Carbon SS for Commuting?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Carbon SS for Commuting?

    I live in Sacramento and commute about 16 generally flat miles each way to and from work. I also do other road rides in the area up to about 60 miles. I really enjoy using the single speed but was wondering if it's worth looking at getting a carbon frame/fork that maybe has better geometry than my Raleigh Back Alley. Keep in mind I don't want to get a geared bike. From what I read the track frames are not a geometry you would want to do long distances on. Any thoughts are welcome.

    Carbon SS for Commuting?-charlie.jpg
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  2. #2
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbg33k View Post
    I live in Sacramento and commute about 16 generally flat miles each way to and from work. I also do other road rides in the area up to about 60 miles. I really enjoy using the single speed but was wondering if it's worth looking at getting a carbon frame/fork that maybe has better geometry than my Raleigh Back Alley. Keep in mind I don't want to get a geared bike. From what I read the track frames are not a geometry you would want to do long distances on. Any thoughts are welcome.

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    That is not correct information at all. I have done several 50, 60, 70 and 75+ mile rides on my track geometry fixed gear Felt TK2, and before that a Felt TK3. Sold the TK3 to a friend who proceeded to do a century with us on it. He had no issues keeping up, in fact, he was leading the group at a nice 18-19mph pace for several miles.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  3. #3
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    I don't have any problems keeping a 19mph pace either, I guess the question should be more along the lines of do you think I would gain anything by spending money on a carbon bike? I would assume if the wheels were carbon they would be lighter and take less rotational force to spin. Is there really much to gain by getting a carbon setup?
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  4. #4
    since 4/10/2009
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    For commuting purposes? No.

    If you went carbon frame, carbon fork, and carbon hoops, you're talking about a major outlay of cash, for one. Sure, it'd be lighter and you'd probably be faster on it. Maybe it'd be more comfortable. Maybe not. Depends on the bike and it depends on what you find to be more comfortable.

    Major issue with getting that spendy and fancy on a commuter is the increased theft risk associated with that. Even if you get something that's not a terribly flashy color with plain or no graphics, carbon has a very distinctive shape to it that sticks out like a sore thumb among steel and aluminum beaters.

  5. #5
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    Carbon's not too much more expensive than other frames these days and it won't rust or corrode like steel and aluminum. That's why I upgraded to carbon from steel on my fat bike.

    I'm not an expert on bike thieves, but I've heard that some ignore more expensive bikes and go for volume of cheaper bikes to avoid a felony if they're caught. This obviously doesn't apply everywhere or even garage break ins.
    You change your own flats? Support your LBS and pay them to instead.

  6. #6
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    I'm not worried about theft. When I commute to work I can put my bike in my office. Otherwise on the longer group rides I'm with the bike. So other than it just being lightweight is there anything else I should be taking into consideration?
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  7. #7
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    Carbon is pretty general. If you get entry-level carbon, around 10k monocoque, then no, not worth it. I'd rather have something else, for comfort and performance. If you get higher end, you can see a difference, but it costs more. Of course, most brands don't even tell you the thread count of the carbon cloth involved, they just rate it against their own bikes, and prices. So, it depends. Which frameset? What design? Shrug. Not all carbon is the same. Not all steel is the same. Ditto for aluminum.
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  8. #8
    since 4/10/2009
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    that's nice that you've got the theft risk question dealt with. that at least addresses, generally speaking, the "expensive bike as commuter" question.

    when I think commuter, I think workhorse type bike. Something that can carry somewhat of a load. Something that can hold up to daily pounding in potentially less-than-ideal conditions. something that will be ridden anything from butter-smooth pavement to cobbles to dirt to whatever.

    that's not what most carbon bikes are. I have no doubt that some manufacturer could make a carbon bike that does all of those things. But I'm not aware of any. Sure, with the growing cross and gravel bike markets, we're seeing plenty of rugged, versatile carbon frames. But find one that's got the ability to take a rack, too. *poof* there go the carbon options.

    IMO, steel is the right material for workhorse bikes. Ti if you want to get chi chi.

    Carbon is better when you're looking for performance. Stiffness, ride quality, weight.

    Now, the way you phrased this makes a difference, too. Are you looking for a carbon bike for commuting primarily that you'll also use on group rides? Or are you really looking for a carbon bike for group rides that you'll occasionally use commuting? There's definitely a difference.

    The other part of the equation is what you find comfortable. I see your bike in the pic is set up in a pretty relaxed position. Pretty common relaxed road position. A track frame is going to make it a bit tougher to get that position. Have you ridden bikes in a more racy setup at all? Are you comfortable on track frames more specifically? If you have no idea, then you'd better find out before you drop the cash.

  9. #9
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    I think you answered the question there. As I would recommend to anyone buying a mountain bike. Go ride them. It seems to me that I should just keep riding my above single speed until the wheels fall off and spend my money on my mountain bike. Ultimately what started this for me was wondering if a different geometry would be more comfortable or have some sort of advantage over what I'm riding now. From what I'm seeing it doesn't seem like that's very clear.

    At the end of the day I'll probably be forced into buying a regular road bike. Grrr! The lady likes road more than mtb. I've been successful at only riding stuff that I can muscle through on the SS with her for the last 6 years but she's not content without the big climbs...some of which I can't get my self in a gear that I can manage the climbs but not be spinning out trying to keep up on the flats.
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  10. #10
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    What kind of geometry are you looking at? Your questions are kind of all over the place to be honest. Did you have a frame in mind already?
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  11. #11
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    No I didn't have any frame in mind. I'm sorry if my questions are scattered. Overall I was just trying to make sense of whether or not it was worth putting money into a better SS than I have right now and what the perks would be if any. Between this post and other articles I was reading I get the feeling for what I want to use the bike for I'm probably just fine the way I am. Seems like I could drop some weight from the bike using carbon frame/fork/and wheels. But overall that cost vs the gain I would get seems nominal for the let's say performance gain I would receive. I came to the conclusion I would be better off spending that money on a geared road bike that would allow me to do some different rides I can't right now. From my perspective and how little road riding means to me I've decided that I'd rather just spend that money on mountain biking.
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