Author Topic: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013  (Read 15831 times)

I don' know whether this issue has been discussed in another topic, have not found it.
I have a very comfortable folding bike (Bike Friday) but I suppose that my average speed riding it for LEL is too low and and I'll not have enough time to sleep and eat decently.
After talking to my LBS (an Ex-Pro, with Tour de France Experiences etc.) he proposed me to buy a new (of course!) road bike with a carbon frame. He mentioned that there are several models made for long distance cycling like: Specialized Roubaix, Scott CR1, Felt Z4. According to him this bikes are comfortable enough and also have the highest efficiency (avg. speed). As he said "the faster you are the more time you have for eating and sleeping.
I'm very interested to hear from people who switched from a "traditional" randonneur (steel frame) to a modern "comfortable" carbon bike.

Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2012, 03:22:44 pm »
my 2 pence - comfortable carbon is better than 'race' carbon, but nowhere near as good as steel for smoothing out the bumps in the road.

If you were looking to spend that kind of money, I'd proceed directly to a titanium bike. Every bit as good as a steel bike for comfort, but nearly as light as carbon.  I've never ridden a bike friday, but i'm probably a couple of mph quicker on my Ti bike compared to my old moulton over a 60 mile ride, for the same effort.

border-rider

Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2012, 04:01:23 pm »
People have done LEL on Bromptons. You don't need a very high road speed to be able to sleep properly; the time limits are quite generous.  It is possible to ride it almost entirely in daylight, even for me.

My experience of longer rides is also that the "speediness" of the bike matters less than the ability of the rider to perform consistently over several days.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2012, 04:08:34 pm »
i would tend to agree with your lbs guy, get a racing bike that fits you perfectly and you'll be comfy and fast. there's too much biased info about frame materials which are not relevant for your purpose. go for the high end frame if you can afford and they'll all be fine.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2012, 04:23:18 pm »
My carbon bike is much more comfortable than my winter bike, which is made of heavyweight Deda steel tubes.  I rode it round PBP and the Sussex 24 with no problems, and will use it for LEL if I do that.  There's a lot of guff talked about frame materials.  Take a look at photos from this year's Race Across America - there's plenty of carbon there. 

Basically, I agree with your LBS: get the best bike you can and you'll be comfy and fast. 

Ray 6701

  • SO @ T
    • Tamworth cycling club
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2012, 05:00:36 pm »
Agree with the above as I use a giant tcr carbon for my long Audax rides.  Besides carbon race bikes with carradice saddlebags just look cool  8)
SR 2010/11/12/13/14/15
RRTY. PBP. LeJoG 1400. LEL.




Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2012, 05:44:43 pm »
As per Mike - consider Titanium.
My VN Yukon soaks up way bumps better than my Reynolds 531 framed Dawes Galaxy (on similar handbuilt wheels) - and I'd say about 2mph quicker over an averagely hilly audax for the same level of input effort.

Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2012, 06:06:58 pm »
A lot will depend on your size/weight and clumsiness. I had a titanium frame which cracked around the bottom bracket, so I'm on steel. I can't justify carbon because the proportion of weight saved is minimal in comparison with my massive bulk. I could save the total weight of a steel Audax bike by getting down to the average weight for my height. I also know that I'd end up damaging the structure of a carbon bike by it rubbing against another bike on a carrier when I'm too knackered after a 600 to care enough.
A steel-framed bike suits me as durable sports equipment. As long as I finish within time I'm not right bothered, and as Audax was devised in the days of steel frames and single speeds, I'd be lying to myself if I sought too much help from modern kit.
So if you're a normally fastidious bloke of normal height and weight I'd go for carbon. I went for steel.

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2012, 08:41:24 pm »

After talking to my LBS (an Ex-Pro, with Tour de France Experiences etc.) he proposed me to buy a new (of course!) road bike with a carbon frame. He mentioned that there are several models made for long distance cycling like: Specialized Roubaix, Scott CR1, Felt Z4. According to him...

Your LBS bloke hasn't ridden a 1400km route under audax conditions

Mind you I used a Specialised Roubaix on PBP
If I did LEL again I'd probably use my Specialized Roubaix and I'd fit tri bars
Last LEL I used a not very fast steel framed bike
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 07:54:52 am »
Thank you for your replies. They helped me a lot. I think I'll go and try some of the carbon cycles when the snow is away. What a pity that the Hewitt Alpine Carbon is not sold here in Switzerland. Of course I could order it in the UK but what I heard is that with a carbon frame you better have a good LBS close, just in case you need the guarantee.
Hope to see you on LEL 2013.

Pete Mas

  • Don't Worry 'bout a thing...
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 06:55:10 pm »
I have used my carbon Specialised Roubaix for LEL 1400, Mille Cymru 1000, Mille Miglia 1600, PBP 1200, and many other audax rides.  I find it generally comfortable, and very efficient for climbing on hilly rides. Only experienced some hand numbness on one ride (PBP). Disadvantages:-Have to use clip-on mudguards, which can be a pain when they rub on the tyre.There's no rack so i use an Altura seat pack, (so carry less luggage)  :)
Having said that, I have just picked up a nicely discounted titanium Enigma Etape, in their sale, so watch this space...
''It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive."

R.L.Stevenson

Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2012, 05:35:50 pm »
I have both a "comfortable" Carbon Fibre and a "hard core" Titanium.

The carbon fibre is a Bianchi "C2C" - designed to be slightly below hard core - i.e. slightly more relaxed posture, has Kevlar in the forks (+ weight but mops up bumps) etc etc. I've done loads of long and big rides on this, including Raid Pyrenean etc. Very comfortable, feels like you can ride it for days on end without undue discomfort.

This year I treated myself to a full spec Enigma Excel Titanium (plus dura ace etc etc), really initially for those dry summer days where you want to go out for a blast. I didn't really think I'd end up using it for "touring" etc. However, I loved it so much that I used it all summer and then took it to the Pyrenees to do my cent col challenge - 10 days of 200km and 4,500m climb per day, it was a real joy to ride over all surfaces, so glad I took it.

So +1 vote for comfy carbon but +3 votes for titanium.

Oddly enough on an audax sometime last summer 6 of us flew off the front of the ride, we looked around and 5 out of the 6 had titanium...

Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2012, 07:32:19 pm »
Hmmmm, I have never seen a titanium bike here in Switzerland. Don't know why. Maybe that we do not have enough audax event. We have only one Audax (http://www.radmarathon.ch) event except in the years with PBP. There are two RAAM qualification races, but that's a complete other story. We'll try to find a titanium bike to make a test ride.

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2012, 09:13:18 am »
Oddly enough on an audax sometime last summer 6 of us flew off the front of the ride, we looked around and 5 out of the 6 had titanium...

Yes the "special" UK audax bike these days is a Titanium one.

I have to agree with AndyC about the reliability question though.  Since I broke my Ti bike I've heard of lots of cases of breakage.

Part of the mystic of a Ti bike for me was that it was strong.  And it is true, Ti as a material is very strong.  But it seems that the process of putting the tubes together is extremely difficult to get right.  In the case of steel there is years of experience that makes this work.  With carbon it is possible to make a frame with essentially no tubes to bond and no potential weak points.   With Ti it must be welded within a atmosphere of inert gas.  Any Oxygen that comes into contact with the hot tubing can cause big problems.  When you consider how complex it must be to weld the seat stay/top tube/down tube junction it's not surprising that problems occur

Ti is a fantastic material though.  As well as being strong the way that it absorbs road noise is great.  If I got another Ti bike then it would have to be a Burls (made in Russia) or one of the US Brands.  Too many of the failure stories seem to feature cheap Chinese Ti.  I guess that bikes are made by less experienced welders in China during downtime from making the "real" stuff for aeroplanes etc
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2012, 09:26:45 am »
I have an American Ti bike - a Ritchey. It's the stiffest bike I own and I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking for comfort! I also have an aluminium Cannondale R1000 (CAAD8) which is deliciously comfortable over any distance I've tried (up to 200k). On the other hand, my Kinesis Racelight T is somewhere between the two - as is my wife's Look 555 carbon steed. I don't have a steel bike to refer to, but I think the point is that comfort is as much in the frame design as it is in the materials used.

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2012, 11:41:49 am »
comfort is as much in the frame design as it is in the materials used.
amen
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

Charlie Boy

  • Dreams in kilometers
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2012, 09:41:47 pm »
I was off with the first vedette group in PBP...

AC


I might have been in the minority in the Vedettes...

AC

I might have looked out of place in the first Vedette group but for most of the time my bike is fine...

AC

Which start were you on Andy?  ;D
Mojo is being awakened.

Hummers

  • It is all about the taste.
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2012, 11:37:44 pm »
I was off with the first vedette group in PBP and my Longstaff Compact Audax was the only steel bike in the bunch. Most were on similar bikes to the ones your LBS suggests.

Most, quite possibly - but not all.

The Hummercian is Reynolds 631.

H

mmmmartin

  • BPB 1/1: PBP 0/1
    • FNRttC
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2012, 10:32:30 am »
I also wonder if the sort of people who own carbon bikes are likely to be the sort of people who take all this very seriously, do a lot of structured training with stuff such as turbo sessions in winter, fast and short rides on summer mornings interspersed with long slow rides, etc. So they may well be faster than the average rider.

So merely buying a different bike, albeit a bit lighter, isn't really what makes the difference.

Y'know, it's not about the bike...........

To put this conversation into context, in the world of mountaineering there are people who find it hard to believe Everest was climbed by people who didn't wear Goretex. To my mind, a conversation about carbon bikes is in the same category.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Bianchi Boy

  • Cycling is my doctor
  • Is it possible for a ride to be too long?
    • Reading Cycling Club
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2012, 02:59:59 pm »
All things been equal a race bike is more efficient and I certainly do go faster on mine. But bike fit is king here. Get that sorted and the material is secondary. I have finished many a long ride on my alu Kinesis and I think I have the fit just about right. No pains or aches just one day after PBP. As for speed, just think happiness - do you feel content at the end of the ride. If yes then you have selected the correct bike.

BB
Set a fire for a man and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2012, 03:40:58 pm »
IMO mudguards will be an essential accessory for LEL. Unless you want to also race and TT on it why buy a bike that is just not designed to take guards when there are fantastically comfy bikes out there that are ? My titanium Sabbath has a lovely finish, is fast and comfortable, and takes 25mm tyres with full guards. None of that brushes rubbing on the rim nonsense that guards for bikes that can't take them suffer from.  What more could I want?   ;D

On the other hand if you plan to ride LEL so fast that you won't care about the ice cold water spraying up your back and that others don't want to ride with you unless similarly afflicted, then a plastic bike might suit you fine!

clifftaylor

  • Max - "make mine a Beophar Hairball Paste please"
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2012, 04:03:58 pm »
To put this conversation into context, in the world of mountaineering there are people who find it hard to believe Everest was climbed by people who didn't wear Goretex.

True, but I would add that if you could have shown Mallory or whoever modern state of the art climbing gear, he'd would have sold  his children to be able to use it!!!

mmmmartin

  • BPB 1/1: PBP 0/1
    • FNRttC
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2012, 10:13:18 pm »
I think not. At the altitude and temperatures he was climbing at in the Himalayas, rain is not a problem so a windproof breathable outer is needed, not a waterproof. He might have wanted clip-on crampons but good strap-ons are as good and the boots for strap-ons would be more comfortable. Woolly jumpers are not less warm than fleece, and he would have had silk undies and wool shirts. Modern ropes are more forgiving, ie stretchy, than sisal but that sort of clmbing, which is mostly like walking uphill rather than pure rock climbing, uses a rope to keep climbers together rather than to take the shock of a leader fall. So I am unconvinced that modern kit is really much better than the stuff previous generations had, and that applies in climbing as much as cycling. The marketing nowadays is much more sophisticated, that's all. And we are richer so we can afford to buy the stuff. Carbon bikes included. A decent steel frame that fits you well weighs more than a carbon bike that fits you well. But if I wanted to make things lighter, I'd start by getting weight off the rider.  ;)
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2012, 05:00:50 pm »
I'm pretty sure weight is as important climbing Everest (or attempting* to) as riding a bike.

Is the modern climbing gear much lighter? Obviously the marketing says it is!


*Any Mallory fans in the room?!?
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

LEE

Re: New "Comfortable" carbon frame bike or steel folding bike for LEL 2013
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2012, 05:03:33 pm »
I'm pretty sure weight is as important climbing Everest (or attempting* to) as riding a bike.

Is the modern climbing gear much lighter? Obviously the marketing says it is!


Titanium Sporks have taken the challenge out of climbing Everest.