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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am on my way to a new bike SOON! I'm leaning on either a Trek 5200 or the Madone 5.2. However, my brother-in-law, who is an avid rider and works for a bike shop is trying to steer me away from carbon. He says that if you wreck or even if the bike gets knocked over, this could potentially render the thing useless. Also, he says that the carbon is of lesser quality now because it's all coming from China, then being put together here. Is any of this true, or should I thank him for his advice and go my own way? Any additional words of advice in either direction would be much appreciated. Either support his claims, or give me some ammunition against him! Thanks.
 

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2001 Trek 5200

Howdy,
I bought a 5200 back in 2001 and it has many miles on it. I dumped once, on the state ferry loading dock. Everybody was watching. And laughing! That was in 2001.

It has served me well, and I'm thinking of a Madone but don't tell my wife!

I don't think Trek would let something that fragile go out the door on purpose. Having said that I did receive a letter indicating carbon frames should be inspected after any mishap.
 

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He...

RD-Man said:
I am on my way to a new bike SOON! I'm leaning on either a Trek 5200 or the Madone 5.2. However, my brother-in-law, who is an avid rider and works for a bike shop is trying to steer me away from carbon. He says that if you wreck or even if the bike gets knocked over, this could potentially render the thing useless. Also, he says that the carbon is of lesser quality now because it's all coming from China, then being put together here. Is any of this true, or should I thank him for his advice and go my own way? Any additional words of advice in either direction would be much appreciated. Either support his claims, or give me some ammunition against him! Thanks.
He doesn't know what he's talking about.

Carbon is fine. And because a lot of it is from China, doesn't make it any less quality (actually, lots of carbon is from Taiwan). And it's good stuff. If you wreck your carbon bike, well, it's wrecked. If you crash hard enough so that your carbon bike gets tweaked and is unrideable, chances are good, that the result would be the same for any bike.

Thank him for his advice, and then just tell him he's dead wrong.
 

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Ride it before you buy it....

I don't think there is any argument about the durability of carbon. I have owned several & never had any issues at all. I have however trashed a couple sets of carbon bars but thats another story. My advice would be to actually ride a well-fitted carbon bike before pulling the trigger to see if you like the way that it rides.

I love the way carbon frames look and the durability, but I'm personally not that crazy about the ride quality. Of course I say that as I'm putting the finishing touches on another carbon bike build. DOH!

You can find many, many threads on this forum debating the merits of Carbon frames but nothing beats actually spending some time in the saddle to make up your mind what is best for you.
 

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Carbon worries

RD-Man said:
my brother-in-law, who is an avid rider and works for a bike shop is trying to steer me away from carbon. He says that if you wreck or even if the bike gets knocked over, this could potentially render the thing useless.
I think the key worry here is that is a metal frame falls over and a frame tube hits something hard, it can dent, but a CF frame can't dent and so can be punctured in the same circumstances - the epoxy matrix can be fractured and the fibers broken. With today's super thin Al frames, you can get a very serious dent from a similar accident. Steel will dent, but is better than Al, and Ti is quite dent resistant. The metal frames generally can be safely ridden with a dent, though it gets chancy with Al, but the CF frame is on pretty thin ice at that point.

This sort of accident is not that common, but can and does happen. All of this is not a reason to not get a CF frame, just another consideration.
 

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They make MTBs out of the very same carbon. Those hit the ground pretty oftren too. Not to mention combat jets, racing boats, F1 cars etc. - I don't think you need to worry about dropping your bike in the garage.
 

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Is he going to get you a discount on something else?

If he is offering to get you a good deal on a similar retail priced bike go for it.

Otherwise carbon frames are just like any other quality bicycle frame in that they all have their failure modes and it is incumbent upon the owner to understand their product. Trek has a very good (but not perfect) reputation for warranty and customer service so I wouldn't be concerned for you if you get one of their carbon framed bicycles.

Good luck.
 

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Made in the USA

My understanding is that Trek Carbon Fiber bikes are all handmade in the US. I was told by a Trek Rep that they have just increased the size of the factory and number of employees to meed the demands of some of their carbon bikes. Correct me if this is not the case.
 

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All things being equal, the resistance to a hard crash is likely to be

pretty similar for Ti and carbon frames, I suspect diminished for Aluminium. One of the advantages of a high quality carbon frame acually is its durability, specially when compared to Alu, and particularly compared to ligh weight Alu frames where material fatigue is a factor. If you are set on Trek and Loooooove the brand, fine. Just realize that out there there are deals to be had that can get you amazing bikes, say Colnago, Pinarello and Cervelo for a not much higher $ amount. Here is my carbon ride.

<img src="https://camilions.com/nago5.jpg">
 

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epic said:
They make MTBs out of the very same carbon. Those hit the ground pretty oftren too. Not to mention combat jets, racing boats, F1 cars etc. - I don't think you need to worry about dropping your bike in the garage.
Heck, they even make the radio antennas on geosyncronous communications satellites out of CF...and they'be been doing that since long before anyone thought to build a bike out of carbon. I figure if it can stand up to being pelted by micrometeors travelling at several thousand miles per hour it'll hold up on the road for a good long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, everyone, for the responses so far. Your responses are pretty much supporting what I've been thinking all along. I'm not, at the moment, completely attached to the Trek brand name. I just want a bike that fits as good as possible. I'm going in for a fitting later this week and will be steered somewhat by what that shows. I am somewhat limited by what the LBS carries, but he carries some good stuff. If the Treks don't fit, I'm thinking about going to a steel ride from Independent Fabrication. Apparently, an IF with Ultegra costs roughly the same as a Madone 5.2. This is about as high as I can go at the moment. Anyone else out there on an IF? Any comments? They do look pretty sweet and the thought of custom fitting is VERY alluring. However, if you couldn't tell already, I'm rather new to road biking and feel like getting custom right off the bat before REALLY knowing exactly what I'm looking forward might be a bit premature. Anyway, I appreciate your guidance to this point. Keep it coming....
 

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RD-Man said:
Thanks, everyone, for the responses so far. Your responses are pretty much supporting what I've been thinking all along. I'm not, at the moment, completely attached to the Trek brand name. I just want a bike that fits as good as possible. I'm going in for a fitting later this week and will be steered somewhat by what that shows. I am somewhat limited by what the LBS carries, but he carries some good stuff. If the Treks don't fit, I'm thinking about going to a steel ride from Independent Fabrication. Apparently, an IF with Ultegra costs roughly the same as a Madone 5.2. This is about as high as I can go at the moment. Anyone else out there on an IF? Any comments? They do look pretty sweet and the thought of custom fitting is VERY alluring. However, if you couldn't tell already, I'm rather new to road biking and feel like getting custom right off the bat before REALLY knowing exactly what I'm looking forward might be a bit premature. Anyway, I appreciate your guidance to this point. Keep it coming....
I love my Madone 5.2 (first year it came out model). 4500 miles on it.
 

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My recommendation is to find another shop, and if you are feeling charitable tell the owner that he has sales prevention personnel working his floor.

Part of the perceived issues with carbon are the result of people comparing the damage resistance of 1700g steel frames, 1400g Ti frames, 1200g aluminum frames, and 1000g carbon frames with each other and saying the differences are due to the material. A 1700g carbon frame, if anyone made one, would be a rolling tank.
 

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terzo rene said:
A 1700g carbon frame, if anyone made one, would be a rolling tank.
Maybe someone *should* make one? You could still slap together a sub-20lb bike with a frame like that. I'd happily ride a bike that was 2 lbs heavier than a Weight Weenie Special if it meant it was INDESTRUCTABLE!
 

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Carbs are GREAT!

I recently got my first VERY HIGH END Carbon Frame (Look 585). The ride quality is excellent, very snappy and stiff! Also vibration absortion is also excellent considering that this is a race orientated bike! I rode the Tour of Conejo Valley Century ride on this and its comfortable. I did have a "Cheapo" brand Carbon Frame which served me for over 3000 miles with no problems. I weight 205 lbs and ride centuries!
 

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If

RD-Man, I own both an Indy Fab Crown Jewel Ti and a Parlee Z1 carbon fiber frame. I love them both. The IF is custom and a true joy to ride, besides being a looker. My Parlee is also custom, extremely comfortable and I have no issues with it being fragile in any way. I love both bikes and have had excellent experiences with both companies. If you have any questions about IF make sure you pick up the phone and speak to Matt or Joe at IF, they are both very knowledgable and happy to speak with you. Or if you are considering a Parlee, give Bob a call, you will not be disappointed. Good luck making up your mind on what to buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, I have gone riding today on a Madone 5.2 and a Lemond Zurich. The Zurich was a sweet ride, but for me the Madone was absolutely superior. The LBS did not have a 5200 built in my size, but they had one for my wife. She preferred the Madone over the 5200. We'll be saying good-bye to our first born because that's how much two of these bad boys cost. Anyway, I think we'll be jumping into the carbon world on Monday, despite dear brother-in-law's advice. Thanks to all who replied and bolstered our confidence in the product. I can hardly wait to hit the road!
 

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RD-Man said:
Well, I have gone riding today on a Madone 5.2 and a Lemond Zurich. The Zurich was a sweet ride, but for me the Madone was absolutely superior. The LBS did not have a 5200 built in my size, but they had one for my wife. She preferred the Madone over the 5200. We'll be saying good-bye to our first born because that's how much two of these bad boys cost. Anyway, I think we'll be jumping into the carbon world on Monday, despite dear brother-in-law's advice. Thanks to all who replied and bolstered our confidence in the product. I can hardly wait to hit the road!
I bought a Madone 5.2 a few months ago & dont't regret it. My Dura Ace Cannondale R3000 is light & twitchy but carbon has a good feel for the same price with Ultegra.
 
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