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Good quality Aluminium vs Low end Carbon

Tomc273Tomc273 Posts: 29
edited May 2014 in Road buying advice
I have got a Giant Defy 4 which is a Aluminium and steel compound with an 8 speed cassette. I am looking to upgrade to a new bike but don't know whether to get a high spec good aluminium frame with 105 on or a low end carbon frame with 105 on.

Have found a Rose Pro SL which gets raving reviews for stiffness and weight and comes with 105 shifters, derailleurs and brake callipers. This is all for under £900 so I can spend some more on some decent wheels.

OR

Do I go for a low end carbon bike? This will be more expensive and I don't know what I will be getting extra for my money! Is it just a myth that carbon beats a decent aluminium frame?

Cheers
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Posts

  • thiscocksthiscocks Posts: 549
    Get the Rose, they seem v good value and their alu frames look very good value although never ridden one. Also the Canyon, Specialized and Cannondale alu frames are all very nice. I'd probably get an Allez race or CAAD 10 frame if I were to buy new currently. Only thing that puys me off a bit is having to get a new crank for the stupid BB30 size.
  • darkhairedlorddarkhairedlord Posts: 7,167
    planet-x pro carbon with full Ultegra 6800 for £999 looks mighty good value at the moment...
  • DiscoBoyDiscoBoy Posts: 905
    planet-x pro carbon with full Ultegra 6800 for £999 looks mighty good value at the moment...

    This is where my money would go all day long.
    Red bikes are the fastest.
  • Tomc273Tomc273 Posts: 29
    Looks a cracking buy! All over that
  • pkripperpkripper Posts: 652
    A friend pretty much came to me with the same question. for under a grand, i suggested the canyon and rose.

    For close to but over a grand, I recommended the CAAD 10 or giant defy at 1200 with ultegra.
  • Garry HGarry H Posts: 6,639
    If going Alloy, my choice would be something built around one of the following:
    Kinesis Aithein
    Storck Visioner
    CAAD 10
    De Rosa Milanino
  • planet-x pro carbon with full Ultegra 6800 for £999 looks mighty good value at the moment...

    Do the current range of frames still flex/ bounce?
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • darkhairedlorddarkhairedlord Posts: 7,167
    planet-x pro carbon with full Ultegra 6800 for £999 looks mighty good value at the moment...

    Do the current range of frames still flex/ bounce?

    That would be a product of the rider as much as the bike .
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Aluminium is a perfectly good material for building bike frames. I wouldn't make the decision based specifically on the material. If the aluminium frame is better spec'd or gets consistently better reviews I'd pick it over a carbon frame with less impressive credentials without hesitation - as long as I also liked the look, geometry and equipment.
    I think I'd likely pick the Canyon Ultimate AL over any <$1500 carbon frame. I also really like the some of the Rose bikes but they can be harder to find feedback about.
  • planet-x pro carbon with full Ultegra 6800 for £999 looks mighty good value at the moment...

    Do the current range of frames still flex/ bounce?

    That would be a product of the rider as much as the bike .

    Whut!?
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 988
    edited April 2014
    planet-x pro carbon with full Ultegra 6800 for £999 looks mighty good value at the moment...


    Fat, heavy cheap Import frames. I wouldn't go with Planet X if I was deciding between them and the likes of Rose or Canyon.


    OP, I would get the Rose Xeon RS Aluminium or the Canyon Alu if your not bothered about welding marks. They are excellent VFM and get high praise and reviews. I'm eyeing up one of the Xeon RS Alus in Black & Yellow at the mo.
    The Rose Xeon SL is cheaper mind, but for a tad extra you get better spec, VFM and lighter bike with the Xeon RS.

    As the reviews say, these high end Alu frames win out over Mid range Carbons at higher prices. The spec you get on them is out of this world.
  • darkhairedlorddarkhairedlord Posts: 7,167
    planet-x pro carbon with full Ultegra 6800 for £999 looks mighty good value at the moment...

    Do the current range of frames still flex/ bounce?

    That would be a product of the rider as much as the bike .

    Whut!?

    as in a light weight low powered rider is going to have less of a problem than heavy powerful rider. picture Wee Jimmy Krankie (in lycra :wink: ) trying to wrestle a bull to the floor.
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 988
    If you are going up to £999 and were wanting Ultegra then this is a better buy than the Planet X Pro Carbon for £140 extra..

    http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/bike/rose-pr ... tchanged=1

    Lighter at 7.65kg in size Large 57, Full Ultegra, Mavic Wheelset, Ritchey Cockpit, decent finishing kit.
  • gmbgmb Posts: 456
    Until last year I had a Planet X SL Pro which I replaced with a De Rosa Milanino which is Alu. (The reason for the change was that I had always pined after a De Rosa and the opportunity to buy one came up).

    I ride only for fun, nothing competitive and nothing has really changed. I'm no faster, the Alu is no more or less comfortable.

    I would be perfectly happy to have another Planet X and would not hesitate in recommending them. I weigh about 13 stone and noticed no flex, which is often mentioned about th SL Pro.

    I think too much importance is given to frame material and unless,you are wanting to compete at a certain level it will make no real difference - you might as well pick the that has the nicest colour scheme!

    Which ever you choose I hope to enjoy it. There's nothing like buying a nice new bike!
    Trying Is The First Step Towards Failure

    De Rosa Milanino :-
    http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab78 ... -00148.jpg
  • I would go for the Rose, I actually ordered but then cancelled due to the wait and got a defy 1 instead. I can't remember the model off hand but for £1200 with Rose you will get a lighter bike than the defy + better components inc. wheel set. Just depends if you can wait or get a good deal on something like a defy 0 from your local dealer. I got 20% off my bike as part of an easter weekend deal.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Compare the specs and see which is more important to you. Most people do few upgrades, only wear and tear replacements. The choice is really which is worth more to you a carbon frame or a better groupset / spec level on the bike ?
  • Depending on your size there is also the Giant TCR SL alloy - currently down to £889.99 at Ash Cycles (never dealt with this shop so can't comment on service etc) - http://www.ashcycles.com/site/giant-tcr ... -road-bike. I haven't checked other shops but it might be reduced elsewhere too.

    This has 105 and a frame that is apparently very light. Look up the reviews on the internet for the 2013 model at CC and Bikeradar and they are very, very positive about this bike's comfort and performance. And you might get to sit on it before delivery too! ie
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    The answer is to up your budget and get a 'good quality' carbon bike.

    Either wait until you can afford it, get it on interest free, get a heavily reduced one if you can find something suitable, or go without something else/do some overtime.

    Cannot help thinking you will still want a carbon frame after you get a new aluminium one if you are asking the question you have asked.

    You have a Giant Defy 4 FFS.
    How 'low end' do you think these low end carbon frames are?
    What do you think is going to happen to them?
    Would say it was still a massive upgrade, but if not add £500 and do it properly.
  • pitchshifterpitchshifter Posts: 1,476
    Carbonator wrote:

    Cannot help thinking you will still want a carbon frame after you get a new aluminium one if you are asking the question you have asked.

    I bought a Cervelo S1 and a Canyon Roadlite (both aluminium). At no point do I think oh I wish I had bought a planet x carbon frame or another carbon frame for that matter....


    The Cervelo in particular is light and goes like the clappers. I find it hard to believe a carbon frame would be much better.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Go for the best frame and wheels you can afford - a 'low' end carbon frame with Tiagra can be upgraded in time as parts wear out etc - DuraAce on most alloy frames will look like a tarted-up £500 bike, and will probably still ride like a £500 bike with expensive parts. There are obvious exceptions, but in the main alloy frames are on low-end bikes because they are cheap - just some makers do a better job of making them look like expensive ones.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Two of my favourite bikes - Condor Squadra (scandium main triangle, carbon back) and Cervelo Team Soloist. Love em both.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Hope the OP lets us know what he ends up getting.
  • Bar ShakerBar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    Bottom brackets, chain stays, head tubes, the possibilities with carbon and finite element analysis mean designers can produce frames with rigidity and stress transfer properties that aluminium users could never dream of and that's before you consider the weight Add in high frequency vibration damping and the only reasons for buying aluminium today are budget and nostalgia.

    I am all for nostalgia and kid yourself all you want but the future of F1, aviation and cycling is carbon. Cost is a downside and if you can't afford it then you may not have the choice. I would save for longer

    Out of interest, how long is it since someone won a tour on an aluminium bike?
    Boardman Elite SLR 9.2S
    Boardman FS Pro
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 988
    Bar Shaker wrote:
    Bottom brackets, chain stays, head tubes, the possibilities with carbon and finite element analysis mean designers can produce frames with rigidity and stress transfer properties that aluminium users could never dream of and that's before you consider the weight Add in high frequency vibration damping and the only reasons for buying aluminium today are budget and nostalgia.

    I am all for nostalgia and kid yourself all you want but the future of F1, aviation and cycling is carbon. Cost is a downside and if you can't afford it then you may not have the choice. I would save for longer

    Out of interest, how long is it since someone won a tour on an aluminium bike?


    The crux of it lies right there.
    How many cyclists do bloody Tours ! ? :) :roll:

    The vast majority want a reliable, comfy, decent spec, decent budget bike. The cycling world has somehow persuaded everyone that a £2000-£10000 bike is the way to go for the Sunday roll out or fatty training.

    Almost everyone out will be fine with a sub £2000 bike and the Alus offer great spec and performance. If the reviews are true, there's no difference between these Alu frames and Mid range Carbons.

    But if some want to pose, flash the cash or have a mid life crisis etc then yeah then most expensive Carbon you can afford, there's nothing wrong with that. Just remember to hold the gut in as your passed by a old fella on a steal or the kid on his Halfords special.
  • 86inch86inch Posts: 161
    FWIW, I had a De Rosa Milanino frame on my last bike and very nice it was too.... I couldn't help but think "perhaps I should have bought carbon..." So I sold it and I now ride a Planet X RT57 because a friend rated his and I could get a spec suitable for me. I have to say its fantastic in comparison to the Milanino, which I still rate as a good frame but the Planet X is just that bit better in every department, from ride quality to handling.
    So don't dismiss "reputable" low-mid price carbon.
  • Bar ShakerBar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    Bar Shaker wrote:

    Out of interest, how long is it since someone won a tour on an aluminium bike?


    The crux of it lies right there.
    How many cyclists do bloody Tours ! ? :) :roll:

    That's not the crux at all or we would all be riding Ammaco specials.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to use good materials, materials that make use of modern design and manufacturing techniques.

    There is this myth about entry level carbon bikes, that similar priced aluminium bikes are somehow better. They aren't. It's a myth. You don't read poor reviews of any popular carbon bikes.


    Anyway, what was the answer to my question?
    Boardman Elite SLR 9.2S
    Boardman FS Pro
  • lgcbikinglgcbiking Posts: 34
    Bar Shaker wrote:
    Bar Shaker wrote:

    Out of interest, how long is it since someone won a tour on an aluminium bike?


    The crux of it lies right there.
    How many cyclists do bloody Tours ! ? :) :roll:

    That's not the crux at all or we would all be riding Ammaco specials.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to use good materials, materials that make use of modern design and manufacturing techniques.

    There is this myth about entry level carbon bikes, that similar priced aluminium bikes are somehow better. They aren't. It's a myth. You don't read poor reviews of any popular carbon bikes.


    Anyway, what was the answer to my question?

    I don't think he's suggesting that at all. The point is that Tour winners have very expensive bikes, and that doesn't mean everybody should be spending 4-5 grand on a bike. There's some distance between an Ammaco special and a 1-1.5k bike.

    As to the myth, would be nice to get some proof of that (given that's what the post is all about). Yes, plenty of entry-level carbon bikes get good reviews, but so do plenty of aluminium ones in the same price range. So, only because they're good, doesn't mean they're better. I'm not really arguing either way, I don't know much about bikes (hence my interest), but not sure why there is so much focus on material itself, vs just the bikes.

    Out of interest, what makes carbons automatically better? I just had a 1K budget to spend on a bike, picked an aluminium one (Rose) vs for example the carbon planet x, because it was lighter and gets very good reviews in terms of performance/stiffness, what would the planet x have offered to make it better? (genuine question).
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    It's spurious to say pros ride carbon so carbon is best. Pros ride what they're permitted to ride to a great extent but also, as mentioned earlier, the top end bikes in a range will typically be carbon anyway since it does have some clear advantages. That does not mean all carbon bikes are better than all aluminium bikes or that carbon is better than aluminium at all price ranges.
    Incidentally I think a pro did ride aluminium to victory just a few years ago. Didn't Philip Gilbert ride a Canyon Ultimate Al in a few races in preference to the carbon options back around 2011? Correct me if i'm mistaken!

    As I think was mentioned earlier carbon fibre is not a simple homogeneous material and can produce differing properties depending on the layup, resin and curing. Well engineered frames will utilise this ability to tailor the material usage for the job and should then be able to easily outperform aluminium frames in terms of weight, comfort and handling. However, not all carbon frames are necessarily well designed or well manufactured. Poorly executed carbon frames are certainly capable of being inferior to their aluminium counterparts. Whether this is the case or not in reality is debatable. There may be empirical evidence out there - I don't know.
    lgcbiking wrote:
    .....Out of interest, what makes carbons automatically better? I just had a 1K budget to spend on a bike, picked an aluminium one (Rose) vs for example the carbon planet x, because it was lighter and gets very good reviews in terms of performance/stiffness, what would the planet x have offered to make it better? (genuine question).
    Nothing makes it automatically better despite the impression a lot of marketing and other proponents of carbon may give. As above, carbon if used well should outperform aluminium but a bad carbon frame is still a bad frame and a good aluminium frame will still be a good frame. I don't think it's worth worrying too much about it.
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 988
    Bar Shaker wrote:
    Bar Shaker wrote:

    Out of interest, how long is it since someone won a tour on an aluminium bike?


    The crux of it lies right there.
    How many cyclists do bloody Tours ! ? :) :roll:

    That's not the crux at all or we would all be riding Ammaco specials.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to use good materials, materials that make use of modern design and manufacturing techniques.

    There is this myth about entry level carbon bikes, that similar priced aluminium bikes are somehow better. They aren't. It's a myth. You don't read poor reviews of any popular carbon bikes.


    Anyway, what was the answer to my question?


    No what I was saying is to bring in the fact many pros and tours have carbon bikes doesn't mean anything to the average Joe who does the odd sportive.
    those are super high end race machines that some feel they need to buy because we are being persuaded that the pro kit is a must.
    Some of the top ALU bikes could very well mix it with the pros I reckon but as others have said its what the pros are given.

    Have a look at reviews for high end ALU bikes from the likes of Canyon and Rose, (that even came away with bikes of the year) and you will see there's nothing wrong with aluminium.

    Was it not Hoy who said he still preferred the material for its stiffness and ride!?

    There's nothing wrong with "low end" carbon as such but I would take a engineered bike like the Rose Xeon RS over a Planet X any day.
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 988
    lgcbiking wrote:
    Bar Shaker wrote:
    Bar Shaker wrote:


    Out of interest, what makes carbons automatically better? I just had a 1K budget to spend on a bike, picked an aluminium one (Rose) vs for example the carbon planet x, because it was lighter and gets very good reviews in terms of performance/stiffness, what would the planet x have offered to make it better? (genuine question).

    Basically it's the cost of frame material and then what its got plastered to it. As said there's nothing wrong with low end carbon. Planet x frames are open moulds from China. Different to say Canyon or Scott frames developed in those companies and then made in selected Chinese factories (hence higher cost)

    The Rose Xeon RS aluminium's are high end ALU frames and the reviews go to prove that they obviously can hold there own if not outperform many carbons. You also have the bonus aluminium is cheaper and easy to work with so they can slap a better spec finishing kit like group set and wheels on that's also a big factor in the performance of a bike.

    Personally I would go with a high end aluminium like the Ultegra Rose over the Planet X which is heavier, and has lower spec kit.
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