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Old vs new Carbon fiber frames

Old 04-17-20, 09:38 AM
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Jicafold
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Old vs new Carbon fiber frames

So I happened across a pair of early carbon Treks. 2003 model 5500 and a 2004 model 5200. I know opinions on these probably vary wildly, however, what you think about these early carbon fiber Treks and their ride quality in comparison to newer carbon models? Just the frames… not the components.

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Old 04-17-20, 02:56 PM
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Apologies for the thread hijack but I would love to find one of those in a 60 or 61cm frame size. I test rode them several times when they first came out but never had the money to take one home. Now years later I figure they have gotten reasonable so I'll try again.
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Old 04-17-20, 04:04 PM
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Probably not that extreme a difference, newer bikes and even the Madone that came out in 04 I think, have frames that are built in molds that allow them to place carbon in different ways in different areas to tune the ride a little more while the 5200 and 5500 were carbon tubes bonded to carbon lugs, the lugs go inside the tubes so you can't see anything more then a very faint seam where they come together. But they'd spent years by this time fine tuning the carbon of the lugs and the tubes to create something that was what the USPS team was racing on. The bikes were light and still aren't heavy, and very responsive, and would still be a worthy bike to ride today. Newer frames will be nicer but not by a lot.
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Old 04-17-20, 04:12 PM
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run if repainted.
inspect the bike CAREFULLY. chain suck? move on.
any cracks in the finish? move on or buy at a price for the components.
Many of these Treks had aluminum steerers... really need to take apart and review especially if the stem is slammed with no spacers at the headset.
( think Paris Roubaix steerer failure )

I personally would not buy a used carbon frame. I like my face.
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Old 04-17-20, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
I personally would not buy a used carbon frame. I like my face.
I wouldn't either, and I'm not crazy about mine.
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Old 04-17-20, 05:05 PM
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I can't see the original post, but I've had a bunch, including Treks from the 2500 to the Y-Foil. I lost interest after that, but Ive had a 5200, 5500 and 5800.

Light and responsive. Better frames than their forks, IMO. Might have been the light weight, but not durable feeling. With a set of Zipps, my friend Mark has a 5500 that is a rocket.(and he owns a nice Emonda). Great performance with a seemingly finite lifespan; but I've not seen one break. The carbon version of the Caannondale SC800 or Criterium, fast with an asterisk.

The opposite of the Kestrel 200 series. Can't kill it but sometimes you want to.

Fast Forward to about 2016 or so, and there's no comparison. Totally different. Again IMO
.
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Old 04-17-20, 05:18 PM
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BB shells can come loose on those early Treks. Have encountered two of them where the glue bond failed. Other than that the only failures I have seen was from crash damage. There are a ton of them out there and should be very reasonable to pick up used. I picked up a screwed and glued 2100 Composite Trek years ago. Worked well until the head lug started to separate from the top tube. Galvonic corrosion was the cause. The mono frames do not have that particular issue.

My son races out in Seattle and all of his teammates insisted that he not buy a used carbon frame. I suppose that is proper for someone racing buying a racing frame. Makes sense, but for a casual rider buying a mid level weekend warrior carbon frame, it may well be OK to do.
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Old 04-17-20, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Many of these Treks had aluminum steerers... really need to take apart and review especially if the stem is slammed with no spacers at the headset.
( think Paris Roubaix steerer failure )

I personally would not buy a used carbon frame. I like my face.
So are are you saying the forks with aluminum steerer tubes are more dangerous? It's the carbon ones that always made me nervous, and that I've always avoided, but am I wrong about that? Or is this just a Trek thing?
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Old 04-17-20, 06:27 PM
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Early carbon Treks date back to the late '80s along with many other large manufacturers' carbon efforts. I personally would tend to categorize the early '00s as 'mid-school' era, though as far as monocoque design (which this is), this is early. The old ones were tubes plus lugs. I had an early '90s Specialized Allez carbon that was just a hair small for me, but I loved the ride. Very comfortable and felt plenty strong underneath my 210 lb frame in and out of the saddle.

I'd like to find one in the tallest size, but even they are not tall enough for what I normally ride. I'll have to check the geometry again to see if things roughly equal a 63cm.

Overall cool bikes that are part of the history of technological development. The dark grey metallic painted models look stealth.
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Old 04-18-20, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Headpost View Post
So are are you saying the forks with aluminum steerer tubes are more dangerous? It's the carbon ones that always made me nervous, and that I've always avoided, but am I wrong about that? Or is this just a Trek thing?
A Trek thing. Trek had some "explaining" to do... the report was that the slammed stem placed undue stress on the steerer right between the stem and the headset where is failed.
No mention of where the "star" nut was placed. I think that should have been mentioned, the way those fasteners work they dig into the material. On the fork that failed it had an aluminum steerer.
If I was doing it, I would use a Well-Nut. it expands a rubber plug to set.

Much of this can be checked, in the aircraft repair industry there is crack check dye, xray inspection too. There are ways to test carbon structures.
Problem is that they all cost money.
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Old 04-18-20, 12:42 PM
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Interesting, thanks. I'm sticking with my own policy of carbon forks but no carbon steerer tubes. i just don't trust them. And I'm also never buying a torque wrench.
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