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Hello:
I'm in search of my first real road bike, and could use some advice...
I used to do some mountain biking, but have not been cycling the past few years. But a few months ago I met some friends that have re introducted me to the sport, and I'm loving it!
I've been riding a buddy's 20+ year old oversized Cilo bike for the past few months. I'm 46 years old (though refuse to act it), 170 lbs., and in pretty good shape (rode my first century last weekend, then survied 106 miles yesterday that included 8000 feet of climbing). There are mostly mountains where I ride so climbing is important. I don't plan to race; I forsee most of my riding to eventually be 2-3 hour hilly loops, with occasional 100 mile plus added in. (Training for the Death Ride in California)

I've been doing some research and my two current finalists are either a Serotto steel bike (with carbon fork and seat stays), or the Bianchi 928 all Carbon with the Campy Veloce group, both which run around $2400. (The Serotto had better wheels, and I believe Shimano Ultegra though probably could get the campy on there too).

Some tell me that Carbon feels great at first, but after a few months it will feel stiff and/or "dead", and that it's better to stay with steel (or titanium). The carbon bikes sure feel smoother to me (less road vibration, smooth acceleration), but I felt more comfortable on the Serotta (possibly because neither bike had been fitted for me yet). I've decided I don't like the feel of aluminum, and I'm not prepared to pay the price for titanium yet.
So for those of you that have ridden a few years, does that make sense? Carbon OK?
Any experiences with the Bianci 928? Any other advice your experience can provide will sure be appreciated.
Thanks, and have fun riding!
-Mark
 

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a point of view

get fitted first, then decide. Know what you want in terms of angles and dimensions, then find bikes that match.

I'm old, but have three steels with steel forks and one steel with carbon fork. All fit really well and all ride well. I'd say the only custom, a steel Steve Rex with carbon fork is the nicest...of the steels.

But I recently bought a Giant OCR composite frameset and built it up from my parts bin. After about 150 miles, hands down, I love the carbon OCR. It fits well, rides with a different, maybe better, character than the steels and is light as a feather. Unless I am fooling myself with new bike enthusiam, for me carbon is as good as steel and I'm leaning toward enjoying the ride characteristics the most.

Steel is real and it has a spring loved by many, me too. But carbon has this nicely modulated feel, absorbs buzz for sure, a sort of lightness I believe I can appreciate, and out of the saddle jump on it fun to hammer feeling.
 

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Find 'em and ride 'em, then decide. If you are going to drop that kind of coin on your first "real" road bike, fit and comfort are the primary issues to be concerned with, IMHO, especially if you are planning on 2-6-hour rides. Find reputable shops that carry these bikes in your size and go for test rides.

The bikes in similar sizes may feel differently.

Bianchi 928 Carbon (not Carbon L) with a 55cm seat tube has a virtual top tube of 55cm with a 73.5 degree seat-tube angle. http://www.bianchi.com/en/products/pdf/BianchiCatalogue2006.pdf

The Serotta in "size" 56 has a 50cm seat tube and a top tube of length of 55cm with a 73-degree seat-tube angle. http://www.serotta.com/pages/fierte_steel.html
 

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Carbon vs steel...

Congratulations on your return to cycling! I am from the old school of Columbus steel frames, but for that price you should seriously consider investing in a Tommaso TCF1000R all Dura Ace bike at Randall Scott Cycles (rscycles.com), at $2,389.00, with no tax and FREE shipping within 5-7 days, in a nicely packaged box via UPS- the sweetest deal in the world for that price range right now. They have excellent customer service, accessible in the phone, with very knowledgeable and patient mechanics/staff. This bike rides better than any steel bike, with great Italian flare and superb power transfer.I weigh 175 lbs. and this bike has improved all of my cycling by leaps and bounds. You will climb like a mountain goat, dropping guys half your age at no time!
bikingmark said:
Hello:
I'm in search of my first real road bike, and could use some advice...
I used to do some mountain biking, but have not been cycling the past few years. But a few months ago I met some friends that have re introducted me to the sport, and I'm loving it!
I've been riding a buddy's 20+ year old oversized Cilo bike for the past few months. I'm 46 years old (though refuse to act it), 170 lbs., and in pretty good shape (rode my first century last weekend, then survied 106 miles yesterday that included 8000 feet of climbing). There are mostly mountains where I ride so climbing is important. I don't plan to race; I forsee most of my riding to eventually be 2-3 hour hilly loops, with occasional 100 mile plus added in. (Training for the Death Ride in California)

I've been doing some research and my two current finalists are either a Serotto steel bike (with carbon fork and seat stays), or the Bianchi 928 all Carbon with the Campy Veloce group, both which run around $2400. (The Serotto had better wheels, and I believe Shimano Ultegra though probably could get the campy on there too).

Some tell me that Carbon feels great at first, but after a few months it will feel stiff and/or "dead", and that it's better to stay with steel (or titanium). The carbon bikes sure feel smoother to me (less road vibration, smooth acceleration), but I felt more comfortable on the Serotta (possibly because neither bike had been fitted for me yet). I've decided I don't like the feel of aluminum, and I'm not prepared to pay the price for titanium yet.
So for those of you that have ridden a few years, does that make sense? Carbon OK?
Any experiences with the Bianci 928? Any other advice your experience can provide will sure be appreciated.
Thanks, and have fun riding!
-Mark
 

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Both are big names in cycling and would make a great first road bike, but if you look at it from a longevity standpoint the Serrota would be the pick. I only say that because of the latest threads on carbon dings from garage falls, coupled with the fact that i have had six steel bikes and they have all served me well and that is my preference.

I cannot say much else about carbon since i have never owned one so i will leave it at that.

Ultimately you seem to already know by your statement "but I felt more comfortable on the Serotta". Ride them both and decide. as previouslly mentioned, fit is paramount.

Good luck and enjoy whatever you ultimately elect to buy.

J
 

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The ride of carbon won't change

The beauty of carbon is it remains constant. There is essentially no material fatigue. It will react repeatedly to force the same way, and return to it's orginal position and condition (saving castastophic failure.) A carbon bike should, properly cared for, the rest of your life. It will far outlast your eventual desire to get a new bike. You will never be able to say with any honesty, "this frame is all worn out and has become mushy." It will ride just like the day you bought it.
 

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AlexCad5 said:
The beauty of carbon is it remains constant. There is essentially no material fatigue. It will react repeatedly to force the same way, and return to it's orginal position and condition (saving castastophic failure.) A carbon bike should, properly cared for, the rest of your life. It will far outlast your eventual desire to get a new bike. You will never be able to say with any honesty, "this frame is all worn out and has become mushy." It will ride just like the day you bought it.
This is true of all frames. There is no material that bicycles are made from that will get less stiff over time. Not one.

Regarding durability:

It comes from two things. Strength and "toughness." Strength is a measure of a material's failure point. At what force level will it break? In this, the common materials go:

1. Carbon
2. Steel
3. Titanium
4. Aluminum

With ti and steel swicthing around a bit due to the different alloys of each. I ranked them that way because I think the strongest steel is stronger than the stronges ti, when discussing commercially available bicycle tubing.

Toughness describes (but does not measure) the material's ability to endure damage short of the failure point and remain in use. This goes more like:

1. Steel
2. Ti
3. Aluminum
4. Carbon

Steel and titanium have fatigue thresholds. That is, there is a point below which deformation (bending, elongation* causes no fatigue. In other words, you can take a piece of either material, and, as long as you don't exceed the limit, you can bend it forever and it won't break. Titanium loses out to steel for one reason: Damage propagates more slowly in steel. Steel frames with through-the-wall cracks have been ridden months before they finally let go. Ti can't do that.

None of these are cast in concrete, design matters too. There are a hell of a lot of late 80s and early 90s Cannondales still on the road. The same will clearly not be true of their current bikes in the 2020s. Why? Weight. The old frames were in the 3 - 3.5 pound range... around a pound heavier than the current bikes. That 1/3 reduction in the amount of aluminum in the frame had some significant durability effects. Cannondale frames are now very prone to some well-known failures. I saw them again and again in the shop. Cracks in the rear triangle, especially the seatstay / dropout joint. Almost all of the not-crashed-but-broken Cannondale road and hardtail frames I saw were broken like this. Suspension frames tend to fail at the suspension attachment points, but that's generally true. I was told by a Cannondale sales rep that they expect the customer to have to use the warranty.

And I'm not picking on Cannondale... I own one. Their engineers aren't stupid guys. They know that you can't make a 2 1/4 pound bicycle frame out of anything and have it live for years and years. The faliures are well-known, they don't endanger the rider, and they'll give you a new frame every time yours breaks, for as long as you own your bike. Not such a bad deal, in a way.

--Shannon
 
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