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I own one carbon bike.

Old 07-10-21, 08:58 PM
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G.Varela
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I own one carbon bike.

I never ride it. It just feels dead to me, no feed back, it doesn't talk like steel. I don't know, what do you guys think?
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Old 07-10-21, 09:38 PM
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I have two steel bikes and two carbon fiber. I like 'em all equally. And I don't find any significant differences between 'em. Maybe I'm not strong enough or skilled enough to take full advantage of the carbon bikes. And we don't have any mountains here, just lots of rollers with some short, steep hillettes, but no prolonged climbing. So the lighter weight isn't really a factor.

The carbon bike bottom brackets feel a bit stiffer and more responsive. But it doesn't translate to consistently faster speeds on my familiar routes. My fastest times on the same segments I've ridden hundreds of times are split evenly between the steel and carbon bikes. My times/speeds depend more on the engine, weather and wind.

If I had to choose one I'd keep the '89 Centurion Ironman. It just feels right, even if the differences feel minor. But I'd probably update the downtube shifters to integrated brakes/shifters for convenience. Those are handy on the carbon bikes.
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Old 07-10-21, 09:49 PM
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Of the 14 bikes I own, 1 is carbon. I like the carbon bike just fine. At 16 pounds my old legs appreciate it when hill climbing. It is supposedly one of the best carbon bikes ever made so maybe that helps.


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Old 07-10-21, 09:53 PM
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Thanks for the reply bro. I don't fail to recognize the technological advancements on the carbon bikes. Technology is the future, no doubt about it. I just really like those steel machines man. The road feedback, the little flex under acceleration, and why not, at this point it is also the exclusivity of riding such a bike at a time when everybody thinks they need an expensive new bike to enjoy the sport.
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Old 07-10-21, 10:30 PM
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I've got a single carbon bike, while I like it and enjoy the ride I find it less then ideal. It was built using parts from a previous build and I'm no longer the person who found a 53/39 175mm crank to be the right fit. I'd much prefer a 50/34 or even 48/34 with 170mm crank. OTOH, my steel bike was built fully modern with every feature I wanted and while it is 6lb heavier, its geared the way I like.
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Old 07-11-21, 12:54 AM
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Well if this isn't the most tee'd-up / set up / 'clickbait'-type statement for a bunch of steel-philes I've ever seen, ya know? What carbon bike do you have? What's the wheelset, tires, and components? What sort of riding do you like to do vs. what this bike is made for? What do you want out of a bike vs. what does the carbon bike deliver? So much context missing here.

Steel, like any metal used for bikes, has a springiness and a response inherent to itself. Carbon, while very light and very stiff (per weight), is a natural vibration damper. Using its inherent strengths, it's a fantastic material. Yes, I have used the same exact components, down to the wheels and tires, on a fully carbon frameset (~2010 Ridley Damocles Pozatto Edition with integrated seatpost) and immediately after, a 1987 Schwinn Prologue (Tange Prestige), and the Prologue would get up the same hill a little better (out of the saddle only, here) due to the inherent steel springiness. The Damocles didn't sap any energy (a good thing, and 'as good' as carbon can do in that regard, IMO) from my climbing efforts, but it didn't give me anything either.

Since I am a mortal man, some springback is greatly appreciated in out-of-saddle efforts. I very much appreciate carbon in a seatpost and handlebar application where it mutes the vibrations of the road. Shimano's Dura-Ace WH-7850 (and later C24 in WH-9000 form) wheelsets, which were a slim aluminum rim substrate overlayed with carbon (1400g for the set, no rider weight limit), are phenomenal wheels! A perfect balance of vibration damping (carbon) and lunging springiness (aluminum) in a shallower box-section rim profile.

I've had a 2008 Felt F5 carbon road bike, but that was 7-8 years ago and I am even more able to read a bike's mannerisms now vs. then. I'd like to try a 2008+ Trek Madone or equivalent Specialized carbon bike as both come in super tall sizes and are well-liked (for what that is worth). In the mean time, I'll keep with my steel bikes that already fit me, allow for large (supple and light!) tires to be employed, cost less, and take me over junky Seattle streets with ease, all while not sacrificing springiness/playfulness that I look for in a bike. And yes, I do have a carbon seatpost and handlebars on it. They work!
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Old 07-11-21, 02:41 AM
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I have a '17 Diamondback Podium. It has a high end frameset, wind tunnel designed aero high mod carbon. Same frame their World Tour team they sponsored rode. I wanted something all modern and up to date and I had never even ridden a carbon bike.

The bike weighs nothing and it rides smoother than any steel bike I ever had. You can even flex the seat stays by hand, they're like mini shock absorbers. The first time I rode it I had to pull over and make sure I didn't lose air pressure.

Being honest with myself I have to admit it's the best bike I ever owned. But there's just something about it I don't like that I can't even put my finger on. A love/hate relationship. I'll go months without riding it, then I'll take it out and think "damn this is the ultimate bike". Then it will sit for a couple of more months. I'm trying to debate if I should have a tubular wheelset built for it which would really make it perfect for me or just put it up for sale while I can still get a decent amount of money for it.
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Old 07-11-21, 05:18 AM
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I’ve ridden many steel bikes that felt dead.
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Old 07-11-21, 05:26 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I have a '17 Diamondback Podium. It has a high end frameset, wind tunnel designed aero high mod carbon. Same frame their World Tour team they sponsored rode. I wanted something all modern and up to date and I had never even ridden a carbon bike.

The bike weighs nothing and it rides smoother than any steel bike I ever had. You can even flex the seat stays by hand, they're like mini shock absorbers. The first time I rode it I had to pull over and make sure I didn't lose air pressure.

Being honest with myself I have to admit it's the best bike I ever owned. But there's just something about it I don't like that I can't even put my finger on. A love/hate relationship. I'll go months without riding it, then I'll take it out and think "damn this is the ultimate bike". Then it will sit for a couple of more months. I'm trying to debate if I should have a tubular wheelset built for it which would really make it perfect for me or just put it up for sale while I can still get a decent amount of money for it.
Yup, I feel the same way about my Diamondback Podium 5 (2014, I think). Excellent frame and fork. The previous owner upgraded from FSA to an Ultegra crankset (although the 175 cranks now feel a bit long for me, as I've lost some flexibility with age, and might swap to 170 cranks).

I enjoy riding it. I just can't figure out why it doesn't grab me the same way my '89 Ironman and '93 Trek 5900 do.

Part of it is the frame geometry and my own setup. It's just enough different from the other bikes that I'm constantly fiddling with the bike fit. Top tube is a little shorter; head tube a little longer; etc. A few days ago I raised the seat post about 1/2", and swapped saddles. So now it feels a bit more natural.

I'm thinking about converting it to a TT/tri-bike, since I have the components from an early 2000s Trek TT bike with cracked frame.
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Old 07-11-21, 06:33 AM
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Well I was out yesterday on my one carbon bike. I absolutely love it. The feel is different but there is no doubt that it needs to go fast! Quite comfortable too.


Yesterday was the 8th straight day of 40-60 miles a day without a rest day. This bike carried me for another comfortable and pretty effortless 50 miles.

The "dead" feeling bike I'm dealing with is a Klein Quantum II, it's really fast but feels like a bit of a dog under me. Still trying to sort that out.
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Old 07-11-21, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by G.Varela View Post
I don't know, what do you guys think?
My bikes never shut up.

"I don't want to go up that hill."

"Can't we just stop at a cafe instead?"

"It's too cold."

"It's too hot."

"It's too early."

Thankfully I never listen to them.
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Old 07-11-21, 07:39 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by G.Varela View Post
I never ride it. It just feels dead to me, no feed back, it doesn't talk like steel. I don't know, what do you guys think?
not all steel frames are equal and neither are carbon fibre frames either.
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Old 07-11-21, 07:51 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by G.Varela View Post
I never ride it. It just feels dead to me, no feed back, it doesn't talk like steel. I don't know, what do you guys think?
I think you need to add details.
What carbon bike do you own and not like riding ??

I like diff frame materials and styles of bikes, especially road including SS and gravel rides.
My ride choice often depends on my mood and energy level which will also lead to my route choice.
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Old 07-11-21, 07:52 AM
  #14  
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I built up a 2009 Fuji SST a few years ago, and I love it. Full carbon fork, aero mast-style seatpost, 53/39 10s, won't fit anything bigger than 23c. It's a crazy beast, but I consciously think about how much I love it every time I'm on it. Not sure if I even compare it to my other bikes, which include older and newer steel and aluminum. It's just wild, N+1 at its best! I will say there seems to be a conventional wisdom, particularly in gravel, C&V, and MTB'ing that overall weight really isn't that important, but I think it 100% is, and I say that as someone who has this Fuji, which weighs in at around 19lbs without even trying at all, but also as someone who has a few porkers in the 30+ range, and more reasonable riders in the 22-28 lb range. Obviously there's the climbing, but I think in general over the course of longer rides you really come to appreciate the lack of weight underneath you. Feels like less of a slog at the end, I guess.
Fuji SST by Eat More Plants1, on Flickr
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Old 07-11-21, 08:05 AM
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My folk theory about bike weight is in terms of ranges. More than 30#, all kinda feels the same to me (heavy but stable). Between 30 and 25#, I really can’t tell the difference between them, though they certainly are more agile than the heavy ones. Less than 25# is best, usually quite a difference in climbing. My favorite riders are all around 20-22#. I’ve had a few sub 20# bikes, including a Ti bike, and that one felt quite dead. So it’s not just the weight or the material, but geometry, wheels, other components, my fitness level, etc.
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Old 07-11-21, 08:30 AM
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I think I might be or at least like to think I might be in RiddleOfSteel's camp on this interesting subject. That said, I posted this over on the +50 forum, 65-85+ thread when we were asked why so many steel bike showed up on the "What do old people ride...?" and he asked seemingly incredulously are these everyday rides and why would you do that when carbon is so much better. I think it plays a part in this thread as well at least for me:
I religiously rotate through my collection; everyone of my bikes was hand-crafted by artisans with things like carefully brazed and tapered lugs, many thinned by craftsmen and craftswomen with files. This attention to detail and esthetics was paid to every stage of the build. I greatly value the components ease of repair and lack of planned obsolescence now present in the cycling industry. So when you say "better to ride" it is based on your set of well understood facts and personal beliefs, but for me "better" is influenced by my personal beliefs. Starting with a Trek 5500 in 1998 (still hanging up in the shop) I bought a new WIzzbang bike every few years only to let it go after a couple of years then stopped after four such bikes.

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Old 07-11-21, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
I think I might be or at least like to think I might be in RiddleOfSteel's camp on this interesting subject. That said, I posted this over on the +50 forum, 65-85+ thread when we were asked why so many steel bike showed up on the "What do old people ride...?" and he asked seemingly incredulously are these everyday rides and why would you do that when carbon is so much better. I think it plays a part in this at least for me:
I religiously rotate through my collection; everyone of my bikes was hand-crafted by artisans with things like carefully brazed and tapered lugs, many thinned by craftsmen and craftswomen with files. This attention to detail and esthetics was paid to every stage of the build. I greatly value the components ease of repair and lack of planned obsolescence now present in the cycling industry. So when you say "better to ride" it is based on your set of well understood facts and personal beliefs, but for me "better" is influenced by my personal beliefs. Starting with a Trek 5500 in 1998 (still hanging up in the shop) I bought a new WIzzbang bike every few years only to let it go after a couple of years then stopped after four such bikes.
I totally get what you're saying, I guess I'm just such a comprehensive bike dork that I geek out about GXP bottom brackets, Cane Creek integrated headsets, bladed spokes and torque specs, too. And not insignificantly, getting the SST frameset for a (relative) song and building it up piecemeal was the only way I was getting on a carbon bike, financially.
I will say I just restored (no pics yet I can't believe it!) an 85 Nishiki Tri-A, which is a kinda wild bike in its own right (internal cabling for downtube shifters!), and that Tange 1 tubing (which I initially fell in love with on my Centurion Ironman) is just delightfully lively.

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Old 07-11-21, 09:04 AM
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I have one carbon rocket, but I look at it like a piece of exercise equipment. I ride it hard and fast then put it up. But my vintage bikes are a joy to ride that puts a smile on my face every time. I take better care of the vintage steel bikes than I do the carbon bike. I think part of the joy of vintage bikes is riding such a great bike knowing you paid less for the bike than you did the tires on the carbon bike.





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Old 07-11-21, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
I think I might be or at least like to think I might be in RiddleOfSteel's camp on this interesting subject. That said, I posted this over on the +50 forum, 65-85+ thread when we were asked why so many steel bike showed up on the "What do old people ride...?" and he asked seemingly incredulously are these everyday rides and why would you do that when carbon is so much better. I think it plays a part in this thread as well at least for me:
I religiously rotate through my collection; everyone of my bikes was hand-crafted by artisans with things like carefully brazed and tapered lugs, many thinned by craftsmen and craftswomen with files. This attention to detail and esthetics was paid to every stage of the build. I greatly value the components ease of repair and lack of planned obsolescence now present in the cycling industry. So when you say "better to ride" it is based on your set of well understood facts and personal beliefs, but for me "better" is influenced by my personal beliefs. Starting with a Trek 5500 in 1998 (still hanging up in the shop) I bought a new WIzzbang bike every few years only to let it go after a couple of years then stopped after four such bikes.
I forgot to add that the early Specialized carbon bikes, the Allez/Epic bikes, with aluminum forks, felt wonderful, even if they were too small for me (62cm). Very engaging yet comfortable. I also like Lemonds' "Spine" bikes where the HT, DT, and CS were 853 steel and everything else was carbon. A logical way to employ the benefits of both materials. Alas, those are too small, too. But they look fantastic!
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Old 07-11-21, 02:55 PM
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I've never owned a CF bike but I have many bikes with CF forks, and they do not feel dead.
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Old 07-11-21, 03:34 PM
  #21  
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I wonder how much the mind has to do with expectations etc. "It's a 40 year old piece of steel and collectible and nostalgic and fun --- it's awesome." "It's an expensive, new technology, with carbon -- I expect more."
Most have decided what a Cannondale feels like before ever riding one. I reference back to a review article posted here of the numbered aluminum Schwinn bikes (434 etc) where the reviewer said it ate up vibrations better than his steel bikes. Not gonna discount what any one person truly feels when on steel, aluminum or carbon, but the mind is a powerful thing and works in many different ways
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Old 07-11-21, 09:27 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by P!N20 View Post
My brain never shuts up.

"I don't want to go up that hill."

"Can't we just stop at a cafe instead?"

"It's too cold."

"It's too hot."

"It's too early."

Thankfully, both my body and my bike gang up and don't listen to stoopid brain..
fify

In my experience, that's how it happens.
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Old 07-11-21, 09:32 PM
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Warning: Long anecdote ahead, but still relevant to the issue of how bikes "feel," which might not be a factor of steel vs aluminum vs carbon fiber, etc.

Over a few years of experimenting with tires and tubes, I've realized the "feel" we sometimes attribute to the bike is more a factor of the rubber on the wheels.

Ditto all the contact points: saddle, handlebar, bar wrap, crank length, pedals, shoes, etc.

I started out with the cheap tires and tubes the bikes came with but eventually wondered whether better tires really would feel and ride better. Yeah, they do.

For the past year I've mostly used the Ironman with Soma Supple Vitesse SL in 700x23, with butyl tubes because my latex tubes were sized for 700x25 and larger tires and wouldn't quite fit without a risk of pinching. But the ride was terrific with those Soma tires, and of course the Ironman already has a nice steel bike feel.

The carbon fiber road bikes shared a wheelset with Continental GP Classic skinwalls, which ride nearly as well as the Soma but are better suited to bad roads -- more puncture resistant, longer wearing, without sacrificing a great ride feel. Those tires are 700x25 only. For the past year I've ridden those with Silca latex tubes. Fantastic ride feel, especially on the coarse chipseal that's becoming the new-normal in my area -- they aren't doing smooth blacktop anymore. It's all the equivalent to a gravel road with epoxy gluing the gravel together.

Latex tubes are a little more delicate than butyl but not as delicate as I'd expected. Until this week my only flat was a puncture on the rim-facing part of the tube, not a puncture through the tire from road debris. My fault. I ignored Silca's recommendation to use tubeless rim tape. Instead I just used the old Velox cloth tape that was already in the rims. Apparently there was a tiny shard of metal or bit of wire embedded in the rim tape that nicked the latex tube. Fortunately I was able to patch it with a self-adhesive Lezyne patch, which has held for the past year. So despite some claims that latex tubes can't be patched, it appears they can be patched with *some* types of patches.

I switched to some plastic rim strips that are fairly stiff and inflexible -- it looks like the stuff Schwalbe and others sell as a substitute for cloth or those useless rubber band rim strips that come with most cheap wheelsets. That seemed to be fine for about a year.

But a few days ago when I inflated the tire (latex tubes need to be topped up every day), the pressure of trying to mash the floor pump's chuck onto the valve pushed the valve into the wheel and I heard a pop, followed by immediate deflation. When I took out the tube it appeared as if the latex had extruded into a gap between the rim strip and valve hole in the rim. It might be repairable, I dunno. I'll check with Vittoria, the maker of the Silca branded tubes.

Anyway, again, my fault for not following Silca's instructions. One reason they recommend tubeless tape, rather than conventional cloth rim tape or rubber band rim strips, is to minimize the gap at the base of valve stem, so there's less risk of the tube extruding into the gap, weakening and eventually bursting.

I didn't have a spare latex tube and worried the other wheel might be about to fail the same way. So I replaced both latex tubes with Bontrager or Panaracer standard weight butyl tubes, and went for a ride.

The deterioration of the ride quality was immediately apparent, especially on the rough chipseal along one of my usual routes. It was really harsh and unpleasant.

If I hadn't tried other combinations of tires and tubes, I might be tempted to conclude that "carbon fiber is harsh, steel is compliant." But it's mostly the tires and tubes, not the bike frame material. When my steel and carbon fiber bikes are similarly shod, they feel about the same.

Ditto other factors, anything involving contact points: saddles and handlebars.

Due to chronic neck pain from old injuries I'm very picky about bike fit. I measure everything, try to set up each bike almost identically, choosing stem length to suit the overall reach, etc. And I video myself on the indoor trainer, and sometimes even outdoors, riding by several times in both directions, to check the ergonomics. So I know that once each bike is set up as closely as possible to each other, any other problems are probably due to the saddle and handlebar, even the handlebar wrap.

And if I don't use identical saddles, handlebars, bar wrap, etc., on each bike, it would be easy to blame the bike or frame material for issues that have nothing to do with steel vs carbon fiber.
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Old 07-11-21, 09:36 PM
  #24  
Shp4man
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I have one modern bike, it's kind of an oddball, but I like it. Just rode it today. Very nice, Good brakes, easy shifting. It's a commuter. Smell the roses, all that sort of thing.
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Old 07-11-21, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by G.Varela View Post
I never ride it. It just feels dead to me, no feed back, it doesn't talk like steel. I don't know, what do you guys think?
You bought the wrong carbon bike.
Don't feel bad. I made the same mistake once. I've bought the wrong steel bike more than once.
Brent
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