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Hi carbon expert out there.

We have heard of many carbon stuff on our bike and my question is how can we really define a Hi end carbon in comparison to Low end carbon in terms of their durability and safety.

As we had seen some unbranded carbon bike frame are sold much cheaper than those Trek OCLV carbon bike frame etc. therefore are those cheap carbon frames made of lower end carbon fiber or was it the process of making it that caused them to be cheaper?

Your comment are very much welcomed.:thumbsup:
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

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marketing is very expensive. It isn't the manufacturing cost that determines frame cost. R&d and design are also big costs, the low end try to copy the high end, but there is no way to predict if the frames are the same or not. It would be a gamble with the low end frame.
 

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My understanding, at least of Trek, is that the OCLV frames are made in the US (where the QC is supposedly higher) and the rest are made overseas. Whether this really makes much difference or not I don't know. I was recently installing a headset in a new Madone and was somewhat startled by the poor finishing inside. Personally, I've never been very impressed with the quality of Trek frames. I'm particularly annoyed with their unwillingness to offer forks with carbon fiber steerer tubes. My local Trek sales rep has given me the explanation that they aren't convinced of the viability of the technology blah blah.... The long and short of it is that Trek doesn't want to use someone else's forks (Reynolds, Easton, etc) and hasn't been able to come up with a design that works very well. Of course, if you ask Georgie Hincapie, I'm sure that he'll tell you that their aluminum versions need some work as well.
 

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Hi Versus Low

I just bought a Very High end carbon Look 585 frame after riding a scattante CFR (low end) frame for 2 years. Its night and day in terms of ride quality. My Look is much more stiffer thoughs its very fast and nibble.

I do think there are significant quality differences betwewen Hi and Low Carbon! Not only are the production cost higher with more labor going into making each frame (low end carbon is made mostly by machanical means), the way of wovening and bolding the carbon fibers into the frame are unique and are closely guarded company secret!

If you get the luxury of owning one of these high end beauties, its well worth it!
 

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madonna said:
my question is how can we really define a Hi end carbon in comparison to Low end carbon in terms of their durability and safety.
It is safe to say that there is a general relationship between price and quality in all things, but that the relationship is not that firm. The market tends to sort these things out, but it is often difficult to get concrete information on frame performance and durability to be able to make a specific comparison based on price/value. There are certain things that you can't do for a super-low price, and there are times when the ability to charge a high price is out of proportion to the actual performance of the product.

My favorite example of the latter is something like a MAVIC Kysrium wheel, which doesn't out-perform a well built wheel based on Campy or Shimano hubs, but costs several $100 more. You're buying flash, not performance. Some of you may have heard me say this before :)
 

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Kerry Irons said:
It is safe to say that there is a general relationship between price and quality in all things, but that the relationship is not that firm. The market tends to sort these things out, but it is often difficult to get concrete information on frame performance and durability to be able to make a specific comparison based on price/value. There are certain things that you can't do for a super-low price, and there are times when the ability to charge a high price is out of proportion to the actual performance of the product.

My favorite example of the latter is something like a MAVIC Kysrium wheel, which doesn't out-perform a well built wheel based on Campy or Shimano hubs, but costs several $100 more. You're buying flash, not performance. Some of you may have heard me say this before :)
A similarly loose relationship exists between price and cost, and none between price and durability/safety.

There are a number of high-end items that are that way because they are pushing the engineering limits. To take another off-topic example, the lightest, most expensive cogset I've seen was machined from a single block of Titanium. Way cool, stupid expensive, and lower durability than nearly everything else available.

That's not to say that cheap stuff is automatically safe, of course, simply that price is no guarantee.
 

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What's really amusing is that people just don't seem to know that most of the cost in a bike frame is marketing and R&D. It happens in almost every industry. I will give you an example. Twenty years ago my mother worked in the garment industry at a "Design" shop on 6th Avenue. As soon as the high end designer lines were brought to the big stores, my mothers job would be to go to Macy's and buy a blouse or two and then when she got back she would pull apart every seam so that they could make a pattern from the original. They would make minor changes in fabric/styling to make it more economical, if necessary. Once the pattern was made thousands of garments could then be sold as a look-a-like to the designer stuff. Was it better or worse, not really, some of their stuff lasted longer than the "Designer" clothing. It was cheaper. My mom got so good after many years of dismantling clothing that she could put them back together and no one, except her, would be the wiser. Most of the time, when she resewed them they were better than the original. This is just the way Industry works, especially US industry. One company innovates, hundreds of others copy.

Don't think that the same thing does not happen in the Bicycle industry. Frames made under contract are disected and minor changes (sometimes no changes) are made and are sold to second tier bicycle importers/assemblers/shops to be sold to you the consumer. Are these better or worse than the original. Unless we are there to oversee QC personally, we may never know. One thing is for sure, I am still waiting for the RoadBikeReview post stating that the second tier frames are failing left and right.
 
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