like a cannondale caad will ride better than the majority of budget carbon frames. Plus there's not necessarily a weight penalty for Alu over budget carbon.

    The frame and then the wheels dictate how the bike will ride, so I'd always go that route.

    For what its worth, I have a tour level carbon bike and it rides beautifully, but my mate on his 2010 cube attempt kicks my butt as he's a better and fitter rider.
  • rando
    rando Posts: 285
    Lots of posts I read tend to state that carbon frames give a smoother ride over an aluminium frame. How much smoother though and is it possibly not really that different over 3 to 4 hours in the saddle.
    If the same manufacturer makes a carbon and alu frame bike at the same cost is there really a big difference in the ride if the wheels/saddle/seat post/tyres and geometry are also the same ? Probably it is too personal as to what people think of as smoother or better.
    Me - clueless - Can't get a long enough test ride on a carbon bike to see.
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    I only started riding carbon this year. Before that it was steel, aluminium and titanium. Is carbon 'better'? Well in my case it's lighter and stiffer but it's not exactly a budget carbon frame. I've picked up some bikes that are built round a cheap full carbon frame and I would have rather have a CAAD9/10 or my old BMC Streetfire SSX than cheap carbon.

    How the bike rides will depend on much more than frame material though. Geometry, forks, stem length, handlebar width, wheels, rider position all have an effect on the feel of the bike.

    The group leaders/guides on the training camp I go to in Spain each spring all ride aluminium and carbon Cubes and I've not heard a bad thing said about them.
  • Sprool
    Sprool Posts: 1,022
    You can get good carbon frames and poor ones.
    You can get good aluminium frames and poor ones.
    Depending on what end of the ranges you compare, a carbon frame may not always be the better option. They will however, usually be the more expensive option.
  • ..been riding an alu Orbea for the last 2 years and not regretted it...could have stretched to carbon back then, but decided I didn't want to invest any more money in a first road bike at that time. I've since upgraded the wheels and shifters.
    I'm now at the point where a 2 kilo weight saving will make a difference so will probably be looking at carbon for the next bike...
    btw, at what price point do you guys consider "budget/cheap carbon" to be at?
  • Some Alu frames are lighter than carbon one's Ive never ridden carbon so can't comment
  • rando
    rando Posts: 285
    Sprool wrote:
    You can get good carbon frames and poor ones.
    You can get good aluminium frames and poor ones.
    Depending on what end of the ranges you compare, a carbon frame may not always be the better option. They will however, usually be the more expensive option.

    Appreciate what you are saying BUT how would Joe average (like me) know what was a good or poor carbon/aluminium frame ? Certainly can't just go on price. a short test ride wouldn't necessarily be any proof either.
    From the major players then like Giant/Trek/Cube/Specialized/Cannondale plus others that i have probably missed - do any of them make poor frames in either material ?
    Also two brands i am considering Canyon & Rose - Good or poor frames ?
  • pkripper
    pkripper Posts: 652
    rando wrote:
    Lots of posts I read tend to state that carbon frames give a smoother ride over an aluminium frame. How much smoother though and is it possibly not really that different over 3 to 4 hours in the saddle.
    If the same manufacturer makes a carbon and alu frame bike at the same cost is there really a big difference in the ride if the wheels/saddle/seat post/tyres and geometry are also the same ? Probably it is too personal as to what people think of as smoother or better.
    Me - clueless - Can't get a long enough test ride on a carbon bike to see.

    The ride of a frame depends On the design not just the material as previously stated. I had a px superlight pro carbon and sold it very quickly as just didn't like the feel through the back end compared to my bmc promachine.
  • p1tse
    p1tse Posts: 694
    As above I would be interested to have opinions on some poor carbon frame set options, brand and price and link?
    Wanted: Cube Streamer/Agree GTC Compact / Pro/ Race : 53cm
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I'm a lover of fine steel frames myself - so, no, I've no regrets about not getting carbon
  • I have had a cheap carbon frame and a good aluminium frame (Boardman team carbon and Canyon Ultimate Al), I found the Canyon to be a much better frame and I will buy Aluminium again in the future unless I am spending over £2500. The Rose Pro rs 300 won the best Alu bike award this year in Roadbike.de. It weighs 7.3kg off the peg, I would rather have that than any sub 2k carbon bike.
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    The Canyon Roadlite and Ultimate AL frames both get consistently superb reviews. They're as light or lighter than most similarly priced carbon bikes and most "expert" reviews are very complimentary on comfort and handling.
    The reviews I have found for the Rose frames are also very good but there's a lot less of them. I love their configurator option that basically lets you choose a frame with groupset then re-specify all the other components as you see fit!
    I think, in general, the Rose road frames have lower stack and a less compliant ride than the Canyons. Probably ideal for racing but I like long cycles and I spend a lot of time on poor surfaces so with the info available I'm more confident with Canyon.

    The Rose and Canyon bikes definitely seem to be about the best value bikes around and I have yet to see any complaints besides those who dislike the paint job. The obvious down side is you're unlikley to be able to try one before you buy as they're online purchase only.
  • mroli
    mroli Posts: 3,622
    I've got an aluminium Condor Squadra (carbon rear triangle and fork). My mate has an Italia - he races 3rd Cat and gets points on it, I've used my Squadra for everything from JOGLE to doing Simon Warren's 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs.

    With bikes - you will find you always want what you don't have, be it a carbon, steel, titanium or aluminium bike, the next groupset up, deep profile wheels/climbing wheels, ti bolts, a better saddle, lighter pedals, more clothing.

    Just get a bike, ride the crap out of it and have fun. They're all great.
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Carbon isn't some magic material that will instantly make any bike made out of it great. as said above there are good and bad Alu and carbon frames (and steel and Ti for that matter)

    It will reduce road buzz (as will Steel & Ti) which makes it a good material for forks and to a lesser extent rear triangle/ seat stays.

    It also can make a very stiff frame which is good to make sure your power is efficiently trajsferred to the wheels, Alu is good for this too.

    I'd think long and hard before buying an Alu frame with Alu forks, as it will be a harsh crashy ride.

    Unlimited budget ? hen get carbon - why not.
    definative budgte might be better spent on an alu frame with carbon forks and better wheels, than a carbon frame with some compromises in the wheels or groupset /finishing kit to meet a price point.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
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    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • ricky1980
    ricky1980 Posts: 891
    i was in the same dilema, the Cube GTC pro was also a bike i looked at, but i decided to go for alu 1) save money and upgrade the bits on the bike to make it lighter than the cube 2) save more money 3) depend on what you use it for...but for my purpose i was afraid that i might get into some nasty accidents and the carbon bike will get damaged where alu frame is more forgiving in that case.

    a friend of mine did get the cube, he loves it but recently got into a nasty accident. bike flipped into air and thrown onto road hard a few times, landed awkwardly. so he s getting it checked to make sure there isn't any damages other than superficial.

    by the sound of it you got around about 1k to splash, and it really is a matter of weight up economy as you can get top alu-frame or entry carb frame (the cube has a decent frame saying that).

    I would and have done is to save money in the short term getting the alu-bike. and use it to get fit and a lot skinnier then i will get a blood thirsty carb bike that will transfer every watts in my leg into mph :) and use that as a training and sportive bike. Still have the alu-bike for commute and casual rides.

    but if you are looking for a mean-machine then save up a bit more and get a great carb frame with great groupset
    Road - Cannondale CAAD 8 - 7.8kg
    Road - Chinese Carbon Diablo - 6.4kg
  • ricky1980
    ricky1980 Posts: 891
    p1tse wrote:
    As above I would be interested to have opinions on some poor carbon frame set options, brand and price and link?

    broadman; carrera both from halford are examples of bad carb-frames there is another which is also a bike seller's own brand, can't remember off the top of my head, but information is available on the bikeradar website under road bike review section.

    i have tried trek and giant alu frames around £900, they were crap...heavy and poorly equipped. specialized is good, i used to ride one. but now i own cannondale, i love it for 1) lightweight 2) responsiveness 3) damn good looking color scheme liquigas team scheme...so sexy
    Road - Cannondale CAAD 8 - 7.8kg
    Road - Chinese Carbon Diablo - 6.4kg
  • A good Alu frame is better than a bad carbon one ;) I don't regret my decision to ditch the BTC for my Canyon Ultimate ALU.
  • rando
    rando Posts: 285
    ricky1980 wrote:
    p1tse wrote:
    As above I would be interested to have opinions on some poor carbon frame set options, brand and price and link?

    broadman; carrera both from halford are examples of bad carb-frames there is another which is also a bike seller's own brand, can't remember off the top of my head, but information is available on the bikeradar website under road bike review section.

    i have tried trek and giant alu frames around £900, they were crap...heavy and poorly equipped. specialized is good, i used to ride one. but now i own cannondale, i love it for 1) lightweight 2) responsiveness 3) damn good looking color scheme liquigas team scheme...so sexy

    Well that goes against all the reviews I have seen on the Boardman Carbon bikes. Not one has said it was a poor frame. Possibly poor service from Halfords yes but decent bikes.
    Also the Giant Defy 1 which is alu comes out as the best buy under the 1K price. So clearly it is all down to personal opionion.
  • stueys
    stueys Posts: 1,332
    It all depends on your budget. I think a carbon fork is essential, helps take the road buzz out. After that there are some good Alu frames that give carbon a run for their money. I ride a Canyon ultimate cf slx, which I love it but comparing it against an ultimate AL (same geo) it would be a difficult argument to justify the 700grm weight saving as being worth the extra £1k....

    If you can afford Carbon then why not, it does have some nice benefits. If its a stretch get a good Alu frame with a carbon fork and good wheels.
  • It has nothing to do with the ride or even the weight. It all comes to down to pride of ownership. The question you need to ask yourself is how will you feel when people say "Ooh nice bice, is it carbon fibre?" Will you care whether you have to explain that a good aluminium frame is better than a cheap carbon? If that's likely to really bug you then go for carbon! If not then consider aluminium.

    BTW, the Cube Agree GTC carbon frame is every bit as good as you need it to be and then some. Never regretted buying mine but then it is the only road bike I've ever ridden, so I really haven't a clue...except I'm still happy :D
  • greentea
    greentea Posts: 180
    It has nothing to do with the ride or even the weight. It all comes to down to pride of ownership. The question you need to ask yourself is how will you feel when people say "Ooh nice bice, is it carbon fibre?" Will you care whether you have to explain that a good aluminium frame is better than a cheap carbon? If that's likely to really bug you then go for carbon! If not then consider aluminium.

    BTW, the Cube Agree GTC carbon frame is every bit as good as you need it to be and then some. Never regretted buying mine but then it is the only road bike I've ever ridden, so I really haven't a clue...except I'm still happy :D


    +1 to that. I have a Cube Agree GTC Race and its flawless, just look at the BikeRadar reviews and Cycling Plus reviews, always in the top five.

    If you have £1k to spend, buy the Cube Peloton or Peloton Pro, its fantastic value for money, im ven thinking of buying one as my winter hack.

    And whatever you do dont buy a Cannondale, absolute piece of sh*te. Cubes are head turners and fanny magnets, so go for it. :D
  • p1tse
    p1tse Posts: 694
    There's a few discounted carbon 2012 bikes at £1k on wiggle like felt, mekk
    Wanted: Cube Streamer/Agree GTC Compact / Pro/ Race : 53cm
  • Has anyone replied saying that they regret not getting full carbon? It seems the only people against getting a Alu bike are the ones who got a full carbon one.

    If Gilbert can win classics on aluminium it*s good enough for me!
  • p1tse
    p1tse Posts: 694
    I'm on the search for a decent cube bike in 53cm as it feels right in sizing
    As on a budget I'll go for Alu as a first road bike but I'm more hung up on the group set ie 105 minimum vs tiagra sora etc
    Wanted: Cube Streamer/Agree GTC Compact / Pro/ Race : 53cm
  • p1tse wrote:
    I'm on the search for a decent cube bike in 53cm as it feels right in sizing
    As on a budget I'll go for Alu as a first road bike but I'm more hung up on the group set ie 105 minimum vs tiagra sora etc

    Personally I'd be inclined to be more hung up about the frame rather than the groupset.

    Got three different groupsets on three different bikes, whilst there is a difference between Ultegra and Tiagra, it's not massive
  • p1tse
    p1tse Posts: 694
    Thanks

    Well I like the look and feel of the cube and their 53cm frame smaller sizing suits me too

    So it's either the Alu peloton or carbon agree gtc range, so I'll keep an eye out on classifieds for these
    Wanted: Cube Streamer/Agree GTC Compact / Pro/ Race : 53cm
  • ricky1980
    ricky1980 Posts: 891
    105 and Tiagra are v similar. Do not get sora, the shifters are no good
    Road - Cannondale CAAD 8 - 7.8kg
    Road - Chinese Carbon Diablo - 6.4kg
  • p1tse
    p1tse Posts: 694
    ricky1980 wrote:
    105 and Tiagra are v similar. Do not get sora, the shifters are no good

    Thanks, price range from sora to tiagra to 105 to ultegra is quite a bit so assume each one is better than the next

    But thanks I'll avoid sora
    Wanted: Cube Streamer/Agree GTC Compact / Pro/ Race : 53cm
  • I have a alu Pinarello Fp1 and about 4 weeks ago bought a Trek Madone 5.9 and what can i say ....its miles better.... sorry could not help it.... but it is and i don't regret it one bit :mrgreen: