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  1. #1
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    Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    Any fanatics with thoughts on road bikes, frames, brands and components. I have been looking to into buying an entry level/mid level road bike that is a fairly fast bike and yet comfortable for century rides. So I have ended up looking at the Specialized Roubaix SL2 Elite, Secteur Comp and Elite, and the Trek Madone 3.1. The bikes either have Sram Apex or 105's which are decent entry level components.


    My only concern is with the carbon fiber frame is that it may be more fragile in non riding situations...hauling, ragbri....


    Any thoughts appreciated.

    Z


    The grass always looks greener, on the other side of the fence, but the dog over there might be meaner, on the other side of the fence… Stay in your own yard, play in your own yard!

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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    The fragile-ity of carbon on comes into affect for bad crashes, I havent heard of any regular wear and tear on regulars roads to ever be an issue.

    Also if you are just looking at entry level you can save $$ by sticking to aluminum.



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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    Quote Originally Posted by zach View Post
    Any fanatics with thoughts on road bikes, frames, brands and components. I have been looking to into buying an entry level/mid level road bike that is a fairly fast bike and yet comfortable for century rides. So I have ended up looking at the Specialized Roubaix SL2 Elite, Secteur Comp and Elite, and the Trek Madone 3.1. The bikes either have Sram Apex or 105's which are decent entry level components.


    My only concern is with the carbon fiber frame is that it may be more fragile in non riding situations...hauling, ragbri....


    Any thoughts appreciated.

    Z
    I ride a Trek 1000 (current version is the Trek 1.2, I believe) and have really enjoyed it. A carbon frame should help dampen road vibrations, although most bikes now have a carbon fork and seatpost to absorb those vibrations. My frame is aluminum, so I can't speak to the transportability and comfort of a full-carbon frame.

    What are you looking to use the bike for? You mentioned centuries. Anything else? If you're not planning to race I wouldn't worry too much about the overall weight.

    I don't have much brand experience, but I have the perception (whether right or wrong) that Specialized is a good brand but typically over-priced. I chose my Trek largely because I felt I got the most bike for my dollars.

    I'd suggest speaking with the employees at a few bike shops and getting their thoughts. They probably have the widest experience base that you'll find, and they'll probably give you straight answers (especially if you go in there with no intention of buying that day, so there isn't a potential sale on the line). Plus, by speaking to multiple shops you'll likely be able to figure out when one of them is feeding you a line. I've used both Bike World and Skunk River Cycles here in Ames and I like both staffs.


    Quote Originally Posted by im4cyclones View Post
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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    Quote Originally Posted by HtownCyclone View Post
    The fragile-ity of carbon on comes into affect for bad crashes, I havent heard of any regular wear and tear on regulars roads to ever be an issue.

    Also if you are just looking at entry level you can save $$ by sticking to aluminum.
    Another thought along these lines...with carbon fiber (or fiberglass), you can inflict damage to the structure without any outward damage being visible. For example, you could crash and have the bike look fine afterwards, but there could be internal damage to the composite (carbon and fiberglass) components that you cannot see or detect.

    While I haven't heard any horror stories about someone being injured because a previous crash weakened the frame, I remember the impact-damage tolerance (or lack thereof) being emphasized in my composites course and on my internships.


    Quote Originally Posted by im4cyclones View Post
    [Anything] is easy if you are content to suck at it.

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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    Yeah, if you aren't going to be racing, aluminum should work fine. What you might try doing is looking for one with composite parts if you want reduced weight. Also, clipless pedals. They take some getting used to, and yes, there will be a few times that you come to a stop and fall over in slow-mo, but they help immensely. Instead of only applying power on half the cycle, you apply it over the entire thing. That and it works (or seems to, at least) more muscle groups. If you are looking for comfort, probably stay away from triathlon frames.

    I have a giant OCR3 that I got for about 700, and ended up putting a lot of work into it to make it into the bike that I wanted. Your best bet would probably be to go to a few bike stores to look around and maybe try out a few bikes to find the one that you like the best.


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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    I've probably rode a few thousand miles on my old Trek 1.2 and now a few thousand on my Trek 5200. Its pretty much all carbon including frame, fork, seat post, pedals, stem. I can easily tell the difference between riding on a non carbon now.
    I don't think I'd be too worried about RAGBRAI, I've done it on the 5200 and 1.2 and both performed great.



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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    I ride aluminum and have no problem with RAGBRAI or centuries. You probably don't need carbon if you're not racing. I'd save the money and invest in better shorts. Your butt will thank you.



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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    Quote Originally Posted by JP4CY View Post
    I've probably rode a few thousand miles on my old Trek 1.2 and now a few thousand on my Trek 5200. Its pretty much all carbon including frame, fork, seat post, pedals, stem. I can easily tell the difference between riding on a non carbon now.
    I don't think I'd be too worried about RAGBRAI, I've done it on the 5200 and 1.2 and both performed great.
    Thanks for your insight. As far as ragbri, I was just thinking about a rough environment as I am not sure a Carbon would stand up to being knocked around, wreck in the crowd, hauling, or something of that nature...tougher environment. I think it would hold up decent for 30/40 mile day rides and centuries. Carbon concerns me about durability overall I guess. Maybe I am being to cautious about that.

    Z


    The grass always looks greener, on the other side of the fence, but the dog over there might be meaner, on the other side of the fence… Stay in your own yard, play in your own yard!

  9. #9
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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    Quote Originally Posted by zach View Post
    Thanks for your insight. As far as ragbri, I was just thinking about a rough environment as I am not sure a Carbon would stand up to being knocked around, wreck in the crowd, hauling, or something of that nature...tougher environment. I think it would hold up decent for 30/40 mile day rides and centuries. Carbon concerns me about durability overall I guess. Maybe I am being to cautious about that.

    Z
    I was worried about that when I first got it but it's held up great. I've done Ragbrai, the Minnesota Ironman, a lot of Story county bumpy riding, etc.
    I got taken out last year on the real rainy day (Friday?) on Ragbrai, I was getting off the road and a girl wasn't looking and rammed me and we both toppled over.
    My bike didn't have anything wrong with it at all. I was really worried about a spoke being broken because they are unique (flat) and not that many of them but they were all fine too.



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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    For what it's worth, I have friends with carbon fiber mountain bikes. These guys are hardcore too, no reports of injuries or frame damage. My Kestrel RT700 carbon frame seems to be holding up fine - lots of rides, couple centuries, light as a feather. And it dampens the ride quite nicely!



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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    My father in law has a 3 year old italian carbon fiber road bike he got from rei. He usually puts 150 on it in every 2 weeks. I bike a lot less than that, and I only have a Kona dew deluxe, but I would get another Kona if I was going to get a road bike because their road bikes feel pretty solid to me.



  12. #12
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    Re: Road bikes.i.e...road bicycles

    I am a contributor to roadbikereview.com as well as slowtwitch.com I ride close to 2000-2500 miles a year. I have done 16 Ragbrais all on carbon bikes. Look, carbon doesn't melt in the sun or suddenly snap and fail, nor will it make you faster. They use carbon fiber to make fighter jets, I think you will be safe on a bicycle. If you are looking at that $1500 range, you've got a couple of good choices. You may want to look at Fuji, Giant or Felt. You could get better components on a nice frame for close to what you are spending. I'd test ride before you buy. Apex is nice, as is 105. Rival is a little nicer for very little more. Most shops will build or swap parts if you ask and negotiate the price. I hope you can find a nice ride. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to ask questions or talk bikes. :)


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