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Carbon frame or Hydro brakes?

rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,385
edited July 2014 in Cyclocross
I'm looking to get a cross bike to use as a winter bike with road wheels and then when I fancy I will put some cross wheels in and do a bit of racing.

I've kind of narrowed my choice down to these two bikes.

The Planet X XLS, lots of good reviews and seems a good spec for the money. Plenty of people recommend them.

Or a Whyte Saxon Cross. We get a good discount through work with Whyte so it's about the same price as the XLS. The new model (2015) comes with an ally frame/carbon fork with Sram Apex/Rival but it also comes with the new Sram S series hydraulic brakes.

So would you go for the hydro brakes over a carbon frame and mechanical discs? Also I know I'm bound to crash in cross and I know it's on "softer" ground but I wonder if the Ally frame could be a bit more robust??

Thoughts please.
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Posts

  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,092
    Deffo alloy + hydro brakes... an absolute no brainer
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    There's no reason why aluminium should be any more or less 'robust' than carbon in a crash.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,092
    Imposter wrote:
    There's no reason why aluminium should be any more or less 'robust' than carbon in a crash.

    True, but a dent is manageable, while a crack is the end of the road and carbon fibre doesn't dent
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,800 Lives Here
  • rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,385
    Imposter wrote:
    There's no reason why aluminium should be any more or less 'robust' than carbon in a crash.

    True, but a dent is manageable, while a crack is the end of the road and carbon fibre doesn't dent

    Yea that's what I was getting at. I'm sure as winter/cross racer the bike will take a bit of a beating. I have a carbon road bike but obviously road is different to cross.

    Right well it seems the Whyte with hydros is the way to go then.
    ***** Pro Tour Pundit Champion 2018, 2017 & 2011 *****
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,092
    Are these the post-recall hydro brakes?
  • rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,385
    Are these the post-recall hydro brakes?

    Yes I think so as these are the new S series brakes and not the Red version and they are on the 2015 models. I'm going to double check though.
    ***** Pro Tour Pundit Champion 2018, 2017 & 2011 *****
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    Imposter wrote:
    There's no reason why aluminium should be any more or less 'robust' than carbon in a crash.

    True, but a dent is manageable, while a crack is the end of the road and carbon fibre doesn't dent

    The force required to put a dent in an ally tube would probably not do too much harm a CF tube. Obviously if you hit something hard enough, you will trash it, regardless of what it is made of. Carbon fibre probably has a higher impact resistance than aluminium in any case. I see loads of CF cross bikes being raced without issue.
    rozzer32 wrote:
    I have a carbon road bike but obviously road is different to cross.

    Obviously choose whatever CX bike you want, but at least make your decisions based on knowledge, rather than misconception.
  • Paul 8vPaul 8v Posts: 5,458
    I can't see much benifit in the hydro's to be fair apart from better modulation. If it's for racing you don't even need discs but they are better for trail riding and situations where you actually need to stop.

    The Ridley I just bought is carbon and it's built like a tank, I rode the aluminium and the carbon versions (X Ride and X Fire) there was a big difference in ride quality over fast, dry bumpy trails, probably much less of a difference in the gloop, I can't speak for the Planet X as I've not ridden it but it has a good spec.

    I must admit I did look at a wide range of bikes including last year's Saxon which did look great but I'm just not a fan of SRAM shifters
  • Paul 8vPaul 8v Posts: 5,458
    I know they get free frames but the pro's do rag carbon frames quite a bit these days:
    http://blog.brooksengland.com/wps/wp-co ... Wsport.jpg
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I'd have a carbon frame for racing over a alloy frame - particularly Whyte with their weird geometry. My carbon CX frame has taken some big hits, including one that would have dented an alloy frame due to some numbtie loosing it on the snow as I was overtaking - the downtube paint still bears chainring marks.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,092
    Yes, but the OP is hardly going to race... he wants a commuter/winter bike that he might even use for racing. WIth this in mind, I'd rather have top brakes than a lighter/stiffer frame.
    Realistically, how many people with a CX bike actually use it for racing? If he wants to race, he shouldn't even consider discs in the first place
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    Yes, but the OP is hardly going to race...
    rozzer32 wrote:
    I'm looking to get a cross bike to use as a winter bike with road wheels and then when I fancy I will put some cross wheels in and do a bit of racing.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,092
    Imposter wrote:
    Yes, but the OP is hardly going to race...
    rozzer32 wrote:
    I'm looking to get a cross bike to use as a winter bike with road wheels and then when I fancy I will put some cross wheels in and do a bit of racing.

    Exactly... mainly a commuter/winter bike...
  • rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,385
    So I'd mainly use it as a winter bike. I'd maybe try to do a cross race every couple of weeks and maybe 1 or 2 off road training sessions a week to keep my fitness up. I thought about the carbon frame more in terms of comfort when using it for the road. I noticed a big difference when I upgraded my road bike to carbon.

    The sram doesn't really bother me. I used to ride sram before having shimano on my new bike. The whyte geometry does look a bit strange but I think they have a different head tube angle. I take it cross bike sizing is the same as road bike sizing?
    ***** Pro Tour Pundit Champion 2018, 2017 & 2011 *****
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    rozzer32 wrote:
    I take it cross bike sizing is the same as road bike sizing?

    Yes and no. They tend to have shorter TTs and HTs for a given ST size..
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    My take is that since frames are relatively mature and hydraulic brakes are still developing, you're better off getting the best carbon frame you can justify; you can always upgrade the brakes at some point in the future.

    Geometries are fairly similar; it always looks like the head tube is shorter, but in reality that's because the clearances are bigger on the fork, meaning the bottom headset bearings are further from the front wheel axle, and the head tube has to be shorter to compensate. I've ended up with almost identical geometries on my road and CX bikes (both of which are set up for racing), only difference is a couple of spacers under the stem of the CX bike.

    The only major reason not to get discs these days, is that you have a shed full of wheels for rim brakes. The weight penalty is negligible, and you'll never wear out another rim again. Braking power is generally not a factor in races, though you'll occasionally come across a descent where disc brakes give you the confidence to push a bit harder.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • tehtehtehtehtehteh Posts: 103
    I think road hydros need to mature a bit before I'm interested, price needs to come down a lot too, hydros 'feel' amazing but in terms of stopping power mechanical disks are still really good

    either choice you'll be happy
  • Another advantage of Hydraulic brakes, is that they require less maintenance than cable pull type. From my experience hydraulic brakes are effectively a closed system where water, dirt, grime doesn't get in... unlike cables. Much less maintenance other that changing pads as they wear. Having said that, I am basing this on MTB tech, it seems the road orientated stuff is still in it infancy.
  • rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,385
    Another advantage of Hydraulic brakes, is that they require less maintenance than cable pull type. From my experience hydraulic brakes are effectively a closed system where water, dirt, grime doesn't get in... unlike cables. Much less maintenance other that changing pads as they wear. Having said that, I am basing this on MTB tech, it seems the road orientated stuff is still in it infancy.

    Maintenance doesn't really bother me, I do all my own maintenance on my bikes anyway.
    ***** Pro Tour Pundit Champion 2018, 2017 & 2011 *****
  • So do I and its a fair comment. All I am saying is I have done MUCH less (zero if I excl new pads) maintenance on bike with Hydraulic discs.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    So do I and its a fair comment. All I am saying is I have done MUCH less (zero if I excl new pads) maintenance on bike with Hydraulic discs.
    +1. In the cross season, replacing your brake cables every few weeks can get quite boring; even the best-sealed ones aren't nearly as well sealed as hydraulics. That said, with a limited budget I'd still prioritise getting a good frame; I love my hydraulics, but could only really justify them because I found them at a silly price...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Agreed.... they need to catch up on road hydraulics tech and get the price down.

    For this reason, I am weighing up what I would go for to replace my Tricross... It could either be a CX bike with cable disc, or some sort of ridgid 29er with MTB kit inc hydraulic brakes.

    Problem is I use the Tricross for commuting, wet road rides, local off roads/exploring... a 29er would not excel at these, but could come in handy on a few local MTB races, where the terrain isn't too taxing. Hmm.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Agreed.... they need to catch up on road hydraulics tech and get the price down.

    For this reason, I am weighing up what I would go for to replace my Tricross... It could either be a CX bike with cable disc, or some sort of ridgid 29er with MTB kit inc hydraulic brakes.

    Problem is I use the Tricross for commuting, wet road rides, local off roads/exploring... a 29er would not excel at these, but could come in handy on a few local MTB races, where the terrain isn't too taxing. Hmm.
    Decent CX frame with TRP Spyres would be my suggestion; for the range of activites you're talking about, a CX bike will be far more versatile.

    Do your local MTB races allow CX bikes? I know the Beastway races do, but don't know enough about MTB racing in general to know whether that's the norm.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    My local Enduro series don't allow CX bikes with tyres narrower than 1.75" but some others may as the distinction between what constitutes an MTB and a CX is getting increasingly blurred. Any regional CX race will allow MTBs though.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • tgotb wrote:
    Agreed.... they need to catch up on road hydraulics tech and get the price down.

    For this reason, I am weighing up what I would go for to replace my Tricross... It could either be a CX bike with cable disc, or some sort of ridgid 29er with MTB kit inc hydraulic brakes.

    Problem is I use the Tricross for commuting, wet road rides, local off roads/exploring... a 29er would not excel at these, but could come in handy on a few local MTB races, where the terrain isn't too taxing. Hmm.
    Decent CX frame with TRP Spyres would be my suggestion; for the range of activites you're talking about, a CX bike will be far more versatile.

    Do your local MTB races allow CX bikes? I know the Beastway races do, but don't know enough about MTB racing in general to know whether that's the norm.

    I know the TriCross isn't a true CX, but from my time on it, it doesn't quite fit the job of the kind of lesser off road riding I want to do, find it hard to handle on some steeper climbs (wheels spin out) and some finer balancing and brake control insnt quite there. They can be raced in the local mtb races I do, but from the 2 I have done, I would choose the mtb each time, but I think a rigid 29 would be perfect.
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