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Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:11 am
by purni76
Hi All

New to the forum. Wanted some advice, looking at moving from a mountain bike to a flatbar road bike for my 20Km (each way) commute and longer weekend rides. Found drop bars a bit uncomfortable so looking at a flatbar road bike. Wanted some advice (pros and cons) on buying a full carbon frame vs alloy. My understanding is that the carbon frame will be more comfortable (i.e. forgiving over bumps) compared to an alloy frame while the material would not make much of a difference to the weight. Is it worth the extra $'s for carbon. Will it be a noticeable difference?

Thanks in advance.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:46 pm
by Nobody
Comfort primarily comes from lower tyre pressure and a saddle that suits you well. It's not worth the extra money for carbon in my opinion.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:26 pm
by jasonc
Nobody wrote:Comfort primarily comes from lower tyre pressure and a saddle that suits you well. It's not worth the extra money for carbon in my opinion.


agree. mostly. there's a guy I see all the time who has converted his carbon trek roadie to a flat bar. looks good, sort of.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:14 pm
by rkelsen
On a flat bar, you're sitting more upright, which negates all of the aerodynamic benefits that a carbon bike would normally bring.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:22 pm
by jasonc
rkelsen wrote:On a flat bar, you're sitting more upright, which negates all of the aerodynamic benefits that a carbon bike would normally bring.


you can have an aero alloy bike. maybe what you are saying is a brick into the wind on any material bike is still a brick into the wind.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:30 pm
by barefoot
I don't own one, but I reckon flatbar road bikes are awesome. There never used to be an option for actually going fast on road without drop bars... which led me building a few bastardised MTBs with narrow slicks and road cranks along the way. Now the same thing - but better - is available off the hook. That's a win.

However.

They tend to be a gateway drug. Not many people who buy a flatbar roadie stick with flatbar roadies for long. Most end up upgrading to a drop-bar roadie within 18 months.

Of course, it could simply be that most people who get heavily into cycling on any bike tend to upgrade within 18 months. But it's a very visible phenomenon with FBRs.

That being the case, I wouldn't recommend going all out and spending a fortune on your dream bike this time around. Get a very nice bike, by all means, and love riding it. But experience has shown that your dream bike in <2 years will be different to your current dream bike... and most likely, it won't have flat bars.

Count this as a vote for alloy. Save your carbon credits for when you upgrade.

tim

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:44 pm
by jasonc
barefoot wrote:Most end up upgrading to a drop-bar roadie within 18 months.


*sticks his hand up

still ride the flat bar. but if I were looking now, I'd now look at a CX for commuting (all weather, disc brakes being the reasons)
Have done well over 16000kms on my flat bar. still commute on it when not doing an extended ride/when the weather may turn to fud (carbon melts in the rain)

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:03 pm
by TDC
Carbon fibre has mystical and magical properties and you will go 10 km/h faster up hills in a head wind....Except I must be broken because i have a steel bike, an aluminium bike and a CF bke and I am equally slow on all of them. If I ride a lot, i ride faster. If I dont ride much and eat too much, I ride slower.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:17 pm
by gassyndrome
Ride them both and find out. You will figure out whether the trade off/opportunity cost is worth it for you.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:16 am
by purni76
Thanks for all the responses.

I have a had look over the weekend and ridden a few. I think I will stick to a aluminum / alloy frame.

Down to two bikes.
http://www.scott-sports.com/us/en/products/227791009/bike-metrix-10-xl/
http://www.cube.eu/en/tour/cross-road/sl-cross-pro/

Any thoughts or opinions on the Scott Vs the Cube?

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:24 am
by gururug
One of the best features of non-carbon bikes is crash resistance. Don't ask me how I know :oops:

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:33 am
by jasonc
cube looks betterer
has a couple of better components too

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:54 am
by boss
Cube looks heaps better. Whats the deal with V brakes though?

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:21 am
by Nobody
boss wrote:Cube looks heaps better. Whats the deal with V brakes though?
Better braking?

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:47 am
by boss
Nobody wrote:
boss wrote:Cube looks heaps better. Whats the deal with V brakes though?
Better braking?


Is it? I've always pondered this, if there was an inherent advantage of v-brakes over sidepull calipers, why don't we run them on roadies?

I figured that given the limited traction on 23-30mm tyres, increased braking power probably isn't a good thing.

Happy to stand corrected - I'm just thinking out loud over here.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:08 am
by Nobody
boss wrote:
Nobody wrote:
boss wrote:Cube looks heaps better. Whats the deal with V brakes though?
Better braking?


Is it? I've always pondered this, if there was an inherent advantage of v-brakes over sidepull calipers, why don't we run them on roadies?
Yes. As one of many that has used both, V brakes generally have more effective leverage as a brake than calipers. So for the same apparent lever input, you get more braking power.

I'd rate my Avid Ultimate V brake as either equal to better than my BB7 disc brakes in dry conditions. I don't know of any other rim brake type I'd rate as equal to them.

boss wrote:I figured that given the limited traction on 23-30mm tyres, increased braking power probably isn't a good thing.
Depends on what tyres you use, what pressure you run them at and how you use your brakes.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:05 pm
by jacks1071
purni76 wrote:Hi All

New to the forum. Wanted some advice, looking at moving from a mountain bike to a flatbar road bike for my 20Km (each way) commute and longer weekend rides. Found drop bars a bit uncomfortable so looking at a flatbar road bike. Wanted some advice (pros and cons) on buying a full carbon frame vs alloy. My understanding is that the carbon frame will be more comfortable (i.e. forgiving over bumps) compared to an alloy frame while the material would not make much of a difference to the weight. Is it worth the extra $'s for carbon. Will it be a noticeable difference?

Thanks in advance.


Why would you bother?

Put slicks on the MTB or go to a full road bike otherwise you are moving sideways, not fowards.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:23 pm
by thejester
happy owner of a flatbar for 5years :D
it is only when the wind is blowing a gale that I curse, but I understand everyone else on drop bars curses too.
a carbon seat post was worth every penny. Still have the same seat, but my bum is happier.
would love a full carbon flat bar: Trek fx 7.7
for the money however, there are some very good deals to be had on drop bars, especially when you work in a bike shop that doesnt sell Trek :(

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:40 pm
by thejester
and, if alloy is so good why do so many alloy bikes have carbon forks?
answer: vibration dampener.

carbon forks, hard to find ones with pannier lugs.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:00 pm
by purni76
thejester wrote:and, if alloy is so good why do so many alloy bikes have carbon forks?
answer: vibration dampener.
carbon forks, hard to find ones with pannier lugs.


That is an interesting point as that is what is making my decision hard. The Cube has slightly better running gear but the Scott has a carbon fork and a carbon seat post, potentially making it more comfortable. Is that more important than the slightly better running gear.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:55 pm
by RonK
thejester wrote:carbon forks, hard to find ones with pannier lugs.

Easy actually - Columbus Tusk Trekking.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:26 pm
by rjk
boss wrote:Cube looks heaps better. Whats the deal with V brakes though?



Generally V-Brakes allow you to run a wider tyyre and rim , so you could eventually convert this to a flat bar CX bike... :shock:

dont quote me tho...i have enough trouble tying up my own shoe laces

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:08 am
by purni76
Thanks for all the input. Ended up buying the Scott Metrix.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 7:49 pm
by gorilla monsoon
barefoot wrote:I don't own one, but I reckon flatbar road bikes are awesome. There never used to be an option for actually going fast on road without drop bars... which led me building a few bastardised MTBs with narrow slicks and road cranks along the way. Now the same thing - but better - is available off the hook. That's a win.

However.

They tend to be a gateway drug. Not many people who buy a flatbar roadie stick with flatbar roadies for long. Most end up upgrading to a drop-bar roadie within 18 months.

Of course, it could simply be that most people who get heavily into cycling on any bike tend to upgrade within 18 months. But it's a very visible phenomenon with FBRs.

That being the case, I wouldn't recommend going all out and spending a fortune on your dream bike this time around. Get a very nice bike, by all means, and love riding it. But experience has shown that your dream bike in <2 years will be different to your current dream bike... and most likely, it won't have flat bars.

Count this as a vote for alloy. Save your carbon credits for when you upgrade.

tim


I might be the exception to your rule. I have an alloy Giant flattie that I love, especially on longer rides, and a carbon fibre Avanti drop bar that I enjoy.

Next year I will give myself a special birthday present. It will be a carbon fibre flattie. Best of both worlds.

Re: Carbon frame vs. Alloy for a flatbar road bike

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 9:07 pm
by Duck!
rkelsen wrote:On a flat bar, you're sitting more upright, which negates all of the aerodynamic benefits that a carbon bike would normally bring.


I'm sorry, but frame material is almost completely unrelated to aerodynamics. Carbon only makes some very small aero gains at best, due to the smoother shapes that are possible. Overall geometry, and mostly the person on the bike, have a far greater effect on aero than the material.

Ride comfort is the biggest gain you get from carbon, regardless of frame geometry. It won't compensate for a bad fit, but it does absorb a lot of that irritating road chatter and "buzz" that wears you down over the long miles.