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got the hots for a carbon fiber ride...(28 posts)

got the hots for a carbon fiber ride...rib-eye
Aug 15, 2001 10:25 AM
I've really developed a passion for a new CF bike. I've been riding a Zurich the last couple of years. Nothing wrong with it, just want something 2-3 pounds lighter and the CF frames are a work of art to me. Kestrel, Calfee and Trek are what I've found available in my neck of the woods. I'm leaning towards the Kestrel 200 SCi or 300 EMS. But, Calfee also seems to have a decent following. Anyone have experience on any of these, or others not listed, and/or words of wisdom related to what to look for in a CF frame? At this late date, would it be worth holding off until after Interbike and the new stuff comes out to see what is new and/or get a better price on '00 model?

re: got the hots for a carbon fiber ride...Flothru
Aug 15, 2001 11:20 AM
I have been doing the same reseach lately. You owe it to your self to check out the boys at They have a realy sweet ride in their Aro Svelte. Price is good and you can get it custom painted for not much more. Just a not they used to make the early Trek carbon frames.

Good luck and ride on...
Another one to try:look271
Aug 15, 2001 12:00 PM
Look kg 281. $1265 frame and fork shipped in less than a week from the UK. This is one sweet riding, comfortable frame. Check past posts on this. You could get it built with whatever you would like and depending, would come in with a sub 17lb beauty that would be both unique and great riding. Check it out @ All of those pro teams can't be wrong! (Big Mat, Credit Agrical, Kelme, CSC Online) (They should start giving me commission on these........:-) )
The advantage of pro teams or being rich...Tig
Aug 15, 2001 12:05 PM that they can replace a frame as often as needed. I win a lotto and you'd see a KG 281 and a C40 in my quiver of bikes! Since I'm married with kids, etc., buying a new frame every 2 or 3 years is not as easy as it was 10 years ago. If you can, enjoy it!!!
Have you been burnt bad....Len J
Aug 15, 2001 12:38 PM
with CF? You seem overly emotional about this subject.

Your base assumptions seems to be that CF is not as durable & will have to be replaced every 2 to 3 years. Where does this come from? I have been (for over a year) asking people with CF thier experience re durability & have had an overwhelmingly positive response (something like 10 to 1). Add to that any kind of reasonable warranty & I fail to find any evidence to support your position.

I am not trying to be the "defender of CF", rather I am trying to seperate oponion from supportable fact.

What, exactly, is your problem w/ CF?look271
Aug 15, 2001 1:59 PM
If I based my opinions on frame durability from my personal experience, guess what I'd never buy? Steel. Good old 531. Only frame I have ever had fail on me. Chainstay. Snapped like a twig. Guess how many frame warranty claims a local LBS has had on Look frames? Zero, zilch, nada. I think, perhaps, that you should get some FACTS before you steer someone away from arguably some of the finest frames made.(C40, KG281, etc)
no problem w/ CFTig
Aug 15, 2001 2:53 PM
There's NOTHING wrong with CF, with one small exception, the lifespan. Sure, all CF frames will not age the same. This is not a secret, nor is it just an opinion. Any opinion I give on the subject is based on personal experiences of myself and many other mechanics and riders. 50,000 miles is the maximum life expectancy of a C40, per Colnago. Talk to the mechanics of several pro teams who have experienced different material frames and makers and they can provide you the facts like they did me. Let them tell you how many frames of ANY material riders go through a year and why. Get to know a few hundred racers and even more recreational riders and whan you start talking frames you will hear all kinds of positive and negative experiences with different materials. I've had failures with steel and aluminum yet I'm only 140#!

I'm not trashing CF. It is too incredible to ever do that. I fell in love with it back in my aircraft mechanic days. I'm not steering someone away from it either. A lighter rider like me could make one last longer than a 250# powerhouse. Just bringing to light a few things. Sorry for stepping on any toes since that wasn't my intention at all. Remember, like all of life, to each his own including frames, haircuts, music, and you name it. Too bad I have to go into such detail to explain my earlier post, but written text can be misleading.
So let's see...look271
Aug 15, 2001 4:13 PM
Assuming that I'll ride 5k a year (which I never have yet), it'll be good for 10 years. In 10 years, I'll WANT a new bike.:-)
Aug 16, 2001 3:23 PM
Ignore Tig, he's without a clue. There's always one insecure kid, ranting about how awful CF is compared to HIS trusty titanium this, steel that or whatever. His condemning comments about durability are usually backed up with claims of "oh I had a such-and-such and had this and that problem" and "my friend broke one of those in six days".

Fact is, a poorly designed and constructed (or randomly flawed)bike will break no matter what it's made of, and a well designed, well constructed one will last a long, long time under just about anyone. Current crop carbon fiber frames are excellent in all regards. Just test ride 'em all because there's a major difference in ride quality, moreso than with metal frames.

Maybe I sound like just another engineering and materials know-it-all, but I'm a know-it-all with high-up ties throughout the bike industry.
Opps, forgot Look, but...rib-eye
Aug 15, 2001 1:09 PM
I have to admit to being swaying by the review that "Bicycling" did in their Aug. issue on TdF bikes. I try not be be too influenced by what the rags say, but it was the lowest rated bike of the 6 they reviewed. And, the MSRP they listed, $5,600 fully built, was by far the most expensive. Nevertheless, I'll take a look at

Oops, forgot Look, but...rib-eye
Aug 15, 2001 1:09 PM
I have to admit to being swaying by the review that "Bicycling" did in their Aug. issue on TdF bikes. I try not be be too influenced by what the rags say, but it was the lowest rated bike of the 6 they reviewed. And, the MSRP they listed, $5,600 fully built, was by far the most expensive. Nevertheless, I'll take a look at

Price break-down:look271
Aug 15, 2001 2:06 PM
$1200 f/f
$750 Chorus 10spd
$500 Ksyriums
$100 t/t
$50 seatpost
$100 stem & bar & tape
$50 seat
$2800 total (approx) from total cycling
good prices, but limited sizes...rib-eye
Aug 15, 2001 6:34 PM
These are pretty decent prices, but the sizes that are indicated are very limited, and generally in the small to medium size range. None of the frames advertised, Look, Colnago, etc. will fit me...Darn.
good prices, but limited sizes...look271
Aug 15, 2001 7:39 PM
I think they've sold quite a few of them. At those prices, I can understand why!
re: carbon fiber ride... IMHOTig
Aug 15, 2001 12:01 PM
I've spent a lot of time researching for a new bike for a while now and have decided to stay away from CF for one reason: short life span. Sure, I know several people that have been on their OCLV's for over 4 years and they don't have any complaints. These people happen to be recreational only riders and don't ride hard or as much as I do. All my racing buddies have moved away from CF and went back to heavy but comfy steel, or spent the extra bucks on long life Ti frames, or like ultra light Al and are young enough to not mind it beating them up on long rides. No, I don't follow any trends or have to "fit in", but my next bike will be Ti. I don't mind the extra 1/2 pound weight over CF or Al. I've owned over 10 Al bikes, and don't think the pain is worth the lightweight advantage (take a dump the night before if you want to loose some serious weight! LOL).

Hey, I loved the OCLV I had, but I'm looking for a bike that will last me. I used to work in a bike shop that sold Kestrel, and after the problems we saw, I wouldn't spent my hard earned $ on one. I'm not just going to buy any Ti bike, but going for the best quality and ride available: Serotta! They kick butt over the other major Ti manufacturers on quality, service, and fit. My old Serotta MTB was the highest quality bike I ever had, better than even the Tommasini road bike.

Just spouting my opinions on frame materials and brands, but you know the old saying on opinions!
Aug 15, 2001 12:57 PM
Would you mind elaborating a little on the Kestrel problems you mention? How long ago was this...was it perhaps on an older iteration of the monocoque (sp?) frame?
Aug 15, 2001 2:25 PM
In all fairness, it was with several models of the older frames. The cracking around the bottom bracket shell was the most common. I haven't heard of recent problems, but I'm not in the business anymore so I guess I wouldn't. If they make an excellent product these days, I'd ba happy to hear about it.
Aug 15, 2001 2:45 PM
thanks for the details. Kestrel of course has a lifetime warranty which takes a big part of the worry out of problems such as you mentioned.
re: carbon fiber rides GREAT... IMHOnuke
Aug 15, 2001 1:32 PM
I have two carbon fiber bikes. One is a Kestrel 200SCI and the other is a Cannondale Raven 4000SX. I use both in their appropriate racing categories. USCF & NORBA. I'm a clydesdale. Problems to date with racing over the past two years: zero

But yes, everyone is different. Perhaps I've been lucky. But I like my Kestrel and the company has stood behind any repairs that I've ever heard of...typically replacing the frame entirely for minimal cost (if charged at all). I also find that the Kestrel frame is stiff and therefore efficient for me, while still being shock absorbing.

Sure, you crash bikes monthly in hard-core racing...expect to replace bike frames. I race about once a month...amateur...always love riding problems for me so far.
I shoulda' mentioned I'm a lightweight at 140# (nm)Tig
Aug 15, 2001 2:26 PM
no message
re: carbon fiber ride... IMHOcycleguy
Aug 15, 2001 7:02 PM

Ten AL bikes, a Tommasini, and an OCLV. If they all lasted only two years, half the length of your friend's OCLVs. That's 24 years. But one could assume, as you state, that both the Tommasini and the AL's should last much longer than a CF bike. Say only twice as long, 4 years. So thats about 44 years and 2 for the CF Trek. Oh, lets drop ten years just because. Thats about 36 years of bikes. Hey I can add and multiply. LOL Now about mileage, 50,000 mile life span for the CF again let's assume twice for the AL and steel. 1,100,00 miles sorry my legs just fell off and my head got dizzy. I know I did not add the effects of racing, crashing etc. Anyway, no offense meant, just wonder how long a bike you own should last?

Just like opinions just wondering?
no C-40 on the list???C-40
Aug 15, 2001 2:01 PM
If great looking paint is of interest to you, also consider the C-40. Although it's pricey, The C-40 can be had for as little as $2500 (with a carbon fork, Colnago stem and carbon seatpost) from places like or

Even if you buy from U.S. sources like Bicycle World or World Cycling Productions, you shouldn't pay more than $3300. La Bicicletta did have a few leftovers cheap ($4000 with Campy Record).

I've ridden two seasons on mine with no problems at all. I like it better all the time.
no C-40 on the list???rib-eye
Aug 15, 2001 2:49 PM
With the prices I'd found around here (Colorado) for the C-40 I had eliminated it from my list. I'll check the on-line sites you mentioned. And, actually I like the nude CF look better than any of the paint schemes, although I agree that Colnago has some of the best looking paint jobs around.

Aug 15, 2001 4:02 PM
In my opinion, the C-40 is about as perfect as a bike can get. Light, rock solid, non-buzzy, great handling, and if you want it, nice paint jobs. It won't leave you wanting something else. If you've ever driven or ridden in a 911, that's the feel of a C-40.

are kidding me...?rib-eye
Aug 15, 2001 6:39 PM
really a 911 feel? As a matter of fact I've had 3 911's over the years, the last one being a nice graphite C4. Hard to find a demo c-40 though, but you've enticed me to keep trying to locate one.
Some thoughts on the CalfeeCalfee Rider
Aug 15, 2001 2:06 PM
I tested the Kestrel, bought the Calfee Tetra Pro. Both rode great, workmanship and design of the Calfee was superior. As late as last year, Kestrel was not offering a threadless steerer on their stock forks, I think they have rectified that now. The Trek did not fit me well (I am 6-3 and a bit of a clydesdale), but I understand from people who have ridden the three bikes that it (Trek) is largely responsible for the characteristic "wooden" feel that some people attribute to CF bikes. My Calfee has a touch of spring and liveliness, is very stiff out of the saddle, but still offers the vibration-damping that is characteristic of CF. I have not ridden (and have rarely seen in these parts) the Look. There are a few C-40's around here, but I see more Calfees than C-40's in these parts, maybe because this is Craig's backyard (NorCal).

The Tetra Pro is a full custom bike (Calfee is the only CF builder to offer custom bikes, as far as I know)...but if his stock geometry fits you, look at the Calfee Luna. Exactly the same tubes and ride as the Tetra, some pre-fabbing of the lugs to save hand labor ($$$), available in oodles of sizes but not customizable, only a few ounces more, and a great value. Check out the posts at the new Calfee Owners Forum.

Also, if you really want the latest and greatest, call Calfee and find out more about when the Dragonfly is going to ship. I just learned about it on the forum, but apparently they are going to offer a frame with a carbon/boron filament tube set. Sounds very cool. But if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it...
Some thoughts on the Calfeerib-eye
Aug 15, 2001 2:52 PM
Thanks the info AND for the link to the Calfee owners forum. Should be an great source of info..
What about Aegis?DrD
Aug 15, 2001 6:31 PM
Friend of mine rides an Aegis Aro Svelte and is really happy with it. (got a really cool inside-out fade paint job, too...) The rear dropouts and fork are a bit industrial looking to me, but it seems to ride quite well.

check them out at