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Are Carbon Road frames really worth the extra cost?

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Are Carbon Road frames really worth the extra cost?

Old 01-25-22, 02:12 PM
  #76  
livedarklions
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
AL has rear Iso, not front.

edit: in doing more looking, it seems as if Trek recently changed and is no longer doing rear Iso on the AL Domane. Funny thing is that they're not really doing front Iso, either, at least not in the sense of the traditional Front IsoSpeed with the upper headset bearings in a cradle that allows the front steerer to flex. From the info that I can find on their new "IsoSpeed Fork," it appears as if it's not really doing anything different than any other carbon fork that's allowed to flex a bit, It looks as if it's "IsoSpeed" in name, only.

I'm getting an Isospeed spoon. I understand you can eat more ice cream without getting a headache.
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Old 01-25-22, 02:15 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I'm getting an Isospeed spoon. I understand you can eat more ice cream without getting a headache.
The best of both worlds is the IsoSpeed Spork.


....or maybe that's the worst of both worlds.
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Old 01-25-22, 02:27 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
you jumped onto my post where I was making fun of the idea that there's a single right answer to what frame material to implicitly criticize OP for posting about bikes that were different in other respects. I still don't get what your point was with that comment, I'm just certain I don't care.
Is this what you're talking about?
Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post
There's also the part where there are more differences between the cited bicycle models than just the frame material.
That wasn't directed at the OP, and it wasn't criticizing OP for posting about bikes with other differences.

It was an amused comment on how laser-focused the discussion had become while ignoring other stuff that might also be important to the OP.

I have no idea how or why you had a different idea as to my meaning.

The OP is in the same spot I found myself several months ago. Finding I was doing a lot more road riding on an older hardtail/hybrid. Deciding to buy a road bike. Trying to understand the differences between some of the models and what might be a good path to take. I looked at the Domane AL & SL, as well as Spesh Roubaix. Although I didn't specifically ride the AL5, I did ride others and ended up choosing the SL5 - for various reasons, and not just the frame material.

Given the parallels, why on earth would I have anything negative to say about the OP's situation???
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Old 01-25-22, 03:01 PM
  #79  
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I say blow your money on whatever type of frame you really want. Your question is subjective and ride quality is based on more than just the frame material.

My carbon fiber-y Domane is way more comfortable than my old Trek 2.3 made out of tooth jarringly stiff hydroformed Aluminum. It also has 32 mm tires running at 70 PSI where the 2.3 has 23 mm tires at 120 PSI. Maybe that is some of the difference.

When my Ti bike is finished maybe it will be the heavenly material that people say it will be. My gut feeling is that it will be fun and hopefully fast and very cool since I am the one who built it ....but at the end of the day its a bicycle.

I'm even thinking about buying a mountain bike and i'm not sure if I really want one that bad ....because ... bicycles LoL !!
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Old 01-25-22, 03:20 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post

It was an amused comment on how laser-focused the discussion had become while ignoring other stuff that might also be important to the OP.

I have no idea how or why you had a different idea as to my meaning.
TBH, I'm mainly responding because that head scratch emoji is really annoying in this context.
It happened because I still don't get why you think it's weird that comments in a thread called "Are Carbon Road frames really worth the extra cost?" would focus on the comparative qualities of different frame materials. Frankly, that's such a weird criticism that that possibility didn't even occur to me. I also think you kind of went off on people in a strange way (insisting they meant compared to running poorer tires on carbon frames?!) when they tried to talk about tires instead of frame material, so that criticism seems a bit inconsistent.

.
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Old 01-25-22, 03:24 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
I say blow your money on whatever type of frame you really want. Your question is subjective and ride quality is based on more than just the frame material.

My sodium frame was great until the day I rode it in the rain.
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Old 01-25-22, 04:52 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
The best of both worlds is the IsoSpeed Spork.


....or maybe that's the worst of both worlds.
I tour with a titanium spork. Wanna see a photo?
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Old 01-25-22, 05:05 PM
  #83  
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I haven't read every response thus far. But, to respond to this question...."Hi everyone, I'm new to the site and was wondering are carbon road frames really worth the extra cost (sometimes as much as $1400 more)?" My answer is "it depends." If you are a recreational rider, as I am, I think you will find that the best bang for the buck is AL with better components than what you would get with CF at the same price. OTOH, if money is not an issue for you then buy whatever you want.
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Old 01-25-22, 08:11 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
TBH, I'm mainly responding because that head scratch emoji is really annoying in this context.
It happened because I still don't get why you think it's weird that comments in a thread called "Are Carbon Road frames really worth the extra cost?" would focus on the comparative qualities of different frame materials. Frankly, that's such a weird criticism that that possibility didn't even occur to me. I also think you kind of went off on people in a strange way (insisting they meant compared to running poorer tires on carbon frames?!) when they tried to talk about tires instead of frame material, so that criticism seems a bit inconsistent..
You claim I've written things I've not, and that you believe I think things I do not. Thus the headscratch emoji.

It is completely normal for people respond to just the thread title without observing the other question asked by the OP (or his invitation of any comments and recommendations). As to tires I asked why one wouldn't choose the most suitable tire for one's riding conditions regardless of frame material, rather than just changing the tire on the aluminum frame model.

My comments are plainly written. Any interpretation of them to mean something different, such as it seems you've done, is your own.

Yes, I do edit to correct an error - such as my misquote/misattribution of another's comments as yours - or if it seems I was mistaken such as when I had remembered the Domane AL5 not having front isospeed. Though it appears I was correct in the original, as only the carbon models have the isospeed decouplers.

Back to the thread:

OP asked two direct questions, and invited any comments and recommendations.

While you may prefer to limit yourself to just the first question, that doesn't seem particularly helpful to the OP. Especially when, as you mentioned, it is a "clearly subjective question."

Shall we leave it here and not further clutter this thread?
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Old 01-25-22, 09:48 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
AL has rear Iso, not front.

edit: in doing more looking, it seems as if Trek recently changed and is no longer doing rear Iso on the AL Domane. Funny thing is that they're not really doing front Iso, either, at least not in the sense of the traditional Front IsoSpeed with the upper headset bearings in a cradle that allows the front steerer to flex. From the info that I can find on their new "IsoSpeed Fork," it appears as if it's not really doing anything different than any other carbon fork that's allowed to flex a bit, It looks as if it's "IsoSpeed" in name, only.
Respectfully, the aluminum model has front ISO only, not rear. I own an AL 3, same frame and fork as the AL 5. Carbon version has front and rear ISO.

To the OP: you can't go wrong with the AL model. I have no aspirations to race and usually average 12mph biking. I am happy with my AL Domane and would feel confident in recommending it to a fellow rider. Comfortable for 10 mile or 100 mile days. Though I don't doubt a carbon bike would ride nicely as well.

Do let us know what you go with. And pictures, of course.
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Old 01-26-22, 03:28 AM
  #86  
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I've raced steel bikes, aluminium bikes, aluminium with carbon forks, carbon with aluminium forks and carbon bikes.

There are many factors that come into play - type of rider, usage, weight of rider and many more. I had no problem racing all of those bikes, got pretty good results with all. However, the steel bikes were heaviest at the time (I know of at least one brand that is making very light steel nowadays) and the aluminium flexed the most. As a sprinter, I was putting out 20W/kg in a sprint at the end of races and found carbon to be the best at everything I wanted most from the frame/fork.

I still like steel, I think it is a great ride. My coach has an Ti bike that he believes is a good combo of steel vs aluminium attributes but I've not ridden one myself. Aluminium is compliant and comfortable and is ideal for a great many people. Personally, I'm happiest racing carbon. For everything else, steel or aluminium is just as good.
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Old 01-26-22, 04:03 AM
  #87  
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Worth is very subjective obviously, but my short answer is, no the shift to Isospeed is not worth the extra money, if practicality is your priority.
I've ridden the Madone SLR and compared it to my "old" Dogma, and other than the ETAP system's simplicity, the ISO ride smoothness dubiously incremental and in the order of less than 5% on my butt and hands scale. There's a lot of confirmation bias justification there imho. I know I'm like that with my custom Ti bike. If you're looking at a Domane, I would also check out the Giant Defy Adv Pro.
Funnily my kid has a new FX6 which I helped set up. It has the non-adjustable ISOSpeed system, and after a 50 min ride to shake out the additions, I actually found my Tern Joe with a Thudbuster ST to ride more comfortably. And yes same tires and wheel size, and even seat. YMMV! Good luck!

Originally Posted by rickster1 View Post
Hi everyone, I'm new to the site and was wondering are carbon road frames really worth the extra cost (sometimes as much as $1400 more)? I'm looking to buy my first road bike and after digging around I guess I'm looking of either 105 or Tiagra components, I have test rode Trek's Domane AL5 and SL5, Emonda SL5 and ALR5 as well as the Specialized Roubaix (I'm open to other brands and models).


I know the Domane is classed as an endurance bike and understand the difference between that and the Emonda's but when I test rode them, I really didn't feel any difference between them. This will probably be my first and only road bike since I tend to keep my gear in good shape, I currently ride an older Trek 830 on the roads that I have swapped the tires out to more of a road type tire. I also have a full suspension MTB for the trails.


I'm having a hard time trying to justify the extra cost of carbon over aluminum. For those that have a Trek with the ISO system does it really make a difference in aiding in a smoother ride?


A little bit about me- I'm 53 and in average shape, I recently lost about 80 lbs this past year (gained some back over the holidays), did my first bike challenge for kids' cancer back in Oct. (rode 410 miles), mostly ride on surfaced trails and country roads, I ride about 35-40 miles each time I ride and average 14 MPH on the old Trek.


I appreciate any comments and recommends that you may have for me as I try to decide what to purchase.


My wife asked me why I need another bike? So, I said you need one for the different type of road material (dirt, crushed limestone, asphalt/concrete, etc.) but I don't think she's buying it


Thanks,

Rick
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Old 01-26-22, 06:14 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Sardines View Post
Worth is very subjective obviously, but my short answer is, no the shift to Isospeed is not worth the extra money, if practicality is your priority.
I've ridden the Madone SLR and compared it to my "old" Dogma, and other than the ETAP system's simplicity, the ISO ride smoothness dubiously incremental and in the order of less than 5% on my butt and hands scale. There's a lot of confirmation bias justification there imho. I know I'm like that with my custom Ti bike. If you're looking at a Domane, I would also check out the Giant Defy Adv Pro.
Funnily my kid has a new FX6 which I helped set up. It has the non-adjustable ISOSpeed system, and after a 50 min ride to shake out the additions, I actually found my Tern Joe with a Thudbuster ST to ride more comfortably. And yes same tires and wheel size, and even seat. YMMV! Good luck!
Yeah my Defy is very comfortable, even on the roughest of UK rural roads. The D-shaped carbon post in particular is very effective for boosting rear end comfort. With 28 mm or wider tyres it doesn't need any special frame compliance like Trek ISO. If I was looking for even more compliance in a road bike I would consider the Specialized Roubaix and that would be mainly for the 20 mm front damper - which I think really is quite significant. I think the trend toward wider, higher volume road tyres in recent years has made frame compliance less of a factor than it was previously. So I wouldn't over-think it. Just don't buy anything with less than 32 mm tyre clearance, which would be hard to find anyway with new bikes.
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Old 01-26-22, 06:21 AM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post
You claim I've written things I've not, and that you believe I think things I do not. Thus the headscratch emoji.

It is completely normal for people respond to just the thread title without observing the other question asked by the OP (or his invitation of any comments and recommendations). As to tires I asked why one wouldn't choose the most suitable tire for one's riding conditions regardless of frame material, rather than just changing the tire on the aluminum frame model.

My comments are plainly written. Any interpretation of them to mean something different, such as it seems you've done, is your own.
You aren't being criticized by me for discussing the other features, I'm criticizing you for disparaging other posters for focusing on the very obvious topic of the thread. That's such a loopy complaint that I didn't recognize it was the one you were making. Apparently, I gave you too much credit by assuming you wouldn't make a complaint as silly as that. The sad thing is you think you were being clear when you complained about the bikes having differences other than material what that complaint was about and who it was against. You weren't.

If you really want to stop cluttering up this thread, stop blaming me for your own lack of coherence and stop putting up sarcastic emoji. You want to talk about seat posts and Isospeed couplers in this thread, knock yourself out, but don't go off on other people who don't.
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Old 01-26-22, 07:11 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
You aren't being criticized by me for discussing the other features, I'm criticizing you for disparaging other posters for focusing on the very obvious topic of the thread. That's such a loopy complaint that I didn't recognize it was the one you were making. Apparently, I gave you too much credit by assuming you wouldn't make a complaint as silly as that. The sad thing is you think you were being clear when you complained about the bikes having differences other than material what that complaint was about and who it was against. You weren't.

If you really want to stop cluttering up this thread, stop blaming me for your own lack of coherence and stop putting up sarcastic emoji. You want to talk about seat posts and Isospeed couplers in this thread, knock yourself out, but don't go off on other people who don't.
I've disparaged nobody in this thread. If someone feels that I've done so, I encourage them to contact me so we can clear it up.

The rest was addressed previously; you misinterpreted comments as meaning something completely different than what was written or intended.

As I've clarified my comments as not meaning what you thought, your continued misinterpretation is yours to deal with.
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Old 01-26-22, 07:20 AM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post

That wasn't directed at the OP, and it wasn't criticizing OP for posting about bikes with other differences.

It was an amused comment on how laser-focused the discussion had become while ignoring other stuff that might also be important to the OP.
Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post
I've disparaged nobody in this thread. If someone feels that I've done so, I encourage them to contact me so we can clear it up.

The rest was addressed previously; you misinterpreted comments as meaning something completely different than what was written or intended.

As I've clarified my comments as not meaning what you thought, your continued misinterpretation is yours to deal with.

"Amused comment" isn't disparagement. Got it. Nice try at the back-pedal.

I think you're at fault for any misunderstanding, you think I am. If you really want to let this go, let's leave it at that.
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Old 01-26-22, 07:26 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
"Amused comment" isn't disparagement.
Correct. It isn't/wasn't.

Your continued interpretation otherwise, after being told you've misunderstood, is yours to deal with.
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Old 01-26-22, 07:56 AM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post
Correct. It isn't/wasn't.

Your continued interpretation otherwise, after being told you've misunderstood, is yours to deal with.

And deal with it I shall, that's what ignore lists are for. Bye.
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Old 01-26-22, 08:16 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
Respectfully, the aluminum model has front ISO only, not rear. I own an AL 3, same frame and fork as the AL 5. Carbon version has front and rear ISO..
Did you not see my edit that you quoted?

Correct - the current AL Domane do not have Rear IsoSpeed, though the previous generations did, which explains my initial comment. However, the current AL Domane does *not* have Front IsoSpeed. It has an IsoSpeed Fork, which is a carbon fork with blades flex... which is nothing special. Front IsoSpeed is a different beast, which involves a pivoting cradle in the HT, for the upper headset bearing, to allow the steerer a greater degree of flex, and is something that I have several thousand miles worth of experience with.
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Old 01-26-22, 08:37 AM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Did you not see my edit that you quoted?

Correct - the current AL Domane do not have Rear IsoSpeed, though the previous generations did, which explains my initial comment. However, the current AL Domane does *not* have Front IsoSpeed. It has an IsoSpeed Fork, which is a carbon fork with blades flex... which is nothing special. Front IsoSpeed is a different beast, which involves a pivoting cradle in the HT, for the upper headset bearing, to allow the steerer a greater degree of flex, and is something that I have several thousand miles worth of experience with.

As fun as this aside has been (not), I feel I have to point out that OP never said where and when this test ride was, so we really don't know what year's model he "test rode".

TBH, I think Trek is deliberately being confusing with the use of the word IsoSpeed, so I appreciate you clarifying the difference between "front IsoSpeed" and "IsoSpeed fork." I think Trek was trying to camouflage a spec downgrade, and kudos for blowing that up.
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Old 01-26-22, 09:08 AM
  #96  
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I was a bit suspicious of the front Isospeed headset/headtube idea. Mostly because I like to work on things and I know nothing of the design or how it works. I have always been a "I'll take it apart and see" but on a 7K bike that seems a bit bold.

Riding it has made me a believer. I don't know what combination of factors is the most important but the ride is pretty darn good and worlds better than my 2.3. There are so many factors that affect ride quality even from an objective standpoint (metallurgy, carbon layup, tires and PSI etc, etc ) that it is difficult to say what one rider will feel from the next. Add in the subjective qualities of "road feel, comfort etc and it gets even more muddy. Thats what makes questions like this tough to answer.

What sealed the deal for me on the SLR6 over the SL6 wasn't the better carbon or wheels or such. It was the fact that it came in Viper Red with the Team sticker on the top tube and the project one graphic on the chain stay. I sometimes buy things because of the way they look because I'm stupid that way.

I have had absurdly uncomfortable Italian sportbikes based on looks alone. Yeah the performance was sublime and they sounded like angels revving their angel cycles ...... but comfort. Maybe if your a 5'2" Italian that weighs like a 140 pounds.

Other purchases based on looks alone include bowling balls, dress shoes and a beautiful Indianapolis Red BMW M-5 that almost sent me to the poor house.
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Old 01-26-22, 09:31 AM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
I was a bit suspicious of the front Isospeed headset/headtube idea. Mostly because I like to work on things and I know nothing of the design or how it works. I have always been a "I'll take it apart and see" but on a 7K bike that seems a bit bold.

Riding it has made me a believer. I don't know what combination of factors is the most important but the ride is pretty darn good and worlds better than my 2.3. There are so many factors that affect ride quality even from an objective standpoint (metallurgy, carbon layup, tires and PSI etc, etc ) that it is difficult to say what one rider will feel from the next. Add in the subjective qualities of "road feel, comfort etc and it gets even more muddy. Thats what makes questions like this tough to answer.

What sealed the deal for me on the SLR6 over the SL6 wasn't the better carbon or wheels or such. It was the fact that it came in Viper Red with the Team sticker on the top tube and the project one graphic on the chain stay. I sometimes buy things because of the way they look because I'm stupid that way.

I have had absurdly uncomfortable Italian sportbikes based on looks alone. Yeah the performance was sublime and they sounded like angels revving their angel cycles ...... but comfort. Maybe if your a 5'2" Italian that weighs like a 140 pounds.

Other purchases based on looks alone include bowling balls, dress shoes and a beautiful Indianapolis Red BMW M-5 that almost sent me to the poor house.
That's a very honest post. I think nearly everyone is sensitive to looks when choosing a bike. Looks may not be the primary reason for choosing a particular bike, but nobody ever bought a bike they thought looked pig ugly! Looks are always up there as a pass/fail criterion. Something as simple and superficial as a colour scheme can easily make or break a sale. This principle applies to bikes, cars, skis, clothing and all manner of other gear that you are personally associated with.
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Old 01-26-22, 09:49 AM
  #98  
prj71
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Carbon frames have absolutely zero advantages over steel or aluminum frames...Even if carbon bikes became dirt cheap I still wouldn't purchase one.
They don't rust and get fatigued like steel and aluminum.
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Old 01-26-22, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
That's a very honest post. I think nearly everyone is sensitive to looks when choosing a bike. Looks may not be the primary reason for choosing a particular bike, but nobody ever bought a bike they thought looked pig ugly! Looks are always up there as a pass/fail criterion. Something as simple and superficial as a colour scheme can easily make or break a sale. This principle applies to bikes, cars, skis, clothing and all manner of other gear that you are personally associated with.

I've toyed with starting a thread that asked people to discuss their frame material preferences just on esthetic grounds without arguing with the esthetic judgments of others, but I couldn't figure out an OP that wouldn't look like an invitation to a troll-fest. I got interested in the subject because you and I had a very polite conversation where I thought it was fascinating that our esthetic tastes were very nearly the opposite, that which I find beautiful and elegant, you find bodged and crude and that which you find beautiful in design due to its advancement, I find cold and inelegant. Not surprisingly, you prefer carbon and I prefer steel. I would be lying if I said that the aesthetics of a steel frame wasn't a huge factor in my preference.
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Old 01-26-22, 10:11 AM
  #100  
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
They don't rust and get fatigued like steel and aluminum.
Don't bother engaging that nonsense.

The notion that any of the frame materials commonly used don't have both advantages and disadvantages as compared to the others is just silly.
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