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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, my first bike was aluminum and my current bike is a custom steel. Considering purchasing a new carbon bike, but have never ridden carbon. Am I missing something or waste of money?
I enjoy long rides, so thinking of the comfort of a carbon frame, and they're so light.
 

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That is a question that is debated nearly each week here on rbr. I like the feel of steel and carbon. I like the looks of nude steel (just clear) and oddly enough nude UD carbon. I guess if the fit is good the material that makes the frame may make some difference in feel but very little in difference in performance. I ride a top shelf carbon road bike but will build up a custom steel CX bike this summer so I'm no help to you. Fit, wheels and tires make or break any bike. Good luck.
 

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I have two road bikes with similar geometry, the "relaxed" geometry. One is carbon fiber, a Cannondale Synapse, and the other is aluminum, a Fuji Newest. I ride both on a regular basis, but the Synapse does provide a smoother ride.
 

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Any aficionado will tell you that it's nice to own all three. The steel bike gives a great ride but is too flexible and compliant so the bottom bracket sways around a bit. The aluminum ride is very light and direct with the road, but might jolt your fillings loose on all the bumps. The carbon fiber bike is smooth riding, yet will not flex a bit while still being very connected to the road. All different bikes, all different feels. I suggest you own all three.
 

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There ain't no flys on carbon but I prefer steel.
Get out to a shop and test ride something, or if you've got a good enough friend to borrow some carbon for an extended ride, do that.

I rode steel all my life, a DeRosa since the mid '80s. Then a few years ago I got it in my head that I wanted carbon so I went and got a Ridley Excalibur. I rode that a coupla few years, 9000+ miles, before I upgraded the drive train on the DeRosa and went back to that.
Right now the Excalibur frame is hanging on a hook, and the group is in a box awaiting the arrival of a new Della Santa(steel) frameset.

So I guess what I'm saying is you ain't missing nothin', but you really need to see for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ideally I'd like to borrow a friends ride to test it out, but being 6'4" I don't fit on their bikes. Test rides at the shops are hard to get a good feel. I kinda like Hooben's advice to own all three.
 

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Ti can be very nice too. I always think Ti when someone says they like the long ride. No bash on carbon - love my Calfee as much as any bike.
Ti is nice (my favorite) they can run from stiff to springy depending on the design.
 

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What is kind of stupid (no offence) is to go our buying bikes based only on what they are made of. If you want a new bike for a specific purpose or fit by all means get one and if it's carbon great. Or even if you just want another bike, great. But simply because you got to have a "cabon bike" makes little sense. Some carbon bikes suck and some are great, some will fit your riding style and body, some won't. Perhaps there's more to your decision making process than you've mentioned but if the only criteria is "carbon" then think a little harder about it.
 

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I've had 'em all - custom steel, stock steel, aluminum, carbon. With my last itch I went from carbon to custom Ti and I couldn't be happier. I think there is way more difference in HOW something is made than with WHAT it's made from though.

I just wanted to get away from "flavor of the month" changes of color and shape of carbon. I went with a plain-jane but oh-so-finely-done titanium frame. I'm missing nothing not having a carbon frame.
 

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Any aficionado will tell you that it's nice to own all three. The steel bike gives a great ride but is too flexible and compliant so the bottom bracket sways around a bit. The aluminum ride is very light and direct with the road, but might jolt your fillings loose on all the bumps. The carbon fiber bike is smooth riding, yet will not flex a bit while still being very connected to the road. All different bikes, all different feels. I suggest you own all three.
 

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I have 6 steel, custom and stock, 3 ti bikes, and one carbon. I no longer have an alum. as I traded it in on a waterford. I agree with everything above except that steel is springy at the bottom bracket. It depends on the builder and geo. Mine range all over the board. the same with ti. Actually in my opinion there is very little difference in feel between steel and ti, that can be attributed to the material itself. With al. and carbon, I think there are some characteristics of the ride that is inherent to the material and will always influence the ride.

I like having the ablility to ride different bikes with different feels. If you can do it go ahead with the carbon bike. It will be a good compliment to what you already have. I would not sell your steel bike if you don't have to. Not selling is how I ended up with so many. They all get at least 500 miles a year as per agreement with wife.
 

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I like having the ablility to ride different bikes with different feels. If you can do it go ahead with the carbon bike. It will be a good compliment to what you already have. I would not sell your steel bike if you don't have to. Not selling is how I ended up with so many. They all get at least 500 miles a year as per agreement with wife.
You cut a good deal with the wife.
 

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I have all 3 materials too but all 3 have different geo's. The carbon was my last purchase and although it fits me the best and sees the most use (by far) I wouldn't have done it again. I'm not unhappy mind you but the steel/Al suit me just fine and I don't need to baby them as much.

The biggest thing I don't like with the carbon frame is that I feel like I need to be more delicate with it than I do with steel or Al (or Ti if I had that). I don't liek treating my machines with a delicate hand. I wanna be able to put it on the trainer, throw it in my backseat, put it on a rear car rack, or lean on it any way I want. And although I do most of those things with it anyway, it bothers me that it's not recommended. I want to be able to lean it on something and not feel like I need to look at it very closely if it falls on a rock or worry that the frame may fail later because of that. I guess I think it's more trouble than it's worth.

My advice to you however is to make sure the geo is what you want and go for it! Ride it for a couple years and if it doesn't fulfill all your wildest dreams, sell er off - although you'll have to find a freaky tall buyer.
 

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I have all 3 materials too but all 3 have different geo's. The carbon was my last purchase and although it fits me the best and sees the most use (by far) I wouldn't have done it again. I'm not unhappy mind you but the steel/Al suit me just fine and I don't need to baby them as much.

The biggest thing I don't like with the carbon frame is that I feel like I need to be more delicate with it than I do with steel or Al (or Ti if I had that). I don't liek treating my machines with a delicate hand. I wanna be able to put it on the trainer, throw it in my backseat, put it on a rear car rack, or lean on it any way I want. And although I do most of those things with it anyway, it bothers me that it's not recommended. I want to be able to lean it on something and not feel like I need to look at it very closely if it falls on a rock or worry that the frame may fail later because of that. I guess I think it's more trouble than it's worth.
You'll get over it. Took me about a year to. You've probably read too much internet group think regarding carbon bikes like I had.
Sure some of the super light ones are fragile but really you don't need to baby 99 percent of them just because it's made of carbon. People race carbon mountain bikes for christ sake. I think they can handle being leaned on a wall or put in a car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No offense taken. Don't have to have a carbon bike. Just never ridden one and they are very popular. Just wanted to know from those that have ridden a variety of bikes if the material makes a big difference in he ride. Enough to spend 4 to 5k on a new bike.
 

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I disagree. I think there are some inherent characterisics of carbon that does make it a signficantly different ride. For example a stiff steel bike with the same geometry is still going to feel different from a carbon bike with the same build characteristics. I agree that any materials can make a stiff or flexable bike. They can all be a very good riding bike or one not so good, but my bottom line is that there is enough difference to own more than one type.

When it comes to "worth it" factors such as amount of use, finances etc come into play. To be honest there is only one bike in my stable that I would not be happy with as my only bike. I still put 1000 miles on it last year.
 
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