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look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?(39 posts)

look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?jefe
May 27, 2002 7:11 AM
i ride 150 miles/week. a couple of centuries a year.
5'11" 180. i have test rode many bikes a am close to buying the look, but can not pull the trigger due to the short warranty. i can't find a calfee to test.
any help would be greatly appreciated.


re: look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?BikeViking at home
May 27, 2002 7:18 AM
My experience is with the 5200, so I may be biased. You sound like where I am at with my riding. I have been nothing but happy with my 5200. I have never ridden the Look or the Calfee, but the 5200 is a great bike and you wou't go wrong, if you decide to buy it.

Don't know about this "wooden" thing, but if it's saving my a$$ on rougher pavement, I like it! I am sure the wheels/fork are helping as well

BTW, I am 6'3"/200 lb, so I ain't no feather merchant! :o)
re: look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?Jon Billheimer
May 27, 2002 7:46 AM
I ride an OCLV, but have done some research on Calfee and talked to one guy who's riding a Luna. The differences with the bikes you're considering are marginal, at best, so aesthetics and price might come into the equation here. Calfee owners who have also ridden OCLVs claim that the Calfee ride is a little more lively. Stiffness in the bottom bracket is probably comparable. Trek tends to marginally underestimate their frame weights, but you're only talking about 2 to 4 ozs., which really is immaterial. Craig Calfee claims his build quality is superior to Trek's. Read his website and decide for yourself. The anti-Trek crowd has always made much of frame failure rates, but I've got about 30,000 mi. on mine with no problems. I've never ever heard anything negative about the Look. Just my 2 cents' worth.
re: look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?ishmael
May 27, 2002 8:00 AM
looks are glued together with aluminum joints which have Ive heard have come unglued and arent stiff to begin with. Ive seen a stiffness test in which a couple areas of different bikes were tested and the treks came out on top(you can find the test yourself if you do a search). And if your frame breaks 10 years from now and you have to get a new 5200 I'll bet it's damn nice
Bad information...........Dave Hickey
May 27, 2002 10:29 AM
Ishmael, unless you have first hand knowledge, don't post comments about frames. LOOK frames DO NOT come unglued. The very early carbon/aluminum lugged frames had problems with the joints coming unglued. These frames were made in the mid to late 80's by Vitus,TVT, and LOOK. That was 15 years ago. LOOK has refined their process and their frames are very stiff and strong. I have three LOOK frames are they are a great riding frame. I cannot comment on the Calfee or the OCLV.
Dave, you seem to know your stuffcollinsc
May 27, 2002 5:17 PM
So I am wondering if you could help me figure out the 381i and the 361. Im not a big guy, 150lbs like to climb a lot and as fast as I can, how do the two frames compare in that regard? I am also concerned with the fork selection as well as the steerer tube diameter. I have heard that the 1" Look forks can be noodly, is this even something I should worry about?

In a nutshell, I guess, lightweight guy, looking for reasonably light bike for fast climbing (lateral stiffness a big concern). I am sure that the carbon Looks fully qualify as long-haul comfortable bikes as well so that's not much of a concern.

What is the difference between the HSC 4 and the LDS pro 3 besides weight (which, again, is a concern)

I hope thats not too many questions and thanks for any advice you can give,
Dave, you seem to know your stuffDave Hickey
May 27, 2002 5:37 PM
I've never ridden the 381i but I'm very interested in getting one. I know JohnG on this board built one for his brother. He could comment better than I. Here are the differences that I know of. The 381i has an 1 1/8 carbon steerer tube with HSC4 fork. The fork blades have a triangular cross section to make it a lot stiffer than previous models. The LDS pro 3 has an 1" alloy steerer and it weights 155gr more the the HSC4. All my LOOK frames have the LDS 3 fork. I weight 150lbs and it's plenty stiff.
As for the frames, the KG361 has round tubes made from HR carbon. The 381i has variable shaped tubes made from HM carbon. It also has an integrated headset and adjustable rear dropouts. With the above forks, the 381i is only 50gr lighter than the 361.
Good luck and let me know what you decide.
Dave, you seem to know your stuffJohnG
May 27, 2002 9:26 PM
Sorry, but I don't have any experience with the LDS series forks.

I built a 261 (with an HSC-3) for my niece and a 381i for my brother. I'd guess that at your weight you probably won't feel much difference between the two. The 381i might even be a bit overbuilt for you. ??? It's a pretty studly frame actually. It would probably come down to a minor "feel" thing that wouldn't be noticeable unless you could ride both back-to-back.

Sorry for not being more specific but this stuff is all very subjective.

Dave, you seem to know your stuffIan
May 28, 2002 5:41 AM
Dave has it right on.

1" traditional headset vs. 1 1/8" integrated headset.

Round HR tubes vs. shaped HM tubes. HM is a lighter and stiffer form of carbon.

LDS 3 vs. HSC 4

Normal dropouts vs. adjustable dropouts.

I owned and KG281, and now have a KG361 and KG381i. The 281 had a 1" carbon steerer. It would flex slightly under hard braking. The 361 has steel steerer, so that went away. The 381i is 1 1/8" carbon, so it is also stiff.

The ride between all three, other than above, is very, very close. But, I am just a club rider, not a racer. So although I do enjoy going fast and we have our little sprint lines on our routes, I never really push it the way a crit rider would.

At 150 lbs, the 361 would be plently stiff for you. I weigh 60 lbs more than you. But the 381i has the looks. The carbon weave looks just a little different and the shaped tubes and different stickers. It gets quite a few more looks than my 361 does.

Good luck choosing.

oh but given the choice....!(nm)merckx56
May 27, 2002 1:24 PM
chosing between a rip off and a great dealishmael
May 27, 2002 7:54 AM
I'm pretty sure calfree has a good warranty and I know trek has a good one, the looks on the other hand dont. I've seen the new look bikes in a catalog and I can't understand why anyone buys them. It must be the paint people are after because they are heavy, expensive, and have a bad warranty. Don't give in to the hype, looks dont add up to as nice a bike as either of the other two. Ive had the 5200 (it was too long for me) and I'd recommend it, especially with the new paint. Deals on them can be found look around
Ishmael, What planet are you from?.........................Dave Hickey
May 27, 2002 10:35 AM
You obviously no nothing about LOOK frames but you continue to bash them. They are not heavy. If your refering the weights listed in Excels catalog, they are for frame and fork. Actually all three bikes are close in weight.
There are many LOOK owners on RBR. Please let them post their comments on LOOK frames. ALL three frames are great and it really boils down to a personal choice.
LOOK Failureswillem72
May 27, 2002 3:56 PM
I think the LOOKs are great frames and I would spend $$ to buy one myself (especially as Treks, Colnagos and Kestrels are overpriced here in Australia - and we don't have Calfee). But....

1) Stuart O'Grady in opening prologue of Paris Nice in '99 (or was it '00? - another of his team-mates had the same issue in the same prologue, but I can't remember who it was)
2) Jay Sweet in World Champs RR at Plouay (in '00?)

both had catastrophic frame failures which led to crashes - Jay had to bail from the race, while Stuey lost any chance of wearing the white leader's jersey (as it was then).

These are just 2 incidences off the top of my head. They would be carbon-lugged frames and under pro-race conditions, but they show that a bad batch of frames or glue can still get through.

Back a step--Wingz
May 27, 2002 5:06 PM
Thank you to all those who have responded and given input. I am also looking for a new bike. 100-125 miles weekly, 160lbs, had my previous bike for 15 years so "anything" I get will be a big improvement.

Am looking at carbon vs Ti, ie the 5200 vs an Airborne Zeppelin. With all things being equal, including price, what are the benefits or downside of one over the other?

Or, in general, Carbon or Ti?
You are comparing products of a different levelelviento
May 28, 2002 6:42 AM
It's not a matter of Ti v. Carbon. Just like you can't say DeRosa UD vs. Huffy is a comparison of aluminum vs. steel.

The Zeppelin frame costs about half of an OCLV frameset so I can't imagine the prices being equal. But whatever the price, I'd pick the 5200 over the Zeppelin any time.
You are comparing products of a different levelWingz
May 28, 2002 7:06 AM

Was looking at this from a durability or fatigue standpoint.
I've heard different claims on carbon frames. I don't plan on waiting another 15 years before upgrading again.

How long can one expect to stay with a well maintained frame before replacing?
Both should hold up just fine.elviento
May 28, 2002 7:35 AM
This is only a guess because no one has ridden current model Trek OCLVs or Zeppelins for many years. Earlier OCLVs had some BB crack problems, but they have refined their technology over the past decade. Also Trek has great warranty (see my other post in this thread).

Ti is durable and Airborne has decent weld quality so should be fairly durable.
Both should hold up just fine.Wingz
May 28, 2002 12:36 PM
Thanks for the input.....

I guess getting myself on both and testing will be the best way to determine which is the one to choose.
ok forget the weight thingishmael
May 27, 2002 5:07 PM
They still are overpriced and have a bad warranty. I think they are riding on their cool paint job
May 27, 2002 5:11 PM
The KG361 frame retails for $1,099. The Trek 5200 / 5550 frame for $1,399.

I don't understand where you get overpriced from?

it weighs a lot more and has a weak warranty nmishmael
May 27, 2002 7:18 PM
Give it up!Ian
May 28, 2002 5:27 AM
It doesn't weigh that much more, I think frame vs. frame the difference is about 200 grams. If that was a set of wheels, OK, big deal. But a frame, it doesn't really matter unless you are going for that sub-15 pound bike. My built KG361 tipped the scales at a hair over 17 lbs. Do you consider that heavy?

I will grant you the warranty. But all the European frames I can think of only have a 2 or 3 year warranty.

If you post again, how about some details and facts to back up your statements, not just a vague conclusion you have drawn somehow.

Give it up!JohnG
May 28, 2002 5:57 AM
NEVER argue with a jack ass! They don't listen very well and they're as stupid as a rock.

Give it up!Dave Hickey
May 28, 2002 6:08 AM
John, I'm beginning to think Ishmael is not a real person. He only posts on weekends and always stirs up the board. Maybe he's Radical Rons brother.
I never argue on paperishmael
May 28, 2002 8:44 AM
Im debating politely but you on the other hand are making a scene.
i only have vague conclusions and no factsishmael
May 28, 2002 8:42 AM
all i know is the excel catalog prices were a lot for what seemed not so great. Maybe it was the fact that it was a frameset that was being sold and weighed not just the frame. They arent as bad a deal as i thought. Unless ofcourse you are and the others are totally wrong and Im right, in which case "I told you so".
Great Trek Warranty?thatsmybush
May 27, 2002 1:47 PM
Here is my story, bought a 5500 frameset and had it built to my specs. Two weeks later the chain falls off and since Trek failed to install a .02 cent piece of aluminum to proctect the rear triangle the chain slices into the carbon in a single pedal stroke. No problem Treks fault right manufacturer defect if they fail to install pieces to complete a frame right. That is not what Trek said. This battle went on for months. Until they finally sent a new frame (their reasoning was because the frame had other problems that I did not see, would not take blame on this chainstay guard.) So when I get my frame guess what. It is a different color than the fork. To get them to match well Trek says it will cost me 150.00 plus shipping the frame. Wonderful warranty. Another battle ensues I finally get it sorted out get a frame and fork and sell the damn thing immediately. And just so you don't think I am only blaming Trek, I promised the bike shop I purchased the frameset from that if they did not have balls enough to back the products that they sold I would never step back in their shop and havn't since. So watch about warranties being the reason you get a bike. If the bike is made right you won't need one.
May 27, 2002 5:26 PM
if I was buying an AL or carbon frame (not likely for a road bike--though I'm sure my next mtb will be AL FS) I'd look for a no fault warranty/crash replacement option like Calfee or Santa Cruz offers. Trek has a decent warranty but there are too many real world situations that will severly damage a carbon or AL frame. The Calfee Luna seems like a good bet. And yes, be sure to buy from a shop that will go to bat for you if there is an issue.
Great Trek Warranty?RideOn
May 27, 2002 5:43 PM
I rode a KG281 for 1 season and it developed a crack
in the paint at the junction of the seat tube and the bottom bracket. The frame was sent back to Veltec Sports via my LBS, and a week later, Veltec agreed to replace the frame/fork with a KG381, no questions asked.

BTW, fit means more than anything at this price point.
Veltec are good folks...........JohnG
May 28, 2002 6:46 AM
Just wish we could buy LOOK frames on the domestic US front at prices closer to the international standard.

Chain falls off? Do you mean it went off the smallPaul
May 28, 2002 5:09 AM
chain ring, and got caught on the chain stay somehow? Did the shop tell you to bring it back for adjustments after a period of riding/time? seems like the stop wasn't set right (if I'm correct in thinking). The bike shop and Trek should have worked this out, and you shouldn't have had to go through the hassle of getting a new frame. Pretty bad mailing you a new frame that doesn't match the fork.

Overall, a good example of warranties, and a bad LBS.
It's not Trek's fault.elviento
May 28, 2002 7:17 AM
Sorry, man, it's not Trek's fault. You bought a "frameset", and the problem was caused by a small piece that was not "install(ed)". Obviously whoever built up the bike is the culprit. Thumbs up for Trek to still give you a new frame!

Here is my experience with Trek warranty. I wanted a new paintjob for my 2000 Trek USPS bike so I brought it to Metrobikes on 96th Street in NYC. I was going to pay for the paintjob and on the side wanted Trek to make sure a small hairline crack near the seatpost clamp was not a problem (I thought it might be just a crack in the paint). Guess what, Trek repaired the cracked lug (yes carbon can be repaired), repainted it the 2001 USPS colors, and charged $0. Metrobikes was also great in the whole process(thanks, Jeremy!).
re: look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?JohnG
May 27, 2002 10:02 AM
**** Not much different between these three frames in terms of ride "quality".

The LOOK has a more relaxed seat tube angle than the other two but even that isn't a big deal. LOOKS are stiff and lively. Don't believe any bullshit about them not being a good frame.

The Trek will probably feel a tiny-tiny be smoother than the LOOK and Calfee but again, it's such a minor difference that it's barely worth the comment.

Assuming you won't be able to do a test ride I'd pick the bike/frame based on local availability and perceived support. IMHO, the Calfee probably has the best "support" of the three that you mentioned.

re: look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?legs
May 27, 2002 11:06 AM
pick up the phone and call stella at calfee.. they are small company and she will be all to happy to answer your questions and tell you about her dragonfly...

800 965 2571
re: look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?Ian
May 27, 2002 12:17 PM
All three bikes are great bikes, like others have said, tough to go wrong with any of them.

I have owned and ridden a 5200 and a KG361. The 5200 has a slightly "dead" ride compared to the Look. That is, you don't get quite as much feedback from the road and don't feel quite as connected to it. It never bothered me, the only people I have heard complain about it are racers, but wanted to mention it.

Obviously, a lifetime warranty vs. a 3 year warranty, Trek wins. But, as Dave H. said, there are many Look owners on this board and I have not heard anything bad from them.

The Look frame retails for $1,099, the Trek is $1,399, so the Look should save you a little money.

There are a ton of 5200's out there, you don't see many 361's.

As far as the comment about un-bonding, that could have been a problem 15 years ago, not today. Every single carbon fiber fork on the market has aluminum bonded to it, whether it is just the dropouts or the dropouts and steerer tube.

With Calfee, they use the same HR (high resistance) carbon that Look does. Both companies make their tubes by hand. One advantage Calfee has is their paint selection. Some of the most beautiful colors I have seen on bikes have been on Calfees.

Happy shopping and let us know what you decide.

should have also mentionedJohnG
May 27, 2002 1:52 PM
Calfee wins when it comes to ease of repair!!!

As an aside, my KG 281 was recently F'd in an "accident" and I'm stuck with a home brew repair or a VERY-VERY costly offshore fix. Something to think about.

Also, my only test ride on a 5200 left me a little "wanting". The frame felt VERY dead and I didn't care for it. I suspect that I could have gotten used to the feel of the frame though.

Remember almost EVERY modern frame will behave the same under power. I.e. the frame will NOT make you go ANY faster or slower. Don't let anyone tell you "oh, I picked up x mph when I switched to y bike/frame". Total BS!!!

Early Calfee and Trek problemsPaul
May 28, 2002 4:08 AM
Calfee had problems with the water bottle bosses when they first came out (metal within the carbon). Trek had BB problems which they beefed up.
I bet you can find problems with a lot of early models. I have a kg 386, and so far so good. Spoke with Dave H. and others on this board, and have spoke to riders who have Look's. Got good reponses from all. Yes, I wish Look had a better warranty, and i would try a Calfee if I ever bought another carbon bike. Know a lot of people with Treks 5500, and 5900. They love them. Carbon bikes ride great!
re: look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?ohmk1
May 28, 2002 4:38 AM
Why buy something French, when you have so many viable American frames to choose from?
re: look kg361, trek 5200, or calfee luna pro (the splurge)?raboboy
May 28, 2002 5:59 AM
I've not ridden any of them, but I think the LOOK in CSC-Tiscali Black is the sweetest looking bike i've seen. I am saving my pennies for one. Call me superficial, whatever, but those three are all in the same class and all have superb reviews so you can't go wrong. Go with the one that tickles your heart. (i'll just be jealous if you go with the black LOOK). :)