carbon or aluminum
Last Post 05/11/2014 10:48 PM by Hoshie S. 22 Replies.
Author Messages
THE SKINNY

Posts:395

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05/10/2014 09:09 AM
so do i go with a lesser grade carbon frame with lesser grade components or a aluminum frame with higher end components? or fork out the extra $ for a lesser carbon frame with higher end components? i'm looking at the giant defy, fit being the same on both.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1109

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05/10/2014 10:27 AM
6 of one, half dozen of the other.

With good tires and latex tubes, you can get a damn nice ride out of a well-designed aluminum bike ( but lose some bling factor). Lower-grade components are getting so good that it is getting harder and harder to justify the extra expense of DA / Ultegra, etc.

However, the rule of thumb is usually get the best frame you can and upgrade components as needed.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
zootracer

Posts:292

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05/10/2014 10:46 AM
Article about carbon frames and the manufacturing process in Bicycling mag a few months back. According to the article a lot of terminology used by the manufacturers is a lot of hype. Most modern carbon frames are pretty good. I had a Klein at one time that was a real nice riding bike, but I bought a Colnago Master X-Light and I liked the nago's ride better. You might take a look at the Ridley Fenix. Performance bike has them on sale with Ultegra for $2399.99. I know nothing about these bikes, but if I was in the market, I'd consider one. What I did is test rode a couple of bikes. Carbon bikes can ride quite different. If I was to consider an al bike, I'd look at a Cannondale Caad10. Good luck.
Keith Richards

Posts:735

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05/10/2014 11:38 AM
What model Defy? What else are you looking at? Is $2500 (just throwing something out there) your limit?
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
Master50

Posts:230

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05/10/2014 11:43 AM
Aluminum has a fatigue life so depending on how long you keep the bike it will eventually break. For most people that can mean 20 years.
Carbon finer properly engineered and correctly made does not .
THE SKINNY

Posts:395

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05/10/2014 11:55 AM
the defy composite. one has the ultegra and the other has 105. i don't think they make an aluminum defy with ultegra but i think there are other makers that have the same geomery in an aluminum frame with ultegra.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
Orange Crush

Posts:1179

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05/10/2014 12:02 PM
Depends how sensitive you are to differences in ride "feel" (this is why you test ride them) but typically I'd say go for option with higher end components.
longslowdistance

Posts:666

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05/10/2014 04:08 PM
Here's a question for all of you out there with experience: How much of an upgrade is DA from Ultegra, and Ultegra from 105? I know the more expensive parts are a touch lighter and have bling appeal too, but are they functionally better?
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1109

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05/10/2014 06:10 PM
Not substantially, LSD....more of a difference between 105 and Ultegra than Ultegra to DA. A lot of the $$ for DA goes to stuff like cassettes, etc which adds very little performance advantage. You could argue it is a negative since the lifespan is probably less.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Ride On

Posts:434

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05/10/2014 06:18 PM
If the carbon bike has roundish tube shapes and a bottom bracket shape that is pretty standard I'd stick with Al.

Carbon frames are interesting when they take advantage of the shaping you can do with carbon. That is where they can make the ride different. That difference can be noticeable sometimes to some people.
THE SKINNY

Posts:395

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05/10/2014 07:12 PM
i've never had carbon and i've had some pretty used ultegra on a nice aluminum frame. the shop will probably give me a good deal on the defy composite so that's what i'll go with (if it actually happens).
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
eurochien

Posts:43

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05/10/2014 07:20 PM
Last month my 3 year old Masi 3 V (carbon, made in Taiwan) broke in the bottom bracket shell area. I got a replacement as it was covered by their lifetime warranty (still had to shell out 600 bucks for an "upgrade").
This month my 8 year-old (but I only had it for 5 years) Yeti ASR-SL (aluminum dual suspension mtb) broke with a nice crack next to the weld at the the top tube's "V" bend. That frame is toast and I'm outta luck on that one since Yeti only warranties their frames for 2 years and I'm not even the original owner.

I'm bummin'. Steel might be the best material.
zootracer

Posts:292

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05/10/2014 08:25 PM
If I had a choice, I buy a frame and have my LBS build it up. The only original part I have left on my '07 Trek Madone 5.9SL is the headset. Eventually every sticking thing I had on the stock bike was replaced. I would have saved money in the long run.

Steel is the best material, but it's getting expensive. My '02 Colnago Master X Light frame (with carbon fork) cost $1700. Now it's around $3000.
THE SKINNY

Posts:395

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05/11/2014 12:12 AM
steel would be preferred but it's hard to get the right geometry without going custom.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
longslowdistance

Posts:666

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05/11/2014 06:18 AM
Am I correct that it's still a lot cheaper to buy a built up bike? Just remembering the original post, which seem to be cost consciousness.
If you like steel, consider ti, too. Such a sweet ride, never rusts, and lasts.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1109

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05/11/2014 08:40 AM
Yes, complete bikes are (almost) always cheaper.

Steel is a great material, but like everything else, has drawbacks. Heavier, can rust, not as stiff on a pound / stiffness ratio, etc.

Personally, I think the best "bang for your buck" option is well-designed aluminum frame. The CAAD 10 from C-Dale or the New Specialized Allez are great bikes.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:1179

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05/11/2014 11:46 AM
Posted By Cosmic Kid on 05/11/2014 08:40 AM
Yes, complete bikes are (almost) always cheaper.

Orbea has (or at least used to have) a very cost effective offering to "build your own bike": pick frame, then wheels and components, great for mix and match. This is how I got mine.
Hoshie

Posts:114

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05/11/2014 02:07 PM
If it is the same frame geometry, then I'd say it is budget driven decision. I' d set ultegra as your group benchmark though. That stuff is excellent.

Also, wheels and tires count more than most people think.

j
zootracer

Posts:292

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05/11/2014 02:10 PM
I agree build up bikes are cheaper. If you find one that has the right handlebar width, stem length and angle, decent wheelset and so on.

I don't think Orbea has that program any longer. I could not find anything online about it.

What is the price limit for the original poster?

The only major prob I had with built up bikes is a lot of the wheels are cra*. But that's just me.

Hoshie

Posts:114

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05/11/2014 02:14 PM
Lastly, I love steel and am choosing a custom steel frame soon. But, for an off the shelf frame, carbon or aluminum frames with the right geo for you all make great bikes.

This assumption that steel or Ti doesnt break is just off the mark. I have seen steel frames crack near weld areas, etc. So, I take all the examples of this or that material to be better as anecdotal unless the design was poor. For example, early cervelo carbon frames had a manufacturing issue near the bb, but that wouldn't stop me from riding a new cervelo as they are excellent frames.


J
THE SKINNY

Posts:395

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05/11/2014 04:21 PM
the price point is in the neighborhood of 2K. the aluminum frame i have now is really pretty comfortable as far as ride quality, it just doesn't fit very well. it was a free 1999 cannondale 1000 with ultegra parts and a carbon fork. i've had it a few years and about 3 hours is all i can stand. i've got the saddle position set but the bar and stem i'm stuck with. i would love a steel/ti frame but it would have to be custom and i don't want to pay that much. the defy has a tall head tube and a short top tube. i guess all the major manufacturers have a frame like that but my local giant shop will probably hook me up nicely. i don't race either and i get the impression that the nicer aluminum frames are set up more for going fast.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
zootracer

Posts:292

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05/11/2014 05:08 PM
If you're set on the al Defy and if your LBS will help you with the fit, go for it. I rode an al Klein for years and I found it extremely comfortable. Gave it up as it was too large for me. The only thing I would check on is Giant's warranty on the al frame.
Hoshie

Posts:114

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05/11/2014 10:48 PM
If you can get the right fit, that sounds like a good situation as giant typically makes good product.


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