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mad scientist
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
relatively inexpensive comfortable (carbon?) frame

What are some options for relatively cheap, comfortable carbon frames? My GF is having problems with her back and may want to move to a CF frame, but has a nice bike (recent Trek 2200 Ultegra) already so doesn't need a whole new bike. Would it be easier just to buy a whole new bike and part out her old one? She really likes the way her current bike fits, it's just harsh for her now with her back problems...Any other options out there?

Heh, just noticed I hit 100 posts on the "new" site! :D
 

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Real cheap option

reklar said:
What are some options for relatively cheap, comfortable carbon frames? My GF is having problems with her back and may want to move to a CF frame, but has a nice bike (recent Trek 2200 Ultegra) already so doesn't need a whole new bike. Would it be easier just to buy a whole new bike and part out her old one? She really likes the way her current bike fits, it's just harsh for her now with her back problems...Any other options out there?
You're sadly confused if you think that just switching to any CF frame will solve her back problems. If the ride is too harsh, you will get a lot more comfort from reducing tire pressure than from any other change. You could even go with wider tires with lower pressure yet. No change in frame or wheels would have nearly as much effect on comfort.
 

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eminence grease
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CF is not your answer. You need to make sure se's fit properly on the bike or you'll just be moving the problem along with a new frame. You also should take Kerry's advice and try lower tire pressure. Among the bikes I own, some of my CF frames are the least comfortable I ride. Stiffer than hell and not terribly forgiving on the long haul.

Focus on her specific problems, not the frame material.
 

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mad scientist
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
terry b said:
CF is not your answer. You need to make sure se's fit properly on the bike or you'll just be moving the problem along with a new frame. You also should take Kerry's advice and try lower tire pressure. Among the bikes I own, some of my CF frames are the least comfortable I ride. Stiffer than hell and not terribly forgiving on the long haul.

Focus on her specific problems, not the frame material.
Interesting, this runs counter to my experience. My 5200 is much more comfortable than my aluminum trek...There are many differences in the bikes, but I attribute most of them (maybe incorrectly, not sure) to the frames as the tires and wheels are similar, and I run them at similar pressures. What else could be causing the difference in feel? The aluminum frame has an aluminum fork, so that may be a large part of the difference...I just feel like I get much more beaten up on the aluminum bike...

While I agree her bike fit needs to change a bit to accomodate her, the bike isn't what's causing her back problems. It's largely the ride quality.

I agree with Kerry about the tires. What are some comfortable riding 25s or 28s?
 

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Just get her the Giant OCR composite frame. The relaxed geometry alone and slightly more upright position alone will help.

For a little bit more money you could also go to the Cannondale Synapse.

If the lady wants carbon and it will keep her on the road then go for it. She will be a lot more upset with pinch flats from running at lower pressure than spending some money.
 

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Geometry

reklar said:
Interesting, this runs counter to my experience. My 5200 is much more comfortable than my aluminum trek...There are many differences in the bikes, but I attribute most of them (maybe incorrectly, not sure) to the frames as the tires and wheels are similar, and I run them at similar pressures. What else could be causing the difference in feel?
Geometry can have a large impact on comfort - shorter chain stays and a steeper seat tube angle will transmit road shock much more directly to the saddle. That said, without having a lot of details about these two bikes, it's hard to speculate. Certainly, Trek could have been trying to make the Al bike a lot harsher than the CF, and they may just have achieved their goals. Attributing your experience to material alone is foolish.
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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Ditto to those that say that changing frame material is no magic bullet. Get her to a good fitter. I'm betting that getting her bars up will help, and she'll get more "cush" as others have noted by getting a set of good 700X25 (or even 28 if they'll fit) tires and running 'em at about 100 lbs.
 

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classiquesklassieker
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Lots of factors

reklar said:
Interesting, this runs counter to my experience. My 5200 is much more comfortable than my aluminum trek...There are many differences in the bikes, but I attribute most of them (maybe incorrectly, not sure) to the frames as the tires and wheels are similar, and I run them at similar pressures. What else could be causing the difference in feel? The aluminum frame has an aluminum fork, so that may be a large part of the difference...I just feel like I get much more beaten up on the aluminum bike...

While I agree her bike fit needs to change a bit to accomodate her, the bike isn't what's causing her back problems. It's largely the ride quality.

I agree with Kerry about the tires. What are some comfortable riding 25s or 28s?
Comfort or discomfort can come from the "smallest" factors. Just changing from a 42 handlebar to a 44 handlebar did me wonders in terms of comfort. Ditto with changing my seat angle, now it's slightly "nose down".

Hate to tell you this, but I would not claim that her fit is fine just because she likes it. Clearly she doesn't, since she has back issues. The fit is hollistic: it's everything from saddle angle, type of saddle, handlebar angle, and everything that the rider is in contact with.
 

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mad scientist
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
orange_julius said:
Hate to tell you this, but I would not claim that her fit is fine just because she likes it. Clearly she doesn't, since she has back issues.
No, she has back issues because she fell 10 months ago and ruptured a disk in her back. She was fitted properly when she got the bike, she's now complaining about ride quality in reference to her recurring back pain as she heals. If we keep this bike we will definitely look at changing the stem length, angle, etc. to accomodate, but I'm not convinced that's going to fix the issue. If we go with a new bike we will get her re-fitted...I understand the import of bike fit.

Also, if any of you have recommendations for specific 25mm or 28mm tires that ride comfortably, please let me know!
 

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eminence grease
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A number of people on this forum and the others like these:

Pedal Force

Inexpensive, good quality, that magic carpet CF ride.

If you look long enough, there are quite a few vendors on the web and eBay selling other Taiwanese or Chinese produced frames. Reasonable prices in general.

Let us know how it works out, I hope it solves your GF's pain.
 

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mad scientist
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
terry b said:
A number of people on this forum and the others like these:

Pedal Force

Inexpensive, good quality, that magic carpet CF ride.

If you look long enough, there are quite a few vendors on the web and eBay selling other Taiwanese or Chinese produced frames. Reasonable prices in general.

Let us know how it works out, I hope it solves your GF's pain.
Thanks Terry! Just having her walking again is a big step. Her fall was pretty bad--broke both ankles, and then found out about the ruptured disk after her ankles had healed. Just getting to the point where she can ride again without pain is our focus....

peace...
 

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Soul Mining
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A lot of my friends who just bought carbon bikes and upgraded from alloy frames say the ride is smoother and transmits less road vibration. If that is all it takes for your girlfriend to feel better, than it's worth her taking a bike for a test ride just to see.

But I wonder if she just needs to take it easy, perhaps ride less often and let things heal? As other people said, maybe she needs bigger tires, lower psi, a softer saddle and maybe a more upright stem? Such changes towards a "comfort" position might help the most. Of course if she just wants the flash carbon frame in the end, I say go for it! :D
 

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Because she has a traumatic back issue that is healing, a more-upright stance with shorter reach would be better for her back. It's not so much road feedback shock, but the back angle when the shocks hit. A more upright stance is recommended for those with a compressed disc. She could be re-fit on her current bike by a good fitter, if it is within reason. The thing to be clear about is if this is a temporary condition, then her fit needs will change as her back heals. It would not be a good idea to get a new bike, in any material, at this point, until she has been evaluated by an excercise physiologist, or a doctor who is also a bicyclist.

On her current bike, tire pressure reduced, no to the point that she will get pinch flats, will make an improvement in comfort. A different set of barsand a shorter stem with more rise may also help.
 

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I recently had surgery to repair a herniated disc. My old Lemond which had fit great for years, was no longer rideable. I went with the Specialized Roubaix, the more relaxed angles, taller headtube, and yes, carbon fiber frame vs. steel, all combined to greatly improved my comfort on the bike.

Good luck with your search.
 

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classiquesklassieker
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reklar said:
No, she has back issues because she fell 10 months ago and ruptured a disk in her back. She was fitted properly when she got the bike, she's now complaining about ride quality in reference to her recurring back pain as she heals. If we keep this bike we will definitely look at changing the stem length, angle, etc. to accomodate, but I'm not convinced that's going to fix the issue. If we go with a new bike we will get her re-fitted...I understand the import of bike fit.
A fit that doesn't consider physiological issues is not a good fit. Something as serious as what you said above can be a significant change in somebody's biomechanics, so the fit should be adjusted. I'm not saying that fit alone will solve the problems, but it's a good avenue to investigate in your quest. The best will be to find somebody who knows bicycling biomechanics and has experience with similar injuries.
 

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orange_julius said:
A fit that doesn't consider physiological issues is not a good fit. Something as serious as what you said above can be a significant change in somebody's biomechanics, so the fit should be adjusted. I'm not saying that fit alone will solve the problems, but it's a good avenue to investigate in your quest. The best will be to find somebody who knows bicycling biomechanics and has experience with similar injuries.
What he said. Cycling is great therapy for many things, but adjustments often need to be made. If your GF's back isn't strong enough or hasn't reached the stage in recovery where it can handle typical road bike geometry, then she probably needs to have a more upright position. Other's have mentioned the Roubaix. Bike's like that'd be good. Maybe even a Trek Pilot. The important thing is to work with someone who understands the issues and has the knowledge and experience to help formulate a fit solution. GF shouldn't get caught up in what a given solution looks like. In all likelihood, it'd only be a temporary solution, maybe for a year or two. Who knows.

A physical therapist would also have valuable input.
 

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reklar said:
Her fall was pretty bad--broke both ankles, and then found out about the ruptured disk after her ankles had healed. Just getting to the point where she can ride again without pain is our focus.
You should have her try a few recumbents if you have a dealer in your area. I rode a recumbent for a year or so while my herniated disc healed enough that I could ride a diamond-frame bike with "comfort" geometry (Litespeed Veneto).
 
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