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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am begining to think about an all carbon bike. Any help focusing on a midgrade bike would be appreciated. Bike would not be raced so getting a Trek Mondone (sp?) is not a priority. Do I go with a Trek, Look, Giant, etc. What brand gives me the best deal without paying too much for the name.

Are the carbon grades/types make much difference with regards to strength? Or do they just make the frame lighter? Thanks for your help. r, fred
 

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Well....there are certain frames which are made by what some refer to as "cheap" carbon or just plain lack the technology. For instance the latest Giant TCR carbon frames, the Orbea Orca, or the Merckx Carbon score very low in torsional stiffness. It's really buyer beware in carbon land for the time being.....
 

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Every little counts...
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LOOK on clearance, 281 or KX

fredstaple said:
I am begining to think about an all carbon bike. Any help focusing on a midgrade bike would be appreciated. Bike would not be raced so getting a Trek Mondone (sp?) is not a priority. Do I go with a Trek, Look, Giant, etc. What brand gives me the best deal without paying too much for the name.

Are the carbon grades/types make much difference with regards to strength? Or do they just make the frame lighter? Thanks for your help. r, fred
Consider a Look. Watch out for all of the generic taiwanese carbon, I think the quality of these builds might come to light in the next few years.

In the most part, any Look frame is top-notch, stiff enough, comfortable enough, and not a superlight that will shred in a few years.

IMHO, you are looking for a bike that rides like steel. I would suggest steel.
 

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Generaly there are only a few companies that actually make their own carbon fiber bikes. Trek makes their lugs and purchases the tubes elsewhere, Giant fabricates their (and other companies) bikes at their mega-factory in Taiwain. I've been on both Trek and Giant carbon, and IMO the Giant is far superior... Keep in mind that this is your first carbon bike and will most likely lead to the purchase of another one (they're addictive) You might want to check out the Trek 5200/5500 on e-bay but most of all; get a proper fitting by your LBS otherwise the bike, be it carbon or titanium is worthless... good luck and let us know what you settle on!
 

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Are you going to purchase in Japan?

Hi Fredstaple,

Do you plan to buy your CF frame in Japan, or mail order? I don't know what your LBS is like up in Yokuska, but we have a pretty good shop down here near Hiroshima. My cycling buddy bought his Trek 5600 at a bike shop in Otaka (I posted a shop report). There are used frames coming on the market in Yamaguchi from time to time. We also get bikes for test rides. It's about a $400 round trip Shin ride between Yokuska and Hiroshima, but if your in the area you should check it out!

Ride On!
 

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5200

The 5200/5500 has been on the market for numerous years now and has proven to be a great frame. Bottom line is the frame has held up well after being exposed to the test of time. Also the bike gets rave reviews for ride quality and stiffness for climbing/accelerating.

I have heard that the Looks are real nice and give a great ride but have no personal experience.


I have a 97 5200 frame with at least 20k miles on it between the original owner and myself. It doesn't look real pretty but it rides pretty.
 

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I love my

5200 but fit is more important try a lemond as well. I think the real difference in carbon is fit!
 

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Huh?????

divve said:
Well....there are certain frames which are made by what some refer to as "cheap" carbon or just plain lack the technology. For instance the latest Giant TCR carbon frames, the Orbea Orca, or the Merckx Carbon score very low in torsional stiffness. It's really buyer beware in carbon land for the time being.....
I don't know what information your opinion is based on, but the three brands you identify as scoring low on torsional stiffness (implying that they are fabricated from "cheap" carbon) have been ranked among the best carbon rides available. The Giant TCR has consistently been ranked amongst the best carbon frame values and thoroughly race tested (see ONCE and T-Mobile). The Orbea and Merckx models are relatively new, but from what I've read, Robbie McEwan hasn't complained much about chain rub when sprinting on his MXM.

Trek, Look, Giant and Kestrel have been making carbon lugged or monocoque frames for years with fantastic success and results. I don't think there is much to worry about quality from these builders, and given the fact that Orbea and Merckx have been building metal frames for decades, you'll probably be in good shape with an Orca or MXM. The question posed relates to value which depends largely on type of construction method, manufacturer of the materials, and build kit. IMHO there are excellent values in both lugged and monocoque frames with Ultegra and Chorus finishing kits (see Giant and Kestrel).
 

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Don't forget to look at bikes from companies like Argon 18, Cervelo, Calfee, and Parlee. For the cost, their carbon bikes are right up there in build/ride quality along side those from Colnago, Look, Giant, and Trek! They may not have the same "mystique" as European bikes, but you get more than what you pay for, rather than just paying for the "name" like some brands of bikes.
Also being North American companies, the warranty issues tend to be abit more 'user friendly', than with some of their overseas counterparts.
 

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MerckxMad said:
I don't know what information your opinion is based on, but the three brands you identify as scoring low on torsional stiffness (implying that they are fabricated from "cheap" carbon) have been ranked among the best carbon rides available. The Giant TCR has consistently been ranked amongst the best carbon frame values and thoroughly race tested (see ONCE and T-Mobile). The Orbea and Merckx models are relatively new, but from what I've read, Robbie McEwan hasn't complained much about chain rub when sprinting on his MXM.
Just numbers in an independent comparison test with fixed loads by IFBe for the German Tour Magazin and the Giant was in some magazine from the Netherlands. I've also tried a 2003 composite Giant in size L myself and found it to be a noodle. Can't speak for the smaller sizes. They might be stiffer.

BTW, the Merckx was so floppy that they didn't recommend going down any hill at high speeds with it.
 

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If you are looking at mid-priced carbon frames, look at the Aegis products too. Aegis built for several others before they built under their own name.
 

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Another vote for Aegis

I have an Aegis Victory. Not lugged but a monoque (sp?) frame. Lifetime warranty. Stiff, light and good looking. I bought their top of the line carbone weave Victory for $1700 for the frame and fork. www.aegisbicycles.com
 

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Giant TCR Carbon, etc.

Having ridden the Giant in a small frame size, I was impressed by the bottom bracket stiffness as well as the overall frame compliance. After having ridden OCLV's, which in my opinion, felt far too flexible as well as "wooden" or isolated from the road too much, I was pleasantly surprised by the improved and opposite performance of the Giant TCR carbon. It still absorbed bumps really well, but felt stiffer than my aluminum/carbon Merckx Fuga. The small rear triangle must stiffen it up well.

I'm lucky enough for the small to fit me well. Having just a few sized to choose from is a weakness of compact frames. For the dollar, the Giant is the best carbon deal available out there. As a shop employee, I have a choice of Cannondale, Specialized, Merckx, Lemond, and Giant. For my limited income as well as a great overall frame, I'll replace my Merckx with the Giant carbon.

A teammate who owns a Litespeed Sienna, Cannondale CADD-7, and a few other bikes bought the large TCR Team (Campy Record) and reports excellent stiffness and compliance compared to the Ti. The CADD-7 is still stiffer, but he uses it only for races and not long rides.

I read one review on the Merckx MXM which compared it to a Porsche GT. I've never ridden one so I can't say much.

If nothing else, these discussions help us all open our eyes to the possible positives and negatives of a product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Looking to buy stateside as my time in Japan is too quickly coming to an end
 

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ketrel evoke

divve said:
Just numbers in an independent comparison test with fixed loads by IFBe for the German Tour Magazin and the Giant was in some magazine from the Netherlands. I've also tried a 2003 composite Giant in size L myself and found it to be a noodle. Can't speak for the smaller sizes. They might be stiffer.

BTW, the Merckx was so floppy that they didn't recommend going down any hill at high speeds with it.
I have been looking at the new kestrel evoke. Since it's so new I can't fine a whole lot of info on it other than the website. Have you read anything on it?
 

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They only tested the Kestrel Talon SL. It was in the mid-range regarding stiffness with the head tube considered slightly flexible. You have to watch out with these German magazines however. They tend to lean to the "stiffer = better" criteria. Of course you don't want something that feels like a noodle or a piece of dead wood, but there a lot in between to suit everyones need. Kestrel makes decent frames though.

According to the magazine the only really bad ones were in ascending order: Calfee (someones going to **** now), Willier, Orbea, Merckx, and Moser.
 

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Name of magazine

divve said:
They only tested the Kestrel Talon SL. It was in the mid-range regarding stiffness with the head tube considered slightly flexible. You have to watch out with these German magazines however. They tend to lean to the "stiffer = better" criteria. Of course you don't want something that feels like a noodle or a piece of dead wood, but there a lot in between to suit everyones need. Kestrel makes decent frames though.

According to the magazine the only really bad ones were in ascending order: Calfee (someones going to **** now), Willier, Orbea, Merckx, and Moser.
thanks for the info. What is the name of the magaizine and is there a website?
 

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calfee....

Recently received my Calfee Tetra. Nice bike. Check out their web page for specs. Can get a fully custom if that is what you need. Have not put alot of miles on the Calfee yet but what I have I am very happy with.

GOOD LUCK
 

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divve said:
Well....there are certain frames which are made by what some refer to as "cheap" carbon or just plain lack the technology. For instance the latest Giant TCR carbon frames, the Orbea Orca, or the Merckx Carbon score very low in torsional stiffness. It's really buyer beware in carbon land for the time being.....
How do you define 'cheap carbon'? I have a Giant composite frame and it is one of the lightest and 'torsionally' stiff carbon frames on the market. Torsional stiffness of a bicycle frame is related to a) geometrical properties e.g. diameter and thickness of section for a tube and b) the strength of its joints. The joints on all giant composite monocoque frames are fully integrated and provide as stiff a frame as you can achieve in this material. Torsional stiffness relies on a lesser extent on quality of carbon as most carbon composites used on reputable brands are of similar quality these days. Just because Giant frames represent incredibly good value for money doesnt mean they are any inferior to say Colnago or Fondriest.....I'd recommend one anyday!!
 
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