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  1. #1
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    Another CAAD12 thread...sorry.

    I am shopping for a new bike to replace my 20yr+ old steeler. Fast-paced group-rides of 60-120km and the occasional race. Was looking at other bikes but now the C'dale came to my attention.

    I guess I get it: In the same price bracket you'll find a number of 2nd tier carbon frames with basic parts spec (Cervelo r2/105, Trek Emonda SL5...), if you do some smart shopping.
    But instead of getting a trickle-down version of the more desirable top-shelf carbon bikes (R3, SLR...), you can get THE top-shelf aluminum racer by the company which traditionally owns that segment.

    Another benefit (and the main thing steering me towards Cannondale although I think they're butt-ugly...) seems to be durability under non-intended stress: In every race I've taken part in, I witnessed at least one group crash often including the sound of crunching carbon. I'd be mightily bummed to say the least...

    So heres my question: Will the Aluminum frame withstand the forces of a crash better? Or is the material as thin and feeble in regards to such (side-)impact as any other carbon frame? After all, it's also a lightweight racer.

    And the other one: Which carbon frame/bike still pops out as a very good deal rivalling the CAAD (light, stiff, responsive...) for you? I know, this one's is a very personal one and the benefits of one bike over the other are probably hardly noticeable once you ride them and all this...but still...just fishing for inspiration here.

    THX!
    Last edited by schotter; 4 Weeks Ago at 11:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Aluminum will bend in a crash. Carbon will crack in a crash. Carbon is stronger, lighter, absorbs road bumps and vibration better, and absent a crash, will outlast aluminum which is subject to fatigue. I own an Emonda sl5 with an upgraded ultegra 11-34 cassette. It goes like a scalded cat and will outclimb any alu frame bike. That said, if flexing doesnít bother you and you want a crashproof bike, get a titanium Seven. Call your bank first.

  3. #3
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    I'll offer a couple of things. First, Cannondale really doesn't own this segment anymore. The Specialized Allez Sprint is one of the best aluminum bikes (especially if you are a racer) that I have come across. The new Emonda ALR is getting rave reviews as well. Both come with all of the same benefits you outlined above. The second things is that "lower level" carbon frames and components are pretty darn good today performance wise. You can't go wrong with a new Specialized Tarmac Sport, Emondal SL5, Giant TCR Advanced 2, etc. There are literally lots of great value options out there in the aluminum and carbon categories today. Giant, Spec., and Trek are typically able to offer better pricing/value than most at the affordable end, but don't rule out Fuji and Cannondale either. All of them produce really solid bikes for the money.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  4. #4
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    Caad frames are great bang for the buck. And spesh allez are too. More caads on fleabay.

    You are not going to win or lose a race b/c of frame material.

    Don't race it if you can't afford to break it. That includes you. At one point, i was looking for a cheap bike to race crits. Instead, i decided to steer away from the races that alway have crashes. Too old, family, work, etc. Crash fests are not my thing anymore.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by schotter View Post
    So heres my question: Will the Aluminum frame withstand the forces of a crash better? Or is the material as thin and feeble in regards to such (side-)impact as any other carbon frame? After all, it's also a lightweight racer.

    And the other one: Which carbon frame/bike still pops out as a very good deal rivalling the CAAD (light, stiff, responsive...) for you? I know, this one's is a very personal one and the benefits of one bike over the other are probably hardly noticeable once you ride them and all this...but still...just fishing for inspiration here.

    THX!
    Q1: Maybe. It depends how you crash. The closer to perpendicular any tube is to impacting a surface (given xxx force) the more likely failure will happen. That goes for aluminum, carbon, steel or Ti. I've seen everything fail. I've been in many high speed crashes with carbon everything and nothing but shifter damage and half the skewer shaved off. I've had carbon get damaged from the bike tipping over though. I bet the same with aluminum except it would probably dent but, that's no good either.

    Q2: IDK but, I think people get way too hung up on frame material when they should be focusing on design and geometry. While I can't say for sure IMO the modern CAAD and Allez are every bit the performers as any carbon bike. If the design and geo work I just don't see any advantage of paying more for the carbon version. With that said Canyon has an unbeatable price point and a comparable product to the better known manufacturers. Also, Masi is wicked underrated and over looked IMO...

  6. #6
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    Woody, glad you mentioned Masi. In fact, I tried to buy one but there was only one local dealer and he was less than enthusiastic about selling me one; kept trying to shove a fuji on me. I gave up and just bought a trek.

  7. #7
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    Thanks! I totally buy the idea that neither material is superior. Just felt like throwing the CAAD idea into the mix after getting 2nd thoughts in regards to the crashing issue.

    However, thanks! Some useful thoughts here. Haven't actually looked at Specialized alloy and also MASI hasn't crossed my mind yet.
    And yes, there are plenty of really good value carbon bikes out there and I guess I'd be more than happy with an Emonda SL5 or 6. As much as these are 'second tier', their higher end counterparts probably spell 'diminishing returns' to this average rider.

    And this probably describes my near future:
    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    i decided to steer away from the races that alway have crashes. Too old, family, work, etc. Crash fests are not my thing anymore.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by schotter View Post
    Thanks! I totally buy the idea that neither material is superior. Just felt like throwing the CAAD idea into the mix after getting 2nd thoughts in regards to the crashing issue.

    However, thanks! Some useful thoughts here. Haven't actually looked at Specialized alloy and also MASI hasn't crossed my mind yet.
    And yes, there are plenty of really good value carbon bikes out there and I guess I'd be more than happy with an Emonda SL5 or 6. As much as these are 'second tier', their higher end counterparts probably spell 'diminishing returns' to this average rider.

    And this probably describes my near future:
    Reached the same conclusion myself. Gravel racing and riding is my focus at this point.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by coondogger View Post
    Aluminum will bend in a crash. Carbon will crack in a crash. Carbon is stronger, lighter, absorbs road bumps and vibration better, and absent a crash, will outlast aluminum which is subject to fatigue. I own an Emonda sl5 with an upgraded ultegra 11-34 cassette. It goes like a scalded cat and will outclimb any alu frame bike. That said, if flexing doesnít bother you and you want a crashproof bike, get a titanium Seven. Call your bank first.
    carbon is also subject to fatigue. I don't know why folks keep passing on the notion that carbon is not subject to fatigue. Aluminum rate of fatigue is probably higher, but there are plenty of jumbo jets made of aluminum that are still in service today. The notion that an aluminum bicycle will not last within our riding lifetime is a little amusing. If you don't crash an aluminum frame, it'll outlast you.

  10. #10
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    Itís really not that big of a deal anymore because you can get most bikes made of most materials repaired by places like Calfree today.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  11. #11
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    Another CAAD12 thread...sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    carbon is also subject to fatigue. I don't know why folks keep passing on the notion that carbon is not subject to fatigue. Aluminum rate of fatigue is probably higher, but there are plenty of jumbo jets made of aluminum that are still in service today. The notion that an aluminum bicycle will not last within our riding lifetime is a little amusing. If you don't crash an aluminum frame, it'll outlast you.
    Fwiw, I "tore" my alu frame at the seatpost/BB TIG weld, and I had never crashed it.

    Also, I found that repair was not possible at all due to the heat treatment the frames go through. YMMV.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by coondogger View Post
    Aluminum will bend in a crash. Carbon will crack in a crash. Carbon is stronger, lighter, absorbs road bumps and vibration better, and absent a crash, will outlast aluminum which is subject to fatigue. I own an Emonda sl5 with an upgraded ultegra 11-34 cassette. It goes like a scalded cat and will outclimb any alu frame bike. That said, if flexing doesnít bother you and you want a crashproof bike, get a titanium Seven. Call your bank first.
    Carbon is stronger, but that's based on thickness, like all material. That strength is offset by it being lighter. The strength of a 800g high end carbon frame is likely the same as a 1kg high end aluminum frame. It won't be stronger; Just lighter. However at the same weight, carbon will be stronger.

    Carbon's strength is based on the direction the carbon weave was designed to be strongest in....hence uni-directional. It's weakness is impact resistance.. or lack of. Real world experience dictates that, not a lab. Aluminum has a better chance of surviving in a crash. Any racer who has witnessed or experienced enough crashes can attest to that. As for being more compliant, a frame is only as compliant or as stiff as it was designed to be. Most of your ride quality is in your wheels, tires and tubes. The frame plays a very small part of it. With that said, a similarly priced ALR will be just as comfortable (if not more so), better performing, and lighter than your SL5, due to it having a better kit on the frameset than your SL5. I have a Cdale CAAD10 and an EVO Hi Mod. Similar kits and the ride is darn near identical. Had I bought the lesser, non-Hi Mod model, the difference would likely not even be noticeable in ride quality, except the CAAD would be lighter. Want to feel a harsh ride? Try riding a Felt F1 Sprint...full carbon and it will beat the crap out of you. Like I said, a frame is only as compliant as it was designed to be.

    No option is really better than any other. That is based on personal taste. By the way, I'm selling my EVO hi-Mod to finance my CAAD12 Black Inc frameset build. I'm not downgrading or upgrading. I'm buying what fulfills my style of riding better.

  13. #13
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    Just a hunch but I don't believe my Caad 9 would have survived a couple of the crashes that my carbon bike did. That's a hunch and an anecdote actually, because not all carbon (or alloy) is the same. My carbon bike wasn't "beefed up" like a carbon Mtn or Cross bike might be but it was far from weight weenie also. I'm sure a lot of carbon bikes would have been trashed and a lot of alloy ones would have survived.
    So in summary I'd answer your question with: Who to heck knows an it depends.

    I think getting something like a CAAD specifically for racing is a good idea especially if you do crits. Or for all riding if that's the type of handling and feel you want. (I'm more into longer rides and didn't really like the CAAD compared to other frames I've had, but it's perfectly fine for many rider styles and wants)

    However, I also think if you are getting an alloy CAAD or similar for just racing due to low(er) replacement cost relative to carbon........you may as well go all in with that philosophy and rather than a brand new caad 12 pick up a 9 or similar for real short money on ebay or where ever you find one.

    But if an alloy CAAD suites all you needs perfectly then sure go all out and get a shiny new one.
    I've had carbon and the alloy caad, and now have steel and ti frames. The CAAD was definitely my least favorite but I can't say it's inferior per se. It's just different and not a good choice for me. But different people like different things.

  14. #14
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    One of the upsides to aluminum is the lower cost of replacement. I think a new CAAD 12 frame goes for around $1000. Carbon will be more expensive and manufactures usually only sell higher end frames. So frames could start at $2500 or more.

    On a side note, I've ridden the CAAD 12. It rides much better IMHO than a entry level carbon bike.
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