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I've been looking to purchase my first 'real' road bike and found a great deal on a used carbon 'endurance' road bike in my size (48 cm- 5'4", 29.5” inseam, 130#). It's a Giant OCR Composite 3 with Shimano 105s and 700x25 wheels. The price is the same as most of the used aluminum road bikes I've seen with a comparable or a slightly worse group set (Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Dolce). It seems like a no-brainer to me (getting a better, lighter frame for the same price), but some people have raised concerns about its functionality as a commuter. That would be my primary use for it, though I also plan to go on longer recreational rides with it- maybe do a century someday? Or go bike-camping? If I did buy it, I'd add clip on fenders and probably switch the tires for 28s or 30s if they fit (and maybe switch the wheels to something more sturdy/all-terrain).

Right now, I ride an 80s Japanese steel mixte with fenders and a rack mount, but it is heavy and clunky and I really want to upgrade to something light and nimble that could serve other purposes as well. I'm not really interested in buying an upgraded version of what I already have. I use a backpack instead of panniers to haul my stuff and that works for me, so I’m not attached to having a rack/panniers on my new bike. I wouldn’t ever be locking my new bike up outdoors and plan to keep my mixte around for that purpose.

Basically, I’m wondering what are pros and cons of using a carbon frame bike as a commuter/city bike, and what sort of things I might consider doing to ‘convert’ it to be better suited for that purpose. Or if it’s like bringing a gun to a knife fight and I should consider other options.
 

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Typically I do not commute on my "fun ride" bikes... I just don't want to risk having them destroyed by some jackhole in a hurry to get home after work.

Since you are using a backpack and not panniers, then the bike should work just fine though I would look at still using the old mixte for commuting and using the new bike for the longer rides.
 

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If you're planning on mounting 28mm or larger tires and fenders why not shop around for a bike that's built for that? Bikes that have the clearance for large tires and fenders are out there and if the bike is designed for fenders to be mounted it'll ride quieter than a bike that has fenders as a 2nd thought.
 

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Just ride it the way it's currently built up, but do put two-sided pedals on it that'll allow you to wear shoes without cleats if you find yourself in one of those situations. Don't worry. Be happy.
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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If you're planning on mounting 28mm or larger tires and fenders why not shop around for a bike that's built for that? Bikes that have the clearance for large tires and fenders are out there and if the bike is designed for fenders to be mounted it'll ride quieter than a bike that has fenders as a 2nd thought.
This.

Almost all carbon road bikes are not made to accommodate 25+mm tires. Or fenders.


PS-Don't waste your time with clip on fenders. They royally suck. They don;'t stay put. They make tons of noise. They wear your tires....all while not only not keeping you dry, but they also don't keep the muck off your bike either.
 

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Interesting. I commuted on an aluminum road bike for three years before giving up due to, among other things, the problems others mentioned -- no clearance for adequate tires or full fenders -- and getting a steel 29er. Also, mfrs typically don't include eyelets useful to commuters on carbon frames so you're left with zip ties and p-clamps.

Anyhow, if you like the bike then I'd buy it and use it as a fair weather commuter on good pavement.
 

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Burnum Upus Quadricepus
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5'4", 29.5” inseam, 130# < snip > I'd add clip on fenders and probably switch the tires for 28s or 30s if they fit (and maybe switch the wheels to something more sturdy/all-terrain)
At your weight, you don't need 28s or heavy rims.

My roadie is in regular rotation on my commute. I'm 175 pounds. I ride 25s on low spoke count wheels (20F/24R) on ordinary roads, and on cobblestones. Not a problem.

The key is to use sensible inflation. I run mine at 65F/75R. This horrifies the typical roadie class (it says 125psi Max on the sidewall, so that's what you should use use) and the old-timers (you'll die a thousand deaths of pinch flats.) I repeat, it's not a problem. See https://www.adventurecycling.org/default/assets/resources/200903_PSIRX_Heine.pdf

I second the advice above regarding clip-on fenders. It's a good way to spend money, but not a good way to keep things clean and dry.

Keep your mixte for foul weather days, and ride the roadie as-is on nice ones.

I own two racked and fendered commuters. They have their place. But the days I can ride the roadie are the ones I love.

EDIT: Hey, my 2000th post, and I didn't waste it on nonsense!

Pic of my cobbles


And of the bike and wheels I use on them
 

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I commute on a carbon bike that can fit 28mm tires easily. While it doesn't have the eyelets for a rear rack, I use a seat post rack that can hold 22 pounds. It doubles as an unofficial fender.

 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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At your weight, you don't need 28s or heavy rims.

My roadie is in regular rotation on my commute. I'm 175 pounds. I ride 25s on low spoke count wheels (20F/24R) on ordinary roads, and on cobblestones. Not a problem.

The key is to use sensible inflation. I run mine at 65F/75R. This horrifies the typical roadie class (it says 125psi Max on the sidewall, so that's what you should use use) and the old-timers (you'll die a thousand deaths of pinch flats.) I repeat, it's not a problem. See http://www.adventurecycling.org/default/assets/resources/200903_PSIRX_Heine.pdf

I second the advice above regarding clip-on fenders. It's a good way to spend money, but not a good way to keep things clean and dry.

Keep your mixte for foul weather days, and ride the roadie as-is on nice ones.

I own two racked and fendered commuters. They have their place. But the days I can ride the roadie are the ones I love.

EDIT: Hey, my 2000th post, and I didn't waste it on nonsense!

Whoever said fenders and commuters were exclusive from roadies? :D

Seven VO'd - Album on Imgur


Ofc, my Seven rig is custom. Mind you.
 

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Whoever said my commuters weren't roadies? ;)
I think you just did unless you're trying to imply that "roadies" use panniers.

Anyway OP, Carbon isn't a good choice for what's stereotypically a 'commuter' bike because they don't take to big tires, racks and fenders well.
But that doesn't mean everyone who commutes cares about those things. If you care about performance more than being outfitted like a typical commuter and don't have to worry about beating up the frame (like by locking it to a sign post) carbon can be fine.
 

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Pic of my cobbles
Here's mine:
Road Sky Road surface Infrastructure Asphalt
I weigh less than you and typically run 75/80 on 25s, more if the bike is loaded. Pinch flats aren't an abstraction; I've gotten them hitting road hazards at speed with underinflated tires.

I tired both of the pavement knocking the snot out of me and dodging potholes in the dark and now ride mostly on 700x46 slicks.
 

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I weigh less than you and typically run 75/80 on 25s, more if the bike is loaded. Pinch flats aren't an abstraction; I've gotten them hitting road hazards at speed with underinflated tires.

I tired both of the pavement knocking the snot out of me and dodging potholes in the dark and now ride mostly on 700x46 slicks.
What do you run in those 700x46's?

I've been running 45psi in 650bx42's and have decided that that's too many psi's. Gonna start at 40psi and see where that gets me.
 
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