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can't get a reply to my other post, so i will re-state the quesiton here: my wife is deciding between 2 bikes, one is carbon (orbea onix), the other aluminum (felt f55).

are the carbon ride characterisitcs that much better to warant the extra $800?

the felt does have carbon stays, post, bars etc. comes with full dura ace. The orbea has ultegra.

she is normal weight, mainly recreational rider, occsasional race.

feedback , please!
 

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Willam D said:
can't get a reply to my other post, so i will re-state the quesiton here: my wife is deciding between 2 bikes, one is carbon (orbea onix), the other aluminum (felt f55).

are the carbon ride characterisitcs that much better to warant the extra $800?

the felt does have carbon stays, post, bars etc. comes with full dura ace. The orbea has ultegra.

she is normal weight, mainly recreational rider, occsasional race.

feedback , please!
Have you test ridden them also to feel the difference?

I'm not sure how the full dura ace comes $800 less than the orbea/ultegra..

I have a trek madone 5.2 (oclv 120), and I love the dead feel it has.. no tinging from the alumninum bikes, pretty smooth ride..

Trek had a 2200, or was it 2300, which was alumninum with carbon front/rear.. I didn't care for it.
 

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I recently replaced my all aluminum Colnago Dream (with carbon fork and aluminum steerer) with an all carbon Time Edge Translink. I swapped over every component I could, from the wheels & tires to the handlebars & saddle. I’m even using the same shorts and gloves I did previously. Thus, pretty much the only variable here is the frame.

I can tell you without doubt that my carbon frame rides more softly and gently than did the aluminum frame. Sure, there are other variables at work here, but some of those variables – such as head tube angle – would actually imply that the carbon frame would ride more stiffly. I should say, too, that according to my bike computer (also swapped over from the aluminum frame) I’m about a mile per hour faster in the flats and on steep climbs. On moderate 6% climbs, by contrast, I seem to be about a half mile per hour slower. I can also make the carbon frame flex, something I was almost never able to do with the aluminum frame.

Bottom line. I loved my aluminum Colnago dearly, but I love my new carbon Time even more. Is it the carbon that is largely responsible for my greater happiness? I’d be willing to bet on it.
 

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I'd go with carbon...I just switched from a Cervelo Prodigy(steel) to a Speci
Roubaix Comp and the carbon is stiffer, smoother, and I can ride longer faster. The Cervelo
was a smooth ride as with all steel but the Roubaix is much better IMHO
 

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Only your wife's backside can answer this question. While carbon's ride is generally nice, some folks don't prefer it. Assuming she would prefer the Orbea (and it's a pretty safe bet) how much that's 'worth' is entirely subjective and personal.

I will say that the joy from having what you want lasts much longer than the pleasure of a good deal.
 

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I would go for the carbon. Has she test ridden any less expensive carbon bikes?

My previous ride was an aluminum Cannondale which was a pretty harsh ride. A couple years ago I bought a Lemond Zurich (Carbon/Steel) and the overall ride quality is much better.
 

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I am an owner of a full-custom carbon fiber Calfee Tetra Pro bike set up as a go-fast commuter bike.

I can tell you, that, as a material, carbon composite (not just the fiber) has some superior characteristics compared to aluminum. That said, a bike is a machine ridden by a human and must conform to human dimensions and have characteristics in handling that the human prefers. There are good and bad designs in every material.
I came originally from some nice steel bikes, then to aluminum and now to carbon fiber ( I skipped titanium).

Is one bike made from carbon fiber $800 better than an aluminum one? The question is unanswerable. Too many variables would have to be answered first.

A lot of a bike purchase depends on emotional factors so some folks are drawn to carbon fiber because it's sexy and high-tech. There are many very fine aluminum-framed bikes out there as well.

I can say that typically, a carbon composite bike can be somewhat lighter than an aluminum bike yet having the same strength and better vibration damping.

I can say that a carbon fiber bike is no more prone to being broken in a crash than an aluminum bike. Just using logic, if carbon fiber bikes were fragile, considering how many of them are out there, and also considering how many manufacturers are introducing carbon fiber bikes I conclude that if there was a problem, however slight, the evidence would be incontrovertible. The fact of the matter is that carbon fiber bikes are becoming more and more common as time goes on. This, just using logic, could sway you in deciding between an aluminum bike and a carbon-composite bike.

There is a much more important question to ask, however; Which bike is the better fit for the intended rider? I have read about folks who have ordered a full custom bike that were unhappy with the fit for one reason or another. Fit depends on so many factors that involve the person who is the rider that many manufacturers do not take into account that fact. For this reason, the test ride is so important. Unfortunately, a mere test ride will not tell enough. One has to live with a bike for a certain period of time before they can determine if it the kind of bike they love and fits them well.

Such are the factors I consider that I made this extended post on this question.
 

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Ain't no one here gonna to give you anything other than opinions. So here's mine - I have certain CF bikes that ride the same as certain aluminum bikes which ride the same as certain steel bikes which ride the same as certain titanium bikes. I have certain aluminum bikes that ride better than certain CF bikes and on average, I prefer the ride of my steel bikes to my other bikes. Except where I don't.

There are no absolutes when it comes to materials and opinions.

Put her on both and let her decide. She'll either see a huge difference or see none at all and then you'll know. Always buy the one you like better, regardless of the price. There is no such thing as Bike A being $800 better than Bike B outside of superior components.
 

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"Ride quality" is fairly subjective, but generally, it has nothing to do with frame material. Road shock is primarily dampened by tires, stem, seatpost, saddle, and handlebars. The frame is inherently stiff in the vertical plane. The only frame variables which can affect ride quality are wheelbase (longer = smoother) and the fork.

Back when Cannondale had a real reputation for a harsh ride, it was not because of the frame. It was because they were building extremely short wheelbase racing bikes with very stiff aluminum forks. Their touring model was (and still is) a very smooth ride because of its longer wheelbase and crowned, steel fork.
 

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That's it!

HeronTodd said:
"Ride quality" is fairly subjective, but generally, it has nothing to do with frame material. Road shock is primarily dampened by tires, stem, seatpost, saddle, and handlebars. The frame is inherently stiff in the vertical plane. The only frame variables which can affect ride quality are wheelbase (longer = smoother) and the fork.

Back when Cannondale had a real reputation for a harsh ride, it was not because of the frame. It was because they were building extremely short wheelbase racing bikes with very stiff aluminum forks. Their touring model was (and still is) a very smooth ride because of its longer wheelbase and crowned, steel fork.
What he said!
 

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Insight Driver said:
There is a much more important question to ask, however; Which bike is the better fit for the intended rider?
Somebody give this man a cupie doll. The fit of the bike is the single most important factor. Frame material is much less important. Granted, many things can be done to make any given frame fit well, different stem, bars, etc., but make sure your wife is comfy before buying either bike.

As to the extra $800... If you've got it, you might as well spend it on the bike of your dreams, whatever those dreams may be! If you don't have it, don't spend it. Either one of these bikes would be very nice, provided they fit properly.

Have fun,

FBB
 

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Are you sure? Anybody still have the numbers regarding chainstay on early 'dales? I doubt it is less than 40cm (40cm v. 40.5cm means 2.5% difference). Also their early aluminum forks aren't really known to be that stiff, are they?

I do agree that gloves, tires, saddles take a lot of the vibration out of the ride. Still, I can still feel the difference between aluminum and carbon frames. What is "better" is inherently subjective, so the OP will have to make his own decision (if the $800 is coming out of your child's college fund, I'd say save it. Otherwise, what's $800?)
 

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HeronTodd said:
"Ride quality" is fairly subjective, but generally, it has nothing to do with frame material. Road shock is primarily dampened by tires, stem, seatpost, saddle, and handlebars. The frame is inherently stiff in the vertical plane. The only frame variables which can affect ride quality are wheelbase (longer = smoother) and the fork.
i was waiting for someone with more technical chops than i to answer this,
but: longer does not necessarily mean smoother.

that said, a skilled bike maker can make a frame from any material
ride as harshly or smoothly as you'd like; i had a vitus 979(all aluminum)
racing frame which was a total noodle(great for centuries,not great for
a sprinter), a specialized sirrus(steel) that was fairly smooth, a good
all-'rounder, and am currently riding a 1991 Kestrel 200ems(high
modulus CF) which is well damped vertically(quiet, some say 'dead') but
extremely stiff laterally(handles well, rails corners) and quick to accelerate
when i hammer, seated or standing, flats or hills.

carbon fiber, UN-like the other common frame-building materials is
anisotropic(sp?) which means you can 'tune' the stiffness in any axis
by the orientation of the fibers in the layup. you can't do that with
steel, Al or Ti. the strength-to-weight ratio is also more favorable
with CF.

the ability of the maker to tune his materials has changed greatly over the
years, witnessed by double and triple butting of tubesets, hydroforming,
improved welding techniques, new alloys, composites(iso/exo grid)etc.
what this means is that you should buy what feels right for you, not what
anyone else tells you you should ride.

research the materials and then ride them. then you can let your
derriere, wrists, shoulders, neck and back decide. oh yeah, make sure
you get fitted(i.e. sized/measured, etc) first. fit is the most important
thing you can do when making a big bike purchase. the most highly
regarded frameset means nothing if you're uncomfortable or worse.

HeronTodd said:
Back when Cannondale had a real reputation for a harsh ride, it was not because of the frame. It was because they were building extremely short wheelbase racing bikes with very stiff aluminum forks. Their touring model was (and still is) a very smooth ride because of its longer wheelbase and crowned, steel fork.
hmm, aluminum 1980s-early 90s...
racing bike=stiff, responsive, fast, efficient
touring bike=forgiving, relaxed, NOT for racing
how can you compare a racing bike with a touring bike? you're assuming
they're using identical tubes for both, which i'd bet money they were not.
besides, why would you build a 'racing' bike with a 'soft' rear triangle?
when you're racing, power efficiency is critical, especially for a long
stage race like the Tour de France. only recently are we rediscovering
what the Italian Steel Masters knew long ago: a stiff, efficient frame
needn't rob a rider of energy or beat him up.
the cannondales you're refering to were using giant tubesets designed to
be super stiff. a smaller rear triangle may be inherently stiffer(geo-
metrically speaking), but if you use a flexy material in the
seat/chain stays then you can tune down/out the harshness.

and you do know that when aluminum forks were just becoming popular,
bike builders didn't have all the experience they have learned over the
years. the aluminum forks of the era were either soft(kinesis, vitus) or
super stiff(c-dale, klein) - once they got a few generations of forks under
their collective belts, they learned how to tune the materials( it also helped
when better alloys became available.)

today you can buy an aluminum frame/fork that is supple(forgiving) and
also stiff enough to race on. aluminum still has a reputation for being
a 'busy' ride(i.e. 'buzzy', 'tingly') this can be compensated for with
careful choice of seatpost, stem, bars, but what are you going to use?
more aluminum? hmm, maybe not. aluminum transmits vibrations
quite effectively. Carbon fiber? can be stiff, damped and durable.
(this isn't to say CF frames can't be made stiff, on the contrary, i believe
one of the trek models was deemed too stiff even for Lance Armstrong.)
 

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cwgcwg_opcopc said:
carbon fiber, UN-like the other common frame-building materials is
anisotropsp(sp?) which means you can 'tune' the stiffness in any axis
by the orientation of the fibers in the layup. you can't do that with
steel, Al or Ti. the strength-to-weight ratio is also more favorable
with CF.
Sure you can. In a very subtle way you could for instance use thinner walls at the top and bottom of a tube compared to the sides. More obvious would be to use an oval tube with a constant wall thickness. It will flex easier in the direction of the flat cross section than the wide section and you can effect torsional resistance by varying the diameter....not sure how this all pans out in a double triangle configuration however...
 

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Buy the Felt with the better parts.

Install the next wider tire size with 10lbs less air pressure and the thing will ride like carbon.

Save yourself $800.
 
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