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Is a carbon-frame CX bike worth it if you don't race?

johngwheelerjohngwheeler Posts: 35
edited March 2017 in Cyclocross
I've been considering getting a more serious CX bike and have been looking at the Merida Cyclocross range (which are more easily available in Australia than some other brands).

The range is small, but seems to have two families "x00" (aluminium) and "x000" (carbon), where "x" offers various levels of fittings.

There is a big differential in price between the two frame types (over $1000), with often only minor upgrades to the other bits (e.g. Ultegra vs 105).

So my question is losing maybe 500-1000g in bike weight is really going to make much of a difference for general informal use or novice-level events?

Is the ride quality on a carbon frame (for cyclocross) noticeably different when riding on or off-road?


Thanks!

John

Posts

  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,858
    I recently got a Giant TCX for mucking about on local tracks and trail centres when my full sus bike is to over the top, after trying the carbon version back to back with the aluminium version I got the Ali version. My reasoning on this was that the bike was going to get thrown about a fair bit and given the cost difference I felt better going with the cheaper one should it get damaged, yes the carbon version was lighter but both bikes are 3kgs lighter than my full sus anyway. I don't intend doing full on cyclocross anyway just the odd beginner one that you ride anything as long as it's got brakes. Can't say I noticed much difference between the 2 bikes apart from weight and price.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • oxoman wrote:
    I recently got a Giant TCX for mucking about on local tracks and trail centres when my full sus bike is to over the top, after trying the carbon version back to back with the aluminium version I got the Ali version. My reasoning on this was that the bike was going to get thrown about a fair bit and given the cost difference I felt better going with the cheaper one should it get damaged, yes the carbon version was lighter but both bikes are 3kgs lighter than my full sus anyway. I don't intend doing full on cyclocross anyway just the odd beginner one that you ride anything as long as it's got brakes. Can't say I noticed much difference between the 2 bikes apart from weight and price.

    Thanks. This is pretty much what I was thinking - if it's going to be somewhat abused off-road - with falls quite likely - then spending thousands seems hard to justify unless you're a serious competition rider, which I am most definitely not.
    At present, I'd be happy to just to complete a cyclocross course without incident, less alone win aim to win one. (BTW, I'm a 49-year old born-again MAMIL - so I'm only doing this for fun and fitness!)

    John
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    I am firmly in the camp that less weight = better .... for me and my weak chicken legs, loosing 1kg off of a bike is noticeable, especially when throwing the bike around, carrying it or trying to accelerate off road.

    BUT

    going on the abrasions of my tricross, the times I have dropped it, hit trees, picked up slicks that have become wedged in the wheel and stays ..... I would not want a carbon frame for that abuse ... on top of that any bike that sees a lot of mud, washing and water, I want a threaded BB as well.

    For me, I would not risk a carbon frame for CX to shed weight
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,858
    To op I'm older than you by a year or 2 and definitely a born again mamil
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,058
    Overall bike weight depends on much more than just your choice of frame material, IMO. So it doesn't necessarily follow that a carbon framed bike will be lighter than an aluminium one.

    Carbon's 'ride quality' is also a bit of a red herring and is dependent on many other factors, few of which relate to frame material.
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    a lite weight alloy bike with nice fat thin walled frame tubes, is just as likely to get damaged as a Carbon bike, Carbon now a days is pretty simple to repair, probably easir than ultra thin alloy.

    based on my canyon carbon mtb, they are indestructible..... so far!!!
  • Chris JamesChris James Posts: 1,040
    In general I think aluminium cross bikes are a great combination of performance and value, especially since cross bikes do live a hard life.

    Having said that, a club mate had the Merida 500 and snapped the fork steerer twice! He is a reasonably big guy (ex rugby player) and has used if for the 3 Peaks, but even so that seems excessive to me. It was changed in warranty the first time, but was out of warranty by the time it went again.

    It would have put me off Merida TBH, but it didn't put him off because he went out and bought the 5000 with it's carbon steerer. Mind you, he's only had that 18 months so who knows if that will last longer!

    My cross bike is aluminium, with an alloy steerer and I have trashed it down MTB trail centre routes and all kinds.

    Incidentally, a lot of racers are still on alloy frames.
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    I've got one of each and can't say I notice any difference other than the weight.
    Although I've no idea where the notion that carbon is less hard wearing than aluminium comes from. Both my carbon cross bike and carbon XC bike have taken a beating over the years and are fine. Lightweight alloy frames are rather prone to getting big nasty dents in my experience.
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