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Carbon Question(11 posts)

Carbon QuestionDrEvilAdam
Jul 29, 2001 5:49 PM
I am having a difficult time understanding why Trek frames seem to be inferior based on what I've read here and in other places. I'm not a particular Trek fan. Really, I'm unbiased either way. What gets me is that the OCLV 110 is 2.27 lbs. I think, whereas the Colnago C-40 is more like 2.4. (Just for reference the Pinarello Prince is 2.6) What's going on here? I'm thinking about getting a new bike and researching this is like investigating the Big Dig's finances. Perhaps I should be asking, what is it that makes the C-40 so SUPERIOR? Why should I care? Lance just won on a Trek, after all. Does the bike make that much difference in the end?

On the note of carbon, what is superior about the Mavic Cosmic Carbone as compared with the Ksyrium? The Ksyrium weighs less, so something else must be going on here. Is carbon cursed?

Ok, I said c-40. Flame away boys :)

re: Carbon QuestionStarliner
Jul 29, 2001 7:31 PM
Regarding the Trek question as to inferiority, I think a lot of what is behind such a statement is jealousy, envy and fear. Jealousy and envy to see a relatively large, impersonal bike company like Trek have success, and a fear that they will steamroll over the many little guy frame companies that are out there. Trek has already swallowed several prominent marques, giving them the appearance of playing a Monopoly game.

To many of us, putting a face on the bike we ride is as important as how well it climbs up a hill. I think one of the primary reasons many of the Italian bicycle aficionados are as committed as they are is because they have knowledge of the person or people behind that frame. Their frames have a story, a legend, a romance, a history. Trek does not - there is no Mr. Trek that I know of, and therefore the name Trek does not carry the respect many of us have for many of the Italian companies as well as a group of American companies such as Serotta. There is a Mr. Serotta, and he has a reputation of making things right for his customers, but there is no Mr. Litespeed, and wouldn't you know it - Litespeed bikes are dissed by a fair number of cyclists even though their bikes compare favorably with Serottas.

Trek is smart as a company to be putting their bike under the butt of the greatest rider in the world today. Lance is helping them create a history for themselves - now all they need is to personalize it a bit. But that's not easy to do with a bladder molded carbon fiber frame.

It's a good bike and you'd likely be happy with it.
I rode itnm
Jul 30, 2001 5:27 AM
and felt the OCLV was very slow handling compared to other bikes... not quick steering, but perhaps this is good for newbies and people who aren't very comfortable on "skinny tires". Trek has also had customer service problems (look at Fuel 90 reviews). BTW, the OCLV is not a monocoque frame as you might be thinking.
My take.Atombomber
Jul 29, 2001 7:49 PM
I have a Trek 5200, which is the 120 frame. Many of the regulars feel it to have too much of a engineered feel to it, making it feel (in their words, not mine) woody. Previously, I rode a Marinoni steel frame until that was stolen. I did thorough research and test rides and settled on the Trek. I couldn't be happier. The comfort of an older steel frame but the sprint and climbing of an Alu can not be a bad thing. I've seen the C-40, and it looks nice. Rabobank had a good Tour riding it, but Mapei didn't do anything spectacular there, though they have proven that the design works many other times. Also, it is well known that the bikes USPS ride are the same as what you and I can buy (other than some high zoot components). I don't know if the C-40 that can be bought by mortals is the same as what the pros use. The Pinarello Prince (Alu) and Opera (steel) only have Carbon seat stays. The idea is to get the benefits of buy materials. Suspend the rider with carbon at both ends, yet maintain lateral rigidity for climbing and sprinting. These frames are for light riders, or those good or wealthy enough to replace them annually.

Now, the wheels are another can of worms. The Cosmic Carbones are for TTs or flat riding. The deep dish carbon with aluminum braking surface are heavier than the more general use Xsyriums. Just comes down to material usage and design. Check out this link for some wheel info.
re: Carbon QuestionHank
Jul 29, 2001 9:13 PM
the C-40 comes in more sizes and colors and it's made in Italy. What else do you want? Lance would have won the TDF on my boat anchor Merckx (he used to ride heavy steel Merckx frames when he was on Motorola--his improvment since then has nothing to do with his bike). I would have bought an OCLV when I worked in Trek shops except for three things: it didn't fit, I hated the way it rode (and sounded) and there are lots of ways to break them that aren't covered by the warranty. I've never ridden a c-40, but I do prefer the Colnago geometry to the Trek geometry - mostly cause it fits me better. If you're planning to spend silly money and have your heart set on carbon, aren't finding the perfect fit with the Trek or Colnago, don't care about who rides what in the TDF, then I'd go with Calfee cause you can get custom geometry.
Jul 30, 2001 6:32 AM
What do you mean by "sounded"?
Aluminum and Steel don't have any sounds. You just hear the components rattling a bit if anything (I think :-)
Jul 30, 2001 7:33 AM
there is a kind of dull, muted sound those frames make. It's hard to describe. Same with the mtb frames. AL bikes tend to be creakier at the hs, bb and seat post (when things aren't perfectly installed - seemes like everyone I run into on rides now have creaky AL bikes). My steel frames/bikes are all quiet (and solid and heavy).
re: Carbon QuestionJohnG
Jul 29, 2001 10:01 PM
You should try each of these frames for yourself. I've riden em all and there ARE differences and you should be able to feel the differences too.

Anyway, I just built a LOOK KG281 and I'm VERY impressed with the ride of the bike:

IMHO, the LOOK feels similar to the C40 I rode. However, I found the Trek 5500 to be a little "dead". But that's just my opinion!! No flame intended.... it certainly didn't keep LA from the podium.

re: Carbon QuestionDuane Gran
Jul 30, 2001 5:01 AM
I don't know if there is a clear answer to your question. There are certain bikes out there which have an air of quality about them. I won't enumerate my personal list since I'm sure to leave out some worthy mentions, but most people would list Colagno. Most wouldn't list Trek, but it would get worthy mention due to having been used in tour wins.

I happen to love my Trek 5200 and I shopped around a lot before settling on it. It seems that people either love or hate carbon as a material. I'm in the love camp, probably to a fault. I use carbon for my wheels, frame and bars. I even bought carbon bottle cages, but that is more for the solid grip on the bottles than the weight.

People say it feels dead, but I don't see it that way. My recommendation is simply to do a lot of test riding. It is like dating... spend a little time with the bike (person) and you will know in your heart if you will fall in love.
re: Carbon Questionpmf
Jul 30, 2001 5:36 AM
There's nothing inferior about Trek frames. I've known people who have had problems with them, but I assume its just because by the mere fact that almost everyone and his brother has a Trek, you're bound to hear more stories about problems with them.

LA would have won the tour on a Huffy. To those guys, the bike probably doesn't matter much. And I also doubt, as some claim here, that there are special Treks and Colnagos made just for pros that we ordinary people can't get. Maybe its true in the case of a few TT bikes, but in general, I'd bet that they ride the same stock frames you can buy in a store.

I've got 2 carbon bikes. A Kestrel 200 Sci that I've had for 7 years and a Colnago C-40 I got this spring. The ride is similar. The Colnago is much lighter (much of this is due to the fork and headset) than the Kestrel. They're both plenty stiff and have a great ride over rough pavement. Some call it "dead" or "wooden", but I'd call it plush. The ride is different than the ti bike I have (LS Ultimate) which I also like. I'd guess well built bikes of a certian material share common characteristics. Bottom line -- I like the ride that carbon has. Try some of them out and don't be over concerned with weight.

The C-40 is definitely over-priced. I was on my honeymoon in Italy and got two (one for me, one for my wife) framesets. They were a bit cheaper there, but it was pure indulgence. Kind of a nice story and my wife and I like to ride them together and think about pedaling through Tuscany last fall. They're beautiful, fairly unique bikes. I think part of the allure is that they're so damn expensive. You see $3800 for a frame/fork and think "it must be something magic". They are great bikes, but you still have to pedal them.
re: Carbon Questionbikerduder
Jul 30, 2001 12:23 PM
Dr Evil:

It doesn't matter what brand you pick - you will get a flurry of responses that some love it and some hate it. If you want to know about the Trek carbon frames, ask someone who owns one, not some numb-nut who thinks the only 'decent' frame is Italian (Or French, or whatever..). Your number one consideration should be fit. There are a lot of great frames out there, whether they are carbon, steel, ti or aluminum. Trek is a good company and most of their bikes are top quality.

I have a Lemond carbon, which is the same frame as the Treck OCLV 160. I originally bought it because my steel frames tended to develop rust. I had also heard the ride was very comfortable, which it is. After owning 2 steel and 1 aluminum, I definitely like this one the best. I am in my 4th season on the bike, just topped 10,000 miles and I love it more than ever. I don't know what people are referring to when they say wooden feel. After riding a century, I would prefer wood to the twang of aluminum and the corresponding aches in every joint.

Compared to steel, I can't tell much of a difference. I recently tried my brother's new Giot and honestly, the ride felt the same.

Before you do anything else, get a fit done at a good LBS. Even with off the shelf frames, a lot of adjustments can be made to stems, seat posts, etc. to fine tune the fit. Do some test rides and then pick the one you like. Who cares about storied history? Get on the bike and make your own history.