Friday, May 31, 2013

Fast & Furious Friday - CARBON vs TITANIUM RACE BIKE

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Recently I had the opportunity to test ride 3 different bikes - the 2011 Fuji SL1 Pro LE (Ultegra), the 2011 Felt F5 (Ultegra), and the Lynskey Helix (Ultegra).  The order I rode them was the Felt, Fuji, and then the Lynskey.  I rode them home from the shop on Saturday evening, did a test ride on Sundays in the southtowns, and then with the Felt and Fuji I got to ride them again Monday night at the shop group ride.

I want to begin this "review" by stating that I am not a racer and I did not test them in that type of setting.  I am also a little heavier than most that "race" bikes at 180 pounds but I just love to ride bikes and have never, before these rides, been on a carbon or titanium frame bike.  I have 3 steel road bike frames and have no problem with that frame material at all.  I felt that to be the best salesman for Tom, and also because someone requested a review of the two frame materials, I should ride these frames so that when people asked questions I would have something to base my opinion on.

The Felt rode great and even though it was "only" equipped with 105 components I had no issues shifting or braking and felt very comfortable on it from the beginning.  I have Felt envy for some reason and sometimes I wonder if that effects my thinking but I have always felt comfortable on both my SS Cross Breed and Elite Nine Mountain Bike and if I ever purchase a TT/Tri bike I am hoping Felts work for my body type.  I can't explain my logic but it is what it is and I was very happy with the F5.  That being said if I was going to go with the Felt I would upgrade to the F3 and get Ultegra.  
Tom's Pro Bike Price of bike as ridden: $1,999.00 (SALE PRICE) (MSRP $2,099.00)

The Fuji was my first venture into Ultegra level components.  I have ridden Campagnola before but it was old school down tube shifters long before index shifting came into being.  The Fuji was also a great riding bike and besides some issues with the spoke nipples coming lose I was very pleased with this bike.  
Tom's Pro Bike Price of bike as ridden: $2,000.00 (SALE PRICE) (MSRP $2,999.00)

The Lynskey was hands down my favorite bike even though I did not get as many miles in on it as I was hoping for.  Maybe it was a better wheelset but the downhill portion of the ride I did on it with my buddy that has about 50 pounds on me I coasted right beside him and that never happens.  The bike was very responsive and shifted like a charm (Ultegra will do that for you).  MSRP (FRAME ONLY): $2,995.00

My thoughts:  When I went back to my Steel Gunnar Crosshairs the first thing I noticed was that I felt every bump in the road.  To me the Carbon absorbed so much more and the Titanium had a carbon fork on it and I believe that helped quite a bit as well.  My steel bike is heavier than the others but as I put out up above I could stand to drop a couple of pounds before I became concerned about my bike's weight!  In the end, I feel that for a heavier rider that Titanium is a great way to go and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Steel frame either.  I am not saying a heavier ride cannot ride Carbon because that is not true - I just feel that if you have the ability to pay for the Titanium frame and are a larger person then that is a solid way to go.  Carbon was so comfortable and I really enjoyed riding the two frames.  I cannot wait to test a Specialized as well just to see if I can notice a difference.  At the end of the day if you chose a bike with either one you will not be disappointed.  Just go out and ride!

Others thoughts:  This link gave me a lot of insight into the frame composition before I even test rode them.  It even covers Steel and Aluminum as well.  Some very good reading here if this subject interests you.

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1 comment:

  1. I just feel that if you have the ability to pay for the Titanium frame and are a larger person then that is a solid way to go. Carbon was so comfortable and I really enjoyed riding the two frames.ALUMINUM BIKE FRAMES