Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

For Roadies

Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby The Walrus » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:46 am

I'm weighing up the idea of adding a road bike to my collection of MTB's to give road riding a go. My LBS said a carbon bike start at around $2500 and they see lots of people get an alloy bike only to then upgrade soon after...soooo

Given that I've never had a road bike I'm not sure if I'll get into or even like it that much, so I'm reluctant to spend that much. Also there's some pretty good looking deals on both new and second hand alloy bikes these days (I assume because everyone is upgrading?) So I could get a very tidy bike for a fraction of the price...

I test road a Specialized roadie at the weekend and it was obvioulsy super lightweight but as I'm getting into it for 30-50k rides for keeping fit/losing a few kilos and NOT for racing, I'm not sure if I need such a light bike.

So my question is...Should I wait and save up or get an alloy bike to start with and see how I like it? Will a cheaper bike give me a 'good' insight to road riding or will it potentially put me off as its not a great ride?

Cheers
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
User avatar
The Walrus
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:37 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

by BNA » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:55 am

BNA
 

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby gururug » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:55 am

Alloy vs carbon and helmet law posts are some of the most contentious topics.

To be honest, it won't make that much difference. It's more about individual frame characteristics and ultimately price. Search these forums for similar keywords and there are some good bits of info and advice.

Would a cheaper bike dull your motivation / enjoyment. Possibly. If it weighs 20kg or the fit is off perhaps. Having said that most current mainstream brands are very good.

Seeing as you have some background and your not sure how much it will be used. I would buy second hand.
Something that retailed for around $2000 -> $3000, 1 -> 4 years old in the $700 -> $1400 price range.

New go for high end "sport models" around $1400 -> $1800. aka Tiagra/105. I prefer my alloy over my carbon. Similar weight, more durable.
User avatar
gururug
 
Posts: 1504
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:05 pm

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby The Walrus » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:02 pm

Never underestimate the power of ignorance
User avatar
The Walrus
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:37 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby open roader » Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:59 pm

gururug wrote:It's more about individual frame characteristics and ultimately price.


I agree strongly with this statement.

My experience works boths ways - started on an inexpensive alloy framed roadie, disliked the weighty nature of my alloy bike so I opted for a racy carbon bike which was heaps lighter and more responsive etc but only a fraction more comfortable to ride over 40km+ and ultimately just as fun to ride as the original alloy heavyweight.

Since then I've ridden a pair of carbon framed bikes (one off 'test' rides) that are more harsher a ride than my original alloy framed bike which was something I thought not possible :shock: I have since sold the racy carbon frame for a more comfortable one. My current carbon framed bike is a tad heavier than the racy one but streets ahead in comfort which makes it more fun for me as I value comfort very highly to maintain my enjoyment of road riding.

Coming from an all MTB background just about any roadie is going to feel more responsive to you on bitumen than any light weight tricked up MTB will. If you want to withold splurging on a u-beaut ultra light carbon framed bike for the present and you have sufficient mechanical know how to spot a reasonable condition bike which doesn't weigh a ton, then why not purchase something cheaply which will not drop a swag of $$$ if you lose interest in the whole road bike thing. Then if you become hyper enthused you have less of a liability to offload if you really want that uber light weight carbon framed go fast machine.
3rd class cycling is always better than 1st class walking
User avatar
open roader
 
Posts: 2425
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:05 pm
Location: Dueling Banjo Country

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:11 pm

Enter LBS with say, $2000 budget.
Advise salesperson your budget is $1600 (Haggling room)
Ask to test everything close to your actual budget. Ignore names, materials, groupsets, everything. Just ride.
Go home and have a quiet reflect, chances are one or two of them will stick in your mind. This is your shortlist.

Retest the shortlist, go home and think again. One bike should be starting to stand out in your mind by now...
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
User avatar
Mulger bill
Super Mod
Super Mod
 
Posts: 26324
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Sunbury Vic

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby AndrewBurns » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:24 pm

Frame material is actually not going to have the greatest effect on ride quality/comfort. To a greater extent you also have the wheels, tyre make and size, geometry and what pressure is in the tyres. Forget what the frame is made of and focus on the groupset (although honestly for most people any groupo is fine), wheels and how well you fit the bike. If the bike rides how you want it to and the price is right then you're not going to regret the material it's made of down the track because there's no guarantee a bike made of the other material would be any better for you.
Image
AndrewBurns
 
Posts: 996
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:36 pm

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby The Walrus » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:42 am

Thanks for the replies everyone...

I've been offered a 2008 Avanti Cadent 2.0. for $1300

Full carbon fibre frame and carbon fibre forks with Shimano 105 gearing throughout and Shimano WH-R500 wheelset...

Appears to be very well looked after and has less than 5000 k's on it...good, bad or ordinary deal?
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
User avatar
The Walrus
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:37 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Mapomatic » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:05 am

The Walrus wrote:...good, bad or ordinary deal?


Ordinary.

Carbon will offset upgraditis, at least for a few months.. It will also be more comfortable to ride, help with some longer training rides that will improve your mtbing.

I agree that you probably shouldnt spend a huge amount of money, many a mtber has had a go on the roadies only to lose interest. I'd suggest checking out mtb forums to find a good, cheap underused roadie.

http://www.rotorburn.com/forums/showthread.php?235630-2011-Giant-TCR-Composite-2-53-5-quot-%28ML%29
http://www.rotorburn.com/forums/showthread.php?237197-Giant-TCR-composite-2-2011
User avatar
Mapomatic
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:01 am

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Thunderthighs » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:06 pm

I am very much liking my Cannondale Synapse. Alloy frame, carbon forks. The bike is far better than me...
Image
Thunderthighs
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:49 pm
Location: Kings Langley

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby number21 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:05 pm

I went for the new option because I didn't have a very solid understanding on what to look for in buying second hand.

From there, with a budget of $1500-1800 I decided to go for an alloy frame with 105 or above. Another thing was that I wanted something I liked to look at, otherwise I knew I'd be wanting to upgrade sooner. In the end came out with an ex floor stock Merida fitted with a combo of Ultegra/105 running gear. Since it was their second from the top alloy frame the graphics were pretty decent compared to the Malvern Star and Cells I was also considering.

The Cell I was looking at was cheaper and carbon but just wasn't feeling it, for whatever reason.

2.5 years on still happy with it, plus passing carbon frames on the road is a good way to get over the envy!

Would strongly consider another alloy frame whenever I do/can upgrade. Cannondales look nice...
User avatar
number21
 
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:25 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby sogood » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:55 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Enter LBS with say, $2000 budget.
Advise salesperson your budget is $1600 (Haggling room)
Ask to test everything close to your actual budget. Ignore names, materials, groupsets, everything. Just ride.
Go home and have a quiet reflect, chances are one or two of them will stick in your mind. This is your shortlist.
Retest the shortlist, go home and think again. One bike should be starting to stand out in your mind by now...

Good protocol!

The other thing to be said is to not go for the cheapest or most expensive of a particular category of product ie. Don't buy the cheapest Alloy or CF bike, nor the most expensive within that two material. Some may argue but middle of the road will get good value.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple :)
RK wrote:And that is Wikipedia - I can write my own definition.
User avatar
sogood
 
Posts: 17082
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Nobody » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:22 pm

sogood wrote:Don't buy the cheapest Alloy or CF bike, nor the most expensive within that two material. Some may argue but middle of the road will get good value.
Agree.
Yes I know, it's strange. But it does happen occasionally. :wink:
Nobody
 
Posts: 6717
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:10 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Chris249 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:05 pm

There's lots of good advice in the posts above.

Go with a cheapish alloy frame. That gives you more spare cash when you decide to get into Time Trial bikes for real performance! :D

The limiting factor for riding is almost always the rider not the bike. And as has already been mentioned, beating expensive bikes on a cheapie is a much cheaper way to have fun than owning a plush bike.
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

2003 Cervelo P2K time trial bike
2010 Merida Cyclocross 4
2008 Giant SS/track
2008 Vivente Como roadie
Chris249
 
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:36 pm

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby brawlo » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:24 pm

I'd go for a good scond hand option. In your case, with a lack of experience, an alloy frame will be easier to spot problems on rather than a carbon. It's what I did.

As for alloy vs carbon, as mentioned before, alloy is not just stiffer than carbon. There's lots of other factors at play. The frame design will also play a part in what you want as well. If you want something to use for short high intensity training, then that will need to be a different design than something for ticking over the k's. Have a long think about what you plan to do with the road bike before you jump.

If you're only doing fitness and not racing, go with some 25mm tyres and that will make all the difference whichever frame you end up with.
brawlo
 
Posts: 404
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:01 pm
Location: Goulburn, NSW

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby The Walrus » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:28 pm

Seems to be so many differing reasons for each option that its a very tricky decision...I've been looking into my options for new bikes and am looking at brands Ive not really explored before.

I can get a CF bike for $1500 compared to an alloy bike for $2200! The CF is obviously entry level with Tiagra group set and the alloy bike is a Bianchi with Ultegra group set and looks devine...between those prices there are quite a few options!

There's a few CF bikes with 105 groupset on offer. A Felt F5, Orbea Onix and a Fuji...Cannondale also make an alloy bike with 105 groupset for about $1600 so it seems that there's plenty/too much choice!

I thought the benefit of CF was weight and what really interests me is that some of the alloy bikes are only 2 or 3 kilos heavier than some CF...given that I'm 90 kilos thats not a big difference! But I'm starting to think that ride quality is a lot to do with it and your wheel set can make all teh difference...maybe a mid to top alloy bike with 105 + and a quality set of wheels?

Second hand is too much of a minefield and I need to test ride it first....So with all that I'm going to do what I did when I got the MTB, let the road test decide for me!
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
User avatar
The Walrus
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:37 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby AndrewBurns » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:57 pm

The difference between a light CF frame and a heavier aluminium frame is only about 1kg, the difference between some low-end wheels and some decent lightweight ones can be about 0.5kg so yeah there's not going to be a huge difference in weight between different bikes of the same size and componentry. Most of what drives price is taking off that last fraction of a kilo, going from a 10kg bike down to 8kg won't cause the same increase in price as going from 8kg down to 7 for example.
Image
AndrewBurns
 
Posts: 996
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:36 pm

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Ozkaban » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:10 am

For what it's worth, my budget when buying a road bike was low $1,000's. I wanted a known brand with 105 and half decent wheels - as a newbie it was as good a set of criteria as I could come up with. I ended up with the Malvern Star Oppy A5, full 5700 105 froupset and Mavic Aksium wheels (better than the R500's). I paid $1200, though it was on sale at the time. It's an alloy frame with carbon forks, and I've been very happy with it. Not overly heavy, reasonably comfy and I roll along with my club without any dramas. I'd love a carbon frame ultegra bike, but that's the next jump when I have the cash to spare which wont be for a while :roll:

Ultimately, the best bike is the one you love riding. I agree with the advice to go and try out a few in the price range and see what you enjoy. A lot of bikes have a mix of carbon and alloy anyway so the distinction isn't all that clear cut.
Ozkaban
 
Posts: 1101
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:18 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby The Walrus » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:36 pm

This was my short list, in no particular order...

Giant Defy Composite - GS Ultegra $2000
Felt F5 - GS 105 $2000
Fuji 105 – GS 105 $2000
Avanti Cadent 2 – GS 105 $2300
Scott CR1 0 GS – Tiagra $2300
Orbea Onix - GS 105 $2000
ALLOY
Bianchi Impulso – GS Ultegra $2200
Cannondale Synapse 5 - GS 105 $1600

Already tested
Specialized Roubaix – GS Tiagra $2300
Avanti Cadent 1 – GS Tiagra $1500

The Avanti was pretty good for the price and I was pleasantly surprised by the Tiagra groupset...maybe coming from a MTB I dont expect too much! The Specialized felt very nice...

Avanti/Scott dealer said the Avanti frame in that price range was better than the Scott's! He didnt have the Cadent 2 to try, which is basically another $800 to have 105!

The Fuji/Bianchi & Giant dealer dont allow bike tests, so that leaves the Felt, Orbea and the wild card Cannondale alloy to try tomorrow!
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
User avatar
The Walrus
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:37 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby gururug » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:10 pm

The Walrus wrote:The Fuji/Bianchi & Giant dealer dont allow bike tests


Imagine a car dealer that didn't allow test drives. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. I'd be finding another dealer if possible and emailing the companies to let them know how crap that is.

Good to see your getting closer. Now to only narrow to 2 or 3 and let the bargaining begin. :D
User avatar
gururug
 
Posts: 1504
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:05 pm

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:31 pm

The Walrus wrote:The Fuji/Bianchi & Giant dealer dont allow bike tests


That's OK, in the circumstances you should respect their decision and show it by not allowing them to put a hand in your pocket.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
User avatar
Mulger bill
Super Mod
Super Mod
 
Posts: 26324
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Sunbury Vic

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Sydguy » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:37 pm

Carbon hands down. The prices are lower than ever before and the comfort is fantastic compared to an alloy frame.

There is carbon for all budgets :D

JM
Sydguy
 
Posts: 749
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:33 pm
Location: Sydney (Rhodes to City Commuter)

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Nobody » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:06 pm

Sydguy wrote:Carbon hands down. The prices are lower than ever before and the comfort is fantastic compared to an alloy frame.
An over-simplification. Depends how the frame is designed. If it's very comfortable, I wouldn't expect it to be overly stiff.
Nobody
 
Posts: 6717
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:10 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby The Walrus » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:36 pm

I'm thinking the suggestion posted about not picking the cheapest or most expensive of either option is the way to go. In other words a mid range option, given that my budget exceeds the mid range alloy (I think) then that would suggest a CF frame...but lets see how the test rides go, when I got my MTB I tried a good few and the one I have just jumped out at me, I hope I get that feeling tomorrow...

I try to live by the saying...let the ride decide!
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
User avatar
The Walrus
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:37 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:52 pm

That's the right way to go Walrus 8)

Shaun
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
User avatar
Mulger bill
Super Mod
Super Mod
 
Posts: 26324
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Sunbury Vic

Re: Alloy versus Carbon for newbie road rider?

Postby The Walrus » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:07 pm

Rained all morning so I was restricted to using the trainer, so I only tried 2...

The Felt F5 - Excuse the pun but it felt !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !!...it was like trying to wear a pair of gloves on your feet, not happening.

The Cannondale Synapse 5 - Very nice indeed and weight wise it didn't seem much different to the Roubaix or Cadent. 105 didn't seem any better or worse than Tiagra, but maybe that's just my ignorance. The down side is I wasn't mad in the colour design (shallow I know but...)

Visited to the Fuji dealer that wont allow test rides and he tried to sell me the alloy Bianchi Impulso as a bike I'd keep for years. $600 more than the Cannondale with Ultegra and looks great but maybe over kill for my needs...

Spent time checking out the specs of the Roubaix and the Cadent, its hard to see that much difference apart from $800. There must be some difference in the frame and the Cadent is an entry level CF which I said I wanted to avoid, but at this stage it seems like a good option. The Cadent 2 is a massive $800 more for better wheels and 105!

I'm seriously considering just getting some slicks, clip-less pedals and shoes for the 29er and rethinking it all!

Bloody bikes!
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
User avatar
The Walrus
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:37 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

Next

Return to Road Biking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: GeoffInBrisbane



Popular Bike Shops
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Ebay Ebay AU
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK

“Bicycles BNA Twitter
“Bicycles BNA Facebook
“Google+ BNA Google+
“Bicycles BNA Newsletter

> FREE BNA Stickers