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Hi all,

What, in your opinion, are the benefits and detractors of mating carbon forks and/or seat stays with steel frames? I've found that in some cases, the steel "feel" is compromised, and the weight savings is rather negligible. But I'd like to hear others' opinions.

Thx.
 

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Hate it! I think it is the dumbest thing ever on a bike. I love carbon frames- have a Colnago Ext C and a Fondriest TF1 Top Carbon. I also like Aluminum frames and can accept the carbon stays on them. But on steel (and Ti)- NO WAY!!!! Doesn't add any value in terms of ride quality. They only did it because of marketing. In fact, it detracts in value. Take for example, the Colnago Master carbon. They had a horrible time selling those frames so Colnago discontinued it after only 1 or 2 years. Shops were selling these Master Carbons at deep discounts when it was during the current model year.
 

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Properly done, it's a good thing. I own a Serotta Ottrott, which is a carbon/ti hybrid bike. It could very well be the finest bike in the world. It has a ti head tube, seat tube and chainstays, while the seatstays, top and down tubes are carbon, along with the fork. This frame takes the "carbon seatstays and fork" thing to the next level, but it shows what can be done with a multi-material bike. While some may think that carbon is the best material for bike frames, The Serotta Ottrott uses the best material for each tube on the bike. It has the durability and light, springy feel of a great ti bike, but the carbon top and down tubes add ridgidity and vibration dampening, while the carbon seat stays do absorb road chatter and provide some rear vertical flex while keeping things tight and stiff in the horizontal plane. Steel frame purists may shudder at the thought of carbon seat stays on a steel frame, but let's face it- using different materials for different tasks can be a good idea. Would you ride a wheelset made of just one material? Many of the best wheels uses carbon, aluminum, steel and maybe even ceramic in their construction. It's just good engineering!
 

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10 years or so I had the opportunity to discuss this among other subjects with Dario Pegoretti, who developed EOM 16.5 tubing for Dedacciai.

His take was that it was a short-cut and was inferior to building with the correct tubing for the frame. he also pointed out that there were more joints involved on many frames with carbon stays. The best comment though was that he "wouldn't trust his nuts to 2 4mm bolts!"
 

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I have a Marin Thron OS frame with carbon stays and I would say it has a stiffer feel to the rear triangle than other steel frames I have owned with some vibration damping added.As a penalty the frame feels more deadened and less lively/springy than the average steel frame.I like the frame, but I can't say I would seek carbon stays on future steel frame purchases.
 

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ultimobici said:
10 years or so I had the opportunity to discuss this among other subjects with Dario Pegoretti, who developed EOM 16.5 tubing for Dedacciai.

His take was that it was a short-cut and was inferior to building with the correct tubing for the frame. he also pointed out that there were more joints involved on many frames with carbon stays. The best comment though was that he "wouldn't trust his nuts to 2 4mm bolts!"
I think he's right. I always took the carbon stays thing as something the bike industry was trying to fool consumers with. The carbon stays are cheaper to fabricate and build into a bike. Then if they could convince us that the bikes had a better ride, they could also charge us more for them.
 

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While I'm generally biased towards lugged steel - four of my five bikes are just that - I have a steel/carbon bike that I like quite a bit.

It's the Masi Speciale Carbon, with the main triangle built from Dedacciai 16.5 EOM and Dedacciai's "Black Tail/Monobox" carbon rear triangle. Easton fork. They discontinued it after the 2006 model year and I got it on an "employee purchase"closeout (read cheap.) The bean counters at Haro/Masi killed it because it didn't sell. It was priced at retail the same as Masi's full carbon 3V with the same Ultegra/DuraAce build so customers just "walked past it."

I switched out the Shimano bits for Campy Centaur and a bunch of Bontrager stuff (I work for a Trek dealer.) With no real "weight weenie" parts, it's 17.5 lbs. with cages and pedals. I couldn't say if it would weigh more or less with steel stays.

I will concede that it's unrepairable if crashed and I pay close attention to those two little bolts holding the seatstay/chainstay/dropout menage together (thank you, Dario.)

What I do like about this bike is the way it rides and handles. It's more "muted" than an all steel bike, probably as much to do with the carbon fork, but it doesn't have that somewhat dead feel that I've experienced on a number of carbon frames. Out of the saddle it definitely has that "springy" response that I like in my Columbus SL and TSX and Reynolds 531P tubed bikes. The geometry is pretty much "stage race" and it's made a great "Century" bike.

It's not "carbon" and it's not "steel" but I do like it - a lot!
 
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